This Week in the NFL: Wildcard Weekend

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen runs with the ball, while fending off New England Patriots defenders.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen runs with the ball, while fending off New England Patriots defenders.


After over three decades, the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game, beating the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.

Controversial score: As a rule, if the referees blow their whistles, anything that happens after the whistle doesn’t count. In the Bengal’s game, this happened on a touchdown pass, as the referees believed that the quarterback, Joe Burrow, stepped out of bounds before making the pass. However, although the pass was after the whistle, it was still called a touchdown. This score was the one that made the difference in the game, with the Bengals winning by only seven points. The league did nothing but release a pathetic statement regarding this game-altering mistake by the referees.

Record-low temperatures in Buffalo: The New England Patriots played against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night. When the game began, the temperature was seven degrees, with a feels-like temperature of negative five, and it only dropped from there. Fans could be seen with many layers and covered in blankets. Such low temperatures were difficult to play in because it was hard to catch the ball. The Patriots struggled especially, losing by thirty points

Nothing but frustration for the New England Patriots: Heading out to Buffalo on Friday afternoon, there was intensity in the eyes of the Patriots players and coaches. They were going for a win, but the game was full of mistakes, and overall frustration, as it seemed like nothing was working out. They ended up losing big in the first round of the playoffs, 47-17. 

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the Philadelphia Eagles on a sunny, yet windy Sunday afternoon. At halftime, the score was 17-0, in favor of the Buccaneers. By the fourth quarter, the score was 31-0. However, the Eagles didn’t give up. They scored two touchdowns, one of which they scored a two-point conversion on, to bring the score to 31-15. They got possession of the ball with a minute left, very far from their scoring end zone. They did their best to get one last score but were ultimately unable to. 

Large age differences: Tom Brady is twenty-one years older than the quarterback that he played against, Jalen Hurts, a second-year player from the University of Oklahoma. Once again, Brady proved that age is just a number, beating out Hurts and the Eagles by sixteen points

The San Francisco 49ers traveled to Dallas to play against the Dallas Cowboys. They dominated for the entire game, and at halftime, the score was 23-7. However, the Dallas Cowboys were on the road to a comeback when they scored ten unanswered points. Taking it down to the wire, they had the opportunity to score a touchdown, and tie the game. However, after failing to get a first down, there was nothing that they could do to win. The Cowboys did get the ball back, but because of the referees not touching the ball in time (yes, the referee has to touch the ball between plays), they ran out of time. 

The terrible referee-ing of these playoffs: As a football superfan, I’ve never seen such awful referees. There were too many clear calls that were missed, calls that shouldn’t have been penalized, and many disregarded rules. Many of these were game-changers, too. For example, during the Raiders-Bengals game, a touchdown that shouldn’t have been a touchdown was called as one, in favor of the Bengals… and they only ended up winning by that one touchdown. Either the referees must undergo longer training to educate them on what is a penalty and what is not, or there must be more reviews that go down between plays. There also should be more consequences for wrong decisions that change the outcome of a game, especially when it comes to the playoffs.

The lowest seed Pittsburgh Steelers played against the second seed (or top seed without a first-round bye) Kansas City Chiefs. The lopsided match ended in a twenty-one-point victory for the Chiefs. The Steelers started off looking like they might’ve been a match, but the Chiefs stepped it up. While the Steelers did their best to keep up, it wasn’t enough.

On Monday night football, the Arizona Cardinals faced the Los Angeles Rams. This game had many crazy events take place. First, Cardinals defender Budda Baker was knocked unconscious by Rams’ running back Cam Akers, who proceeded to taunt Baker over his unconscious body. Baker was taken off of the field on a stretcher and suffered a concussion. Also in this game, Rams defender Aaron Donald tried to choke a Cardinals player during a scuffle. The Rams ended up getting the huge win to move on to the next round of the playoffs and will travel across the country to Florida for their matchup against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Next week’s games: The matchups have now been confirmed. It hasn’t been determined which teams will play at what time, but the games will span between Saturday and Sunday

  • The San Francisco 49ers will play against top-NFC seed Green Bay Packers in Green Bay
  • The Cincinnati Bengals will play against top-AFC seed Tennessee Titans in Tennessee
  • The Los Angeles Rams will play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay
  • The Buffalo Bills will play against the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City

Final Scores

  • Las Vegas Raiders versus the Cincinnati Bengals (played in Cincinnati) — Bengals win 26-19
  • New England Patriots versus the Buffalo Bills (played in Buffalo) — Bills win 47-17
  • Philadelphia Eagles versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (played in Tampa Bay) — Buccaneers win 31-15
  • San Francisco 49ers versus the Dallas Cowboys (played in Dallas) — 49ers win 23-17
  • Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Kansas City Chiefs (played in Kansas City) — Chiefs win 42-21
  • Arizona Cardinals versus the Los Angeles Rams (played in Los Angeles) — Rams win 34-11


Kristina Klauzinski ‘24, Staff Writer