Titans oust Patriots Texans edge Bills in OT
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Derrick Henry rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown while Tennessee’s defence stymied Tom Brady and perhaps ended his championship-filled New England career with a 20-13 wild-card victory Saturday night.
As a dense fog that shrouded Gillette Stadium for the first half dissipated, it became clear that the Patriots, who made the last three Super Bowls and won two, no longer were the bullies on the block. Six-time champ Brady’s contract is up and the 42-year-old quarterback could well be headed elsewhere, including retirement.
Meanwhile, the Titans (10-7) are headed next week to Baltimore, the league’s top team.
There was no scoring in the second half when All-Pro Brett Kern’s 58-yard punt that took up 10 seconds rolled down at the New England 1. Brady then was picked by former Patriot Logan Ryan for a 9-yard touchdown to finish off the Patriots (12-5), who at one point were 8-0.
The game’s first three possessions wound up as three long scoring drives. A 29-yard screen pass to James White set up Nick Folk’s 36-yard field goal, but Tennessee answered with a 75-yard march built around Henry. He had no role on the touchdown, Tannehill’s pass to a Harvard man, tight end Anthony Firkser that made it 7-3.
Texans 22, Bills 19, OT
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson spun out of a would-be sack and coolly completed a pass that set up the winning field goal in overtime as the Texans rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit for a victory over Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs.
Both teams punted on their first possessions of overtime — the first extra period in an AFC wild-card game since January 2012. On Houston’s next drive, Watson evaded a sack by wriggling away from one defender and bouncing off another before rolling out to find Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard reception to set up first-and-goal.
Watson flexed both arms as the crowd at NRG Stadium went wild — knowing their team was in position to pull off another comeback win to Houston’s playoff history.
Ka’imi Fairbairn then kicked a 28-yard field goal to lift Houston to the victory.
The Texans (11-6) advance to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend where they’ll face the Chiefs.
The Texans got a boost from the return of J.J. Watt, who had a sack that helped spark his team. Houston scored 19 straight points to take the lead before Stephen Hauschka’s 47-yard field goal tied it with 5 seconds left to force overtime.
It was Watt’s first game after sitting out since October with a torn pectoral muscle.
The win gives the Texans their first playoff victory since the 2016 season and extends Buffalo’s post-season losing streak to six games, with their most recent playoff win coming in 1995. It’s the first wild-card overtime game since the Broncos beat the Steelers 29-23 in the 2011 season.
This time Josh Allen and the Bills (10-7) used a dominant first half to build a 13-point lead and were up 16-0 in the third quarter.
Watson had 247 yards passing and ran for 55 yards and DeAndre Hopkins had 90 yards receiving.
Allen threw for 264 yards, ran for 92 and caught a touchdown pass on a trick play in the first quarter, but often looked rattled late in his playoff debut.
Vikings 26 Saints 20
Kirk Cousins hit tight end Kyle Rudolph with a 4-yard fade on third-and-goal in overtime, and the Minnesota Vikings pulled out a 26-20 victory over the Saints in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs on Sunday.
The Vikings will face the top-seeded 49ers in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon in the divisional round.
It was the second straight time the Saints’ season had ended in overtime in the Superdome.
The disappointing end for the favoured Saints (13-4) came nearly a year after New Orleans lost in the NFC championship game to the Los Angeles Rams in a game marred by missed Rams penalties late in regulation.
Dalvin Cook gained 130 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns. Cousins finished with 242 yards and one TD passing, highlighted by his 43-yard completion to Adam Thielen on the opening possession of overtime to give Minnesota (11-6) the ball on the Saints 2-yard line and set up the winning score.
Replays on the video board showed a possible push-off by Rudolph on defensive back P.J. Williams as he leaped to make the catch that ended the game.
Minnesota’s defensive front forced record-setting quarterback Drew Brees into two turnovers — one game after the Saints had finished the regular season with an NFL record-low eight. Brees also was sacked three times and finished 26 of 33 for 208 yards, one TD and an interception.
Seahawks 17, Eagles 9
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — After Jadeveon Clowney knocked out Carson Wentz, Russell Wilson and Seattle knocked off Philadelphia.
Wilson threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to DK Metcalf, Marshawn Lynch had a rushing score and the Seahawks beat the Eagles in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.
Making his first career playoff start, Wentz lasted two series before leaving with a head injury following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Clowney.
Nick Foles wasn’t around to rescue Philadelphia this time.
Forty-year-old Josh McCown stepped in, becoming the oldest quarterback to make his playoff debut. But he couldn’t lead the Eagles (9-8) into the end zone.
The Seahawks (12-5) lost three of their final four games, including a 26-21 defeat at home against San Francisco in Week 17 that cost them the NFC West title.
But they travelled to Philadelphia for the second time in six weeks and became the third team to win on the road this weekend, improving to 8-1 away from home this season.
Wilson threw for 325 yards and led the team with 45 yards rushing. Metcalf had seven catches for 160 yards.
The Seahawks had a season-high seven sacks from six players.