The Kansas City Chiefs and Lamar Jackson were the big winners during the NFL’s first tripleheader wild card weekend.
The Chiefs didn’t even play, but got a break when the Browns upset the Steelers. That means they will play against the Browns in the divisional round and if they beat the Browns, they will play the winner of the Bills-Ravens game. If the Steelers had won, they might have had to beat both the Bills and Ravens to get to the Super Bowl.
Jackson, meanwhile, doesn’t have to deal with the “can’t win in the playoffs” scenario after leading the Ravens to the victory over the Titans with the help of a defense that contained Derrick Henry.
Now he’s got a tough game at Buffalo. He also overcame a 10-point deficit after losing the first six times he was down by 10.
—The big losers were the Steelers. After going 11-0, they lost five of their last six games and were blown out by the Browns. They now haven’t won a playoff game the last four years and have to wonder whether Ben Roethlisberger has anything left in the tank. They had beaten the Browns 17 times in a row in Pittsburgh.
—Tom Brady showed his tank isn’t empty as he led the Bucs to the win over Washington. Among other things, he became the oldest player at 43 to throw a touchdown pass.
—Mike Tomlin, Frank Reich and Mike Vrabel all made questionable game management decisions that help cost their teams games. Vrabel faced a 2nd-and-2 at Baltimore 40, the Titans coach didn’t give Henry the ball. Instead, he dialed up two passes. Both were incomplete and he punted. Reich passed up a field goal to go for it on 4th-and-2 and Tomlin punted on 4th and one early in the fourth quarter. All three decisions backfired.
—Green Bay had the first-round bye and now has the home field edge in January. They get to host the Rams in their first game and if they win that one, they play the winner of the game between two aging quarterbacks – Brady and Drew Brees.