NFL divisional round in review

The divisional round weekend shows the NFL was right in changing all the rules to favor the offense in recent years.

The wide-open game set the stage for the best divisional round in NFL history.

Three of the four games were decided on a field goal on the final play, and the fourth was decided on a touchdown in overtime that climaxed a shootout between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.

San Francisco beat Green Bay mainly with special teams and defense, but quarterbacks ruled the day as Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo advanced to the conference title games.

The losing quarterbacks were Tom Brady Aaron Rodgers, Allen and Ryan Tannehill.

Mahomes and Reid are going to the conference title game for the fourth year in a row and aiming for their third Super Bowl appearance in a row.

Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan are aiming for their second Super Bowl appearance after losing the first one.

Burrow and Stafford, traded to the Rams this year, are going for their first Super Bowl appearance while Rams coach Sean McVay will be shooting for his second Super Bowl appearance. He lost his first with Jared Goff as his quarterback.

The Mahomes-Allen duel was an instant classic. Allen put the Bills ahead with a touchdown pass on fourth and 13 with 1:54 left. Trailing 29-26, Mahomes threw a 64-yard pass to Tyreek Hill to give the Chiefs a 33-29 lead with 1:02 left. Allen then came back with a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Bills up 36-33 with 13 seconds left.

And then with some help from the Bills, Mahomes tied it up and sent it iinto overtime and the Chiefs won the toss and got the win.

This game will be remembered for a long time, especially if the Chiefs go on to win the Super Bowl.

The losses by Brady and Rodgers raised questions about their futures. Brady is 44 and said he will spend several weeks thinking about what he wants to return at age 45. It is easier to think about retiring at the end of a long season. After he recharges his batteries, he may not be able to walk away.

Rodgers will return, but he has to decide whether he wants to stay in Green Bay. He has the option of leaving, but may decide his best option is to stay. He was upset at the Packers for trading up to select Jordan Love on the first round two years ago but may be ready to smooth things over since Love hasn’t challenged him.

Another quarterback whose future could be in jeopardy is Tannehill. With Derrick Henry not in top form after coming back from an injury, Tannehill was outgunned by Burrow.

But if Henry returns at top form, they may decide Tannehill remains their best option. He was picked off three times by the Bengals.

The coach on the hot seat is Sean McDermott of the Bills. Their fans are upset that they couldn’t hold the lead with 13 seconds left against the Chiefs.

He decided not to have the Bills squib kick on the kickoff and then had them in a soft prevent defense that allowed Mahomes to complete two passes that put the Chiefs in position for a game-tying field goal. They won the coin toss and scored a touchdown to win the games.

Under the current rules, teams that win the coin toss are 10-1 and there is much talk about changing the rules so each team has a possession in overtime, but the owners have voted down that idea in the past.

Now there are three games left – the two conference title games and the Super Bowl.

It won’t be easy for them to match the drama of the divisional weekend.

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