January 24, 2022
Last week’s Super Wildcard Weekend turned out to be mostly predictable, even if there were several good games. Seven of the eight games ended with the home team winning with the only loss being the Dallas Cowboys. The Niners had made it a mundane game and led 23-7 going into the fourth quarter. Dallas roared to life and put up ten points. The Cowboys got the ball back with 32 seconds on the clock and moved 39 yards on three quick passes. With second-and-one at San Francisco’s 41, with 14 seconds and no timeouts, the Cowboys called a QB draw. Prescott raced through the middle for a 17-yard gain to San Francisco’s 24-yard line. Dallas hurried to the line to spike the ball, but the referee needing to spot the ball down ran into Prescott on his way to the line. Time expired before the ball was spiked and the game was over.
I thought the Dallas–Niners game might be the wild finish of the year, but I was wrong. The first three games of Divisional Weekend ended with game winning field goals in the last seconds by the visiting teams. That included a low-scoring duel between Rogers and Garoppolo. San Francisco tied the game at 10-10 with 4:41 left after blocking a punt and running the ball in from the 6-yard line. After the Packers went three-and-out, the 49ers got the ball back at their 29 with 3:20 left and again drove down the field. After a disappointing offensive performance, the Niners pieced together the drive they needed at the end of the game. Facing a third-and-seven, wide receiver Samuel took a handoff nine yards for a first down at Green Bay’s 38. Samuel’s run set up Robbie Gould’s winning 45-yard field goal as time expired.
Exciting as the first three games being decided by last-second field goals by the visiting team, the fourth game between Kansas City and Buffalo was even better. The final two minutes saw 25 points scored and the lead changed hands three times. Buffalo was down 26-21 with two minutes left but the Bills rallied back with a touchdown pass from Allen and a successful 2-point conversion. Mahomes and the Chiefs stormed down the field in 52 seconds ending with a 64-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 to play. Allen and the Bills again took the ball down the field and scored with 13 seconds on the clock. Mahomes then drove the Chiefs into range in to set up a game-tying field goal. The Chiefs won the coin toss in overtime and immediately drove down the field for a touchdown toss to Kelce. The final score was 42-36. This completed the wildest weekend of football I can remember.
Thoughts: Lost in the middle of the players fireworks this weekend was a fan who ran on the field. These occurrences do not happen often and for years broadcasters have refused to show the intrusion to discourage copycats. As always, someone in the stands captured the event and placed it on Twitter. After the fan eluded security and ran on the field, Stefon Diggs got a running start and leveled him with his shoulder. Stadium security locked him in a chokehold and promptly escorted him off the field. The unwelcome visitor was wearing a Travis Kelce jersey and riled up the crowd as he was walked off the field. While the fan disturbance did not adversely affect the outcome of the game, other interference has. Fans reach over the fence to catch home runs or fair balls. Fans use offensive language or throw drinks at players on the court. Others instead cause fights on planes over having to wear a mask. It is never all about me. Do the work. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.