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Super Wild Card Weekend Recap: The Comeback Reboot

The Jacksonville Jaguars' improbable run continued in comeback fashion, while the Minnesota Vikings' playoff woes continue

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 14 days ago 8 min read
The Jacksonville Jaguars completed the third-largest playoff comeback in NFL history

This year's Super Wild Card Weekend marked the observed 30-year anniversary of "The Comeback." We all know about that by now; the infamous Wild Card Playoff contest between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers, which saw the Oilers up 35-3 during the midpoint of the 3rd quarter. However, in a span of a quarter and a half, the Bills' 32-point deficit disappeared, as after sixty minutes of game time, both teams had 38 points. The Bills won it with a field goal, completing what was the largest comeback in NFL history until the Minnesota Vikings came back from a 33-0 deficit on December 15, 2022. It still remains the largest playoff comeback in league history, but comebacks like that are rare.

However, reboots have been quite a trend lately.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ended their regular season as champions of the AFC South, and they were looking to make the best of their surprise playoff appearance. Unfortunately, things got off to a horrendous start. Trevor Lawrence threw four--yes, four interceptions in the first half, and nothing was going right for the team. The Los Angeles Chargers ended up leading 27-0, and it definitely looked like it was over for the Jags, even with a touchdown late in the first half. Then the lead disappeared bit by bit. All the Bolts could muster was a field goal, but several dead offensive plays gave the Jags a chance to reduce their deficit, which was down to just two after a late touchdown and a two-point score by Lawrence. After the defense did their thing, the Jags got the ball back and made it to field goal range, where Riley Patterson's kick completed the comeback.

Brandon Staley's second year as Chargers head coach could be his last

The popular response to this playoff exit has been a proposed pink slip for Brandon Staley. Staley was hired as the Chargers' head coach prior to the 2021 season, and we remember how that year ended: his infamous timeout call in the final seconds of overtime in the memorable regular season finale clash between the Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders. In that game, both teams could have clinched the AFC's two remaning playoff spots had the game ended in a tie. In fact, the Raiders' original plan was to kill the clock and settle for the tie. However, the timeout changed their plans, they entered field goal range and won the game, putting themselves and the Pittsburgh Steelers in, while the Chargers' season ended that night.

This year, the Chargers got in, but it was in spite of Staley. He made terrible play calls following that 27-0 lead, and he was without one of his key receivers, Mike Williams, because he decided to start his main players on the previous week: a completely meaningless game against the Denver Broncos. Williams was injured during that game and was out for the Wild Card Playoff, and that hampered things. Staley is 19-15 in two seasons as Chargers head coach, and he lost a playoff game that he had in the bag. If he's back for 2023, it would be a huge surprise.

Super Wild Card Weekend 2022 began with Mr. Irrelevant's Wild Ride continuing. The San Francisco 49ers faced off against the Seattle Seahawks, and for Brock Purdy, he became the first Mr. Irrelevant to start a playoff game. He would later become the first to win one, though it wasn't easy. The Seahawks were down 10-0, but actually ended up leading 17-16 at the half. However, it was all Niners after that, and as for Purdy, he finished with 332 passing yards and three touchdowns, as the Niners won, 41-23, ending the Seahawks' season, though thanks to the Denver Broncos, Seattle has a pretty high draft pick.

This is the third year to feature seven playoff teams per conference, and with the Seahawks' loss, the schnide continued. #7 seeds were now 0-5 all time, though the Seahawks were the first such team to have a halftime lead. That record would drop further to 0-6 after Sunday, but the Miami Dolphins didn't make it easy for the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo started the game up 17-0, and it looked like a laugher was on the horizon...until Miami scored 17 unanswered points. It was 20-17 Buffalo at halftime, but Josh Allen fumbled to start the 2nd half, and the Dolphins recovered in the endzone for their first lead of the game. Despite Miami's game effort, they came up short, as the Bills won 34-31. Speaking of the Bills, it was announced prior to the start of this year's playoffs that Atlanta will host a potential Bills/Chiefs AFC Championship, with the news coming a week after it was officially announced that such a matchup would be played in a neutral site.

It never fails. No matter how good the Minnesota Vikings look, no matter how strong they appear to look, they fold in the playoffs faster than a poker player with a bad hand. Don't get me wrong, the Vikings did look good this season; they were 11-0 in one-score games, which included that big comeback, but two things resulted in the Vikings getting the "fraud" tag. One, their blowout loss to the Packers on New Year's Day. And two, the fact that, despite their 13-4 record, they finished with a -3 point differential. Those factors led to the New York Giants actually being picked by many to win. The Vikings did score first, but once the Giants took the lead, they never looked back. They were given chances, but their season ended on a checkdown play on 4th and 8. The Giants won, 31-24, their first playoff win since Super Bowl XLVI. Plain and simple, the Vikings miss Drew Brees. After all, Brees was the only one incompetent enough to lose to the Vikings in the playoffs.

Sam Hubbard returned a fumble 98 yards for a touchdown against the Ravens

Every single Wild Card Weekend matchup was a rematch was a regular season rematch, with three of the six being divisional. For the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals, this was their second meeting in an eight day span; they split the season series, and the Bengals win eliminated a coin flip deciding home field. It was pretty close for the most part, the Ravens actually led at halftime, and it was 17-all in the fourth quarter. The Ravens moved down the field and reached the one-yard line, but on a quarterback sneak, Tyler Huntley fumbled the ball and it ended up in the hands of Sam Hubbard, who returned it 98 yards all the way! Thanks to the defense, and John Harbaugh horrendous clock management, that score ended up being the game-winner.

I said this on social media and I'll say it here. I have two words for the Baltimore Ravens: Pay Lamar. Lamar Jackson wins that game. Lamar Jackson wins the AFC North and prevents that team from going on the road. And most certainly, Lamar Jackson doesn't fumble that ball. If the Ravens do not give Lamar the payment he deserves, then they are screwed. You know what you have if you take Lamar off the Ravens? The Chicago Bears. But sure, go ahead and pretend Lamar's the problem instead of the lack of a running game, the lack of receivers, and bad playcalling...if that helps the team sleep at night.

Brett Maher missed four of his five extra points

The weekend ended with the Dallas Cowboys facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in quite an interesting outing. The Cowboys exploded in that game, scoring touchdown after touchdown on the lethargic Bucs. However, there was one crazy thing that stood out: Brett Maher couldn't buy an extra point even if his life depended on it. Each of Dallas' first four touchdowns was followed by the usually reliable Maher missing the extra point. The fifth time ended up being the charm, but still, that's not good. The only reason why those missed PAT weren't a big detriment was because the Bucs were just awful in their outing. Dallas won, 31-14, and this was their first road playoff win since the 1992 NFC Championship, which was played one day short of exactly 30 years ago.

So what does this mean for Tom Brady? The easy answer is "retirement," but we all know how that worked out last year. He announced his retirement, and then came back...barely over a month later. This disastrous season is, IMO, karma for Brady's latest deception. If he actually does return for 2023, Brady will be 46 and still have a dead team around him. We all know he's not used to that. Brady needs to do two things: retire...and actually be honest about it.

As Columbo would say, "One more thing." This year's playoffs mark the debut of the new overtime rules made for playoff games only. Of course, OT was changed again due to how last year's Divisional Playoff between the Bills and Chiefs ended, and in this modified OT, both teams are guaranteed to have the ball, no matter what happens. Even if the period's opening drive ends with a touchdown, an extra point is kicked, and the other team gets a chance to match that score, with sudden death rules applying if they do so.

The Divisional Playoff is all set, and it will kick off on Saturday, January 21 with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars, followed by the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles facing off for the third time this season. On Sunday, January 22, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills will face off for the first time since their canceled Monday Night bout on January 2. The main event of Divisional Playoff Weekend will be the Dallas Cowboys facing the San Francisco 49ers for the second straight postseason--the two teams faced each other during last year's Wild Card Weekend.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy

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  • Lamar Wiggins13 days ago

    Can't wait to see what happens!!!

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