Here were are again.
As was the case last year, the Wild Card Weekend in the NFL playoffs begins in Houston with the Texans hosting the Bengals. The deja vu doesn't stop there on Day 1 of these playoffs, as the nightcap on Saturday features a rematch from Week 17 of this campaign when the Vikings and Packers renew their longstanding rivalry just one week after they treated us to a season-ending thriller.
Even without Matt Schaub -- who was injured last year and is actually making his first career postseason start today -- the Bulls paraded over the Bengals to reach the Divisional Round last year. If the Texans want to eliminate Cincinnati for the second straight season then they'll have to recover from a dip in form that saw them squander a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs.
For Cincinnati, a trip to Houston may be the key to securing the franchise's first playoff win since 1991. Not only did quarterback Andy Dalton grow up not far from Houston but the Bengals' last -- and long ago -- playoff win came at the expense of the Oilers.
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|@ SportsCenter : "@AdrianPeterson is the man & if you stop him I don't care who is at QB, you have a chance of winning" -@Packers' B.J. Raji on SC|
This went about as poorly as you'd guess given that he hadn't thrown a pass all year long. He finished with 11 completions on 30 attempts but it's worth noting that his last three completions when the game was in hand accounted for 83 of those yards and his only touchdown. He picked up 68 yards on the ground on seven carries and gave the ball away with a fumble as well as an interception. He was put in an impossible situation and his unique skill set (and our faith in Adrian Peterson) made many think a memorable performance was possible. It didn't work out.
Rodgers completed 23 of 33 passes for 274 yards and touchdown. He spread the ball around to 10 different receivers and scrambled twice for 12 yards.
Packers move on to face 49ers in San Francisco next week in the Divisional Round. The 49ers defeated the Packers in Lambeau in Week 1, 30-22.
Webb with another long completion on the final play but Packers win, 24-10.
After a big completion, Webb hurries up to the line and spikes it. Clock stopped at one second. Fans do not approve in Green Bay.
It's fair caught and the Vikings have 19 seconds. AP needs one yard to top 100 for the game.
Packers lead, 24-10. They have the ball with a 2nd and 12 when we get back to it.
Rodgers finds Nelson on the edge and he is pulled down right at the marker. Chains moved. Tick. Tock.
It's 3rd and 5 after the Vikings' final timeout is complete. Aaron Rodgers in the shotgun. They want this first down.
|@ stanverrett : They were saving that play until they REALLY needed it.|
And, look at this. Jenkins gets free and nobody tracks him. Webb hits him on the sideline and he trots for a 50-yard TD.
Webb throws several feet over Peterson's head in the flat and nearly gets him run over. AP seemed to have a bit of an "are you kidding me?" shrug after that one. Hard to blame...
Packers offense content to back up and punt. But Rodgers continuing to be hit. Will they pull him? Another punt coming as we're under five minutes.
Simpson could've had that one although he was blanketed. Webb's throw got there. So, there's that. Turnover on downs. Packers lead 24-3 as we close in on 6 minutes to play.
Viking were going for it on 4th and 9 but offside gives them a five-yard lift. 4th and 4..
Adrian Peterson is a freak. After slipping upon taking the handoff, he gets up and manages to get himself outside, turn the corner and dole out 18 yards of punishment to the Packers' defense.
|@ ESPNStatsInfo : Joe Webb has failed to complete any of his 8 passes thrown at least 15 yards downfield, with 7 off-target incompletions.|
But not enough yards. Rodgers getting harassed by Jared Allen on that sequence. Green Bay happy to punt again. They seem willing to start just taking a knee, given the lack of threat posed by Vikings' offense thus far.
|@ sportscaddy : This game just needs to end. It's not doing anyone any favours right now. #vikings #packers|
We've got 10:40 remaining and the Packers leading, 24-3.
Kluwe boots it and Packers return it to the Green Bay 31.
Webb scrambles but can't pick up the first down. It's 4th and 2 deep in their own territory for the Vikings.. and they're going for it? Some confusion and a timeout. At this point, they might as well. If you're calling plays for a possible comeback, as crazy as it sounds, then you really have to go for it at this point. Don't you? If you're playing to not let the final score look too embarrassing then you punt? If you're not sure what you're doing because you threw out the game plan because you're starting Joe Webb.. then there may not be a right answer.
Webb airs it out on 1st down but he overthrew everyone. Crowd at Lambeau sounds quite celebratory.
Vikings trail 24-3 and take over at their own 9.
Packers with no urgency and little progress after the turnover. They'll punt at 4th and 9.
|@ JasonLisk : Joe Webb's performance tonight has surely locked up his appearance shirtless on the cover of Vogue pushing a giant tire|
Packers punt but Sherrels can't handle it, as it dropped quicker than maybe he expected. He did, however, touch it. Packers recover.
After they switch ends of the field, Packers hand it back to Harris. 15 minutes to burn. NBC is talking about the MVP race and Packers are running the ball. Sounds about right.