01/07/2013 08:07 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

NFL Wild Card Sunday: What We Learned

WASHINGTON -- Wild Card Sunday may not have delivered the premier performances we all hoped for, but it certainly set up some can't-miss matchups for next week. The rookie quarterback tilt between RG3 and Russell Wilson showed us once again just how special both are, and just how vulnerable a knee injury is as well. Seattle won its first road playoff game since 1983, Andrew Luck proved that even he can't win without an offensive line, and the immortal Ray Lewis gets to play at least one more NFL game. So, what else did we really learn?


1). Wilson, a dark horse for Rookie of the Year, controlled the tempo with mostly sound decisions through the air and another 67 yards on the ground, showing that the read-option duo of him and Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch is as good as advertised. Lynch, for the 11th time this season, topped the 100-yard mark, including a fantastic go-ahead 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. RG3 and Alfred Morris received more attention this season because they helped the Redskins lead the league in rushing, but Seattle's ground game is superb as well and a huge reason why the Hawks prevailed 24-14 in a tough environment.

2). The bad news for the Seahawks -- if there is any after a road playoff win -- is that Wilson was sacked another five times. That makes it eleven total in the past two games, after it was a non-issue for most of the season. Russell Okung, the third-year left tackle, made his first Pro Bowl and has been excellent as both a pass protector and in the running game, as has Pro Bowl center Max Unger. However, the rest of the line has struggled against speed rushers, which could be an issue next week against Atlanta, who is super blitz happy in the raucous Georgia Dome.

3). It's increasingly easy to question whether or not RG3 should have played and whether or not backup Kirk Cousins would have actually been the better option. Head coach Mike Shanahan will continue to come under extreme fire, but let us not forget that his young star was cleared to play. Redskins fans were calling for his head after the game inside the confines of FedEx Field -- but RG3 is not only the best player, but also the clear-cut leader. If he says he can go, it's awfully hard to tell him no. Shanahan said of RG3: "He said, 'Hey, trust me. I want to be in there, and I deserve to be in there.' I couldn't disagree with him."

4). Andrew Luck had a brilliant rookie campaign, but don't forget he tossed 18 interceptions and easily could have thrown another five more. Is he great? No question. Remember, however, that this is a rookie without a running game and without an elite defense. Forced to throw 54 times Sunday in the Colts' 24-9 loss to Baltimore, he failed to get the ball down the field with consistency. A vital reason why though comes from a very porous offensive line that genuinely cannot protect Luck, who led the league in knockdowns this season. Luck's 54.1 percent completion percentage ranked him 31st out of 32 qualified quarterbacks. A better line and better running game is a necessity moving forward.

5). For a team that came one pass breakup from the Super Bowl just one season ago, the Baltimore Ravens have flown under the radar much of the season, no pun intended. While it's just one win, Sunday's lockdown performance of the Indy offense coupled with a 125.6 QBR from Joe Flacco suggests good things for next week's road tilt in Denver. How they will defend Peyton Manning is anyone's guess, but this year's Ravens defense ranked 17th in total passing yards, a shockingly low rate for what's normally considered a great defense. Losing No. 1 cornerback Lardarius Webb in mid-October was a killer, and no quarterback will find weaknesses in a secondary quicker than No. 18.

Email me at or ask me questions about anything sports-related at @Schultz_Report.