Wild Card Weekend opened with one offensive touchdown as Shayne Graham (four field goals, one PAT) and Arian Foster (32-140-1 on the ground, 8-34 receiving) did the heavy lifting for the Texans. Matt Schaub’s stat line—29-38-262-0-1—didn’t look bad, but he played fourth fiddle in this one to the aforementioned duo and the Texans’ dominant defense.
Extra points: Andy Dalton (14-30-127-0-1) and A.J. Green (5-80 on 11 targets) couldn’t seem to get on the same page; one miscommunication led to Dalton’s pick, and late in the game Dalton missed Green on a potential game-winning touchdown. With no other Bengal stepping up—the rest of Cincy’s roster combined for 9-47—there was no passing game to be found. Green’s Houston counterpart, Andre Johnson (4-62) struggled similarly, but tight end Owen Daniels (9-91 on 11 targets) picked up the slack. Notable was BenJarvis Green-Ellis (11-63) pounding out 5.7 yards per carry against a very good defense.
Packers 24, Vikings 10 Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
Not that the end result would have been different had Christian Ponder been able to play, but with the Vikings forced to go to the bullpen for Joe Webb things became that much easier for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers (23-33-274-1) nickel and dimed the Vikings to death, hitting 10 different receivers as he surgically dissected the Minnesota secondary, forcing the Vikings to abandon a ground game that produced 167 yards at nearly six yards a carry.
Extra points: Congratulations to those of you with John Kuhn (3-4-1 on the ground, 2-15-1 receiving) on your fantasy playoff roster; with that luck working in your favor you should be on the next plane to Vegas. Randall Cobb (1-7 on two targets) was the odd man out in the Green Bay receiving rotation, while DuJuan Harris (17-47-1 rushing, 5-53 receiving) accounted for 100 yards from scrimmage. If you’re in a milestone league you’re growing to dislike Leslie Frazier, who left Adrian Peterson (22-99 rushing, 1-8 receiving) in a stinkhole for the second consecutive week. And just as unlikely as Kuhn’s two TDs was Michael Jenkins posting 3-96-1, the bulk of it on a blown coverage garbage time 50-yard touchdown.
Ravens 24, Colts 9 M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
Andrew Luck (28-54-288-0-1) may be the future, but this was more like Old Timers’ Day in Baltimore. Ray Lewis, likely playing his final home game, spearheaded a Ravens defense that wouldn’t let the Colts find the end zone; meanwhile, veteran receiver Anquan Boldin (5-145-1) set a franchise playoff receiving record as a surprisingly balanced Ravens’ offense overcame two Ray Rice (15-70 rushing, 1-47 receiving) fumbles to secure the win.
Extra points: It was a home game, which means good things for Joe Flacco (12-23-282-2). Also helping the Ravens’ cause was a two-pronged rushing attack paced by Bernard Pierce (13-103), who saw extra playing time after Rice doubled his fumble total for the entire season to date. Indy got impressive individual performances from Reggie Wayne (9-114), Vick Ballard (22-91), and TY Hilton (8-66), but they couldn’t get over the field goal hump and that sealed their fate.
Seahawks 24, Redskins 14 FedEx Field (Landover, MD)
Robert Griffin III (10-19-84-2-1 plus 5-21 rushing) pushed the Redskins out to a quick 14-0 lead, but even before he aggravated his knee injury and was forced to give way to Kirk Cousins (3-10-31) the Seahawks were wresting back control of the game. Marshawn Lynch (20-132-1) and Russell Wilson (8-67 rushing) provided the ground assault and Wilson did just enough through the air (15-26-187-1) to keep the home team at bay.
Extra points: Wilson won the battle of rookie QBs, both on the scoreboard and on the ground as RG3 was clearly bothered by his knee injury even before aggravating it and eventually leaving the game. As has been the case with these teams all year there was no go-to receiver; Pierre Garçon (4-50) was the only pass-catcher on either team to reach the 50-yard plateau.