The first day of the NFL Playoffs is in the books. The Tennessee Titans and the Atlanta Falcons are moving on to the Divisional Round after scoring road victories.
The Titans defeated the Chiefs in Kansas City 22-21, registering what ESPN noted was the biggest road Playoff comeback in the Super Bowl era. Kansas City led 21-3 at halftime.
The first game of the postseason was a very choppy affair. Despite the close score and the big comeback, it is difficult for me to call it a classic. The game was full of unforced errors on both sides from drops to careless penalties.
Much will likely be made of the odd playcalling the Chiefs had. Despite leading for most of the game and having the league’s leading rusher, Kansas City only gave Kareem Hunt 5 carries over the final 3 quarters and 11 in the game.
The game also had its share of controversy as Marcus Mariota was bailed out on a couple of strip sacks as officials ruled the play was dead because his forward progress was stopped. The first helped the Titans complete their first scoring drive. The second came on a two point conversion after the Titans scored to go ahead 22-21. The call wiped out a fumble return to the end that would have counted for 2 points and given the Chiefs the lead back.
This is the second time in Andy Reid’s 5 years with the Chiefs that Kansas City has lost a Playoff game they led by at least 18 points.
In the nightcap, the expected track meet never developed. The defending NFC Champion Falcons held the dynamic Rams offense largely in check as Los Angeles scored only 13 points. Matt Bryant added four field goals, and the Rams were victimized by a pair of special teams turnovers.
Wild Card Round
AFC byes: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers
NFC byes: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings
Saturday, Jan. 6
GAME 1: Tennessee Titans 22 Kansas City Chiefs 21
GAME 2: Atlanta Falcons 26 Los Angeles Rams 13
Sunday, Jan. 7
GAME 3: Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:05 p.m., CBS
GAME 4: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints, 4:40 p.m., FOX
Saturday, Jan. 13
GAME 5: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles, 4:35 p.m., NBC
GAME 6: Tennessee Titans or Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m., CBS
Sunday, Jan. 14
GAME 7: Tennessee Titans or Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:05 p.m., CBS
GAME 8: Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings, 4:40 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Jan. 21
AFC Championship: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 3:05 p.m., CBS
NFC Championship: Game 5 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 6:40 p.m., FOX
Super Bowl 52
Sunday, Feb. 4
AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion, 6:30 p.m., NBC
All times are Eastern.