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Ryan McDowell

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Round 1 Playoffs Review

Monday, January 7, 2019


The opening week of the 2018 NFL playoffs did not disappoint, providing fans and fantasy players with three one-score games coming down to the final minute. Here’s a recap of the weekend’s games, along with other news from off the field.

 

 

Indianapolis- 21

Houston- 7

 

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was referred to as a “clown” by Texans defenders and he entered the stadium wearing a clown mask. Hilton and his Colts teammates got the last laugh though as they raced out to a 21-0 halftime lead before cruising to a relatively easy win over the home team Texans.

 

Both teams got off to poor starts on the season before turning things around, though the Texans could not flip the switch in this game. Colts QB Andrew Luck threw first-half touchdowns to TE Eric Ebron (3/26/1) and WR Dontrelle Inman (4/53/1) sandwiching a short rushing score by RB Marlon Mack, who rushed for 148 yards on 24 carries. Hilton led the team with 85 yards on five receptions. 

 

The Texans had rookie WR Keke Coutee and he made a difference, as he has done all year, when healthy. Coutee led the team with 11 receptions for 110 yards, scoring Houston’s only touchdown of the game. The future is bright for the Texans receiving corps, assuming Coutee and speedster Will Fuller can stay on the field. Superstar WR DeAndre Hopkins suffered a shoulder injury that sent him to the locker room just before halftime. Hopkins returned after the break and finished with 37 yards on five receptions, admitted following the game that a sprained AC joint caused him pain throughout the second half. QB Deshaun Watson passed for 235 yards and one touchdown and led the team in rushing with 76 yards. 

 

The Colts are now set to travel to Kansas City to face the top-seeded Chiefs next week. 

 

 

Dallas- 24

Seattle- 22

 

Dallas QB Dak Prescott would not be denied, carrying his team to a victory over the visiting Seahawks in a game greatly impacted by the loss of K Sebastian Janikowski, who suffered an injury at the end of the first half on a long field goal attempt. The two teams battled back and forth all game in a contest that included five lead changes, but Prescott seemingly had an answer for each Seattle score and a two-touchdown fourth quarter made the difference.

 

A huge part of the Dallas win was the shutdown defense, which held the top-ranked Seattle running game to just 73 yards. Starting RB Chris Carson had been among the hottest backs in the league but managed just 20 yards on 13 carries. Rookie RB Rashaad Penny, who has looked like a wasted first-round rookie pick most of the year, led the team with 29 yards on four carries. QB Russell Wilson passed for 233 yards and a score and ran for another touchdown to put a scare in the Cowboys late in the game. Breakout WR Tyler Lockett caught four of six targets for 120 yards, though veteran WR Doug Baldwin struggled with just 32 yards on three catches.

 

The Cowboys trio of Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR Amari Cooper carried the offense to a win. Prescott threw for 226 yards and a touchdown, though it was his rushing, which included a crucial third-down conversion late in the game, that was key. Prescott rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown, while Elliott led the way, gaining 169 total yards and a score. Cooper caught seven balls for 107 yards. Veteran WR Allen Hurns made just one catch on the day, but it was significant. He suffered a gruesome ankle injury and was carted off, though he hung onto the ball to make the 14-yard grab. Hurns required surgery to repair the injury and is obviously done for the remainder of the Cowboys’ playoff run.

 

Dallas will now travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in next week’s Divisional Playoff round.

 

Los Angeles Chargers- 23

Baltimore- 17

 

With their strong defense and a punishing running game, nearly everyone had pegged the Ravens as the dangerous team in the playoffs. The Chargers were rewarded for a 12-win season with a cross-country road trip for an early game. In short, the Chargers and veteran QB Philip Rivers seemingly had no chance in this game. Those factors all made the game the Chargers played even more impressive. Rivers moved the ball all day and the Chargers defense put a stop to the running game of the Ravens, limiting QB Lamar Jackson and RBs Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon to 90 total rushing yards.

 

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Chargers had built a 23-3 lead and fans and analysts were calling for veteran backup QB Joe Flacco to take over for the struggling Jackson. That never happened as Jackson showed he could lead the team to quick scores, passing the ball for a pair of late-game scores, closing the game to a six-point deficit. 

 

After a defensive stand, the Ravens and Jackson had the ball back with a chance to complete the unreal comeback, but the ball was knocked from Jackson’s hand, the Chargers recovered and the gall was all but over. Jackson has fumbled at least once in each of the team’s past nine games. 

 

Jackson finished with 194 passing yards and two touchdowns, both going to veteran WR Michael Crabtree (2/38/2). Jackson also led the team with 54 yards on the ground. Dixon (3/53) and WR Willie Snead (3/50) led the way among Baltimore’s pass catchers.

 

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon missed some time with a knee injury but returned, ultimately scoring the only touchdown of the game for the Chargers. Gordon finished with 40 rushing yards while WR Mike Williams (2/42) and WR Keenan Allen (4/37) paced the team’s receivers. 

 

Next up for the Chargers are the New England Patriots in Foxboro. 

 

 

Philadelphia- 16

Chicago- 15

 

The game of the weekend was also the finale of the four-game first-round slate as the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles traveled to face the Bears and their strong defense. The two teams combined for just three field goals in the first half before finding the end zone after intermission. The Eagles took the lead on a touchdown pass from reigning Super Bowl MVP QB Nick Foles to rookie TE Dallas Goedert but a field goal followed by a touchdown catch by Bears WR Allen Robinson gave the Bears the lead. When the Eagles got the ball back with under five minutes to play and 60 yards from pay dirt, it felt like Foles time, and he didn’t disappoint. Not only did Foles execute a nearly flawless drive, hitting WR Golden Tate (5/46/1) for a two-yard score, Philly also used the majority of the remaining time on the clock, leaving the Bears with less than one minute to answer. 

 

The Bears nearly had some magic of their own. RB Tarik Cohen’s kickoff return put the team in a nice starting position and QB Mitch Trubisky completed a pair of passes to set up a potential game-winning kick with time running out. Bears K Cody Parkey nailed the kick but of course, the Eagles called a timeout to “ice” the kicker. It worked as Parkey missed the official attempt, which hit both the left upright and the crossbar before falling short.

 

Foles passed for 266 yards and two scores, while RB Darren Sproles led the team with only 21 rushing yards. WR Alshon Jeffery led the team with 82 yards on six receptions and TE Zach Ertz added a 5/52 line. 

 

Robinson had the monster game Bears fans and fantasy players have been waiting for all season, catching ten passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Trubisky passed for 303 yards and the score despite getting banged up early in the first half. He was sent to the blue medical tent but quickly returned, not missing an offensive snap. TE Trey Burton, in a potential “revenge game” was inactive after showing up late Saturday night with a groin injury. 

 

The Eagles will now face the top-seeded Saints in New Orleans. 

 

 

Quick Hits

 

The Steelers will reportedly restructure the contract of QB Ben Roethlisberger, opening cap space ... The Buccaneers interviewed former Arizona HC Bruce Arians for their open job and he has been called the “leader” for the job. ... Green Bay interviewed Tampa Bay OC Todd Monken for their head coaching position. ... Chargers TE Hunter Henry was not activated for the team’s opening round playoff win but could be used next week against the Patriots. ... Though he is scheduled to become a free agent, the Eagles have options to retain QB Nick Foles and could exercise those in an effort to trade him…Steelers OL coach Mike Munchak has been called the “early favorite” to be hired as the next head coach of the Broncos. ... There was some buzz last week that the Vikings were close to hiring former Browns HC Hue Jackson but ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that won’t be the case. Exhale, Vikes fans. ... The Broncos are reportedly blocking teams from interviewing Gary Kubiak, who has spent the past two seasons in the Denver front office but is now interested in getting back to the sidelines. ESPN’s Mortensen also suggested there is a “high probability” that the Steelers trade superstar WR Antonio Brown this offseason.



Ryan McDowell is a senior writer for dynastyleaguefootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMc23.
Email :Ryan McDowell



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