NFL: 49ers and Ravens Advance to Conference Finals

The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs began on Saturday with too exciting matchups. First, the Baltimore Ravens took on the Houston Texans, followed by the San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers. Both games provided a variety of interesting storylines and action which made for a great day of football.

Baltimore Ravens Beat Houston Texans, 34-10

The No. 1 seed Ravens trumped the No. 4 Texans, 34-10, in the AFC divisional round after a first week bye. Star QB Lamar Jackson  finished with four total touchdowns including two rushing and two passing. In total, the 2019 MVP went 16/22 for 152 yards through the air and rushed 11 times for 100 yards. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to have three 100-yard rushing performances in the postseason. 

The Texans started the game well, ending the first half with the score tied at 10-10. Jackson only had 52 passing yards in the first half as the Ravens ended up going three-and-out on three consecutive possessions. Steven Sims returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown which kept the game even.

Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud (7) in action during the AFC divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens

The second half however was all Baltimore, as they went on to score 24 unanswered points and shut out Houston. Rookie QB CJ Shroud was pressured consistently, as he went 19 for 33 and 195 yards in a subpar game.

Baltimore will host the winner of the Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills next Sunday in the AFC title game. This is now the furthest Baltimore has gone into the playoffs with Jackson as its quarterback.

Regardless to which team they play for the divisional title, Baltimore will likely be favorites. Jackson has started to find his groove in the passing game and showed that he still has the ability to be a threat with his legs. If the defense continues to play how they have in the past 10 games, Baltimore should be front-runners to win it all.

San Francisco Comeback Against Packers, 24-21

In the second game of the night the San Francisco 49ers were able to make a late comeback against the Packers to win, 24-21. This is the third straight time the 49ers have qualified for the  NFC Championship game. The 49ers have won their last five playoff meetings against the Packers and maintain a perfect 5-0 postseason record at Levi’s Stadium.

The weather played a large role in the game flow, with both teams failing to find consistency on offense all night. Both quarterbacks had below average nights; Brock Purdy throwing for 252 yards and a touchdown and Jordan Love 194 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

RB Christian McCaffrey rushed for two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 1:07 left. McCafferey had a total of 98 rushing yards on 17 carries, which included 2 touchdowns. 

It all came down to the last drive of the night for the Packers. Clutching to a 24–21 lead, the 49ers desperately needed to keep the Packers out of the endzone. Green Bay still had all three timeouts while on defense, and had over a minute to play when the offense began.

After picking up a first down to the 36-yard line with 52 seconds left, Love threw back across his body to the middle of the field. Unfortunately for Green Bay, he missed his intended receiver, Christian Watson and the pass was intercepted by San Francisco’s Dre Greenlaw.

The interception sealed the win for the 49ers who were able to run the clock out from there. San Francisco will now await the winner of the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday.

Based on their incredible home record, the 49ers are sure to be favourites regardless of opponents. The Lions have been looking good as of late but will need to be on top of their game to get past Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Either way, expect an exciting game next Sunday.Β