The Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer after this loss against the Patriots. He led the Chargers to a 14-2 regular season before they faced the Patriots in the Divisional Round. San Diego justifiably held the favorites tag against the 10-6 Pats. They had a better record and a stronger roster on paper (via Bleacher Report).
However, New England had a lot of postseason experience and three recent Super Bowl wins. Tom Brady didn’t play well either with three interceptions. But San Diego threw the game away after retrieving the ball. A shocking play cost their head coach his job after Marlon McCree lost the ball.
Sometimes during this playoff game, it felt like the Seahawks still carried the trauma of 2015. According to The Ringer, NFL teams ran the ball less than ever in 2018. They increasingly depended on their quarterback’s arm to work some magic. NFL scouts hunted for elite rookie quarterbacks like blood diamonds.
However, Seattle took the opposite approach as they barely used Russell Wilson against the Cowboys. Pete Carroll deserved criticism for conservative play-calling after this game. Wilson was having a good time but he couldn’t stop them from becoming a one-and-done team.
This was a shocking game for many reasons because there were some wild outcomes. First, the Chiefs broke their 22-year streak without a playoff win and delighted their long-suffering fanbase. But they shocked the NFL because they destroyed the Texans in a way nobody expected (via ABC 13).
It’s important to remember that the Texans came into this game on a hot streak. But Brian Hoyer chose the worst possible time to have a garbage game. Houston fans booed him off the field and ended his association with the franchise. In the end, they suffered a 30-0 shutout loss.
The Packers must be one of the most underachieving franchises in postseason history. They are perennial contenders but they fall short more often than not. This time the 10-6 Packers lost against the 8-8 Vikings. Minnesota became the second team to win a postseason game with this record.
There was no excuse for Green Bay because they were one of the strongest teams in the competition. At least that’s what everybody thought on paper but the reality proved different. Brett Favre had a meltdown and threw four interceptions (via MPR).
The Giants led 38-14 late in the third quarter of this Wild Card game against San Francisco. Somehow they managed to throw it away. Trey Junkin admits that he still has nightmares about his infamous bad snap. Matt Bryant’s missed field goal attempt was another key moment in this defeat.
It’s amazing how teams can capitulate after one bad moment. They lose their momentum and suddenly the floodgates open. NFL fans saw that with the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. This was a smaller scale but it captures the reality of the on-field drama (via NBC Sports).
The Bills Mafia is one of the most passionate NFL fanbases out there. However, they endured an 18-year playoff drought that caused them a lot of pain. Their fans hyped the Bills up when they finally made the Wild Card round against the Jaguars (via Denver Post).
Unfortunately, this was the highlight of their season because all of the euphorias disappeared. This was a bad game of football but Jacksonville got the job done. Blake Bortles rushed for more yards than he threw passing yards in an unlikely victory. Buffalo failed to succeed on a special day for the franchise.
Nobody would say that the Bears were Super Bowl contenders in 2020. But it was a lot of fun for neutrals to watch their rise and fall. They began the season with a hot 5-1 streak with Mitchell Trubisky as their quarterback. It appeared that they found the answer to their problem position.
But then they lost six in a row before bouncing back to make the playoffs. The dumbest aspect of this was that they had a great opportunity to win this game against the Saints. However, they became a one-and-done team after Javon Wims missed a brilliant Trubisky pass (via Chicago Bears).
Tom Brady and postseason success go together hand-in-hand. But the iconic quarterback had one of the worst playoff games of his career against the Ravens in the Wild Card round. They defeated them during the regular season but this meant nothing (via Baltimore Ravens).
New England went unbeaten at home all season before this game. But Baltimore shattered this record by storming to a 20-0 lead. Ironically, Joe Flacco didn’t play well either but their defense was brilliant. Brady threw three interceptions and cost his team dearly.
Nobody gave the Cardinals much of a shot in the 2008 playoffs after they won the wretched NFC West. Meanwhile, the Panthers were in good shape as the second-ranked team in the postseason. Jake Delhomme was unspectacular but safe.
Unfortunately, he decided to change the course of his career in this game. He threw a ridiculous five interceptions as he fell apart in the clutch. Nobody predicted that he would play so badly but he had one of the worst games in postseason history (via Bleacher Report).
This was one of the strongest Kansas City rosters of the nineties that somehow went one-and-done in the playoffs. They stormed to a 13-3 regular season as they won the AFC West. Most people expected them to cruise to victory over the Broncos in the divisional round (via SBNation).
But Denver’s defense refused to back down and this rocked the Chiefs. Kansas City had a quarterback controversy while Terrell Davis covered himself in vaseline. This had everything but in the end, the Chiefs lost this game at Arrowhead Stadium in ridiculous circumstances.
The Jets crept into the playoffs in 2009 with a 9-7 record. They became an afterthought in most people’s minds as they talked about the potential contenders. But the Chargers were on the other side of the spectrum. The No. 2 seeds went 13-3 in the regular season and excited everybody.
Unfortunately, San Diego threw it away in this Divisional Round game as the Jets pulled off a comeback. Philip Rivers delivered an inconsistent display as he threw a couple of interceptions. Furthermore, their lack of discipline cost them dearly because they committed too many penalties (via Reuters).
The Titans came into this Divisional Round game with vengeance in their hearts. They played the Baltimore Ravens and wanted to right the wrongs of the past. However, fairytales rarely play out in the NFL and this proved to be the case. Tennessee had a stronger team but they couldn’t win the game.
This was remarkably similar to their earlier meeting as the Titans dominated. Once again they didn’t put enough points on the board and the Ravens snatched a win. The 13-3 Titans fell foul of 12 penalties and this hit them hard (via Sports Illustrated). In the end, Baltimore’s productivity proved to be the difference.
Marty Schottenheimer was excellent at bringing teams to the playoffs. But everything changed when they stepped onto the field in the postseason. His record there left a lot to be desired and this was another one-and-done defeat with the Chiefs. Their fans experienced a lot of suffering over the years but this hurt a lot.
Steve Bono had a Pro Bowl year but nobody would have guessed from this performance. The head coach benched him in favor of Rich Gannon after he had a meltdown. Bono’s interceptions and failed completions handed Indy the win (via The Score). It was a wasted opportunity for the Chiefs because they should have gone on a deep run.
Everyone thought that this was Peyton Manning’s year after a glorious season. They went on a 13-game winning streak before easing off the gas ahead of the playoffs. A Super Bowl victory appeared to be inevitable but the Steelers burst the Indy bubble (via 247 Sports).
This Pittsburgh team was much better than their seeding suggested. They narrowly lost out on an AFC North title and had a brutal defense. Manning discovered this the hard way after they sacked him five times. Finally, Mike Vanderjagt missed the all-important kick to seal a Steelers’ win.
It’s almost a guarantee that the number one seed wins their opening postseason game. We say ‘almost’ because the Cowboys became the first-ranked team in 20 years to lose in the opening round. Shockingly, the 10-6 New York Giants stole a victory (via Bleacher Report).
This was crazy because the Cowboys were better in every aspect of the game. But they kept giving away penalties and the Giants made these count. Amazingly, the Cowboys crushed the Giants twice during the regular season. ‘Big Blue’ got its revenge in the New Year.