PHILADELPHIA – As the number one-seeded playoff teams have struggled in recent years, the second round of the postseason has been kinder to them this year.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles won on Saturday, ending a four-game losing streak for the top seeds dating back to the 2020 playoffs. Philadelphia’s previously beaten players look rejuvenated and should gear up for a pending visit from the San Francisco 49ers, who sent the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday on a 12-game winning streak.
QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury is clearly looming as a setback for the Chiefs, with Cincey eliminating the Buffalo Bills. Recuperating at his home, avoiding the harbinger of extra flights and doing nothing as Mahomes desperately tries to be healthy enough to play.
Otherwise? Let’s hope the NFL gives us a better script for next week after a more or less failed quarterfinal round of Super Bowl 57.
Saturday’s winners and losers: Giants pass Jaguars to advance to first seed
Nate Davis: Better health, Eagles send message to rest of NFL in Giants demolition
32 things we learned from the divisional playoff rounds of the 2022 NFL season:
1. Number of NFL postseason games staged at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium used by the Falcons in 2017.
1a. That game was Super Bowl 53, where the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. I’m sorry, ATL.
1b. That number will remain unchanged even after the Bengals rule out moving the AFC title round. This is a contingency created by the league after Buffalo lost its way to the top seed in the conference due to the Dumar Hamlin situation.
1c. The NFL announced Friday that more than 50,000 tickets had been purchased in less than a day when the Bills Chiefs’ playoff redux was viable. Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow advised the league “better send a refund” after Sunday’s win in western New York.
2. The Bengals and Chiefs have qualified for the Super Bowl for years in a row. Last season, Cincinnati had one of his worst postseason outs for Mahomes as he went 27-24 in overtime.
3. The number of times the Bengals have beaten Mahomes in the three games Burrow has against him as Cincinnati’s QB1. Next Sunday will be his fourth meeting with the team in the last 13 months.
Four. The Bengals are the only team in the NFL Final Four not to win a Super Bowl.
Five. The number of times the Bills fell short of the Super Bowl in five playoffs in the six seasons head coach Sean McDermott spent with the team. Given the value of social media, many members of the ‘Bills Mafia’ came out on Sunday, wondering if McDermott was going to be too conservative in the postseason and if Buffalo would take the next step with him. I openly wondered if I could step in. McDermott’s playoff record is now 4-5.
6. The Eagles are seeking their second Super Bowl title in six seasons. His 38-7 victory on Saturday marked his fifth anniversary since his 38-7 win over Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFC Championship Game.
7. The Giants fell 6-9 in the divisional round. This is the only playoff tier below .500 in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
8. The number of penalties Buffalo took on Sunday (60 yards) is another area the Bills fell short on a day completely dominated by Cincinnati.
8a. Also, the number of times the Bills’ Josh Allen ran the ball on Sunday was mostly the team, and continues to show that the team seems to rely too much on its quarterback.
9. The 49ers and Cowboys have played almost as many times in the postseason (Packers – 49ers, Rams – Cowboys). San Francisco improved to 4-5 against Dallas in the playoffs.
9a. Overall, the team is consistently 19-19-1 in 39 meetings.
9b. The Niners’ 36th postseason win is second all-time, along with the Dallas, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Only the Patriots have more than his 37.
Ten. The 49ers’ Brock Purdy is the most recent rookie quarterback to start in the divisional round since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. The last time he did that was Dak Prescott of Dallas six years ago.
11. At 29, Prescott was the oldest quarterback to advance to the divisional round this year. It was only the second time (the other was in 2004) that a younger, 30-plus QB1 did not fall short of center.
11a. But kudos to 37-year-old Kansas City QB2 Chad Henn were instrumental in the team’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars – who led a Chiefs playoff-record 98-yard drive capped by a TD pass to Kels. Mahomes ankle injury to be medically evaluated in Q2.
12. The number of times Mahomes and Chiefs TE Travis Kelce connected to a TD in the playoffs. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the only teammates he has over 15.
13. Next Sunday will be Mahomes’ 13th playoff start. Mahomes has vowed to play through the ankle sprain he suffered on Saturday. Also, in Kansas City’s Arrowhead he’s 8-2 in the stadium and he’s 11th.
14. Barrow are 3-0 at the start of the road playoffs and hope to improve to 2-0 at Arrowhead.
15. Number of playoff games played at Highmark Stadium in Buffalo. Sunday was the second time the Bills lost and the first in over 26 years.
16. Number of times a team won 3-0 against a single opponent in a single season after a merger. The Eagles had the most recent win (against the Giants).
17. Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence’s 37-game winning streak on Saturday spanned the previous two weekends at Cartersville, Georgia High School in Clemson and Duvall County, and ended yesterday in Kansas City.
18. By the end of Sunday’s game, the Bills were down to fifth- and sixth-string safety. Hamlin replaced the injured Micah Hyde in September. Jordan Poyer and Dean Marlowe injured against Bengals.
19. The Giants and Jaguars made seven consecutive divisional rounds featuring at least two teams that missed the playoffs the previous season.
20. Purdy, one win since becoming the first rookie quarterback to start a Super Bowl, will be the fifth to start a championship game since the merger.
twenty one. Dallas K. Brett Maher’s five missed extra points (in four playoff games and 11 attempts) are the second most in postseason history.
21a. Roy Gerrera has missed 6 of 43 attempts in 15 games with the Houston Oilers and Steel Curtain Steelers.
twenty two. San Francisco’s Robbie Gould has scored all 67 kicks in the career playoffs, perfecting 38 extra point attempts and 29 field goals.
twenty three. Purdy’s age.
twenty four. Age of Eagles QB Jalen Hurts.
twenty five. The NFC Championship Game has the youngest combined age of two starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era.
26. The 49ers and Eagles have met only once in the postseason, with San Francisco winning 14–0 in a wild card match in 1996.
26a. However, Purdy and Hearts have held off Purdy’s Iowa State Cyclones 42-41 in 2019, and Hearts’ Oklahoma Sooners have locked corners in 2019.
26b. Hertz is one of nine OU alumni who could be active next weekend.
27. Number of consecutive seasons Dallas failed to reach the NFC title game.
28. Last year, the road team went 3-1 in the division rounds. This year, the home team beat him 3-1.
29. Hearts and Giants counterpart Daniel Jones was the first opposing quarterback in playoff history to rush for at least 600 yards in the regular season – and in fact both have surpassed 700 yards.
30. Allen and Barrow combined for 57 rushing yards on Sunday.
31. Dallas’ Dalton Schultz made multiple TD catches in a playoff game during the Wild Card round, becoming the first tight end in team history, but did so on another Sunday. His three TD grabs in one postseason tied a team record.
32. Other Sunday night primetime network options (opposite FOX’s Cowboys-49ers) included ABC’s “Iron Man” and CBS’ “Top Gun.” Fascinating – especially ‘Top Gun’ – given the relatively low entertainment value of the split rounds.
32a. Because the NFL can’t afford “Top Gun,” even in all its 36-year-old glory. Younger than Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but better than the latest Top Gun iteration. (Luckily for the league, you have to pay for cable or streaming to see Top Gun: Maverick.
Follow Nate Davis of USA TODAY Sports on Twitter @By Nate Davis.
This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: NFL Scores, More Division Round Playoffs: Guard Changes at QB