NFL Playoffs: Chargers and Eagles advance, Ravens and Bears eliminated

January 7, 2019

By Blake

On day two of the NFL Wild Card Round, the Los Angeles Chargers dominated the Baltimore Ravens, and the Philadelphia Eagles upset the Chicago Bears.

In today’s AFC match, the fourth seed Ravens hosted the fifth seed Chargers. From start to finish the Chargers dominated, playing conservative football – daring the Ravens to make mistakes (and they did).

The Chargers had a renewed philosophy on how to beat the Ravens after their Week 16 loss. When the Chargers lost that game only three weeks ago, they played into the Ravens hands. Philip Rivers was aggressive and made mistakes. Life was easy for the Ravens offence as they allowed their defence to create turnovers and put them in good field position.

Not today, though, as Rivers only took what the Ravens’ defence gave him. That mostly meant settling for field goals, but at half time, the Chargers found themselves up 12-0 without scoring a touchdown.

The first touchdown finally came at the end of the third quarter, and the Chargers switched to cruise control, up 20-3. The Ravens took advantage of that complacency and got to within six points of the lead. Once again, the Chargers defence made a play, forcing a fumble and icing the game – the Chargers escaped with a 23-17 win.

Maybe the Chargers should’ve won by more, but there are plenty of positives to take from this game. The defence recorded seven sacks, two fumbles, and an interception. The offence played conservatively, but did enough to win the game. This win showed that the Chargers may be the most well-rounded, versatile team in football. Boasting multiple identities for any given game, opponents will struggle to game plan for such an unpredictable team.

In today’s NFC match, the third seed Chicago Bears fell, at home, to the defending champion, sixth seed Eagles.

Nick Foles is starting to seem unbeatable. He has some sort of effect on the Eagles team, where victory seems foretold. That’s a powerful psychological advantage in the playoffs.

He didn’t play a perfect game, but made the plays in the fourth quarter when it mattered. So did his opposing quarterback though. Mitch Trubisky was asked to drive his team into field goal range with less than a minute remaining on the clock. With some help from a Tarik Cohen kickoff return, he did just that.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Cody Parkey hooked his 43-yard field goal, hitting the upright, then the crossbar and bouncing out. Heartbreaking for the passionate Chicago fanbase, who must’ve felt that they could make serious noise in the Divisional Round next week.

So, in the NFC bracket, the Eagles will face the first seed New Orleans Saints next week, and the Cowboys will face the second seed Los Angeles Rams. In the AFC, the Colts face the Chiefs, and the second seed Patriots face the Chargers.

*Preview article for these games will be released this week.


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