The NFL’s wild weekend of wild-card games

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The NFL’s wild weekend of wild-card games

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 demonstrated that even in this age of explosive offenses Jay Ajayi Jersey , defense still dominates in the playoffs and it often comes down to a toe, a few fingers or even a 40-year-old hamstring.Kicker Sebastian Janikowski’s season — and maybe career — ended when he popped his left hamstring on an errant 57-yard field goal try just before halftime of Seattle’s 24-22 loss to Dallas on Saturday night.Without a backup plan, the Seahawks had to go for it on fourth down in field-goal range and had to go for 2 points after a touchdown rather than try to kick it through the uprights. And when they pulled within a field goal with 1:18 left, they were toast without a Plan B for an onside kick.Punter Michael Dickson’s drop-kick went way too far and Dallas receiver Cole Beasley made what might be the easiest catch ever to seal a playoff win.The onside kick nearly disappeared in 2018 after the league’s competition committee last offseason outlawed teams from stacking one side or getting a running start. The rules were designed to cut down on concussions but drastically reduced the onside kick as an option.Only four of 54 attempts were successful during the regular season, an 8 percent success rate that pales in comparison to the 23 percent conversion rate in 2017, when 13 of 55 onside kicks were recovered by the kicking team.Coach Pete Carroll figured Janikowski simply hurt himself trying to kick the ball as hard as he could.And Seabass might have kicked his final game in the NFL. The 40-year-old isn’t under contract for next season and also got hurt last month.On Sunday, Chicago’s dominant defense that led the league by yielding just 17.7 points a game held the Philadelphia Eagles to 16 points but lost by a point when Bears kicker Cody Parkey, who made 76.7 percent of his kicks in the regular season, double-doinked a 43-yard attempt in the final seconds off the left upright and the crossbar.He said after the game he thought he hit it well and was at a loss to explain the miss.Turns out, Philadelphia defensive lineman Treyvon Hester tipped the ball.After reviewing the play and seeing Hester’s left hand hit the ball, the NFL officially ruled it a blocked field goal on Monday.That provides some explanation but little consolation for Parkey and Bears fans, who booed Parkey as he ran off the field after kneeling with teammates and opponents for a postgame prayer.He was at his locker as soon as reporters entered and accepted responsibility for the loss that abruptly ended the Bears’ first playoff appearance in eight years.“There’s really no answer to it,” Parkey said. “I thought I hit a good ball. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. I feel terrible, 100 percent take that loss on me. It is what it is. Sun is going to shine tomorrow. Life is going to go on. Unfortunately, it’s going to sting for a while.”Eagles kicker Jake Elliott was one of several players who stood up for Parkey on social media.“This is a standup guy that a lot of young players can look up to,” Elliott wrote on Twitter . “This is how you handle adversity like a pro. Cody is a heck of a kicker and will be for a long time. No reason to be taking the heat he is especially when that ball was tipped. #ClassAct”Eagles coach Doug Pederson on Monday praised Hester, who began the season on the practice squad http://www.eagleslockerroom.com/authentic-jason-kelce-jersey , for having “a big hand in the game.”Other takeaways from the first week of the playoffs:— The Chargers flummoxed the Ravens by lining up with seven defensive backs on all but one snap in their 23-17 win in Baltimore. Rookie All-Pro safety Derwin James set the tone when he dropped Lamar Jackson for a 1-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage. The alignment bottled up Jackson, who had run for nearly 700 yards in his seven starts and finished with just 54 yards. More importantly, the Chargers made sure Jackson couldn’t bring back the Ravens with his right arm after they fell behind 23-3 midway through the fourth quarter.— The league might have some tweaking to do to the catch rule. Or, rather, recovery rule. Just before halftime of the Eagles-Bears game, Mitchell Trubisky hit wide receiver Anthony Miller with a pass. Miller took a few steps before Philadelphia defensive back Cre’Von LeBlanc knocked it loose. Neither team’s players went for the ball near the goal line, and an official picked it up .The play was ruled an incomplete pass although replays showed Miller securing and then losing possession, making it a completion followed by a fumble. But because it didn’t go out of bounds and neither team secured it, the rule states it has to be an incomplete pass , as Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, explained on Twitter.— ESPN apologized for playing “Dixie” during the Colts-Texans game, when the song was added to a lighthearted look at Andrew Luck’s Twitter alter ego, Captain Andrew Luck. ESPN had produced a graphic that depicted Luck as a Union general being protected by both Union and Confederate soldiers. It was based on a parody account that pretends Luck is a Civil War officer writing letters to his mother. LONDON (AP) — After watching a fourth-quarter lead slip away twice this season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz didn’t want to see it happen again.Thanks to his defense, it didn’t.The Eagles held onto a 24-18 victory at Wembley Stadium on Sunday after the Jacksonville Jaguars were twice held to a field goal in the fourth quarter, and failed to convert on fourth down with 3:41 remaining.“We finished it,” said Wentz Womens Chance Warmack Jersey , who threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, all to different players. “At the end of the day, we finished it. We still didn’t finish the way we wanted offensively. We had a chance to seal the deal but went three-and-out, and the defense stepped up. So I think at the end of the day, we finished well this week.”Philadelphia (4-4) surrendered a 17-point lead in the final quarter of a loss to the Carolina Panthers a week earlier, and lost in overtime to the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 30 despite holding a seven-point advantage.Although the Eagles failed to pick up a first down when they got the ball back with 6:52 remaining — and rookie running back Josh Adams nearly fumbled on the first play, if not for the call being overturned on replay review — they otherwise converted 7 of 12 third-down opportunities.Jacksonville entered the fourth quarter down 17-12 after a failed 2-point conversion, and a pair of field goals by Josh Lambo kept them within six points even after the Eagles extended the lead on a 5-yard touchdown reception by tight end Zach Ertz.Blake Bortles, restored as the starter despite being pulled in a loss to the Houston Texans a week earlier, ran for 4 yards on fourth down with 4:26 left to prolong what would be the Jaguars’ final drive. But he could not connect with Donte Moncrief on fourth-and-2 four plays later to seal the fate for Jacksonville (3-5).“They were on a roll,” said Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. “They were getting on third down. We were having a tough time containing the quarterback … and obviously, we couldn’t contain the run.”The Eagles finished with 395 total yards, their third-highest total this season, against the Jaguars, who entered the game with the league’s second-ranked defense. Philly gained 133 rushing.Jacksonville claimed a 6-3 lead on two field goals by Lambo, including a career-long 57-yard attempt, but saw that disappear by halftime when rookie tight end Dallas Goedert had a 32-yard touchdown reception at the end of the second quarter.A 95-yard drive at the start of the third quarter ended with the Eagles taking a 17-6 lead after running back Wendell Smallwood took a screen pass 32 yards into the end zone, but the Jaguars marched 75 yards over nine plays and found the end zone when Bortles connected with Dede Westbrook under the uprights to trim their deficit to 17-12.That set the stage for the comeback Nick Foles Jersey , but the Jaguars’ inability to get past the goal line despite two trips into the red zone ended their hopes of a fourth consecutive win at Wembley.NO BLAME FOR BORTLESMarrone said that Bortles was not the reason for the Jaguars’ inability to win. Bortles, who went 24 for 41 with 286 yards and a touchdown, led the team in rushing with 43 yards on eight attempts.“He gave us a chance,” Marrone said. “He went out there and gave us a chance. He ran the ball well (and made) quick decisions. I don’t think we have a problem. I don’t think he’s the player that cost us the game. He played well overall. A total team effort.”LAST IN LONDONThe game, played before a record, pro-Eagles crowd of 85,870 fans, was the last of three played at Wembley this season. The Jaguars, who have played at the venue since 2013, have a contract to hold one game there annually through the 2020 season.INJURIESPhiladelphia: RT Lane Johnson injured his left knee on the Eagles’ opening drive and did not return. LT Jason Peters was evaluated for a concussion late in the second quarter but returned after halftime. OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill left in the first half after an unspecified injury but was able to return, and CB Jalen Mills (foot) was injured a minute into the third quarter and missed the rest of the game.Jacksonville: FS Barry Church was evaluated for a concussion midway through the fourth quarter, but scans were negative. CB Quenton Meeks (knee), starting for the injured A.J. Bouye, left in the fourth quarter. LB Telvin Smith (shoulder) and CB Ronnie Harrison (knee) left the game in the second quarter but returned.UP NEXTPhiladelphia: Host the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11 after a bye week.Jacksonville: Face the Indianapolis Colts on the road on Nov. 11, also after a bye.