Super Wild Card Weekend finished up with a pair of NFC wild card games as the Los Angeles Rams (surprise, surprise) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers advanced to the NFC Divisional playoffs next weekend.
RAMS 30, SEAHAWKS 20:
The Rams served up Saturday’s biggest surprise with a 30-20 victory over the Seahawks. Los Angeles won despite losing starting quarterback John Wolford, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and wide receiver Cooper Kupp due to injury.
A low scoring first half turned when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fired a pick-six to Rams cornerback Darious Williams. The interception return for a touchdown gave the Rams a 13-3 lead.
Seattle scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive but seemed to never fully recover from Wilson’s interception. The Rams, who entered the game with the NFL’s number one defense, forced Wilson into a terrible performance. The once-upon-a-time MVP candidate finished 11 of 27 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and a costly interception.
His counterpart ended up being Jared Goff, who battled through a thumb injury. Goff went a pedestrian 9 of 19 for 155 yards and a touchdown. The star of the show ended up being Rams rookie running back Cam Akers, who rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams will play either Green Bay or Tampa pending Sunday’s wild card results.
BUCCANEERS 31, WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM 23:
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers staved off Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke to win 31-23. Heinicke received the last minute call to start for Washington when starter Alex Smith was suddenly deactivated with a nagging calf injury.
Heinicke gave Washington a boost with 306 yards and a passing and rushing touchdown. However, when it mattered most, Tampa’s defense did just enough to slow the Washington Football Team.
Tampa’s Tom Brady led the charge once again by throwing for 381 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans played despite a knee injury to make six receptions for 119 yards. Elsewhere, Leonard Fournette stepped in for an injured Ronald Jones II to rush for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Brady picked up his 31st playoff win, which is tops in NFL history and well ahead of the closest competitor – Joe Montana, who has 16 postseason victories.
Washington rookie defensive end Chase Young said he wanted Brady before Saturday’s game but didn’t provide much resistance. Young recorded three tackles but did not record a sack and had a limited impact on the contest.
The Bucs will play at New Orleans or at home against Los Angeles during the divisional round next weekend.