Sunday, Jan. 7
Buffalo at Jacksonville, 1:05 p.m. EST. The Bills (9-7) are making their first playoff appearance since 1999, ending a 17-year absence that was the longest for any team in the four major North American sports leagues. The Jaguars (10-6) are in the postseason for the first time since the 2007 season, and won their first division title since 1999. They’re coached by Doug Marrone, who was Buffalo’s head coach from 2013-14.
Carolina at New Orleans, 4:40 p.m. EST. Two familiar foes cap wild-card weekend as Cam Newton’s Panthers (11-5) take on Drew Brees’ Saints (11-5) for the third time this season. New Orleans won the previous two meetings, with the victories bookending an 8-1 stretch for the Saints en route to the NFC South title. The Panthers will have tight end Greg Olsen, who missed the earlier matchups because of a foot injury.
— Marcus Mariota, Titans, led three second-half touchdown drives, incredibly throwing one of his TD passes to himself, and the Titans rallied from a 21-3 deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 for their first playoff win in 14 years.
— Matt Ryan, Falcons, went 21 of 30 for 218 yards and a TD to lead Atlanta past the Los Angeles Rams 26-13.
— Derrick Henry, Titans, had a career-high 156 yards rushing and scored a 35-yard touchdown run.
— Devonta Freeman, Falcons, ran for 66 yards and a TD on 18 carries.
— Julio Jones, Falcons, had nine catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.
— Tyreek Hill, Chiefs, caught seven passes for a game-high 87 yards.
— Robert Woods, Rams, had 142 yards on nine receptions.
— Delanie Walker, Titans, had six receptions for 74 yards.
— Matt Bryant, Falcons, booted four field goals — from 29, 51, 25 and 54 yards.
— Ryan Succop, Titans, kicked a 49-yard field goal.
— Brian Orakpo, Titans, had 1 1/2 sacks.
— Deion Jones, Falcons had 10 overall tackles and a pass-defensed.
STREAKS & STATS
With a 22-21 loss to Tennessee, the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t won a home playoff game since January 1994. … Atlanta’s 26-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams gave the Falcons playoff victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. … Atlanta won a road playoff game for the first time in 5,481 days. The Falcons’ last postseason road victory came in the 2002 playoffs, when Michael Vick’s Falcons defeated Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers. … Tennessee won a playoff game for the first time in 5,117 days, beating Kansas City 22-21. The Titans’ last playoff win came on Jan. 3, 2004, when Tennessee topped Baltimore.
Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp became the first Rams rookie to catch a touchdown pass in the playoffs since Torry Holt in the 2000 Super Bowl. … Derrick Henry became the third player in Titans history to have 100 or more yards rushing in a playoff game, joining Eddie George (twice) and Earl Campbell. … Alex Smith’s two TD passes against Tennessee put him past Len Dawson (seven) for the most in Chiefs playoff history with nine.
Tennessee became the third road team to rally from at least 18 points down to win a playoff game in NFL history. The Titans trailed Kansas City 21-3 at halftime before storming back in the second half to win 22-21. Dallas came back from 21-3 in the first half to beat San Francisco 30-28 in December 1972, and Detroit came back from 27-7 in the second half to beat San Francisco in December 1957.
FROM ME TO … ME
Marcus Mariota capped a 91-yard TD drive to start the second half of Tennessee’s 22-21 win at Kansas City in bizarre fashion: He threw a TD pass to himself. His throw to the end zone was batted right back at him by Darrelle Revis, and Mariota hauled it in and dived for the goal line. It was the first time a player has thrown a TD pass to himself in the playoffs, and the first time in any game since the Vikings’ Brad Johnson during the 1997 season.
Atlanta’s 26-13 victory ruined a celebratory night for the Los Angeles Rams, who rebounded from a rough homecoming season in 2016 with an outstanding debut year under 31-year-old Sean McVay, the youngest head coach to reach the playoffs in NFL history. A raucous crowd of 74,300 packed the Coliseum on a crisp evening for the first NFL playoff game in the nation’s second-largest city since early 1994. Los Angeles went 21 years without pro football before the Rams returned last season, and the franchise emphatically ended a 13-year streak of non-winning seasons this fall with an inspiring run to the Rams’ first division title since 2003.
Pharoh Cooper is headed to the Pro Bowl after his outstanding regular season as a kick returner, but the second-year pro’s misadventures in his playoff debut cost the Los Angeles Rams dearly. He muffed a punt that bounced off teammate Blake Countess in the first quarter, and Matt Bryant subsequently hit the Falcons’ first field goal. After Bryant’s second field goal later in the quarter, Cooper got stripped by Damontae Kazee during a kickoff return at the Rams 32, and the Falcons drove for a TD.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce sustained a concussion on a wicked blow from Titans safety Johnathan Cyprien late in the first half of Kansas City’s 22-21 loss. Kelce, who had four catches for 66 yards, lay stunned on the turf for a moment before wobbling to his feet. Trainers quickly took him to the locker room and he did not return. …
“I’m in shock. The swing at halftime to the final whistle, definitely a shock. Yeah. Didn’t feel like we played up to how we’re capable of playing and that’s disappointing.” — Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith after the Chiefs blew an 18-point halftime lead and lost 22-21 to Tennessee.
“We knew it was going to take all four quarters, all my guys were ready to fight till the end and it was great.” — Atlanta linebacker Deion Jones after the Falcons topped the Los Angeles Rams 26-13.