After a Wild Card Round that featured a bunch of snoozefests, the NFL's divisional round featured fireworks galore.
Saturday's games were high-scoring affairs.
The Baltimore Ravens needed two overtime periods to defeat the Denver Broncos, winning by a score of 38-35. Peyton Manning threw a crucial interception that cost his team the game
Then, the San Francisco 49ers took the Green Bay Packers behind the woodshed for a beating they won't soon forget, winning by a score of 45-31. The score doesn't really indicate what kind of one-sided affair it was, as Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense dominated the game.
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks took the Atlanta Falcons to the brink with an explosive second half, but in the end Matt Ryan finally got his first playoff win, 30-28.
In the final game of the divisional round of the playoffs, the New England Patriots demolished the Houston Texans with a huge second-half surge, winning by a score of 41-28.
Here are the biggest highlights from this weekend's action.
Ravens vs. Broncos
Jacoby Jones Goes Vertical
After a back-and-forth contest that featured two special-teams touchdowns by Denver's Trindon Holliday, two touchdown receptions by Baltimore's Torrey Smith over Champ Bailey and a host of other big plays, the Broncos looked to have the victory in hand.
Then, with just 44 seconds left in the game, the Ravens were all the way back at their own 30-yard line when Joe Flacco hit Jones on a 70-yard bomb over the top of the Broncos secondary for the game-tying score.
Peyton Manning Forces a Pass and Pays for His Mistake
After both teams failed to generate any scoring opportunities for most of the first overtime period, Manning attempted to get his offense clicking.
Unfortunately, he made a mistake that most veteran quarterbacks know not to make, throwing across his body on the run—a throw that ended up in Corey Graham's arms. It was Graham's second interception of the game, and it led to the game-winning field goal a few plays later for the Ravens.
Packers vs. 49ers
Sam Shields Gets the Packers Going with a Pick-Six
Things didn't look good for the 49ers to start the game.
On the second pass play of the game, Kaepernick threw an ill-advised pass towards tight end Vernon Davis. He threw it across his body and late, making it easy for Shields to step in front of the ball for an interception.
From there, Shields had no trouble running the ball back 52 yards for the game's opening score, and it looked like the Packers had the momentum, but it didn't last long.
Colin Kaepernick Puts the NFL On Notice
Saturday was Kaepernick's coming-out party, as the second-year quarterback broke an NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in any game in NFL history, totaling 181 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Kaepernick also passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns, setting his team up with an improbable blowout victory over the Packers—a team many experts pegged to win the game.
Kaepernick's performance was even more special when you consider that his second pass of the game was picked off by Sam Shields, who took it back 52 yards for a touchdown.
Seahawks vs. Falcons
Roddy White Burns Richard Sherman
Sherman had been jawing with White and the other Falcons receivers for most of the first half, but White came up huge on this play, burning Sherman on a deep seam route for a 47-yard touchdown pass.
White made sure to let Sherman know about his defeat, too, getting in his face afterwards with some choice words we can't print here.
Falcons Narrowly Defeat the Seahawks, Final 32 Seconds
After going up by 20 points at halftime, the Falcons let the Seahawks go ahead with about half a minute remaining on the game clock.
Matt Ryan made a couple of crucial completions to get the Falcons in field-goal range, and Matt Bryant nailed the 49-yard attempt with 13 seconds left in the game to put the Falcons up by two.
Then, Bryant hit a poor squib kick that set the Seahawks up with a hail-mary attempt that Julio Jones intercepted in the end zone.
Talk about a frantic finish. This game wasn't over until it was over.
Texans vs. Patriots
Shane Vereen Goes Off For Three Touchdowns
Vereen got the Patriots started with a first-quarter, one-yard touchdown run.
He followed that one up with an eight-yard reception for a touchdown in the second quarter, putting the Patriots up by 14 points.
Finally, in the fourth quarter after the Texans had failed to convert on 4th-and-1, Tom Brady hit Vereen on a deep pass down the left sideline for a gorgeous 33-yard touchdown strike to put the game away for good.
Wes Welker Has a GAME
Vereen wasn't the only Patriots player to have a monster game.
Welker was the biggest weapon for Brady in the passing game, catching eight passes for 131 yards in a blowout at home.
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