By Derek Lofland.
Unlike my Winners / Losers / Awards articles from the regular season, I am going to give my impressions of all eight teams from the four NFL wild card games played this weekend. I will present the recaps in the order the games were played.
What a great way to start the Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez era. The rookie head coach (Ryan) and rookie quarterback (Sanchez) went on the road and beat the Cincinnati Bengals by 10 points. The only negative from the game was they allowed Bengals RB Cedric Benson to rush 21 times for 169 yards and one touchdown. Other than that, they did a great job. The defense held QB Carson Palmer to just 18 completions in 36 pass attempts for 146 yards passing with one touchdown and one pick.
Jets CB Darrelle Revis held star WR Chad Ochocinco to two receptions for 28 yards and no touchdowns. The Jets were able to run the ball on the Bengals, as rookie RB Shonn Greene had 21 rushes for 135 yards and one rushing touchdown. Sanchez managed the game well going 12-for-15 for 182 yards and one touchdown with no picks. One of those incomplete passes was a dropped pass by WR Braylon Edwards that should have been a touchdown.
The Jets will have their work cut out for them having to travel to San Diego for the next game. I do not like the matchup as well for the Jets in the next round, as the Chargers are loaded with offensive weapons and QB Philip Rivers is playing as well as any QB in the NFL. This was a big win for a franchise that is looking to return to prominence that has not existed since they won their only Super Bowl (Super Bowl III) in the 1968 season. As long as they play well in San Diego, it will have been a very successful first season for Ryan’s Jets and gives them a bright outlook for their future. This win has made the season a success.
As for the Cincinnati Bengals, this game leaves as many questions as answers. The Bengals did well to win a division that had the two AFC Championship participants in their division. Was this a one-year wonder or are the Bengals the team to beat in the AFC North going forward? The defense is quickly becoming one of the best in the NFL, but their offense just cannot score points on a consistent basis. They scored less than 24 points in 12 of their 16 games this year...