Around the NFL: Super Wild Card Weekend, Officiating Woes, Raiders Gonna Raider, Head Coaching Carousel, More

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Joe Burrow could have a tough time without his linemen in the Divisional Round.

Around the NFL: Super Wild Card Weekend, Officiating Woes, Raiders Gonna Raider, Head Coaching Carousel, More

Chicago Bears

There’s a lot to get into today, so let’s nix the intro and get right into it.

AFC Wild Card

It was a chalk weekend in the AFC as all of the favorites handled their business and advanced to the divisional round. Burrow and the Bengals snapped a 31-year drought for Cincinnati, the Bills put on a clinic and sent the master Bill Belichick packing, and the Chiefs bid farewell to Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday night.

Bengals 26, Raiders 19

Joe Burrow and the Bengals took care of business at home, stoping the Rich Bisaccia/Raiders feel-good story in its tracks. Burrow completed 24-of-34 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns as the Bengals topped Las Vegas 26-19 for their first playoff victory since January 1991. A solid first quarter and a loud Paul Brown Stadium helped Cincinnati secure the early momentum, and they rode it to a win.

Bills 47, Patriots 17

I’m here hat in hand on this one, as I predicted a Patriots upset of the Bills in my Wild Card Weekend Preview on Friday, and boy was I wrong. Josh Allen and the Bills were perfect. Literally perfect. Allen completed 21-of-25 passes for 308 yards, five touchdowns, and zero interceptions, and Buffalo scored on every single drive until the kneel-downs. No turnovers, no punts… just points. Boy, does that set up a heck of a battle between Kansas City and Buffalo this weekend?

Chiefs 42, Steelers 21

Did anyone really expect this game to go any differently? The Chiefs came into this one as the far superior team on paper, and they played to that tune as they blasted Pittsburgh right out of the playoffs, essentially ending Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL career. While Roethlisberger has been mum on the situation, it’s widely presumed that this is the end of the line for the long-time Pittsburgh quarterback. Roethlisberger won two Super Bowls, made six Pro Bowls, and was the 2004 Rookie of the Year during his 18-year career in Pittsburgh, and he’s a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer in five years.

Patrick Mahomes was nearly perfect, completing 30-of-39 passes for 404 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception in the Kansas City victory. Travis Kelce caught five passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, and Jerick McKinnon caught seven passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City cruises into an AFC Championship rematch from last season in next week’s divisional-round meeting with the Buffalo Bills.

NFC Wild Card

The lone upset on the NFC side of things was the 49ers beating the Cowboys in Arlington on Sunday, setting up an NFC Championship rematch from two years ago. The short-handed Bucs made easy work of the Eagles, and the Rams blew the doors off the Cardinals on Monday night.

Buccaneers 31, Eagles 15

On Sunday afternoon, Jalen Hurts got his first taste of playoff football in the NFL when the Eagles visited Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa. Brady threw for 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Mike Evans had a huge afternoon hauling nine catches for 117 yards and a touchdown as the Bucs put up 31 points on the Eagles defense as Tampa Bay cruised to a victory. Jalen Hurts had himself a rough playoff debut throwing two interceptions and completing only 23-of-43 yards as the Eagles struggled to put together anything of substance until garbage time.

While there will surely be questions surrounding Hurts and the Eagles’ future under center, Jalen Hurts isn’t letting his poor performance against the defending Super Bowl champs get him down, and why should he? He arguably wasn’t even the worst quarterback this weekend. Is anyone questioning Kyler Murray’s future in Arizona?

49ers 23, Cowboys 17

Just as I ate my crow for the disastrous New England pick in my Wild Card Weekend preview last week, I’m here to boast about my 49ers over Dallas pick! Deebo Samuel is a freakishly good athlete, and San Francisco is a matchup nightmare for many teams. This team pounds the rock and plays solid, bend but don’t break defense. Elijah Mitchell ran for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Deebo Samuel ran for 72 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. The defense sacked Dak Prescott five times and picked him off at a crucial point in the third quarter to set up the eventual deciding score in this one.

We’ll talk about this more later this week, but the 49ers are the last matchup that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers wanted to end up with this week, and there’s a good reason for that concern. San Francisco’s simple grind-it-out style was a significant problem for Dallas’ high-powered offense on Sunday, and they’ll be a problem for the Packers’ similar offense this weekend.

Rams 34, Cardinals 11

This one was a laugher from the jump with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals falling flat on their face in Los Angeles, completing the collapse that saw them finish the regular season with a 1-4 record after they blew the Bears out of the water in Week 13. Murray completed only 55.9 percent of his passes for 137 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions in the blowout loss. On the other hand, Matthew Stafford didn’t need to do much, but he did what he had to do nearly perfectly, completing 13-of-17 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

Is it time to have a conversation about Kliff Kingsbury yet?

Raiders Gonna Raider

As Bears fans, I understand that we think we know what dysfunction looks like. But is there a more dysfunctional franchise in football from the top down? The Raiders, fresh off of a playoff berth, have fired general manager Mike Mayock. Honestly, I expected it to happen, but it’s how they did it and tend to always do things that make them the Raiders. According to Albert Breer, Mayock was fired, and no one even told the rest of the staff about it yesterday. They thought Mayock was going home for the evening when he left the building on Monday and discovered the firing on social media.

Mayock’s firing in Las Vegas likely spells the end for Rich Bisaccia as the interim head coach of the Raiders. I’d imagine that whoever comes into Las Vegas as the new general manager will want to hire his head coach, so Bisaccia is likely not going to be sticking around in his current capacity, if any at all.

Officiating Woes

To say that the officiating this week was terrible would be an understatement. Jerome Boger’s crew was so bad that they’d be left off the schedule for the rest of the NFL playoffs after their performance in the Bengals-Raiders AFC Wild Card game in Cincinnati.

Despite the ire from fans and pundits about the officiating of Boger and his crew, the Raiders were not interested in blaming their shortcomings on the referees in Saturday’s contest. Here’s Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby from Adam Schefter’s report at ESPN:

“In the moment, we didn’t know because we heard a whistle,” Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said. “The ref said he was out, and then they said it was a touchdown — and then there was no review. So we were just like, ‘All right,’ so we just kept going. We had our opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize.”

Raiders’ interim head coach Rich Bisaccia wasn’t interested in playing the blame game either, saying he had “no problems with the officiating today.”

Then there were the Dallas Cowboys fans hurling trash at the referees as they left the field and Dak Prescott praising those fans for their actions as he opted to take the low road and cry about the officiating instead of owning his poor play against San Francisco:

Maybe the Raiders should think twice about keeping Rich Bisaccia around because he and his players have been pretty anti-Raiders since he took over in October in their actions on and off the field. As for Dak and the Cowboys, well, they’ll have plenty of time now to wallow in their tears.

The Extra Point(s)

•   These videos are always great.

•   Allen Robinson had a down year in 2021, and he’s not leaving much to the imagination as to why he thinks he might have had such an unproductive year with the Bears:

•   It’s unlikely that Robinson will be running any routes in Chicago in 2022, so it won’t matter much for him who the Bears go with for their vacant GM and head coach positions, but the veteran receiver made sure to take a shot at Matt Nagy on the way out the door.

•   Speaking of the vacant GM and head coach positions in Chicago, Luis has you covered with a one-stop-shop list of candidates that have either already been interviewed or are reported to be interviewed in the coming days.

•   Eli Manning came to the Manning Cast with the drip he got from Snoop Dogg 😂:

•   Now that Dallas’ season is over, their coordinators will be getting plenty of interest in the ongoing NFL head coaching carousel in the coming weeks. DC Dan Quinn is expected to interview with Denver, Miami, and Chicago this week, according to Adam Schefter.

•   There will be plenty of interest in OC Kellen Moore as well. Moore is reportedly set to interview with Denver, Minnesota, and Miami this week, according to Adam Schefter.

•   Brian Daboll’s team is still playing, but he’s one of the hottest names in the coaching carousel right now. Could the Cardinals look to Daboll to get the most out of Kyler Murray?

•   Or, maybe Daboll ends up with Miami with Tua, a QB that he worked with at Alabama…

•   But, I know of a young QB that could use Daboll’s tutelage:

•   The Washington Football Team’s new threads (which will be revealed on February 2) are a hit with some of the players:

•   All right, that’s it for today. We’ll catch up later this week when we preview the NFL Divisional Round before the action gets going this weekend!

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.