by Declan Wahlers ’21
Published Feb. 13th, 2021
As of January 9th, the NFL and fans around the country have been engrossed in the yearly playoffs.
This year, fourteen out of the thirty two teams battled head to head in the playoffs as opposed to twelve teams in years prior. This made for a “Super Wild Card” weekend with three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday.
One of the biggest upsets was the Cleveland Browns over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had started off the season hot at 11-0, but then finishing the last 5 games with a losing record of 2-3. While the Browns beat the Steelers 48 to 37, Cleveland blew the doors off of Pittsburgh’s all-consuming defence by scoring half of their points in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Emerging from the Wild Card round were the Los Angeles Rams, Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. The two additional teams, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers, joined the mix for the second round as they were rewarded off-weeks because they were the best team in their respective conferences.
The Browns vs. Chiefs matchup war arguable the most exciting game of the playoffs with the Browns almost upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs, the favorite to take home the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes left the game for concussion protocol and Chad Henne, an unknown backup, replaced him at quarterback for the Chiefs. He ended up saving the game for them by running the ball for a first down at the end of the game, sealing the Browns’ fate.
The Championship round came on Sunday, January 24th. The Buffalo Bills faced off against the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC Championship, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship. While many thought Patrick Mahomes would be out against the Bills given the hard hit he took to the head, but he got cleared mid week and became eligible to play.
The Chiefs seemed unstoppable against the Bills. Patrick Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns while Tyreek Hill had nine receptions for 172 yards. The Chiefs won by a score of 38-24 and sealed their place at the Superbowl.
Despite a good game from Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship, the Buccaneers were able to take down the Packers in Green Bay and set sail to the Super Bowl. Todd Bowles, former New York Jets Head Coach and current Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator, outsmarted the Packers offense as the defense combined for five sacks on Rodgers between Jason-Pierre Paul and Shaquil Barret.
An exciting postseason led to a rather disappointing Super Bowl. Once again, the Buccaneers defense was in full force and brought the Chiefs’ offense to a screeching halt. The Chiefs offensive line seemed to fold like paper leaving Patrick Mahomes on the run almost every play. Mahomes would make some jaw dropping passes under this pressure just for them to be dropped by his receivers. Their offense was in disarray for the entire game.
The final score of the game was 31-9 Buccaneers.
Tom Brady proved once again that he is the greatest quarterback in NFL history, winning his seventh Super Bowl. His connection with Rob Gronkowski paid off as they had two touchdowns, setting the record for most touchdowns between a quarterback and receiver duo in postseason history.
This postseason was definitely for the history books. Between Brady’s record 7th championship and the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, it won’t be easy to forget the 2021 NFL Playoffs.