Bengals’ Meltdown, Vikings’ Missed Game-Winner Highlight NFL Wild Card Weekend
Then, a hobbled Steelers’ quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, led Pittsburgh down the field in a hurry, aided by two ill-advised personal foul penalties on Cincinnati: one, an illegal hit by Burfict on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown; and then as trainers attended to Brown, Cincinnati cornerback Adam Jones inexplicitly bumped an official when he lunged at a Pittsburgh trainer. The penalties moved Pittsburgh down the field 15 yards apiece and easily into field goal range. With 18 seconds remaining, Pittsburgh made the game-winning field goal and advanced to a Divisional round matchup against the Denver Broncos next Sunday. In the first Wild Card game Sunday afternoon, it was a missed field goal that proved to be the difference as the Seattle Seahawks escaped the Minnesota Vikings in what ended up being a defensive standoff in the third-coldest game in NFL playoff history. Trailing 10-9 with two minutes to go, the Vikings marched down the field and with less than 30 seconds to go, set up kicker Blair Walsh for a 27-yard field goal that would have given them the lead. Instead, Walsh pulled the kick left. Replays showed that for the second time in the game, Walsh had to kick against the ball’s laces, which if you’ve seen Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, you know that’s an NFL no-no. Despite the replay, Walsh shouldered all the blame. “I can tell you this, it’s my fault. … I should be able to put that through. … I’m the one who didn’t do his job,” Walsh told reporters after the game. Walsh had made three field goals earlier in the game – all of the Vikings points – and through his career had been 33 of 34 from 30 yards or closer prior to this kick. The sixth-ranked Seahawks walked away with the one-point victory and will travel to Carolina next weekend to face the #1 seed Panthers.