Monday 18 December 2017

NFL: Rookie Wilson shows mettle in play-off cauldron

The stellar rookie seasons of quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III came to an end on Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins respectively lost in the NFL wild-card play-offs.

The only remaining rookie quarterback in the play-offs is Russell Wilson, who teamed with Marshawn Lynch to guide the Seattle Seahawks to a 24-14 comeback win over Washington.

The Seahawks recovered from 14-0 down in the first quarter – their biggest deficit this season – and will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Seattle proved that they can win on the road in the play-offs – having lost the previous eight away games in the post-season – with victory over the Washington Redskins.

On a concerning note for the Redskins, star quarterback Griffin III did not finish the game, buckling his right knee as he tried to recover a loose football. Griffin will have a scan to determine the extent of the injury.

In Baltimore, Ray Lewis and the Ravens eliminated No 1 draft pick Luck and the Indianapolis Colts with a 24-9 win. The victory delayed Lewis' retirement for at least another week as Baltimore head to Denver on Saturday.

The loss ended the Colts' turnaround season in which they went from 2-14 to the play-offs in coach Chuck Pagano's first year in Indianapolis. Pagano missed 12 weeks while undergoing treatment for leukaemia and returned last week.

Indianapolis' only points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri. Luck completed 28 of 54 passes, the most attempts by a rookie in a play-off game, for 288 yards.

The Packers set up a showdown with the San Francisco 49ers after beating the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card round. The teams met in the season opener, which San Fransico won 30-22.

Houston get another chance against New England after beating Cincinnati 19-13 in quarterback Matt Schaub's first post-season start.

The AFC East champion Patriots trounced the Texans 42-14 at Foxborough on December 10, the first of three losses in four games for Houston to end the regular season.


NFL divisional play-offs

Saturday, January 12: Baltimore at Denver, Green Bay at San Francisco.

Sunday, January 13: Seattle at Atlanta, Houston at New England.

Irish Independent

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