Divisional round weekend featured four games decided by a touchdown or less. How we arrived at that point each time differed greatly.
There was a blowout that should have remained a blowout, but instead turned into a near flameout. There was more Hail Mary heroics from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. And there was a crushing late-game turnover that gave us one more round of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship Game.
Let’s dive into the numbers that stand out from each game, and in some cases changed the outcome.
2: The Kansas City Chiefs’ red-zone possessions that ended in field goals, a deciding factor in their seven-point loss to the New England Patriots.
Five minutes and 11 seconds: The time elapsed between when the Chiefs took possession down two scores in the fourth quarter, and when they finally scored with 1:18 left. Andy Reid showed once again that while he’s great at many things, clock management isn’t one of them.
21: Total rushing yards by Patriots running backs during a game they won.
183: Combined receiving yards for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman. As expected, Edelman’s return from injury added a greatly missed dynamic element in the open field with his ability to compile yards after the catch.
10: The amount of Chiefs pass-catchers who finished with at least one reception.
0: The amount of Chiefs pass-catchers who finished with even 70 receiving yards. Jeremy Maclin played, but he was highly limited by his high-ankle sprain.
79: Jeff Janis’ total receiving yards throughout the regular season. The Green Bay Packers wide receiver finished with 145 yards and two touchdowns during a game that was downright magical, and he was on the other end of a successful Hail Mary as time expired against the Arizona Cardinals.
116: Combined yardage on Janis’ touchdown catch to end regulation, and the very next play in overtime, which was a 75-yard catch and run by Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald.
75.9: Fitzgerald’s per-game receiving yards average throughout the regular season. He finished with 176 yards Saturday night.
202: The amount of time in seconds the Carolina Panthers needed to score 14 points to open an eventual win over the Seattle Seahawks.
155-35: The yardage scoreboard after one quarter in that game, when the Panthers were rolling. The actual scoreboard read 14-0 at that time, and 31-0 at halftime. Then yet again first-half dominance by Carolina turned into second-half stumbling, an alarming trend for the NFC’s top-seeded team.
24: Unanswered points scored by the Seahawks during that second-half surge, which was a remarkable turnaround after Seattle seemed thoroughly defeated in every way imaginable after the first two quarters.
20 percent: The Denver Broncos’ third-down conversion percentage. Their sputtering offense led by quarterback Peyton Manning, who’s still deteriorating physically, converted just three of its 15 third-down attempts.
4: The amount of 35-plus yard plays completed by the Pittsburgh Steelers offense.
283.1: The average yards allowed by Denver’s top-ranked defense throughout the regular season. A ball-hawking unit was lit up by the Steelers for 396 yards, an effort wasted when running back Fitzgerald Toussaint’s ill-timed fumble killed a potential fourth-quarter scoring drive.
Six minutes and 52 seconds: The time burned by Manning’s 13-play game-winning drive after Toussaint’s buttery-fingered meltdown. That lost time hurt just as much as the points.