With 2014’s Wild Card Weekend in the books, it’s time to reflect on all that happened in two jam-packed days of football action. This morning, we’re going to take a look at the top ten biggest moments from four crazy Wild Card games.
1. There’s no way to get around it, the officials in the Dallas/Detroit game absolutely blew it with a couple of calls in the second half. The No. 1 spot today goes to the overturning of the defensive pass interference penalty involving Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens and Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew. Even the league agrees that this was, in fact, interference. This call can’t be blamed for the final outcome of the game, but it is sad that this is what we’ll remember all off-season, rather than a quality match-up against two deserving clubs.
2. In today’s No. 2 spot, yet another issue involving the same defensive pass interference call. At the time of the original penalty, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant rushed onto the field without a helmet to argue with the officials. This, per the rules of the game, should have been an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. No call, however, was made. This non-call is just as bad, if not worse, as the overturned interference. Drama abounds, people, and we have months to talk about it.
3. Colts QB Andrew Luck completed a 36-yard touchdown pass to WR Donte Moncrief with Bengals defender Carlos Dunlap literally hanging on his leg. It was a phenomenal pass that isn’t likely to be imitated anytime soon. Luck had an incredible game overall on Sunday, but this play takes the cake. It’s onto Denver for Indy.
4. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger getting sacked 5 times by the Ravens’ D was absolutely huge in Saturday night’s marquee match-up. Thanks to this impressive defensive performance, Baltimore was able to beat Pittsburgh at home for the first time ever in the postseason.
5. The Arizona Cardinals put-up some of the lowest numbers in NFL postseason history in Saturday’s early game. They had only 77 yards of total offense. The Cards, who had the best record in the league for quite some time, were riddled by injuries and lost badly to a Panthers team that doesn’t even have a .500 record. We’ll have to wait and see how Cam Newton and Co. handle the crowd at CenturyLink Field this weekend.
6. Ravens LB Terrell Suggs intercepted Big Ben Roethlisberger with his knees on Saturday evening, in one of the most impressive plays I’ve seen all season. With. His. Knees. Just look up the video if you missed it. It’s great.
7. Shades of Mark Sanchez alert. Ravens RB Justin Forsett fumbled the football after running at full-speed into his teammate’s, um, backside. It was amusing, unless you’re a Ravens fan, but since everything worked out for the purple and black in the end, it’s worthy of making today’s list.
8. Emotions were clearly running high on the Cincinnati Bengals sidelines on Sunday, as teammates Geno Atkins and Adam Jones nearly came to blows. Head coach Marvin Lewis stepped-in to break it up, but dissension between two guys wearing the same uniform never helps to win a play-off game. Pro tip, Bengals.
9. Cardinals’ WR Larry Fitzgerald's incredible catch inside the five with half of the Carolina D trying to tackle him (on 3rd and 10, no less) was a bright spot in a dismal game for Arizona. Fitzgerald, who has the potential to be traded this off-season, made a solid effort to win the game by himself. Sadly, that rarely goes well.
10. This isn’t exactly a “key moment,” but the Bengals being one and done yet again in the playoffs is worth noting. While QB Andy Dalton didn’t have the same sort of meltdown he’s suffered in previous postseasons, but he only produced 155 yards on 35 passes. It’s time for Cincy to do some serious soul-searching.