NFL Divisional Playoffs: 8 winners and losers, including Travis Kelce and Jordan Love

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The NFL Divisional Playoffs offered us a whole heck of a lot of intrigue. The Baltimore Ravens blew out the Houston Texans on Saturday after the game was close about midway through.

After some early struggles, Brock Purdy came through in the clutch en route to leading the San Francisco 49ers to a narrow 24-21 win over the Green Bay Packers.

San Francisco will take on the upstart Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game after they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Over in the AFC, the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Buffalo Bills in dramatic fashion. Kansas City will now take to Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens.

Here are eight winners and losers from the NFL Divisional Playoffs.

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Winner: Brock Purdy comes through in clutch for San Francisco 49ers

nfl divisional playoffs winners and losers: brock purdy, san francisco 49ers
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Purdy did not look like his typical self throughout most of Saturday night’s NFL Divisional Playoffs. The sophomore signal caller had nearly thrown a pick-six in the first half and seemed to be off with Deebo Samuel injured.

That’s when Purdy did his thing. With San Francisco down 21-17 late in the fourth quarter, Purdy led the team down the field 69 yards on 12 plays, culminating in a game-winning six-yard touchdown run from Christian McCaffrey.

Purdy completed 6-of-7 passes for 49 yards on that drive, including multiple third-down conversions. This represented only the second game-winning drive of Purdy’s career. It was a defining moment as the 49ers punched their ticket to the NFC Championship Game for the fourth time in five seasons.

Related: San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy’s thrilling fourth-quarter playoff rally proves he’s among the elite

Loser: Devin Singletary comes up small for Houston Texans

nfl divisional playoffs winners and losers: houston texans' devin singletary
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Houston knew that it needed to create some balance taking on a tough Baltimore Ravens defense Saturday afternoon. Head coach DeMeco Ryans had confidence that Singletary could provide that. The veteran had tallied 775 total yards in his final eight regular-season games.

About that? Singletary did nothing of substance in Houston’s 34-10 loss to Baltimore. The veteran gained 22 yards on nine rush attempts for an average of 2.4 yards per carry. This lack of balance led to rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud struggling through the air. The youngster completed 19-of-33 passes for just 175 yards and was hit five times.

Related: Ranking defenses coming out of NFL Divisional Playoffs

Winner: Lamar Jackson takes monkey off his back for Ravens

nfl divisional playoffs winners and losers: lamar jackson, baltimore ravens
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The likely NFL MVP entered Saturay’s NFL Divisional Playoffs having posted a 1-3 record in the postseason. The pressure was squarely on Jackson to do his thing with Baltimore owning home-field advantage in the playoffs. Could he turn the narrative around?

The answer is a resounding yes. Jackson completed 16-of-22 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He added 100 more yards and two big-time touchdowns on the ground.

Jackson more than did his thing in leading Baltimore to a blowout 24-point win over the Texans. He was almost perfect through the air and absolutely electric on the ground. It has Baltimore looking very much like a well-oiled machine heading into the AFC Championship Game.

Related: Ranking NFL starting quarterbacks

Loser: Jordan Love fades in narrow Green Bay Packers loss

nfl divisional playoffs winners and losres: jordan love

This young quarterback entered the playoffs having played at an elite clip en route to leading the Packers to a surprise postseason appearance. In fact, Love had tallied 20 total touchdowns compared to just one interception in his final eight regular-season starts.

Taking on a 49ers defense that picked off 22 passes during the regular season, Love knew that he couldn’t afford to make mistakes.

Unfortunately for the Packers, that came into play big time Saturday night in Santa Clara. The quarterback tossed two interceptions, including the game-sealing pick with Green Bay looking to tie things up late in the fourth quarter.

Both picks were on Love. In reality, he melted in the Northern California rain when Green Bay needed the youngster to step up. Sure, it’s a learning experience. But the struggles with turnovers doomed the Packers in a game that they could have very well won.

Related: 10 facts about the last time the Detroit Lions won a championship

Winner: Jared Goff shines in Detroit Lions franchise-altering win

nfl divisional playoffs winners and losers: jared goff
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Former No. 1 pick Jared Goff has had his success. He led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl following the 2018 season. His Detroit Lions have not enjoyed the very same success with just one NFC Championship Game appearance heading into the 2023 campaign.

About that? Goff was absolutely brilliant in leading Detroit to a 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL Divisional Playoffs.

The quarterback completed 30-of-43 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He connected with Amon-Ra St. Brown throughout the game to the tune of eight receptions for 77 yards. Rookie tight end Sam LaPorta also caught nine balls on 11 targets. The end result was a stunning Lions win and a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

Related: Rankings offenses coming out of NFL Divisional Playoffs

Loser: Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense comes up small

nfl divisional playoffs winners and losers: tampa bay buccaneers
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Two Baker Mayfield interceptions might have doomed Tampa Bay in their loss to Detroit in the NFL Divisional Playoffs. But it was the team’s defense that came up small for the Bucs. Detroit tallied 26 first downs and 391 yards of total offense. The team also converted on 6-of-14 third-down opportunities

The pass rush didn’t show up with Jared Goff being hit just five times on 51 drop backs. EDGE rushers Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Shaquil Barrett combined for just one quarterback hit and zero sacks. They just didn’t do what was needed to fend off what was an elite Lions offensive attack.

Winner: Travis Kelce ignites Kansas City Chiefs in NFL Divisional Playoffs

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
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The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to the AFC Championship Game for a sixth consecutive year, thanks in large part to what Kelce did on Sunday. The Pro Bowl tight end caught two touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes, igniting the Chiefs’ offense in the process.

Kelce’s stat line of five receptions for 75 yards was not great. But getting into the end zone twice was absolutely huge for the defending Super Bowl champions. It enabled Kansas City to keep this one close despite its defense struggling to contain Josh Allen and Co. through three quarters.

Related: Taylor Swift celebrating Travis Kelce TD is as wholesome as it gets

Loser: Wide right again for the Buffalo Bills

nfl divisional playoffs: buffalo bills, tyler bass
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Fans in Western New York saw this scenario play out in the past. Down 27-24 late in the fourth quarter, Sean McDermott sent Tyler Bass out there for a potential game-tying 44-yard field goal. The veteran pulled it wide right, sending Buffalo to a heart-breaking 27-24 loss in front of its home fans.

If this looks familiar, that’s because it is. Back in January of 1991, former Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed what would have been a game-winning field goal against the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV. Apparently, fans in Western New York just can’t have good things. Ouch!

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