Both sixth seeds win wild-card games
Road, sweet road.
Three teams won away games on wild-card weekend, with the San Francisco 49ers capping the victorious road shows with a 23-20 win at frigid Green Bay on Sunday.
Phil Dawson’s 33-yard field goal as the game ended lifted the defending NFC champs into the divisional round, where they will play at Carolina. That figures to be much warmer than the near-zero temperatures at Lambeau Field.
Meanwhile, the Chargers and Saints further proved the old adage for the NFL playoffs: “Just Get In.”
San Diego took away the ball four times in a 27-10 win at Cincinnati on Sunday that extended the Bengals’ losing ways in the postseason to 23 years. The Chargers outscored Cincinnati 20-0 in the second half, handing the Bengals their first home loss this season.
The Chargers next play at AFC top seed Denver next Sunday.
On Saturday, NFC sixth seed New Orleans won 26-24 at Philadelphia. The last time both sixth seeds won was 2010, when the Packers wound up winning the Super Bowl.
New Orleans got its first road playoff victory since entering the league in 1967.
The only home winner, Indianapolis staged a sensational comeback against Kansas City to win 45-44 Saturday.
The Saints visit top-seeded Seattle, where they lost 34-7 during the season, next Saturday. The Colts go to New England, the AFC’s No. 2 seed, next Saturday night.
Saints 26, Eagles 24
At Philadelphia, Shayne Graham gave his 10th team something to celebrate with four field goals, including a 32-yarder on the final play to win. New Orleans had been 0-5 on the road in the postseason, but a strong running game, solid defense and the leadership of Drew Brees.
Thanks to Graham, who was signed 2½ weeks ago when longtime kicker Garrett Hartley was released, they get a chance to start on playoff winning streak away from the Big Easy.
“It really doesn’t matter happened last year or any years past,” Brees said. “We’re not living off the glory or the mistakes of the past.”
Colts 45, Chiefs 44
At Indianapolis, the Colts (12-5) staged one of the NFL’s greatest comebacks. Andrew Luck, showing the touch and poise of, well, Peyton Manning in previous years in Indy, threw three of his four touchdowns in the second half. Luck also scored on a fumble return, and connected with a wide-open T.Y. Hilton on a 64-yard pass. Adam Vinatieri, who knows something about big postseason kicks, made the extra point for the winning edge.
Indy trailed 38-10 in the third quarter.
Kansas City (11-6), which began the season 9-0, will have a tough time putting this loss behind it.
“Any time you’re leading like that and then have them battle back and then take it and losing by a point is a tough pill to swallow,” Chiefs QB Alex Smith said.