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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) runs off the field following the team's win over the Houston Texans in an NFL wild card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, in Houston. Indianapolis won 21-7. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

AFC Wild Card: Colts and Chargers Move On

The AFC Wild Card Playoff games took place over the weekend, with the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Houston Texans on Saturday, and the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Colts and Texans

Week 14 recap

The first AFC Wild Card teams previously faced each other in the regular season in Week 14, nearly one month ago. Similarly, this game was also played at NRG stadium in Houston.

At the time, the Colts held a 7-6 record, while the Texans were 9-4. The game ended in a 24-21 win for the Colts.

Saturday’s final score

This time around, the result was the same. However, it wasn’t as close. The Colts won 21-7, with two touchdowns from Andrew Luck in the air and one on the ground from Marlon Mack.

The game was over at halftime, as the Colts headed into the away locker room with a 21-0 advantage over the hosts. The Texans would not score their first and only points until the fourth quarter with 10:57 remaining in the game.

https://twitter.com/Colts/status/1081689005417205760

Deshaun Watson asked to carry team

Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson contributed to almost all of the Texans’ offense. He completed 29 of 49 passes for 235 yards, threw the lone Houston touchdown of the game, and rushed for 76 yards on eight carries. However, he also threw an interception; his QBR at the end of the game stood at 23.4.

The Colts show balance on offense

Watson’s opposite number, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, was outshone in some aspects. For example, Watson had more total yards in the air and on the ground. However, Luck had far less attempted passes, completing 19 of 32 for 222 yards. The biggest difference was Luck’s two touchdowns.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1081671441597095937

One of the Colts’ biggest threats on the night was running back Marlon Mack. He rushed for 148 yards on 24 attempts, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. This gave the Colts far more balance on offense than the Texans, as Houston’s leading rusher on the night, excluding Watson, was Lamar Miller with 18 yards.

Big improvements from the Colts

The Colts have turned their season around in a big way. Through six games in the regular season, the Colts had a 1-5 record. Now, they stand at 11-6 and will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff next Saturday at 4:35 p.m.

Chargers and Ravens

Week 16 recap

The second and final AFC Wild Card game was played between the Chargers and Ravens on Sunday. They faced each other in Week 16 of the regular season, with the Ravens winning 22-10 at the StubHub Center.

Sunday rundown

The Chargers exacted their revenge when it mattered, knocking out the Ravens 23-17.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for either team.

In the early drives of the first quarter, the Ravens looked nothing short of nervous. In particular, young Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. In the first five minutes of the game, Jackson fumbled the ball twice. However, the ball stayed with the Ravens on both occasions.

The Chargers capitalized on the Ravens’ offensive struggles and knocked in two field goals in the first and second quarters to lead 12-0 at halftime. With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Chargers led 23-3. However, that’s when the Ravens would begin to rally.

Jackson would settle down and throw two touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree to bring the score to 23-17 with 1:59 on the clock. However, that would be the end of the Raven rally.

Staunch defenses

Neither the Chargers or Ravens performed very well on the offensive side of the ball. LA quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 160 yards on 22 of 32 attempts, while Jackson threw for 194 yards on 14 of 29 attempts.

On the ground, the Chargers rushed for a total of 89 yards on 32 attempts, while the Ravens rushed for 90 yards on 23 attempts.

The big difference came down to turnovers and sacks. The Ravens fumbled the ball four times, three coming from Jackson. In addition, Jackson threw an interception. The Chargers only fumbled the ball once.

For sacks, the Chargers record seven on Jackson, while Rivers was only sacked once.

Chargers moving on

The Chargers will face the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Playoff on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

About Joseph Erickson

Sports writer. Passionate about Premier League soccer, specifically Tottenham Hotspur.

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