The NFL Playoffs began Saturday with two thrilling games won by the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints.
The Colts rallied from 28 points down to shock the Kansas City Chiefs 45-44 in the second-largest comeback in playoff history in the first game in Indianapolis.
The second game was decided on the very last play as the New Orleans Saints kicked a 32-yard field goal to squeeze out a 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in chilly Philly.
The Colts found themselves in a 38-10 hole early in the 3rd quarter before a frantic rally saw them come all the way back to take the lead 45-44 with 4:21 left in the game, before holding on at the end as Kansas City nearly got into field goal range to kick a potential game-winner.
Only once in NFL playoff history had a team overcome a bigger deficit to win a game – in January 1993 the Buffalo Bills rallied from 32 points down to defeat the Houston Oilers 41-38 in overtime.
The comeback was led by Colt quarterback Andrew Luck, who threw 4 touchdown passes in the game. Prior to the rally, he had played about as badly as ever in a Colt uniform, throwing 3 interceptions as Indianapolis fell into a deep hole.
It was a shocking end to the Chiefs’ season. They had started out 9-0 and were the only undefeated team left in the league at that time, but ended up 11-5 and eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Indianapolis will travel to New England to take on the AFC’s #2 seeded Patriots next weekend in the divisional round of the playoffs.
It was the Saints first-ever postseason win on the road, having gone 0-5 in playoff games away from the comfort of the Superdome in New Orleans since entering the league in 1967.
The Saints held a 20-7 lead late in the 3rd quarter, but Philadelphia rallied behind quarterback Nick Foles to take a 24-23 lead with just 4:54 left in the game.
But then the Saints got a 39-yard return from Darren Sproleson the ensuing kickoff, plus another 15 yards for a horse-collar tackle penalty, and New Orleans was set up nicely on the Eagles’ 48 for the final drive.
The game-winning kick by Saints newcomer Shayne Graham was his fourth field goal of the game, and sends New Orleans to Seattle to play the NFC’s #1 seeded Seahawks next Saturday. The Saints lost in the regular season in Seattle 34-7.