DALLAS — NFL Divisional round playoffs scores on Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15, with the Patriots, Falcons and Packers among the winners.
PATRIOTS 34, TEXANS 16
The New England Patriots easily put away the Houston Texans 34-16 in their AFC divisional round game in Foxborough, Mass., on Saturday night.
Patriots running back Dion Lewis, who was injured during this period last term, became the first player in NFL postseason history to score a touchdown by rushing, catching and a kickoff return as the Patriots (15-2) dominated the contest after halftime.
Quarterback Tom Brady was 18-for-38 on completed passes and threw for 287 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for New England on his way to improving to 23-9 in NFL playoffs career games.
The Patriots, who were far from perfect on Saturday night are heading for their sixth straight appearance in the AFC championship game.
Meanwhile, receiver Julian Edelman took eight catches for 137 yards and Chris Hogan caught all four of his passes for 95 yards for the Patriots, who will host Pittsburgh on Jan. 22.
Houston (10-8) was competitive in the opening two quarters and trailed 17-13 at halftime.
However, the game got away from the travellers after the break, following some costly turnovers that assisted in them getting outscored 17-3 in the second half.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler started effectively but was all over the place after halftime and got intercepted three times.
Osweiler went 23-of-40 on completed passes for 198 yards and a touchdown.
FALCONS 36, SEAHAWKS 20
The Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks 36-20 in the NFC divisional playoff game on Saturday.
Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons (12-5) won just their second playoff game since 2004 and move on to face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game next Sunday.
Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman all took catches for touchdowns for Atlanta, which last played in the NFC title game in 2012 when it was beaten 28-24 at home by the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks (10-6-1) jumped out to an early 10-7 lead but the Falcons used a 19-point second quarter to take a 19-10 halftime advantage and then added a pair of touchdowns in the second half to finish off the game.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the defeat.
However, the veteran quarterback also threw two interceptions and fell in the end zone for a safety in the second quarter.
Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham each took catches for touchdowns for the Seahawks, who were losing in the divisional round for the second straight year.
PACKERS 34, COWBOYS 31
The Green Bay Packers extended their late-season outstanding form with another victory on Sunday after edging the NFC’s No. 1 seeded Dallas Cowboys 34-31 in a thriller to advance to the NFC championship game next weekend.
Mason Crosby kicked a clutched 51-yard field goal as time expired to seal the win for the Packers (12-6) who have won eight straight games and are heading to the NFC championship game for the first time since the 2014 season.
With the game tied at 31-31 in the final minute, Rodgers connected with Jared Cook, who stunningly made a sliding 35-yard catch as he was going out of bounds with 3-seconds remaining to setup the field-goal position for Green Bay.
Rodgers completed 28-of-43 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for the Packers, who almost blew an 18-point second quarter lead.
Dallas (13-4) trailed 21-3 with 7:37 left in the first half, but rallied twice to even up the game at 28-28 and then 31-31 before Crosby held it together to win the contest on the second time of asking for the visitors.
Ty Montgomery rushed for two scores and Cook caught six passes for 104 yards and a touchdown for Green Bay, which will be full of confidence heading to Atlanta next week.
Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was 24-of-38 for 302 yards with three touchdowns and an interception for Dallas, while Dez Bryant caught the ball nine times for 132 yards and two TDs in the defeat.
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott carried the ball 22 times for 125 yards for the Cowboys, who looked stunned after the loss.
STEELERS 18, KANSAS 16
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 in an AFC divisional round game on Sunday to advance to the conference championship game.
Running back Le’Veon Bell broke his own franchise playoff record by running for 170 yards on 30 carries for the Steelers and Antonio Brown took six catches for 108 yards for Pittsburgh (13-5).
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 20-of-31 passes for 224 yards with an interception for the Steelers, who will look for their first trip to the Super Bowl since 2011.
Alex Smith completed 20-of-34 passes for 172 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Chiefs (12-5), whose mistakes prove costly in the defeat.