The NFL was left without its two best teams on Saturday in the second round of the play-offs. The No. 1 National Conference (and NFL) Green Bay Packers and the No. 1 American Conference Tennessee Titans were both beaten, at home and on a three-point kick, in the final seconds.
Green Bay, which was entering the play-offs, gave in to the incredible San Francisco 49ers (10-13), only sixth team in the conference, qualified in extremis for the play-offs and already fallen from Dallas the previous week . The Packers led 10-3 in the final quarter, thanks in part to a touchdown from runner AJ Dillon.
San Francisco, the beautiful story
But San Francisco equalized, through Talanoa Hufanga, after blocking a punt, with less than five minutes remaining. On the following offensive sequence, Green Bay remained sterile. Then, back on offense, the 49ers did not miss their chance, thanks to a 45-yard field goal from Robbie Gould.
The beautiful story of San Francisco continues. In the conference final, the Californian franchise will play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Los Angeles Rams, who face off on Sunday (9:00 p.m. French time).
Burrow martyred but victorious
The Tennessee Titans were also beaten from the start by the Cincinnati Bengals (19-16). The latter, for the first time in their history, won an away play-off match. And they will play their first conference final since January 1989.
From the start, Cincinnati put Tennessee under pressure, intercepting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, from the first action of the Titans on offense. But the Nashville franchise also hurt its opponent, sacking Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ QB nine times.
A fatal interception
Each team was able to count on its running back. Joe Mixon scored Cincinnati’s only touchdown, while NFL star runner Derrick Henry, back after being out for two and a half months with a broken foot, made 20 carries for 62 yards and a TD.
But, at the very end of the match, Tannehill was again intercepted. Cincinnati nibbled a few yards to find themselves in a position to attempt a field goal. And, from 52 yards, Evan McPherson sent the Bengals to the conference final. Next week, they will challenge the Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills there, who will cross swords, on the night of Sunday to Monday (0:30 a.m. French time).