The NFL Divisional Round featured a defensive masterpiece, a shocking upset and a historic comeback. Playoff records were broken and new franchise marks were set. To best recap a wild playoff weekend, let’s look at the 15 most dominant players from the NFL Divisional Round.
1. Patrick Mahomes
The reigning MVP engineered an offensive outburst for the ages. Patrick Mahomes fired five TDs in a 321-yard passing effort, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 51-31 win over the Houston Texans. Mahomes also ran seven times for 51 yards. Kansas City erased a 24-0 Houston lead by scoring 28 points unanswered in the second quarter.
The Chiefs dug themselves an early hole with a blown coverage on the opening drive and dropping passes on the next two ensuing possessions. Tyreek’s Hill muffed punt at the Chiefs’ 10-yard-line was a laughable miscue. Things turned around, though, once Mahomes got the offense rolling.
Kansas City scored touchdowns on seven consecutive drives, setting a postseason record. The Chiefs also became the first team to win a playoff game by 20 points after trailing by 20. They matched the fourth-biggest comeback in playoff history by overcoming a 24-point deficit.
Patrick Mahomes is the 1st player to throw 5 TD passes in a playoff game before his 25th birthday in NFL history.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 12, 2020
Mahomes had 4 TD passes in the second quarter alone. His fifth touchdown was caught by seldom-used tight end Blake Bell, who had never scored a TD before in his career.
BLAKE BELL! pic.twitter.com/pIvpF5PR9U
— OKC CBS Sports 105.3FM (@OKCCBSSPORTS105) January 12, 2020
It was just the 12th time in league history that a QB tossed 5+ TDs in a postseason contest. Furthermore, Mahomes is the first player in playoff history to post 300 yards passing and five touchdowns with at least 50+ rushing yards.
2. Derrick Henry
The Tennessee Titans stunned the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens Saturday night, as running back Derrick Henry bulldozed his way to another playoff gem. Henry rushed 30 times for 195 yards. He had two catches for seven yards and added a 3-yard TD pass.
DERRICK HENRY. JUMP PASS TD. UNBELIEVABLE.pic.twitter.com/vob58imLn6
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) January 12, 2020
Henry is the first player in NFL history to rush for over 175 yards in consecutive playoff contests. Even more amazing, he set a record for the most rushing yards over a player’s first four postseason games with 561.
Henry busted his longest rush of the game with a 66-yard run in the third quarter. That eventually set up his TD pass. Henry’s TD toss was the first by a running back in the postseason since 1987.
A week after darting for 182 yards and a score to eliminate the defending champion Patriots, Henry spearheaded the Titans to a mammoth upset of host Baltimore. The Ravens were riding a 12-game win streak entering the contest, but came crashing down in a staggering defeat.
The King came, The King conquered. 💪
— NFL (@NFL) January 12, 2020
Henry has run his way into the NFL record books. He is the first player to post three consecutive games with over 180 yards on the ground. He rushed for 211 yards in the regular-season finale, which clinched a playoff berth for Tennessee.
Over Henry’s last three games, the tailback has tallied 588 rushing yards.
3. Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce picked the perfect time to have the best game of his renowned career. Kelce played an integral part in the Chiefs’ come-from-behind victory, registering 10 catches for 134 yards and three TDs.
Travis Kelce is the 3rd tight end in the Super Bowl era with a 3 Rec TD game in the postseason, joining Hall of Famer Dave Casper (1977 Divisional Round) and Rob Gronkowski (2011 Divisional Round). pic.twitter.com/Kaf6ACREEj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 12, 2020
All three of Kelce’s touchdown grabs came in the second quarter. He is the first player to catch 3 TDs in a single quarter in playoff history.
Travis Kelce caught three touchdowns in one quarter. THREE! pic.twitter.com/H55MqHM9y4
— Barstool Cincinnati (@UCBarstool) January 12, 2020
4. Davante Adams
Davante Adams remains the only reliable pass catcher in the Green Bay Packers’ offense. Adams delivered a legendary performance versus the Seattle Seahawks, nabbing eight passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. His 160 receiving yards set a Packers postseason record.
11 of Aaron Rodgers’ 27 pass attempts were thrown in the direction of Adams. The two connected four times on throws of 10+ yards downfield.
Aaron Rodgers was 6-6 for 145 yards and 2 TD on throws more than 10 yards downfield. That is his 2nd-most such attempts without an incompletion in his career (7-7 at Vikings in 2013).
That includes 4-4 for 107 yards and 2 TD targeting Davante Adams more than 10 yards downfield.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 13, 2020
Adams caught a critical 40-yard TD in the third quarter, extending the Packers lead to 28-10. They hung on to win 28-23. Remarkably, the only other Green Bay player to catch more than one ball was tight end Jimmy Graham, who finished with three receptions for 49 yards.
.@Tae15Adams just gets open.
— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2020
5. Jurrell Casey
30-year-old defensive end Jurrell Casey came through with a vintage performance in the Titans’ upset victory. The four-time Pro Bowler collected four solo tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, two QB hits, and one forced fumble.
Casey’s strip sack of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the third quarter was a monumental play. In fact, it was one of several game-changing plays from the Titans’ defense that kept the league’s top-ranked offense in check all evening.
— NFL on ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsNFL) January 12, 2020
6. Nick Bosa
The San Francisco 49ers cruised to a 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings behind their elite defense. The 49ers yielded just 10 points and only 148 yards.
Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa made a major impact in his playoff debut. Bosa had six tackles (two for loss), three QB hits and two sacks. He became the first San Francisco rookie with multiple sacks in a playoff game since Dana Stubblefield did so in 1993.
#49ers' Nick Bosa in his rookie playoff debut:
3 quarterback hits
2 tackles for loss
1 pass defensed
97 is the best thing that happened to this franchise this season.
— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) January 12, 2020
Bosa played well in coverage too, breaking up a pass intended for Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 11, 2020
7. Tevin Coleman
The 49ers ran the ball 47 times against the Vikings. Tevin Coleman was handed a season-high 22 carries, rushing for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
San Francisco is notorious for riding the hot hand in its backfield. Coleman was the go-to guy in this one, despite getting limited carries in recent weeks. He had as many rushing attempts Saturday as he did in the final five games of the season combined. In fact, Coleman hadn’t been fed double-digit carries since Week 12.
8. Frank Clark
Frank Clark set a Chiefs playoff record with three sacks, his third coming on the final play of the game.
Frank Clark unblocked off the edge to seal it!pic.twitter.com/G7BjKTe84z
— PFF (@PFF) January 12, 2020
The defensive end stepped up for the Chiefs with Chris Jones (sore calf) sidelined. Jones has led the Chiefs in sacks in each of the past two seasons. Clark recorded a team-high four quarterback hits.
9. Deshaun Watson
It came in a losing effort, but Deshaun Watson delivered a monster showing with 425 total yards. He completed 31 passes for 388 yards and two TDs. Watson also rushed for 37 yards, highlighted by a 5-yard score late in the third period.
— #ClemsonNFL (@ClemsonPros) January 12, 2020
10. Tyler Lockett
Tyler Lockett put forth a superstar performance in the Seahawks’ loss, hauling in nine receptions for 136 yards and a TD. Lockett shined with multiple diving and sliding catches to keep the game competitive.
— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2020
The rest of Seattle’s passing attack was practically non-existent. The second leading receiver was rookie DK Metcalf, who mustered 59 yards.
11. Richard Sherman
49ers All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was targeted only three times Saturday, relinquishing one reception for nine yards.
Sherman intercepted Vikings QB Kirk Cousins after anticipating the route in the third quarter. The 49ers scored a TD after Sherman gave them terrific field position, taking a 24-10 advantage.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) January 11, 2020
12. Damien Williams
With the Chiefs trailing for much of the first half—coupled with the Texans’ inability to stop the pass—Williams only received 12 carries. But the running back still managed 47 yards and two touchdowns. Williams also caught two balls for an additional 21 yards and a TD.
For Williams, it’s his second consecutive 3-TD performance, having produced a three-score outing against the Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship.
Damien Williams has scored 6 touchdowns in his last 2 playoff games.
He joins LeGarrette Blount and Ricky Watters as the only RBs in NFL history with multiple 3 TD playoff games. pic.twitter.com/vafUYDWyHx
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 12, 2020
13. Za’Darius Smith
Packers Za’Darius Smith was a surprise omission from the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Smith, who produced a career-best 13.5 sacks this season, donned a “Snubbed” shirt underneath his jersey.
Za'Darius Smith with a one-word message for everyone… pic.twitter.com/pkkuhpE5cV
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) January 13, 2020
Smith continued to wreck havoc in the pass rush Sunday, sacking Russell Wilson twice. He had four quarterback hits in the victory.
14. Preston Smith
Preston Smith was also left off the Pro Bowl roster despite a strong season. He and Za-Darius both signed with Green Bay in the offseason, but neither received an All-Star nod.
Za'Darius & Preston Smith combined for 4 sacks, 10 QB pressures, and 12 hurries tonight.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 13, 2020
Preston registered two sacks, the second coming on a critical third down with 3:22 left in the contest.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 13, 2020
15. DeAndre Hopkins
Watson targeted All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins a whopping 14 times, who hurt his ribs in the loss. Gutting out the rib injury after a brief exam in the locker room, Hopkins corralled nine receptions for a postseason career-high 118 yards.