Without their No. 1 quarterback, the Minnesota Vikings had no chance against the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers. Without a clue about how to play in the post-season, the Cincinnati Bengals were without hope against the Houston Texans.
On Day 1 of the National Football League post-season, the Texans dumped the Bengals 19-13 in the opening game of the AFC playoffs while the Packers whipped the Vikings 24-10 in the NFC opener. In both games, the home teams not only won, they took early leads and never looked back.
Cincinnati remains winless in the post-season since 1991 while the Vikings continue to struggle in meaningful games at Lambeau Field.
“It’s hard to put it into words,” cornerback Leon Hall told The Associated Press. Hall returned an interception for Cincinnati’s only touchdown.
“It’s disappointing. I mean, we had a good year, but it didn’t end how we wanted it to and how we planned it to. At the end of the day, they made the plays that won the game for them.”
In Green Bay, meanwhile, the Packers were just better than the Vikings who had to start backup Joe Webb at quarterback in place of the injured Christian Ponder.
Let’s look closely at each game on the first day of Wild Card Weekend:
Houston 19 Cincinnati 13
The Texans held onto the football for more than 38 minutes. They weren’t pretty, but their defense was outstanding and the Bengals simply looked lost. Marvin Lewis is now 0-4 in the post-season as head coach in Cincinnati. Arian Foster carried 32 times for 140 yards and a touchdown to lead the Texans, who will meet New England in the AFC semifinal next Sunday. Foster became the first player in NFL history to record three 100-yard rushing games in his first three post-season games. Matt Schaub completed 29-of-38 passes for 262 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Owen Daniels caught nine of those passes for 91 yards. For Cincinnati, Andy Dalton was out of his league. He completed only 14-of-30 passes for 147 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
Green Bay 24 Minnesota 10
The Vikings started quickly and took a 3-0 lead but at the end of the first quarter, DaJuan Harris scored a touchdown and the Packers never looked back. Joe Webb was sad at QB for the Vikings. He completed only 11 of 30 passes for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Webb, who hadn’t thrown a pass all season, was sacked three times and woefully inaccurate. Adrian Peterson carried 22 times for 99 yards. while Michael Jenkins caught three passes for 96 yards and a late TD. For Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers completed 23-of-33 passes for 274 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions as the Packers controlled the ball, the clock and the game. The Packers led 17-3 at the half and coasted. The Packers will play at San Francisco next week.