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Hawks in the NFL - Divisional Round

TEU continues to be represented.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

We’re through the Divisional Round in the NFL Playoffs and we’re down to a single player remaining. Let’s go in reverse order again, starting in San Francisco Santa Clara.

George Kittle and Chauncey Golston

Kittle is one of two survivors after what was a brutal weekend for former Iowa players. He was crucial to San Francisco’s 19-12 slugfest of a win over Dallas, catching all 5 of his targets for 95 yards as the 49ers move to the NFC Championship Game for the third time in four years. He was vital to San Francisco’s run game that eventually wore Dallas down, and he was involved in perhaps the play of the weekend, a huge 30-yard reception in the third quarter on a drive that ended in their lone touchdown of the day.

First, amazing concentration to bobble this a couple of times yet still bring it in. Second, amazing concentration to do that AND duck his head right as Trevon Diggs is about to decapitate him. Seriously, that hit probably knocks Kittle out (literally). Let’s look at it from another angle.

On the other sideline, Golston’s season ends against San Francisco again. Golston lodged one tackle.

But really, this section has to highlight two things. 1) Brett Maher had another extra point miss, this time on a block (but also, Greg Olsen was on this right away in that the PAT was going wide). Everyone then blew a gasket when Maher made a 25-yard field goal. Congrats, I guess?

And 2) Dallas’s last segment is a total disaster. Dalton Schultz catches a pass but is going back toward the line of scrimmage as he’s pushed out of bounds so the clock still ran. Not great, but understandable. Schultz then catches a pass with 6 seconds left around the 45 which would theoretically get Dallas in range for a Hail Mary, but he doesn’t drag his second foot, for some reason, so it’s incomplete. Then…this. Oh my God, this.

I’m sorry, Zeke Elliot. Possibly his last contribution with the Dallas Cowboys is him lining up at center then getting dump trucked into the Earth’s core. Then the receiver, who I guess is supposed to lateral the ball to…someone, maybe Zeke, but sorry Zeke is unavailable as he’s now deceased…also gets dump trucked. That’s just a glorious bit of football and it deserves mention.

A.J. Epenesa, Ike Boettger, and Micah Hyde

Unfortunately for the Buffalo Bills, their season comes to an end with a disastrous 27-10 home loss to Cincinnati. It’s just the second loss the organization has suffered in a playoff home game (they were 13-1 at home going into Sunday’s game). Both Hyde and Boettger were inactive, while Epenesa registered one tackle. It’s a disappointing loss for the Bills, who faced a Cincinnati team with a ton of offensive linemen missing. Despite those losses up front, Cincinnati conceded just a single sack on Joe Burrow. Cincinnati looks fantastic and despite their line issues, they might be the favorite.

Dane Belton and Casey Kreiter

More disappointment, as the Giants were demolished Saturday night by division rivals Philadelphia, 38-7, in a game that was uncompetitive from the middle of the second quarter on. Kreiter and Belton both saw time on New York’s special teams unit but recorded no statistics. There’s not a lot to go over here. Remember what I said about San Francisco and Seattle squaring off in the Wildcard round? It’s hard to beat a team three times in a season…unless you’re dramatically more talented than the other team? That was this game as well. Philly is just way more talented than New York right now. I said last week to watch for Detroit and Seattle going forward due to their draft bounty – Philly is in this group too, as they have an additional first round pick next year from New Orleans. And they’re here already. Philadelphia vs. San Francisco - YES PLEASE.

Brandon Scherff, Coy Cronk, C.J. Beathard, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette

The hits keep coming, as the Jacksonville contingent goes home after a 27-20 loss to a hobbled Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Scherff and Cronk are the two Hawks to see action in this game, with Cronk in on special teams and Scherff starting on the Jacksonville line. It’s ISM that joins Kittle on the survivor list, advancing with the Chiefs. Jacksonville mostly hung in this game but KC gutted it out. Kansas City moves on to their fifth-straight AFC Championship Game and a rematch with Cincinnati, who won in KC in last year’s AFC title game. Yes please to that game too.