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Hawks in the NFL - Divisional Round

Several Hawkeyes are one game away from the Super Bowl.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

We’re through the Divisional Round and we’re down to the final three games of the season before we get 7 months of cold, dark, Not Football. Savor every last second of these finals weeks.

Geno Stone, Tyler Linderbaum, and Desmond King

Full admission - this is one game I didn’t view much of this weekend. There wasn’t much to take in after the first few minutes of the third quarter as Baltimore cruised to a 34-10 win over Houston, outscoring the Texans 24-0 in the second half.

Stone registered 1 tackle for the Ravens, while Linderbaum anchored a line that had 229 yards rushing. Not a bad day for either guy - they didn’t have a lot to do and this game turned into a rout.

King’s season comes to an end after notching 5 tackles, a sack, and 2 tackles for loss. He finished his season with 47 tackles in 7 games after bouncing around rosters in the first half of the season. He brought a steady veteran presence and I hope he sticks with them after this season, which can only be described as a success for him and the Texans. The future is really bright for that franchise after landing CJ Stroud in last year’s draft and immediately winning their (bad) division.

George Kittle and Lukas Van Ness

Saturday night’s tilt in Santa Clara was close (and soggy), but it was the Niners that made the crucial plays late as they edged the Packers, 24-21.

Kittle led the way for the Niners this weekend with 4 receptions for 81 yards and this excellent pitch and catch with Brock Purdy.

This wasn’t the best game for the 49er offense - Purdy had a few shaky throws, there were some sketchy Kyle Shanahan moments, and of course Deebo Samuel is now injured and is a coin toss to play in the NFC Championship Game - but they emerged with a win and I have to think that’s a little rust since a few of their starters hadn’t played in three weeks.

On the other sideline, Van Ness had 2 tackles as the Packers end the season in the Divisional Round and against San Francisco again (San Francisco has won the last 5 playoff matchups). The rookie finished the year with 32 tackles and 4 sacks. Also a good future - Green Bay! They have another great quarterback, the final Greenlaw pick aside, and this time he’s not a total douche (that we know of; seriously, he’s SO much more likeable than the last two Hall of Famers under center for the Pack).

Last thing on this game. I love San Francisco as a city (I mean that truly; even with some of the issues the city has had of late, it’s an awesome place to visit) but damn the weather can really stink, at any point in the year. It’s July? Bring jeans and a rain coat, because it’s 55 and raining in the city. But also bring shorts because you can go east of the hills and it’s in the 90s. January? Oh it’s a literal monsoon - maybe skip the rain coat and go straight to a poncho.

Sam LaPorta, Jack Campbell, Tristan Wirfs, Anthony Nelson, and Kaevon Merriweather

Lots of Hawks in the Motor City Sunday afternoon as Detroit continued their run. The Lions defeated Tampa Bay, 31-23, to win multiple playoff games in a season for the first time since 1957. It’s their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1991 when they lost to Washington.

LaPorta acted as Jarred Goff’s security blanket again, snagging 9 receptions for 65 yards. Again - this guy suffered what looked like a catastrophic knee injury in Week 18, dodged a bullet but was seemingly doubtful to play in the Wild Card Round, then has played in both playoff games and looked semi-close to LaPorta of the regular season against Tampa.

On the other side of the ball, Campbell had 3 tackles. The questions are still there for the Detroit defense - this iffy Tampa team had over 400 yards of offense and while they aren’t a very good running team (last in the league at less than 88 yards per game), they averaged nearly 6 yards a carry. That’s a major issue for Detroit heading to Santa Clara for a shot at their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.

As for the Bucs, they had no problems on offense for most of this game, with the late pick ending their season. Wirfs was his usual sturdy self at left tackle, while Nelson didn’t record any stats. Merriweather recorded 1 tackle, but was carted off the field in the third quarter and did not return to action.

Tampa won their division - both South divisions stunk out loud this year - but I don’t think I watched more than 2 hours of them all season, with those 2 hours occurring between the Wild Card and Divisional rounds. I didn’t watch these guys at all. Wirfs is amazing. Baker Mayfield was surprisingly ok for them and looked like a dude. I like the guy; he’s in the phylum of quarterback that was in a bad situation and needed a move (exactly like his opposing quarterback in Goff). I know Mike Evans could leave and that would be a massive loss for the Bucs. The rest of it? A giant question mark. I have no idea.

AJ Epenesa and Micah Hyde

The season comes to an end for our Buffalo correspondents as the Bills fell to Kansas City, 27-24, on another wide right kick. I also remember the first wide right kick for the Bills. That one was way worse, of course, but this isn’t much better. There was a feeling with this team. Maybe these were the guys, despite a boatload of injuries, that could get them over the hump.

That’s a no, dawg. Epenesa finished with 1 tackle, which was a tackle for loss, while Hyde finished with 4 tackles. AJE finished the season with 20 tackles. 6.5 sacks, and 1 touchdown scored on a pick-6 (he also forced a fumble and recovered another), while Hyde collected 54 tackles and 2 interceptions.

The Bills must HATE Kansas City. Then they get to live with this over the offseason, a former Philly player supporting his brother, who also drank like a sailor all weekend and did Buffalo Things, and then jumped out of his suite into the crowd at least once. Tough beat.

That leaves us the NFC and AFC title games next week. Baltimore hosts Kansas City in the early game, while Detroit heads to San Francisco. Baltimore had to like what they saw from the field this weekend.