Jaguars, Saints To Advance To Divisonal Round

Jaguars, Saints Advance To Divisional Round Amid Controversy

By: James Jackson
January 8, 2018

The NFL wildcard weekend has concluded. Four teams will advance to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. Sunday saw two really good games with the Jaguars playing the Bills and the Saints facing off against the Panthers. Both games were really fun to watch right down to the closing seconds. However, both games ended in controversy.

Jaguars vs Bills
Jaguars QB Blake Bortles had a stellar game despite a few hiccups throughout. Bortles ran for a career high 88 yards and threw for 87 yards and 1 touchdown. Bortles may be a quarterback but he showed he’s more than capable of leading the Jaguars to a strong playoff run.

The same cannot be said for the Bills and their starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor threw for 134 yards and 1 interception before being taken out of the game with a possible concussion. Insert backup quarterback Nathan Peterman. Despite his best efforts to try and lead the Bills to a touchdown and tie the game and possibly force overtime, Peterman threw an interception. That game winning interception by the Jaguars was the center of controversy. Just a few weeks removed from the now infamous Jesse James no catch with the Steelers and the Patriots, NFL officials found themselves in the spotlight once again. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey did his best Jesse James impression when he dove for the ball and grabbed the game winning interception for the Jaguars. Ramsey's hands seemed to be tucked under the ball and he appeared to have control of the ball until his hands hit the ground. The ball then appeared to bounce out of his hands and move. After further review the officials deemed the interception a catch and the game was over. Jaguars won 10-3 and advance to divisional round to play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Saints vs Panthers
This game was close the whole time. The Panthers were within striking range of the Saints throughout the entire game. However the Panthers missed several opportunities to win the game, a controversial call at the end of the game was all the Panthers wanted answers to. Panthers QB Cam Newton was called for intentional grounding on the final drive of the game. However according to the NFL rule book, the pocket extends from offensive tackle to the other. Newton appeared to be past the pocket, it was close but Newton wasn’t in the pocket. Therefor the pass shouldn’t have been called intentional grounding. Panthers TE Greg Olson had said he overheard the assistant officials try and tell the head referee that the play wasn’t intentional grounding. Obviously the head official thought differently. Saints won 31-26 and will advance to the divisional round to play the red hot (or in their case freezing cold) Minnesota Vikings.