NFL fans were treated to an exciting day of football on the first day of the NFL wild card match-ups as Indianapolis mounted the second-largest comeback in playoff history and the New Orleans Saints kicked a field goal on the game’s final play to secure victories on Saturday.
Trailing 38-10 early in the third quarter, the rest of the Colts-Chiefs contest belonged entirely to Indianapolis and its second-year QB Andrew Luck. Luck, who went 29-for-45 for 443 yards, threw four touchdowns and ran for a fifth. Luck hit RB Donald Brown with a 3-yard TD pass midway through the third quarter and five minutes later connected with TE Coby Fleener on a 12-yard scoring strike.
With the Colts driving again early in the fourth quarter, Brown fumbled at the Chiefs’ five-yard line. Luck promptly recovered the ball and dove into the end zone for the score that pulled Indianapolis within three points of the Chiefs.
After Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop hit a 43-yard field goal to give the Chiefs a 44-38 advantage late in the fourth quarter, Luck then found wide receiver T.Y. Hilton for a 64-yard touchdown with 4:21 to play. The Colts defense stopped the Chiefs on the ensuing possession and Indy found itself as the only the second team in NFL history to win after trailing by 28 points or more in a playoff game.
In 1993, QB Frank Reich rallied the Buffalo Bills from a 32-point deficit to defeat the Houston Oilers, 41-38. Hilton would end up with 13 receptions for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles left the game early in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return. QB Alex Smith picked up the slack throwing for 378 yards and four touchdowns.
In the NFC wild card match-up, Shayne Graham hit a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the game to give the Saints a 26-24 victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia. It was the first road playoff win for New Orleans in franchise history.
Two of the league’s better offenses couldn’t manage much in the first half. Eagles QB Nick Foles (23-of-33 for 195 yards) found WR Riley Cooper for a 10-yard touchdown and Graham hit two field goals as Philadelphia took a 7-6.
New Orleans then scored twice in the third quarter to take a 20-7 lead. QB Drew Brees (20-for-30 for 250 yards) hit Lance Moore on a 24-yard TD scoring strike and RB Mark Ingram (18 carries, 97 yards) scored on a 4-yard run.
The Eagles would answer, though, NFL leading rusher LeSean McCoy scored on a 1-yard run at the end of the third quarter and Foles’ 3-yard pass to Zach Ertz gave Philadelphia a 24-23 lead with just 4:54 to play in the game.
The Saints, who will face Seattle next week in the divisional round, held Philadelphia to just 256 total yards and just 80 yards rushing.