Last week, I once again handed out Impact Player Of The Game awards to multiple players on the winning teams in each of the four Wild Card Weekend games, as it’s hard more times than not to pick just one individual player from each and every game.
However, this most recent Divisional Round is different, as I noticed one player from each of the four winning teams (San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers) stand out to me.
To see which players garnered the Impact Player awards for the Divisional Round, simply view the bullet points and bold text below:
- #6 Minnesota Vikings Vs. #1 San Francisco 49ers-With the game still in the balance early in the second half and the Vikings poised to tie the game for the second time, a certain cornerback for the 49ers made the game-changing interception at the Minnesota 42-yard line on 3rd-and-nine to help allow his team to increase their lead from 17-10 to 24-10. And as to which player made that interception, it was former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman, whom amassed his third career postseason interception on the play, by picking off Kirk Cousins’ pass that was intended for Adam Thielen for 13 yards. The game-changing interception makes the nine-year veteran cornerback out of Stanford the Impact Player of this game.
- #6 Tennessee Titans Vs. #1 Baltimore Ravens-Historically, the Ravens have been stout against the run and were the league’s best all-time defense during their record-setting 2000 season. But the same guy who went “Shaquille O’Neal” on the New England Patriots during Wild Card Weekend demoralized them in the second half, as Derrick Henry had 139 of his 195 rushing yards in the second half to help keep Lamar Jackson on the sidelines, along with putting the Titans up by as many as 22 points in the second half. He also authored the second of two Titans second half touchdowns via a three-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis. The dominant performance by the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner makes him the Impact Player of this game.
- #4 Houston Texans Vs. #2 Kansas City Chiefs-23-for-35 for 321 yards and five touchdowns is hard to overlook, but Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t have been able to do so without Mecole Hardman, whose 58-yard kickoff return with the Chiefs down 24-0 helped set up Mahomes’ first touchdown pass of the day, which was a 17-yarder to Damien Williams. The aforementioned 58-yard kickoff return by the rookie wide receiver from Georgia makes him the Impact Player of this game.
- #5 Seattle Seahawks Vs. #2 Green Bay Packers-The Packers once again get aided by a horrible referee call, as evidenced by the Aaron Jones one-yard touchdown run that wasn’t, as he was short of the goal line on that play. And with that being said, it’s hard to reward any Packers player the Impact Player award of this game. But if I had to give it to one player on that team, well then it would be Preston Smith, whose six-yard sack of Russell Wilson on 3rd-and-5 late in the game allowed Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense to run out the clock.
Well, those are the Divisional Round Impact Players.
Tune in on January 28 to see which players are the Impact Players of the Conference Championship Games. So until then, so long everybody!