National Football League

Top Plays: Divisional Sunday

January 17

NFL Sunday is here!

The first day of the divisional round passed with the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills punching their tickets to the NFC and AFC Championship Games.

It's time to find out whom each team will face next Sunday for a trip to the Super Bowl.

In Sunday's first matchup, the upstart Cleveland Browns fell to Chad Henne and the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs 22-17.

That was followed by a battle between two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming out victorious against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints by a score of 30-20.

Here are the top plays from Sunday's divisional-round matchups.

BUCCANEERS VS. SAINTS

Marshon Lattimore brings out the clamps

The first quarter of the Saints' and Buccaneers' matchup didn't provide many fireworks, and in the second quarter, Tom Brady decided it was time for a change.

The Buccaneers' quarterback attempted to go deep to wide receiver Mike Evans, but Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore had other plans.

Lattimore and Evans have history with each other, with Lattimore consistently getting the better of the matchup, and social media pointed that out after this big play.

Interception leads to Evans' revenge

An interception by Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting gave the Buccaneers another shot to score points in the red zone.

They made sure to cash in with seven points this time, with Evans scoring a touchdown while covered by Lattimore.

Evans' win against Lattimore didn't go unnoticed, as pointed out by viewers on Twitter.

Famous Jameis

The matchup between Brady and Brees dominated headlines leading up to this game, but there was another storyline worth monitoring: Jameis Winston against his former team, the Buccaneers.

Winston, the No. 1 overall pick by the Buccaneers in 2015, was able to stick it to his former team with a 52-yard bomb that put the Saints ahead 13-10.

The touchdown pass from Winston generated celebration from fans and spectators on social media.

Brees gets in on the fun

Brady and Brees' backup, Winston, each threw a touchdown pass in the first half, but Brees was shut out of the end zone.

That changed on the Saints' opening drive of the second half, with Brees completing a 16-yard pass to Tre'Quan Smith to put the Saints ahead 20-13.

Winfield Jr. forces fumble

The Buccaneers' defense forced one turnover earlier in the game, but it wasn't satisfied with just one.

Rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. forced a fumble on Saints tight end Jared Cook, and it was recovered by Devin White.

Fournette's homecoming

Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette is from New Orleans and attended LSU, so this divisional-round matchup with the Saints had extra meaning for him.

Through three quarters, he was dominant against his hometown team, culminating with a receiving touchdown to tie the game 20-20.

Fans chimed in on social media about the homecoming performance by Fournette.

Devin White interception leads to Brady score

The Buccaneers' defense continued to be opportunistic late into the fourth quarter, with a second interception of Drew Brees.

Linebacker Devin White provided the Buccaneers' defense its third takeaway of the game.

That interception led to seven points by way of a Tom Brady quarterback sneak to give the Bucs a 30-20 lead.

BROWNS VS. CHIEFS

Mahomes strikes first

Dec. 27 was the last time the Chiefs' superstar quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, took the field. He made up for lost time early on the Chiefs' first drive Sunday.

Mahomes led a 10-play, 75-yard drive for the Chiefs that resulted in him scoring on a 1-yard rushing touchdown.

Chiefs flex their muscle

The Chiefs made it look easy on their first drive of the game, and they picked up right where they left off on their following possession.

First, wide receiver Mecole Hardman took this pass from Mahomes 42 yards, showing off the speed that makes the Chiefs' offense so difficult to guard.

The drive was capped off by a 20-yard touchdown reception from All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce to give the Chiefs a 13-3 lead.

The Kelce touchdown was indicative of the dominance he has displayed all season, and social media loved his incredible route running and effort to get into the end zone.

A big-time stop

The Cleveland Browns were driving before the half and in position to score their first touchdown.

But a fumble by Rashard Higgins at the 1-yard line led to a touchback in favor of the Chiefs.

The momentum-shifting play immediately became the topic of conversation on social media, with viewers debating the rule that a fumble in the end zone is a touchback, as well as the nature of the hit on Higgins.

Browns on the board

It took three quarters, but the Browns finally found the end zone on their second drive of the third quarter.

Baker Mayfield connected with Jarvis Landry for a touchdown in the red zone, drawing the Browns within nine points after the extra point.

Inching closer

After failing to score a touchdown in the first half, the Browns clawed their way back into the game with their second touchdown of the second half early in the fourth quarter.

Kareem Hunt found the end zone after a short-yardage touchdown, which drew the Browns within five, with the score 22-17.

Circus catch

With Patrick Mahomes entering concussion protocol because of a hit in the third quarter, the Chiefs turned to veteran backup Chad Henne at quarterback.

It's difficult to imagine many better receiving options for a backup quarterback than Tyreek Hill, as evidenced by this amazing catch.

Hill's sticky fingers caught the eyes of viewers across the country and set social media on fire.

Turnover!

The positives from Henne were short-lived after that completion to Hill, with Henne throwing an interception in the end zone soon after.

The questionable interception, of course, resulted in conversation about Henne leading the Chiefs in a playoff game.

Henne's redemption!

Henne dug himself a hole with that interception, but it wasn't a grave.

He was able to redeem himself with two big plays on the Chiefs' final drive to take the team into the AFC Championship Game.

The first was a 14-yard run on third down to get the Chiefs to fourth-and-inches.

The second was a fourth-down pass to Hill that sealed the game for Kansas City.

Henne's big moment immediately became the story of the game, with fans reacting on social media.


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