In two of the most intriguing matchups of the 2015 postseason, the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens were both victorious in Wild Card Weekend behind stellar play from their respective quarterbacks. The Colts defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-10 in Indianapolis and the Ravens took down the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 at Heinz Field.
Steelers versus Ravens has quickly emerged as the elite rivalry game in the NFL. Both teams are prided by their hard-hitting defenses, who are not afraid to lay the lumber against a divisional opposing offense. However, in 2014 the Steelers have been carried by their offense, which ranked first in the AFC in yards per game. Pittsburgh’s defense would have their work cut out for them in this game, as they faced one of the league’s best postseason quarterbacks in Joe Flacco. In an underwhelming first half, Ravens held a 10-9 lead behind a Bernard Pierce touchdown run and Justin Tucker field goal. Despite having such a high tempo offense, Pittsburgh would only find the end zone one time in this contest, as Ben Roethlisberger found Martavis Bryant for a six-yard strike in the third. Behind a turnover-free game from their quarterback, Baltimore upset Pittsburgh with a double-digit win in on the road. The Ravens will face the New England Patriots next weekend in Foxborough for a shot at the AFC Championship Game.
Behind head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals have seen a tremendous amount of regular season success in Cincinnati. However, with their Pro Bowl quarterback under center, Cincy has yet to win to win a game in the NFL postseason. The Bengals would hit the road to Indianapolis where they would face the Colts and their elite young quarterback Andrew Luck. Unfortunately for Bengals fans it would be more of the same from their head coach and quarterback. Indianapolis came out of the gates firing with an opening drive touchdown and a pair of field goals from future Hall of Famer Adam Vinatieri. Rookie running back Jeremy Hill would be the only Bengal to find the end zone on Sunday afternoon, as the Colts shut down Cincinnati’s offense in the second half with 13 unanswered points scored and none allowed. Luck added to his impressive on-field resume with 376 passing yards and no interceptions thrown. Indy will travel to Denver next week where they will take on their former fan favorite Peyton Manning and his Broncos squad.
The AFC postseason is about to get even more interesting as the Ravens and the Colts look to take on two of the best teams in the NFL respectively. The Patriots and the Broncos are both tough teams to beat in general, but with a trip to Super Bowl XLIX at stake, Baltimore and Indianapolis have a difficult task ahead of them. Football fans better gear up for a thrilling divisional round, because the road to Glendale is about to get very interesting.