After the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles beat the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants respectively, all eyes were on the remaining Divisional Round matchups on Sunday, with the Buffalo Bills taking on the Cincinnati Bengals. and the San Francisco 49ers hosting the Dallas Cowboys.
The Bills fell to the Bengals 27-10, and the 49ers beat the Cowboys 19-12.
Here’s what else you need to know.
Twenty days after suffering cardiac arrest in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was on hand as the Bills faced the Bengals again, this time in the divisional round of the playoffs of the NFL at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. .
But the Bengals prevailed despite Buffalo’s home-field advantage and the thrill of having Hamlin in the stadium.
The CBS broadcast of the game showed Hamlin arriving by trolley and entering the Bills locker room wearing sunglasses, a face covering and a jacket sold through his Chasing M clothing line with a hood pulled up. Hamlin’s mother Nina, father Mario and younger brother Damir were also shown entering the stadium.
Video later posted to social media showed Hamlin walking from the locker room to an elevator while being protected by security guards.
During the match, Hamlin’s presence was announced over the stadium public address system, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd at Highmark Stadium. CBS showed video of Hamlin thrilling the crowd by making his signature heart-shaped gesture with his hands and urging the crowd to make noise by raising their arms.
With a steady snowfall in Western New York and all the emotion leaning towards the Bills, the Bengals came out of the gate strong. A pair of touchdown passes from Joe Burrow gave Cincinnati a 14-0 lead, and the Bengals took a 17-7 halftime lead.
The Bengals held on to a comfortable advantage, leading by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, while Cincinnati’s defense snuffed out Buffalo’s offense throughout the game. The Bills offense could never pick up speed and only managed to enter the end zone once in the game.
Cincinnati now advances to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game. The Chiefs will host the Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday with a scheduled kickoff at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The San Francisco 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 to advance to the team’s second straight NFC Championship game on Sunday.
San Francisco’s defense came out strong, ending the Cowboys’ elusive offense. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott struggled for the unit, throwing for 206 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. One of Dallas’ strengths on offense was wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who finished with 117 receiving yards.
49ers rookie quarterback sensation Brock Purdy continued to transition from Mr. Irrelevant to Mr. Relevant. He improved to 7-0 as a starter after taking over from an injured Jimmy Garropolo in mid-December. Purdy threw for 214 yards in the win.
The Cowboys’ kicking struggles seemed to continue since last week’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kicker Brett Maher got off to another rocky start, with his extra run blocked after missing four extra run attempts the previous week. Maher would continue to bounce back from the blocked kick, knocking down two field goals afterwards.
The 49ers will now travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game and have a chance to clinch their Super Bowl berth for the second time since 2019. The game is scheduled for next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.