Ray Dunlap 2020 NFL Tournament

Round Two

Thirty-Two games down . . . . . and eight teams eliminated.  Had some amazing games with some memorable individual performances.

Here are the results of Round Two:

LA Chargers 33, Miami 20 – Justin Herbert, LA’s talented young quarterback, shredded the Dolphins’ defense, completing 29 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns.  Mike Williams hauled in ten of those passes for 118 yards.  Ironically, Miami outgained L.A. 421 to 404, but four Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions, one of which was returned 99 yards for a TD by Tevaughn Campbell, was the difference.

Dallas 20, NY Giants 17 – Andy Dalton had one of his best games for the Cowboys, hitting on 24 of 32 passes for 276 yards and two TD’s as Dallas topped their division rivals, the Giants, bouncing them from the playoffs.  Amari Cooper had a terrific game for the victors, accumulating 122 yards on just 5 catches, including a 56 yard TD.

Las Vegas 28, Indianapolis 27 – In a remarkable game of unbeatens that saw Derek Carr and Philip Rivers in a real gunslinger contest, it was the Raiders eking out a one point victory on the road.  Vegas actually led the game 14-3 before the Colts ran off 24 unanswered points to take a 27-14 lead with less than 8 minutes to play.  But a Josh Jacobs TD run with 4:00 to play, and a Carr to Hunter Renfrow TD pass with only 25 seconds left gave the Raiders a thrilling victory!

LA Rams 28, Arizona 22 – The Rams defense sacked Arizona quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Chris Streveler a remarkable 11 times in the game, holding off a furious Cardinals comeback attempt in the final period en route to a six-point victory.  LA’s Cam Akers had 96 yards rushing on only 15 carries while QB Jared Goff tossed four TD passes in the victory.

Cleveland 33, Denver 27 – Trailing 27-23 with just 7:30 left to play, Browns’ QB, Baker Mayfield, hit Rashard Higgins with a 44 yard scoring strike to give Cleveland a lead they would not relinquish.  Kareem Hunt had an outstanding game running the ball, tallying 123 yards on 22 carries as Cleveland eliminates the Broncos from these playoffs.

Minnesota 45, Carolina 17 – Kirk Cousins of the Vikings had a career day, connecting on 24 of 27 passes for 395 yards and three scores as Minnesota trounced the Panthers by four touchdowns!  And, equally as productive was runningback Dalvin Cook, who piled up 127 yards on 25 carries and found paydirt three times.  In fact, the Vikings rolled up 561 yards of total offense in the victory!

Baltimore 37, New England 31 – Patriots’ QB, Cam Newton, put on a show in Baltimore, rushing for 110 yards on 15 carries, including a 41 yard fourth quarter TD scamper to give New England a 31-30 lead with only one minute to play!  But, a big kick-off return by the Ravens’ Devin Duvernay and four consecutive completions by QB Lamar Jackson set up J.K. Dobbins’ 3-yard TD run with only 15 seconds remaining in the game to give Baltimore a six point victory!

Tampa Bay 26, Washington 20 – The Buccaneers did not play one of their best games . . . but, it was good enough to hold off the Washington Football Team by six at home.  Tampa Bay’s defense was particularly tough, sacking Washington quarterbacks eight times, holding them to a mere 274 total yards and forcing three turnovers, including two fourth quarter interceptions.  Tom Brady of the Bucs was good, but not great, hitting on 23 of 32 passes for 273 yards and a score.

Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 24 – The Steelers, in an elimination game, squeaked by the Bengals by three at home, despite being heavily favored.  In fact, Cincy had the lead 21-18 halfway through the third period after Giovani Bernard’s short TD run.  And, even though Pittsburgh was held after that to three Chris Boswell field goals, that was enough to secure the victory.

Chicago 21, Philadelphia 3 – Much maligned Mitch Trubisky had a terrific game against the Eagles, completing 29 of 36 passes for 311 yards and two TD’s as the Bears pounded Philly by 18 points.  Cordarrelle Patterson added 88 yards on the ground with a score as well.  Chicago’s defense was stellar, holding the Eagles to only 246 yards of offense in the victory, eliminating Philadelphia from the playoffs.

Tennessee 40, Houston 33 – In a game where the Texans were out-gained 562 yards to 393, the final score didn’t reflect that difference, with the Titans winning by only a touchdown!  But, three amazing performances led Tennessee – QB Ryan Tannehill’s 357 yards passing, Derrick Henry’s 141 yards rushing and Corey Davis’ 183 yards receiving!  The Titans remain unbeaten while Houston advances to the elimination round.

New Orleans 45, San Francisco 28 – Drew Brees hit on 24 of 28 passes for 278 yards and a pair of scores leading the Saints to a convincing 17-point victory over the 49ers.  Alvin Kamara added three scores – two on the ground and a 55 yard fourth quarter reception, as New Orleans remained unbeaten in the tournament.

Kansas City 54, NY Jets 15 – After being shocked in the opening round by the Jaguars, and despite being flagged for 16 penalties, the Chiefs showed off all of their offensive weapons in a lopsided victory over the Jets.  Patrick Mahomes was on target most of the game, connecting on 27 of 35 for 321 yards and three scores.  Travis Kelce also turned in a stellar game, hauling in 10 passes for 124 yards, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 3 TDs in the huge Chiefs win.

Seattle 44, Atlanta 31 – Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan had another outstanding game, this time completing 31 passes for 387 yards, but threw a remarkable five interceptions as the Seahawks bounced Atlanta from the playoffs with a 13 point victory.  Russell Wilson had a solid game for Seattle, hitting on 30 of 38 for 356 yards and four TD’s, while runningback Chris Carson scored four TD’s – two through the air and two on the ground.

Buffalo 38, Jacksonville 24 – The surprising Jaguars, who upset Kansas City in the first round, hung around in this game with the Bills for three quarters before Buffalo QB Josh Allen found his stride leading his team to victory.  Allen threw for 312 yards and 3 TD’s, outdueling his counterpart, Jake Luton, who tallied 291 yards passing with two TD’s.  Jacksonville’s James Robinson also enjoyed a good game, rushing 19 times for 116 yards in the loss.  The Bills remain unbeaten, but the Jags will continue to the next round!

Green Bay 41, Detroit 13 – Aaron Rodgers flashed his MVP form, hitting on 30 of 38 passes for 317 yards and 4 TD’s as the Pack pounded the Lions by 28 points.  Davante caught 12 passes for 140 yards and two of those scores while Aaron Jones added 103 yards on the ground in the victory.  And, all of this despite Green Bay losing eight starters to injury during the game, and being flagged for 9 penalties.  But the Packers did not turn the ball over and forced three Lions’ takeaways.

Ray Dunlap 2020 NFL Tournament

Round One

So, I got a bit of a late start, but my 2020 NFL Tournament is underway, and I’ve completed my first round.  For those of you not familiar with my format, I use all 32 teams and I seed them by conference based on their actual 2020 regular season win-loss record, with the top seed playing the lowest seed, etc.  Once the first round is complete all of the winning teams go into one pool, and all the losing teams into another pool.  This way, at the end of the second round, eight teams will have two losses and be eliminated.  Eight other teams will be 2-0 and the other 16 teams will be 1-1.  Those 1-1 teams play each other to eliminate another eight teams.  The unbeaten teams also play each other and will leave four teams with 3-0 records and 12 teams with 2-1 records.  These, then, are the 16 teams that advance to my traditional single elimination playoff format, eventually leading to a Super Bowl game.

Here are the results of Round One:

Las Vegas 26, Miami 23 – Daniel Carlson broke a 23-23 tie with his 28 yard field goal with under two minutes to play to give the Raiders a narrow victory over the Dolphins.  David Carr had a solid game, completing 20 of 27 passes for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win, while injury-plagued Miami lost six starters during the contest.

Washington 19, Minnesota 10 – Alex Smith completed 24 of his 29 passes leading Washington past Minnesota in their first round contest.  His counterpart for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins, had a rough day, tossing 4 interceptions in the loss.

New England 30, Cleveland 10 – In a mild upset, the Patriots picked off five Baker Mayfield passes en route to a twenty point victory over the Browns.  New England’s Damien Harris rushed 18 times for 107 yards and found paydirt 3 times in the win.

Arizona 26, NY Giants 10 – Kyler Murray and Kenyon Drake each had solid performances leading the Cardinals to victory at home over the Giants.  Murray was 27-37 for 307 yards passing and added another 36 yards rushing, while Drake had two rushing TD’s in the contest.  Arizona’s defense was solid, holding New York to only 198 yards of total offense.

Indianapolis 45, LA Chargers 9 – Philip Rivers was nearly perfect against his former team, hitting on 23 of 24 passes for 240 yards and 2 TD’s, as the Colts pounded the Chargers in their first round contest.  Meanwhile, Indianapolis’ defense harassed Los Angeles’ talented young quarterback, Justin Herbert, sacking him six times for 44 yards in losses.

San Francisco 30, Chicago 17 – Jimmy Garoppolo tossed three touchdown passes and running back Jeff Wilson added 96 yards on the ground as the 49ers cruised to an opening round win over the Bears.  Chicago’s Cordarrelle Patterson had a great game in the loss, returning five kickoffs for 205 yards – a 41 yard average!

Baltimore 49, Denver 32 – In a game that had over 1,000 yards of offense, and saw a total of ten starts go down with injuries, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens topped the Broncos in this round one game.  Jackson had a so-so game passing, connecting on 14 of 19 for only 175 yards, but he rushed for 168 yards and scored 3 TD’s on 18 carries!  Melvin Gordon had a sensational game in defeat for Denver, rushing 25 times for 194 yards and 3 scores.

LA Rams 33, Dallas 23 – In a sloppy game that featured 18 penalties, the Rams held off a 4th quarter rally by the Cowboys to beat them by ten in this first round game.  Each team only turned the ball over once, but it was L.A. making more big plays during the game as Dallas’ quarterback, Andy Dalton, was sacked four times, three of them on important third down plays in the red zone.  The Rams rushed for 231 yards, led by Darrell Henderson, who tallied 97 yards on only 7 carries.

Tennessee 27, Cincinnati 0 – In the only shutout of the first round, the Titans picked off Bengals quarterback, Joe Burrow, twice and racked up 150 more yard in offense in this convincing victory.  Tennessee signal-caller, Ryan Tannehill, was solid, hitting on 20 or 28 passes for 261 yards and two scores, while Derrick Henry had his typical outstanding day, rushing for 115 yards and a TD.

Tampa Bay 31, Carolina 28 – The Bucs’ held off a furious fourth quarter rally by the Panthers and held on for a narrow victory.  Both quarterbacks were outstanding – Carolina’s Teddy Bridgewater threw for 305 yards and 2 TD’s, while the Bucs’ Tom Brady tallied 315 yards and 3 scores.  But, it was the Tampa Bay defense that made the difference, sacking Bridgewater eight times in the game.  D.J. Moore had a terrific game for the Panthers in the loss, hauling in 7 passes for 126 yards.

Houston 27, Pittsburgh 16 – In a pretty good upset, the Texans forced six Steelers’ turnovers and never trailed in the game, topping Pittsburgh by 11 points.  Four of Houston’s takeaways occurred inside their own 20 yard line as the Steelers’ missed multiple scoring opportunities.  Neither team played great offensively, but Texans’ receiver Will Fuller turned in a solid performance, hauling in 5 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Detroit 30, Seattle 13 – Matthew Stafford had one of his best games, completing 27 of 30 passes for 298 yards and 2 touchdowns in leading the Lions to a convincing upset victory over the Seahawks.  His counterpart, Russell Wilson, appeared frustrated most of the game, tossing two interceptions and fumbling away the ball after being sacked.  Meanwhile, Detroit played turnover-free football in the win.

Buffalo 51, NY Jets 15 – Poor Sam Darnold.  He just looked lost out against the Bills, throwing five interceptions, three of them by Bills’ Taran Johnson in Buffalo’s convincing 36 point victory.  Johnson, in fact, had a remarkable game, tallying 172 yards on those three interception returns, bring two in for TD’s!  And, this did not take away from the Bills’ offense, where Josh Allen hit on 24 of 29 passes for 290 yards and three scores in Buffalo’s wipeout victory.

New Orleans 42, Philadelphia 14 – Alvin Kamara is a beast!  He showed off all of his offensive skills in a convincing Saints’ victory over the Eagles, rushing for 77 yards and 2 scores, and hauling in 14 passes for 136 yards and another 2 TD’s.  Philly QB, Carson Wentz, was also picked off five times as Drew Brees and the Saints rolled up 436 total offensive yards in the win.

Jacksonville 30, Kansas City 20 – In an unbelievable upset, the lowest seeded team in the AFC, the Jaguars, forced six Chiefs’ turnovers in a stunning 10-point victory!  Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes had his typically solid game, throwing for 335 yards and two scores.  But, it was five lost fumbles, four deep in their own territory, along with five injuries, that spelled doom for the Chiefs.  Jacksonville signal-caller, Gardner Minshew, had a pretty good game, throwing for 248 yards without an interception, in the shocking victory.

Green Bay 51, Atlanta 37 – League MVP Aaron Rodgers showed exactly why he deserved that honor, as he put up some monster stats in the Packers’ convincing win over the Falcons.  Rodgers was 27-33 for 392 yards, no interceptions, and six touchdown passes, five of which went to All-Pro receiver, Davante Adams, who caught 11 passes in the win for 129 yards.  All totaled, the Pack amassed 503 yards of total offense.