Given the hectic nature of the weekend's excellent NFL activity, I'm offering up an abbreviated version of The Wrap with my thoughts on six games filled with storylines and great drama. There was no greater drama than in Jacksonville where we saw a little piece of NFL history, but I'll go through the games in the order they were played.
49ers look complete
The Seattle Seahawks gave the San Francisco 49ers everything they could handle in the first half on Saturday night, taking a 17-16 lead into the break. But all that did was make the Niners mad and wake up the sleeping giant. San Francisco romped to a 41-23 win with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy continuing to look anything but a rookie. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns and became the first rookie quarterback to account for four touchdowns in a game as he also rushed for one. With Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel both going over 130 scrimmage yards and finding the end zone; and Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and Nick Bosa made big plays on both sides of the ball as the stars came out to play. On current form, I think the 49ers – winners of 11 in a row – can go all the way. They look very good indeed.
A comeback for the ages
I always enjoy watching Justin Herbert and I think the Los Angeles Chargers have some wonderful players on their roster such as Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, so this next statement is not meant to be an attack on them. But I could not have been more disappointed with or deflated by the way the Jacksonville Jaguars started their game against LA. Trevor Lawrence threw four first half interceptions and there was another turnover on a muffed punt. The Jags trailed 27-0. And then we saw the coaching calm of Doug Pederson and the spirit of Lawrence. All Trevor did was lead five scoring marches in a row. There was no room for error. Every drive had to end in a score and it did – four Lawrence touchdown passes and Riley Patterson's game-winning field goal as time expired to complete the third-largest comeback in playoff history. Lawrence could not have been more disappointing and then any more impressive. You could see the look on his face as Jacksonville fought back – he knew he was going to deliver a win in one of the wildest games I have ever seen.
Allen survives the Miami onslaught
Sunday's first contest was not supposed to be a contest on the scoreboard. And yet the Buffalo Bills had to scratch, claw and fight their way past the Miami Dolphins; who were being led by a third-string quarterback in Skylar Thompson. Buffalo eventually advanced as 34-31 winners but only after Allen had been sacked seven times and intercepted twice by a gambling, blitzing Dolphins defense. Miami sent extra defenders after Allen on more than 52 percent of their snaps and their approach almost paid off. But Allen is special and he made some "wow" throws to turn this game in Buffalo's favour. The superstar quarterback showed his true mettle in leading his team to the final eight. Allen took everything the Dolphins could throw at him and still managed to pass for 352 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones enjoys a career night
It was no great surprise that Sunday's showdown between the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants went down to the wire. The Vikings had won 11 one-score games during the regular season – the most in NFL history – and eight of New York's nine wins were by a similar margin. Neither defense did much to slow the opposing team and the Vikings were especially disappointing on that side of the ball as the Giants recorded a 31-24 victory on the road. This was the best game I have seen New York quarterback Daniel Jones play in his four years in the NFL. He looked sharp, composed and dangerous while throwing for 301 yards and two scores and rushing for 78 yards. There has been criticism aimed towards the other quarterback in the game as Minnesota's Kirk Cousins threw short of the sticks on the final play of the game. You're barking up the wrong tree, people. Kirk was not and has not been the problem in Minnesota this season. That defense needs fixing in a major way this offseason.
Bengals also survive a scare
I've talked a lot in recent weeks about the quality at the top of the AFC with the big three being Kansas City, Buffalo and Cincinnati. Like the Bills earlier on Sunday, the Bengals had to fight through some adversity and survive. They recorded a 24-17 victory over Baltimore in dramatic fashion. With the game tied in the fourth quarter, Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley jumped and reached the ball towards the goal-line, only to have it slapped away by Logan Wilson and caught by defensive lineman Sam Hubbard, who ran 98 yards for the game-winning touchdown on the longest fumble return in playoff history. The Bengals will now face the Bills and both teams will know tidier and sharper performances are needed. As for the Ravens, they travelled to the game without injured quarterback Lamar Jackson and he is now out of contract. I think he wants to force his way to a new team and a mega-bucks deal that comes with that kind of transaction.
Dak delivers for Dallas
Heading into the final game of Super Wild Card Weekend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was feeling some pressure. He told us repeatedly that he doesn't listen to outside noise, but there must have been some internal advice not to throw a league-leading 15 interceptions and not to throw a pick in seven straight games. There were no such mistakes in Monday's 31-14 hammering of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Based on touchdown passes (4) and passer rating (143.3), Prescott produced the greatest quarterback outing in Cowboys history. Not bad for a franchise that just recorded its 36th postseason win and already has five Super Bowls in the trophy cabinet. Dak looked confident and assured throughout and showed us all of the class that had him throw 23 touchdown passes following his Week 7 return from a broken thumb (second-most in the NFL during that run to the end of the regular season). He was backed up by a Dallas defense that was flying to the ball and while I don't see them beating the 49ers at the weekend, I think this team will give San Francisco a good game.