Wild-card weekend swept by road teams in NFL first

ByJason Wilde ESPN logo
Monday, January 11, 2016

LANDOVER, Md. -- Plenty of teams have gone on the road and won in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. The Green Bay Packers did so to start their Super Bowl run after the 2010 season.

But never had all four road teams emerged victorious on wild-card weekend. That changed with the Packers' 35-18 triumph over the Washington Redskinson Sunday at FedEx Field.

Following theKansas City Chiefs' 30-0 rout at Houston, the Pittsburgh Steelers' nail-biting 18-16 victory at Cincinnati and the Seattle Seahawks' Ray Finkle-inspired 10-9 victory at Minnesota, the Packers sent Redskins fans home unhappy -- and early, as many departed with five minutes left in the game -- to complete a road sweep by the wild cards.

Under the current playoff format, the four road teams have never won all games of the wild-card round. That hadn't happened in the divisional round, either, which means there had never been a four-game playoff weekend in which all four road teams won. Now, the Packers (at Arizona), Seahawks (at Carolina), Steelers (at Denver) and Chiefs (at New England) will try to do it again next weekend.

The four winners had something else in common: They each had the more experienced quarterback. Kansas City's Alex Smith beat Houston's Brian Hoyer, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger beat Cincinnati backup QBAJ McCarron, Seattle's Russell Wilson beat Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater,and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers beat Washington's Kirk Cousins.

"It's tough [to win on the road in the playoffs], but I think it can galvanize a team when you're going in a hostile environment," Rodgers said midweek when recalling the 2010 Packers' three straight road wins at Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago. "Those are the fun wins.

"There's not much better -- obviously, we're spoiled to play in Lambeau -- but the feeling you have, a road win and that flight back, is a pretty special feeling that any former player would tell you is right at the top of the football mountain."

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