Denver, CO – Green Bay, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers into the NFC title game with two near-flawless drives. As for Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys? Their season is over after a replay reversal near the end of the game took away a Dez Bryant catch at the goal line. Rodgers completed 11 of 14 passes for 173 yards on two touchdown drives in the third and fourth quarter as Green Bay scored 13 unanswered points for a 26-21 win over the Cowboys in a divisional playoff game Sunday at Lambeau Field. Green Bay took its first lead since 7-0 when Rodgers zipped a pass through two defenders and hit tight end Richard Rodgers for a 13-yard touchdown with 9:10 remaining. On 4th-and-2, Bryant went up for Romo's deep pass down the left sideline at the other end of the field and was ruled to have made a 31-yard catch at the Green Bay 1 after snatching the ball out of the air above cornerback Sam Shields. The Packers challenged the call and officials eventually said Bryant, who was cupping the ball against his left forearm as it hit the field and popped up, didn't complete the catch. The Packers will play in the NFC championship game for the first time since beating Chicago after the 2010 season on the way to their fourth Super Bowl title. They will travel to Seattle to play the reigning Super Bowl-champion Seahawks next Sunday in a meeting of the top two seeds in the conference. Playing on an injured left calf, Rodgers passed for 316 yards and three scores and Eddie Lacy rushed 19 times for 101 yards for the NFC North champs. Romo threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns for the NFC East-champion Cowboys and NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray had 25 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown.
Final Score: Indianapolis 24, Denver 13
Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Andrew Luck has dealt with the pressure of succeeding Peyton Manning for three years. Now he knows what it feels like to beat the future Hall-of-Famer, as the Indianapolis Colts went into Denver on Sunday and shut down the Broncos' vaunted offense in a 24-13 upset to reach the AFC title game. Luck threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns and guided a game-sealing drive that took 8:14 off the clock in the fourth quarter to secure the franchise's first trip to the conference championship round since 2009. The Colts' defense limited the Broncos to 288 yards -- 115 less than their season average -- and added another blemish to Manning's uneven postseason resume. Manning fell to 11-13 in the playoffs with nine one-and- done exits and looked uncomfortable despite throwing a touchdown pass on Denver's opening possession. He barely completed half of his attempts (26- of-46) and threw for just 211 yards.
Saturday, January 10
Final Score: New England 35, Baltimore 31
Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called Joe Flacco the NFL's best quarterback last week. Tom Brady had something to say about that this week. Brady's 367 yards and three touchdowns, the last a go-ahead 23-yard strike to Brandon LaFell with 5;13 remaining, rallied the New England Patriots to a 35-31 AFC Divisional Playoff victory over Harbaugh's Ravens at Gillette Stadium. The fourth postseason meeting between the teams in six years was another classic, with the Patriots twice battling back from 14 points down -- including a 28-14 deficit midway through the third quarter -- and not taking their first lead until Brady's final TD delivery of the day. New England also overcome a career postseason-best four touchdown throws from Flacco, though his second interception of the game virtually ended Baltimore's own comeback hopes with 1:39 left to play. The top-seeded Patriots advanced to their fourth straight AFC Championship Game, where they'll await the winner of Sunday's Indianapolis-Denver clash.
Final Score: Seattle 31, Carolina 17
Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kam Chancellor bobbed his head in celebration as he crossed the goal line on his game-clinching 90-yard interception return. The Seattle Seahawks' resurgent defense has them thinking repeat. Another dominating second half performance has them one step closer. Russell Wilson tossed three touchdown passes and the Seahawks punched their ticket into the NFC Championship Game with a 31-17 NFC Divisional Playoff victory over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night. Seattle will play the winner of Sunday's NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys in next Sunday's conference title game at CenturyLink Field. Chancellor's pick-six came with the Panthers marching down the field looking to cut a 24-10 deficit to a one-possession game. Faced with a 2nd- and-4 at the Seattle 13 with a little over six minutes left, Cam Newton was looking to hit Ed Dickson on the right side of the field near the numbers. The ball-hawking Chancellor read Newton's eyes and cut in front of Dickson before strolling down the left sideline for the easy score. Chancellor had 10 tackles to go with that interception and showcased his athleticism by hurdling over the Carolina offensive line twice on a pair of Graham Gano field goal attempts at the end of the first half. Wilson, who was 8-of-8 on third down for 199 yards, finished 15-of-22 for 268 yards and added 22 yards on the ground. Jermaine Kearse caught three passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and Luke Willson had four receptions for 68 yards and a score for the Seahawks, who have won eight straight postseason games in Seattle.