After the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants respectively, all eyes were on the remaining Divisional Round matchups Sunday, with the Buffalo Bills facing 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 NFL Playoffs at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
But the Bengals prevailed despite Buffalo’s home court advantage and the emotional lift of having Hamlin in the stadium.
The CBS broadcast of the game showed Hamlin arriving by cart and entering Bills’ locker room wearing sunglasses, a face covering, and a jacket sold through his clothing line Chasing M’s with a pulled-up hood. Hamlin’s mother Nina, father Mario and younger brother Damir were also shown entering the stadium.
Later, a video posted on social media showed Hamlin walking from the dressing room to an elevator while being shielded by security officials.
During the match, Hamlin’s presence was announced over the stadium’s public address system, earning an ovation from the crowd at Highmark Stadium. CBS showed video of Hamlin stirring up the crowd by making his trademark heart-shaped gesture with his hands and urging the crowd to make noise by raising his arms.
With a steady snowfall in western New York and all emotions tipping in the direction of the Bills, the Bengals came out of the gate strong. A pair of touchdown passes from Joe Burrow gave Cincinnati an early 14–0 lead, and the Bengals took a 17–7 halftime lead.
The Bengals maintained a comfortable advantage, leading by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter, as Cincinnati’s defense held down Buffalo’s offense throughout the game. The Bills’ offense never gained any momentum, only managing to get into the end zone once in the game.
Cincinnati now advances to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game. The Chiefs will host the Bengals next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, which is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 PM ET.
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 to advance to the team’s second consecutive NFC championship game on Sunday.
The San Francisco defense came out swinging and stopped the Cowboys’ elusive offense. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott struggled against the unit, throwing for 206 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. One of Dallas’ bright spots on offense was wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who finished with a 117-yard reception.
49ers rookie quarterback sensation Brock Purdy stayed off Mr. Irrelevant to Mr. Go relevant. He improved to 7-0 as a starter after taking over for an injured Jimmy Garropolo in mid-December. Purdy threw for 214 yards in the win.
The Cowboys’ battle seemed to continue after last week’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kicker Brett Maher got off to another rocky start, with his extra point blocked after missing four extra point attempts last week. Maher would then recover from the blocked punt and then knock down two field goals.
The 49ers now head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles in the NFC championship game and have a chance to clinch their spot in the Super Bowl for the second time since 2019. The game is scheduled for this Sunday at 3pm ET.
Super Bowl LVII is scheduled for February 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.