Wild Card playoff performers of note

Several players established themselves as elite playoff performers. Here is a look back at the opening weekend of playoff records before we turn the page to the divisional round.

Not all of the NFL’s games on the opening week were filled with entertainment, but they had the football masses watching.

The four Wild Card weekend games averaged 29.9 million viewers, with the Detroit Lions-Dallas Cowboys matchup the third-most watched Wild Card on record, averaging 42.3 million viewers, beaten only by the San Francisco 49ers-Gren Bay Packers last year (47.1 million) and the Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos in 2012 (42.4 million).

Here are some of the notable record-setters from last weekend:

  • The Cowboys became the winningest team in NFL playoff history, getting their 34th postseason win to move out of a tie with the Steelers, who lost to the Ravens.

  • Despite all of Dallas’ postseason appearances, Terrance Williams became the first Cowboy with two receiving touchdowns in a Dallas playoff game since Michael Irvin in 1995, according to ESPN.

  • Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco moved into a tie with New England Patriots QB Tom Brady for most postseason starts (14) in a quarterback’s first seven seasons in the league. Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger had 13 in their first seven seasons.

  • Flacco is gaining quite the reputation as being able to handle the pressures of a road playoff game. He has a 7-4 record as a starting quarterback in postseason road games, and no other quarterback in NFL history has started and won more than five playoff road games. That also had his coach, John Harbaugh, tying Tom Coughlin (7-4) and Tom Landry (7-7) for most playoff road wins, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

  • Flacco’s 114.0 passer rating made it the fifth consecutive playoff game in which he had a rating of 100 or better, tying Troy Aikman for the second-longest such streak in NFL history, according to Elias. Joe Montana holds the record with eight straight postseason games with a rating of 100 or more.

  • T.Y. Hilton has gotten off to a strong start in his postseason appearances. After six catches for 103 yards in the Indianapolis Colts’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Hilton now has 496 receiving yards in his first four playoff games, second only to Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, who had 546 yards in his first four postseason games.

  • Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri had four field goals in the win over the Bengals, bringing his postseason total to 55 field goals, 16 more than postseason runner-up David Akers, according to Elias.

  • Although Lions QB Matthew Stafford has lost his only two playoff starts, his 703 passing yards in those two games combined is second only to Andrew Luck’s 731 in a quarterback’s first two playoff games.

  • The Arizona Cardinals’ 78 total yards against the Carolina Panthers was the lowest in NFL playoff history. Only two other teams had been below 100 total yards before.

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