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There was Ray Lewis raging, Robert Griffin III limping, Marshawn Lycnh Beast-ing, JJ Watt Watt-ing and the deafening roar of another Green Bay "shh." We'll hit it all in a wild-card recap, where if you couldn't score 24 points, you either lost or you were Houston.
Seattle 24, Washington 14 – Next Week: Seattle at Atlanta
The showdown of dynamic rookies from dueling Washington teams—Seattle's Russell Wilson and Washington, D.C.'s RGIII—was upstaged by a vintage day of power running by the Seahawk's Marshawn Lynch, or as his fans refer to his bruising style, Beast Mode (though ESPN.com's Ethan Strauss nailed it vividly as "surfing while murdering sharks"). Lynch carried 19 times for 131 yards against Washington, including a 27-yard touchdown run on third-and-5 to put the Seahawks ahead in the fourth quarter. He also turned in the play of the game in the second quarter, with the Seahawks struggling to overcome an early 14 - 0 deficit, when Wilson fumbled on Seattle's 45-yard line. Wilson, who had trouble with snaps all day, managed to bat the ball away from a Washington defender on the ground towards Lynch, who scooped the ball with one hand, turned up field and gained 20 yards, turning a near-disaster into a big play that led to Seattle's first touchdown five plays later.
Green Bay 24, Minnesota 10—Next Week: Green Bay at San Francisco
The most memorable thing anyone said about revenge in the NFL this year wasn't even an actual word. Aaron Rodgers, moments after torching then-undefeated Houston in Week 6 to turn around Green Bay's struggling season, addressed critics who blamed him for the team's inauspicious 2 - 3 start. Looking straight into an NBC camera, Rodgers said: "Shh..."
Since then, Rodgers has made a habit of getting the last word, or non-word, including over Minnesota, avenging the Packers' season-ending overtime loss to the Vikings just a week earlier. Now Rodgers now will get a chance for an even bigger dose of revenge next weekend when the Packers travel to San Francisco.
It will be a rematch of both teams' season opener when the Niners rolled over the Pack, 30 - 22, launching themselves into the role of Super Bowl favorites, while, along with the replacement-ref "Golden Gate" loss to Seattle two weeks later, almost sending Green Bay spinning off the rails. Green Bay didn't appear to fully recover from those losses until the "Shh" game in Week 6, but is 10 - 2 since.
In the Vikings rematch Saturday, the Packers had a lighter workload than expected after Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder was scratched from the lineup with an injury. Instead, Minneapolis started Joe Webb, a little-used backup. How little used? By filling in for Ponder, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw a pass in the playoffs after not throwing a single one in the regular season. Two things you need to know about Joe Webb which at first sound awesome: He was taken in the same spot of the NFL draft as Tom Brady. Also, he can do this.
Unfortunately, Tom Brady was the 199th pick and though that high jump was better than most receivers in his draft class, on Saturday the Vikings needed Webb to be a quarterback. He completed just three passes in the first half, 11 overall, was intercepted once and threw up possibly the worst jump ball in NFL history avoiding a sack. Even Minnesota's incomparable Adrian Peterson couldn't overcome. And way off in the distance: If the Packers and Seattle win again, they'll be a Golden Gate rematch, which for Green Bay could elicit the loudest "Shh" yet.
Baltimore 24, Indianapolis 9—Next Week: Baltimore at Denver
Ray Lewis, the hard-hitting, crazed-dancing, pre-game-prancing heart and soul of Baltimore's defense for over a decade, made his curtain-of-fire-call in Baltimore Sunday. Lewis has announced he will retire after this season, but he won't have to this week, as the Ravens held Indianapolis super-frosh Andrew Luck to his worst game of the year and the Colts to three field goals and now face former Colt Peyton Manning and the Broncos next week. Lewis whooped it up in his signature licensed-maniac style before the game, echoed Baltimore hero Cal Ripken with a high-five lap of the stadium and appeared determined to hug every member of the Colts he could find. He'll need a different kind of hug for former Colt Manning next week to keep retirement at bay.
Houston 19, Cincinnati 13—Next Week: Houston at New England
Arian Foster ran for 140 yards, and JJ Watt recorded a sack and swatted away two passes as Houston showed flashes of its old self in getting its second win in five games. The Texans now go to New England, the team that handed them a 42 - 14 beating just a month ago to start their slide from an 11 - 1 start.