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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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Ravens swoop to deny Steelers as Panthers just best hopeless Cardinals

The NFL Wild Card weekend got off to something of a slow start yesterday.

Terrell Suggs intercepts the ball with his knees on a crucial play last night.
Terrell Suggs intercepts the ball with his knees on a crucial play last night.
Image: Don Wright/AP/Press Association Images

WE’RE NOT GOING to lie, if anyone was watching American football for the first time last night, the Carolina Panthers’ 27-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the opening game of the NFL’s Wild Card weekend might just have turned them off the sport for good.

The Cardinals, starting their third string quarterback Ryan Lindley as well as an array of rookie running backs, produced the worst offensive display in playoff history with just 78 yards from 47 plays.

Indeed, despite leading at half time, they were this bad in a second half in which they produced just 13 yards:

Despite such a poor showing, the Cardinals were still in with a chance until Lindley threw his second redzone interception of the game with just over two minutes remaining.

The Panthers have now won five in a row to finally record as many victories as defeats this season but their inability to kill this game earlier – coupled with the fact that four of those wins came against teams with a combined record of 22-42 – leaves massive question marks over whether or not they can defeat either the Packers or Seahawks next weekend.

Ravens Steelers Football Sad Steelers fan is sad. Source: Don Wright/AP/Press Association Images

In the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens kept up their remarkable away playoff record under John Harbaugh – 8 of their 10 postseason wins have come on the road – with a 30-17 win over their divisional rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh, missing star running back Le’Veon Bell, failed to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter as the Ravens pass rush sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times.

While the Baltimore offence wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire themselves, they did manage to find the endzone first when Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

With the Steelers chasing the game-leveling score when down eight points in the fourth, Terrell Suggs managed to intercept Roethlisberger with his knees:
https://vine.co/v/Odnpi9gblUF

On the very next play, Flacco connected with Crockett Gillmore to seal the game and secure a match up with the New England Patriots in the Divisional round.

TheScore.ie’s NFL Wild Card Weekend preview with Connacht’s Dan McFarland

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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