By Thomas Brooks
Last Updated: 14/01/19 2:42pm
Who were the top performers from the Divisional Round in the NFL? We have picked out our Team of the Week…
All four home favourites emerged victorious during the Divisional Round – despite our prediction of at least one upset.
Tom Brady was up to his usual best as the New England Patriots took down the Los Angeles Chargers, while Michael Thomas inspired the New Orleans Saints to victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
There were many superstar performances as the top four teams were added to the fray, and we have picked out some of the best…
Quarterback – Tom Brady, New England Patriots
‘The GOAT’ well and truly played up to his own high standards in the Patriots’ 41-28 demolition of the Chargers on Sunday.
The 41-year-old completed 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards and one touchdown. He found running back James White on 15 of those, who equalled Darren Sproles’ postseason record for receptions in a game.
Brady’s lone touchdown pass came in the second quarter when he found Phillip Dorsett all alone in the end zone to put the Pats 21-7 up.
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Running Back – Sony Michel, New England Patriots
The rookie out of Georgia had arguably his biggest performance for the Patriots as he rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.
Michel completed a first half hat-trick for the Patriots when he bundled into the end zone from five yards out to leave the Patriots 35-7 up at half-time.
He also added his longest run of the season, which went for 40 yards.
The 23-year-old finished the regular season averaging the second most rushing yards per game among rookies (71.6), only behind second overall pick, Saquon Barkley (81.7).
Wide Receiver – Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
The 25-year-old was the catalyst on offense for the Saints during their 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He set a Saints record for receptions and receiving yards as he hauled in 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Thomas’ two-yard touchdown reception capped off an 18 play, 11:29 minute drive to put the Saints up 17-14 late in the third quarter.
Quarterback Drew Brees rifled a pass to Thomas in the end zone where he made a great body adjustment before hauling the ball in.
The Saints advance to their first NFC Championship game since 2009, where they defeated Minnesota in overtime before going on to win Super Bowl XLIV 31-17 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Tight End – Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
The 29-year-old led the Chiefs in receiving yards as he brought in seven catches for 108 yards during their 31-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. He racked up 93 of those yards in the first half at Arrowhead Field.
The Colts mainly played zone defense to try and stop the other playmakers on the Chiefs’ offense. However, Kelce and Mahomes took advantage of this majorly as the tight end thrived.
Offensive Line – Los Angeles Rams
The Rams’ offensive line was on top form during their 30-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys’ defense has been one of their strong points this season, only allowing an average of 20.3 points per game during the regular season. Alongside this, they only gave up an average of 94.6 rushing yards per game.
The Rams blew the Cowboys defense away on the ground, racking up a franchise postseason-record 273 rushing yards. The offensive line was one of the major factors in this, as they created hole after hole in the Cowboys defensive line.
C.J. Anderson rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns while Todd Gurley had 115 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Defensive Line – Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs defensive line outperformed the usually-brilliant Colts offensive line during the Chiefs’ 31-13 victory.
Andrew Luck has been brilliantly protected all season, as his offensive line only gave up 18 sacks during the regular season, at an average of 1.12 sacks per game.
However, the Chiefs sacked Luck three times in the game, with linebacker Justin Houston claiming two of them. They also hit Luck five times during the game and forced a fumble out of the 29-year-old quarterback.
Linebacker – Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
Houston made sure his presence was felt as he secured two sacks, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery that all but ended any hope the Colts had of a comeback.
With the Chiefs up 24-7, Dee Ford forced a fumble from Luck and Houston beat Ford to the ball to recover the ball for the Chiefs.
Houston and the defense came out on top during the 11 possessions the Colts had, forcing a punt on seven of them.
Cornerback – Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints
The 22-year-old sealed victory for the Saints over the Eagles thanks to a late interception, with the Eagles nearing the red zone.
Lattimore capitalized on Alshon Jeffrey’s bobbled-catch attempt to intercept Nick Foles with just under two minutes left in the game.
Earlier on, Lattimore has intercepted Foles at the edge of the red zone on a pass intended for Zach Ertz. The interception led to the Saints driving 79 yards down the field to score a touchdown, to half the Eagles’ early lead to 14-7.
The former first round pick ended the game with four tackles and two interceptions as the Saints move on to play the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship game.
Safety – Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
The 31-year-old had seven tackles and two deflected passes during the Patriots’ 41-28 win over the Chargers.
McCourty helped to limit the Chargers offense to just seven first-half points and made some key tackles for the Patriots as they advance to their eighth straight AFC Championship game.