The New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks knocked out last year’s Super Bowl teams to move into the second round of the National Football League playoffs.
Nick Folk kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired to give the Jets a 17-16 victory against the Indianapolis Colts after Adam Vinatieri had kicked a 50-yard field goal with 53 seconds remaining to give the Colts a 16-14 lead.
LaDainian Tomlinson scored on a pair of 1-yard runs for the Jets (12-5). Pierre Garcon caught a 57-yard scoring pass from Peyton Manning and Vinatieri added field goals of 47 and 32 yards for the Colts (10-7) last night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“This is emotional, exciting, all the things at once,” Tomlinson said in a televised interview. “No one believed in us, we believed in ourselves. We felt we could come here today and win, and we did. We’re so happy to move on.”
In the opening game of the NFL playoffs, Matt Hasselbeck threw four touchdown passes and the Seahawks upset the defending champion New Orleans Saints 41-36. The Saints won the 2010 Super Bowl, defeating the Colts.
New York’s reward for its victory will be a second-round American Football Conference playoff game Jan. 16 at the New England Patriots, who defeated the Jets 45-3 on Dec. 6 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
“It feels awesome, because this is the playoffs and we’re moving on,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a televised interview. “Man, what a great feeling.”
After Vinatieri gave the Colts the last-minute lead, Antonio Cromartie returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to the Jets’ 46 yard line. New York quarterback Mark Sanchez then completed three straight passes, the final one an 18-yard toss to Braylon Edwards to the Indianapolis 14 to set up the winning kick.
‘It Certainly Stings’
The only scoring of the first half came on Garcon’s touchdown reception from Manning, who completed 18 of 26 passes for 225 yards. Sanchez was 18 of 31 for 189 yards for the Jets.
“It’s disappointing with the way we lost tonight,” Manning told reporters. “Any time you lose on a last-second field goal, it certainly stings.”
The Seahawks, the first team to make the playoffs with a losing record in a non-strike season, rallied from a 10-point second-quarter deficit to win their National Football Conference game at Qwest Field in Seattle.
After the Saints scored 10 straight points early in the fourth quarter to pull within 34-30, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch scored on a 67-yard run with 3:22 remaining on which he broke at least six tackles.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who completed an NFL playoff-record 39 of 60 passes for 404 yards, threw his second touchdown pass of the game with 1:30 left. The Saints (11-6) failed to recover an onside kick, and Seattle ran out the clock.
Hasselbeck, who has been bothered by a hip injury, had scoring passes of 45 yards to Brandon Stokley, 38 yards to Mike Williams and 11 yards and 7 yards to tight end John Carlson. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 272 yards.
“I thought Matt Hasselbeck was ridiculously good today,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in a news conference.
The Seahawks (8-9) advanced to a second-round playoff game next weekend at either the Atlanta Falcons or Chicago Bears. The Saints still never have won a playoff game on the road, dropping to 0-4 with the loss.
“They didn’t play like a 7-9 team today, they played great,” Brees said. “This is a team that plays well at home, they always have, especially in the playoffs. So that just lets you know how hard it is to come here and get a victory.”