I talked about the general idea here, and then set the field of 80 here, so you will want to glance at those or this will make little sense. Today, we start the games with the opening round matchups between the teams seeded 13 through 20 in each region. You should be able to click on each matchup and see the What If Sports box score and play by play. As we know, games aren't played on paper, they are played inside tiny computers, so let's get to the action. We'll start in the Tampa Region.
TAMPA REGION OPENING ROUND GAMES
The score was 10-7 in favor of Buffalo in the third quarter when Mark Kelso intercepted Ron Jaworski, leading to a Thurman Thomas TD catch. Philadelphia fought back in the fourth quarter, getting to within 3 points when Tony Franklin missed a 43 yard attempt that would have tied it right before the two minute warning. With the Eagles blitzing to stop the run and get the ball back, Thomas sealed the game when he broke through the line and found the endzone 63 yards later.
Next up: at #4 1990 San Francisco 49ers
Swirling winds in Dallas made life difficult on the offenses, and the kickers combined to miss all three field goals beyond 40 yards. The Cardinals turned in a gutty performance on the road, and had first and goal trailing by 4 points right before the two minute warning. Lee Roy Jordan stepped in front of Kurt Warner's pass on third down to save Dallas.
Next up: at #3 2005 Indianapolis Colts
Rolf Benirschke's 49 yard field goal as time expired saved Kellen Winslow from having to come up with overtime heroics, sending Air Coryell on against the Purple People Eaters.
Next up: at #2 1969 Minnesota Vikings
The Drive. The Fumble. Revenge for Cleveland?
No. Elway hits Orson Mobley for Denver's only touchdown of the game with less than a minute left to win another close one.
Next up: at #1 2007 New England Patriots
NEW ORLEANS REGION OPENING ROUND GAMES
Kerry Collins throws for over 300 yards as the Giants jump to an early lead that they never relinquish.
Next up: at #4 1967 Los Angeles Rams
Fred Cox and Tony Franklin have a field goal battle. Minnesota was shutout through three quarters, but Tony Eason throws two costly interceptions, the last one coming at midfield with a minute left in a tie game, and Cox nails the game winner. Chuck Foreman goes for 165 total yards.
Next up: at #3 1994 Dallas Cowboys
Gannon outduels Elway as the Raiders jump to an early lead.
Next up: at #2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
Next up: at #1 1998 Minnesota Vikings
LOS ANGELES REGION OPENING ROUND GAMES
Thurman Thomas is already on his way to the WCB rushing title with another strong performance, as the Bills move to 3-0 in the opening round.
Next up: at #4 2006 San Diego Chargers
Elway does his best Bob Griese impersonation, throwing only 13 passes as Denver tries to hold on to a lead. Miami fails twice in the red zone in the fourth and time runs out on Miami.
Next up: at #3 1983 Washington Redskins
Jake Delhomme throws 3 interceptions, and Dallas cruises to a comfortable victory.
Next up: at #2 1992 San Francisco 49ers
If only the Luv Ya Blue Oilers didn't have to play the Steelers. Mike Reinfeldt of the Oilers gets 4 interceptions of Neil O'Donnell, but the offense can't get in the end zone, and the Steelers make their red zone trips count, pulling it out with a fourth quarter touchdown.
Next up: at #1 1968 Baltimore Colts
HOUSTON REGION OPENING ROUND GAMES
Tarkenton throws for 3 touchdowns, and Foreman has another huge game, as the Vikings roll the Chargers.
A 16-point second quarter is enough for the Falcons to take control of the game.
Next up: at #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings
The Dolphins score two touchdowns in one decisive minute in the fourth quarter, on either side of a Bledsoe interception.
Next up: at #2 1990 Buffalo Bills
A spring snow storm hits the Midwest just in time to wreak havoc on the run-n-shoot Oilers. Moon throws three interceptions in bad conditions, while the Chiefs keep it on the ground for 231 rushing yards. The Oilers still have a chance because of four missed field goals by Kansas City (look for them to draft a
Danish Norwegian kicker as a result), but come up two yards short of the goal line as the game ends.
Next up: at #1 2001 Saint Louis Rams
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