Wildcard Weekend lived up to it's name

The good, bad and ugly from NFL Wildcard Weekend

Kiel Leggere, Philadelphia Eagles website

Wildcard weekend in the NFL always brings something extra. Whether it's both wildcard teams advancing in the AFC, or unexpected play, decisions, or injuries. Here's how I saw it play out:

The Good

-Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is going to get PAID! Foles has taken the backup role the past two seasons to new heights. Last year, he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win after Carson Wentz got hurt. This season, he's taken over and done a great job again. He's managed to get them to a Divisional Round matchup against the Saints next weekend after they were left for dead. His performance against that Bears defense makes you believe he may be able to pull off the same magic he did last year.

-In the Sunday games, Chargers/Ravens and Eagles/Bears, there were no touchdowns scored in the first half. While some of you may consider this a bad thing, I happen to think the opposite. All four teams have good defenses. Sure there may have been missed opportunities by the offenses, but those good defenses contributed to that.

-The Cowboys had a 100-yard rusher (Ezekial Elliot) and receiver (Amari Cooper) in a playoff win for the first time since 1995 (Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin). 1995 was also the last year they won a Super Bowl. Is this a sign of things to come?

The Bad

-Eagles Corner Crevon LeBlanc stripped Bears receiver Anthony Miller of the ball. It was ruled an incompletion. Upon review, it was ruled a catch and fumble. However, because NOBODY recovered the ball, it was called incomplete and the Bears got the ball back at the previous spot, which led to a field goal before halftime.

-Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson had a bad game. He went 14/29 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was also harassed constantly by the Chargers pass rush to the tune of seven sacks that lost 55 yards. A bad game for sure, but I fully expect to him do big things in the future.

-Eagles rookie corner Avonte Maddox was taken advantage of three times on huge plays, two of them on the Bears touchdown drive to take the lead in the fourth quarter. He bit badly on double moves like any young and overly-aggressive corner usually does. Luckily, it didn't cost them the game.

The Ugly

-Cowboys receiver Allen Hurns suffered a gruesome ankle injury in the first quarter. He had to be carted off the field and immediately went in for surgery to correct the injury. He could be seen gripping the hand of head coach Jason Garrett in the moments before being carted off. Shame bell for those of you posting videos of the injury.

-Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski may have played his final football game after badly pulling his hamstring on a 57-yard field goal attempt just before halftime. The Seahawks didn't attempt a kick in the second half and failed miserably on an onside kick in the fourth quarter. It's sad considering this was the fifth playoff appearance in his 19-year career.

-Bears kicker Cody Parkey hit the uprights four times earlier this year in a single game. Kicking the potential game-winner against the Eagles, he hit the upright, then the crossbar, and the ball bounced outside the crossbar for a miss. What an awful way to lose a playoff game!

Wow! What a Wildcard Weekend! There were so many good performances and some bad ones too. Only one home team/favorite (Cowboys) won their games this weekend. The AFC had the five and six seeds win their games. Herm Edwards said it best. If you're a football fan and you didn't like this weekend's games, might want to check your pulse.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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