Chicago: Defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia edged the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Chargers ousted Baltimore from the championship chase in two NFL play-off thrillers on Sunday.
Bears kicker Cody Parkey clanked a 43-yard field goal attempt off the left upright and crossbar with five seconds remaining as the Eagles sealed a 16-15 victory at Chicago.
“It came down to the wire. We were just hoping for a miss,” said Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
“The big thing is we saw some adversity in the first half with a couple turnovers but no one loses faith. We were able to rally behind our defence and we were able to get the win.”
The Chargers seized a 20-point lead but needed a turnover in the final seconds to thwart a Ravens fightback and claim a 23-17 first-round triumph at Baltimore.
“Our defence was unbelievable,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We couldn’t get anything but field goals early on offence but we finally got it done. It was a great team win.”
The Eagles booked a trip to top seed New Orleans next Sunday with the other National Conference playoff matchup sending the Dallas Cowboys to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.
The Chargers have a second-round date next Sunday at New England while top seed Kansas City will entertain the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday in the other American Conference contest.
At Baltimore, the Ravens fell behind 23-3 on rookie Mike Badgley’s fifth field goal, a 47-yarder with 9:14 to play.
Baltimore rookie Lamar Jackson, who became the youngest quarterback in NFL playoff history on the eve of his 22nd birthday, threw touchdown passes of 7 and 31 yards to Michael Crabtree to pull the Ravens within the final margin.
Jackson got the ball back with 45 seconds remaining but Uchenna Nwosu, a Chargers linebacker of Nigerian descent, knocked loose a fumble from him and Melvin Ingram recovered for Los Angeles to secure the victory.
“We just come out and play assignment football. We have to come out and play together,” Ingram said. “Any squad. Any place. We don’t care.”
The Ravens fumbled three times in their first eight plays from scrimmage, an Ingram recovery setting up the first Badgley field goal from 21 yards. He added kicks of 53, 40 and 34 yards for a 12-0 Chargers half-time lead.
Baltimore’s Justin Tucker kicked a 33-yard field goal but was wide right from 50 yards, his first career playoff miss after making nine in a row, and LA responded with a 60-yard touchdown drive capped by Melvin Gordon’s 1-yard run and a 2-point conversion pass from Rivers to Mike Williams for a 20-3 Chargers lead.