The Chargers snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season with a little help from the Bengals, and San Diego unabashedly gave thanks by continuing Cincinnati's postseason misery on Sunday. Philip Rivers played mistake-free ball and the plucky Chargers took advantage of three second-half turnovers from Andy Dalton to knock off the favored Bengals, 27-10, in the Wild Card Round of the AFC playoffs. Dalton got sloppy when a mix of rain and snow began falling at Paul Brown Stadium, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble that the Bengals, who have not won a postseason game since 1991, couldn't overcome. It was the first loss at home by Cincinnati the entire season. Rivers threw for a modest 128 yards but tossed a go-ahead touchdown pass to Ladarius Green in the third quarter that started a string of 20 unanswered points that earned San Diego a trip to Denver next Sunday to face the top-seeded Broncos.
For the second straight postseason, San Francisco is responsible for sending Green Bay packing. Phil Dawson drilled a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift the 49ers to a 23-20 victory over the Packers in the Wild Card Round of the NFC playoffs from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Mason Crosby connected on a game-tying 24-yard field goal with just over five minutes to play, but Colin Kaepernick utilized his arm and his legs to move San Francisco down the field. The dual-threat quarterback converted a 3rd-and-10 from his own 31 with a 17- yard strike to Michael Crabtree before scurrying 11 yards to the Green Bay 27 on 3rd-and-8 with just over a minute remaining. Frank Gore then carried the ball on the next three plays, including a 3-yard plunge on 3rd-and-3 that gave San Francisco a fresh set of downs at the 17. Following another Gore run, the 49ers let the clock run down before calling a timeout with two seconds left to set the stage for Dawson's game-winning kick.