Dak Prescott reacts to the Cowboys' final play in their defeat to the 49ers

Dak Prescott reacts to the Cowboys’ final play in their defeat to the 49ers

Super Wild Card weekend played stage to late drama in Dallas, Josh Allen magic in Buffalo and a glimpse of the future with Joe Burrow in Cincinnati as the NFL’s race to Super Bowl LVI was whittled down to the final eight.

Having caught up on some well-earned sleep, Neil Reynolds takes a breather from the Sky Sports NFL studio to discuss his takeaways from all six games over the weekend…

Super Wild Card Weekend takeaways

Las Vegas Raiders 19-26 Cincinnati Bengals

Highlights of the Las Vegas Raiders' clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wildcard play-off round.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Las Vegas Raiders’ clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wildcard play-off round.

Highlights of the Las Vegas Raiders’ clash with the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wildcard play-off round.

I thought it was a fantastic atmosphere in Paul Brown Stadium, you could tell how much it was meaning to Bengals fans to be closing in on a playoff win, a bit like the Browns last year with those fans in Cleveland. To me, I’m just looking forward to watching Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase for the next 10 years. This was not surprising that this game went down to the wire given the Raiders have had six games won on the final play, but I thought the better team won and I love watching Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, and we’re going to enjoy it for years to come.

The Cincinnati Bengals intercept the final play for the Las Vegas Raiders to win their first play-off game in 31 years.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The Cincinnati Bengals intercept the final play for the Las Vegas Raiders to win their first play-off game in 31 years.

The Cincinnati Bengals intercept the final play for the Las Vegas Raiders to win their first play-off game in 31 years.

When you look at Burrow he’s added some arm strength this year but he slices defenses surgically and when I think of who has done that the best historically, it’s Joe Montana and it’s Tom Brady and it’s interesting that he got compared to Brady by Steve Spagnuolo a few weeks back as well. I think Joe Burrow is really really special for the Bengals.

New England Patriots 17-47 Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws five touchdowns as the Bills beat the New England Patriots on Super Wild Card weekend.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws five touchdowns as the Bills beat the New England Patriots on Super Wild Card weekend.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws five touchdowns as the Bills beat the New England Patriots on Super Wild Card weekend.

It took all 60 minutes to know who was going to win the Bengals and Raiders game, I think it took about six minutes to know who was winning this game in Buffalo. We watched something historic. Josh Allen and the Bills offense was historic, he had more touchdown passes than incompletions, five touchdowns to four incompletions.

I actually saw a quarterback do that live, it was Kurt Warner in the 2009 Wild Card game, I was at that game and Warner had five touchdowns to four incompletions, indoors. Josh Allen just did it in minus-13 degrees celsius. Just a historic performance, didn’t have a negative play all night long and they were a different class. The place was rocking, Fitz was there with his shirt off, I would have loved to have joined him and watched that game with him, special night for Buffalo. We all saw something really special in Josh Allen, he is sensational.

Philadelphia Eagles 15-31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles' clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles’ clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs.

Highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles’ clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs.

It was almost a routine win for Tampa Bay, they’ll be concerned about their offensive line injuries especially now the Los Angeles Rams are coming in the next round. But I thought they were very efficient on offense, just did enough really. And they confused and confounded and dominated Jalen Hurts, it was just a reminder that Jalen Hurts was three when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl; there’s a wealth of experience on one side, none on the other, and Jalen Hurts just wasn’t ready. It was kind of a reminder from the Bucs that they’ve got two sides of the football, because quite rightly we speak so much about Brady and his history and everything he is going for with chasing an eighth Super Bowl win, but Tampa Bay reminded us Sunday they have a good defense as well. I thought that was a very good performance from them on that side of the ball.

San Francisco 49ers 23-17 Dallas Cowboys

Brian Baldinger and the Around the NFL podcast team discuss the Dallas Cowboys' final play against the San Francisco 49ers where they ran out of time.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Brian Baldinger and the Around the NFL podcast team discuss the Dallas Cowboys’ final play against the San Francisco 49ers where they ran out of time.

Brian Baldinger and the Around the NFL podcast team discuss the Dallas Cowboys’ final play against the San Francisco 49ers where they ran out of time.

This game delivered. We talked about it, hyped it up and it did deliver. Obviously everybody is talking about the play at the end. I’ve got a couple of thoughts I want to get across: one is that I think that distracts from the fact the 49ers deserved to win the game, I thought they were the better team I thought they were more efficient and the Cowboys shot themselves in the foot with penalty after penalty. My only concern for the 49ers is that they get tight at the end of games and Jimmy Garoppolo gets tight at the end of games and we’re always going to question the shakiness that happens sometimes for Kyle Shanahan in the playoffs because of his history. That’s always kind of hovering there for the 49ers, but they’ve won eight of 10 and they’re looking good.

Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboy in the Wild Card playoffs.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboy in the Wild Card playoffs.

Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers against the Dallas Cowboy in the Wild Card playoffs.

I find it frustrating and annoying that Mike McCarthy comes out after this game and turns to a journalist and says ‘is that the quote you were looking for?’ because he criticised the officials. This is on Mike McCarthy, who has had some game-management issues, this is on Dak Prescott for the execution, I thought the CBS crew explained it perfectly on Sunday night. This has nothing to do with the officials, this has everything to do with the Dallas Cowboys and the sooner they take accountability for it the better. If you don’t give yourself up and get yourself close to the defender then you’re going to get tangled between arms and legs and that defender is going to try and keep you on the floor, second you’re also running the risk of your receivers having to get back from downfield in time, and you’ve got to get the ball to the official so this was all on Dallas.

Jerry Jones has made it clear he thinks his roster is good enough to win the Super Bowl, if Mike McCarthy is not in trouble in the next couple of weeks, I think he goes into 2022 on a hot seat.

Pittsburgh Steelers 21-42 Kansas City Chiefs

Highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card playoffs.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card playoffs.

Highlights of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wild Card playoffs.

I think the Steelers were just out-classed. It’s very hard to send Big Ben off into retirement and the Hall of Fame with a bunch of criticism because he’s had a great career, never had a losing season, but he’s holding this team back. They’ve got some decent players, they’ve got a good defense, their defense held in there as long as they could but they just couldn’t live with the Chiefs. Mahomes was sensational either side of half-time, the creativity of Andy Reid down in the end zone was too much for the Steelers, so actually this was never a contest. I remember while I was watching the game, and I know it wouldn’t have necessarily panned out this way exactly, in fact it wouldn’t have done, but I was thinking ‘why am I watching the Steelers offense when Justin Herbert is sitting at home?’, ‘why did the Colts not find a way in so I could watch Jonathan Taylor?’, there was not much from the Steelers Sunday.

Watch all of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' best throws from his 5-TD game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Wild Card Weekend of the 2021-22 NFL playoffs.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watch all of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ best throws from his 5-TD game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Wild Card Weekend of the 2021-22 NFL playoffs.

Watch all of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ best throws from his 5-TD game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Wild Card Weekend of the 2021-22 NFL playoffs.

I think the Chiefs have had to be more patient at points and this was the first game where the turnovers have crept back in for a little while, they can’t do that against Buffalo. They can’t go a quarter-and-a-half without scoring against Buffalo. They’re just one step ahead of the defenses again, which is just a credit to Andy Reid, a credit to Mahomes. It’s just going to be a crying shame that one of the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs is going to go out of this playoffs because they’re so fun to watch.

I think there’s definitely a case to be made for ‘is that seventh seed really putting up the kind of fight you want to see in the playoffs?’. Now, anything can happen in the NFL, we saw Jacksonville beat Indy on the final day, so they’re never going to reduce it, it’s about entertainment, it’s about money, but I definitely think it’s an argument because I think the Steelers were out-classed.

Arizona Cardinals 11-34 Los Angeles Rams

Highlights of the Arizona Cardinals' clash with the Los Angeles Rams in Super Wild Card Weekend.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Arizona Cardinals’ clash with the Los Angeles Rams in Super Wild Card Weekend.

Highlights of the Arizona Cardinals’ clash with the Los Angeles Rams in Super Wild Card Weekend.

Monday night was never a contest, the Rams didn’t need to get out of second or third gear on offense, they played at a high level on defense and confused Kyler Murray. I was really disappointed in the Cardinals, Murray looked rattled, he didn’t look himself.

He and Kliff Kingsbury have had a couple of late-season swoons now, Kingsbury’s actually date all the way back to his days as a head coach in college so there are a lot of questions for the Cardinals and the Rams did enough and I don’t think they needed to hit all their high notes but it was more than enough to beat Arizona. That pass rush can create some problems for Tom Brady, so just looking forward to the next round now.

Odell Beckham Jr turns quarterback and throws a 40-yard completion to running back Cam Akers for a LA Rams' trick-play against the Arizona Cardinals.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Odell Beckham Jr turns quarterback and throws a 40-yard completion to running back Cam Akers for a LA Rams’ trick-play against the Arizona Cardinals.

Odell Beckham Jr turns quarterback and throws a 40-yard completion to running back Cam Akers for a LA Rams’ trick-play against the Arizona Cardinals.

For Matthew Stafford, there’s been a long wait. 186th start and he gets his first playoff win. We have always had these stats knocking around about ‘Stafford against 10 win teams’, ‘Stafford against teams that go to the playoffs’, ‘Stafford in big games’; he was in Detroit for a while, the biggest game he ever had was the 5.30pm kickoff on Thanksgiving Day for most of his career. It was a big moment for him. Odell as well, he’s a star who should be on this stage making these types of plays. His only playoff appearance was in Lambeau Field in 2016, days after they’re seen partying on a boat, the Giants lose, he punches a hole in the locker room wall and he has 28 receiving yards. He looked like he was really enjoying himself, he’s become a genuine weapon now for the Rams, so I was pleased for those two in particular to shine on a big stage.

Join Neil Reynolds and guests for Inside The Huddle, every Tuesday from 9pm on Sky Sports NFL for a look back on the best of the weekend’s NFL action.