Sports

Adams, Luck move closer to reaching the Super Bowl

 

Palo Alto High grad Davante Adams and Stanford grad Andrew Luck are one step closer to the Super Bowl after each had signficant outings to help their respective teams to victory in NFL divisional playoff games on Sunday.

In Green Bay, Adams had a huge game with seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown as the Packers held off the Dallas Cowboys, 26-21, in a NFC divisional semifinal at Lambeau Field.

In Denver, Luck completed 27 of 43 passes for 265 yards and had two touchdown passes as the Indianapolis Colts upset Peyton Manning and the Broncos, 24-13, in the AFC playoffs. Three of Luck's receptions went to former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener for 49 yards.

The Colts (13-5) advanced to the AFC championship this Sunday in New England against the Patriots (13-4), who rallied past Baltimore, 35-31, Saturday. The Packers (13-4) will visit Seattle (13-4) this Sunday for the NFC title and a trip to the Super Bowl.

"Great team victory!" Luck said on his Facebook page. "All three phases fed off each other and did a heck of a job. We're excited to have the opportunity for another week of practice and the chance to try to earn another win."

Meanwhile, Adams had a monster game when all the talk was about how he had supposedly hit the rookie wall. Coming into the playoffs with just four catches in the past four games, including not one throw his direction in the division-clinching win over Detroit, Adams compiled the most catches and receiving yards by a Green Bay rookie in playoff history.

On a day when leading receiver Jordy Nelson was held to just two catches for 22 yards. Adams' plays were as clutch as they get.

With Green Bay trailing, 21-13, late in the third quarter and facing third-and-15, quarterback Aaron Rodgers found Adams over the middle for the first down. Even better, Adams put a move in the open field on Dallas safety J.J. Wilcox, cut back and outraced the Cowboys' defense for a 46-yard touchdown.

"He actually checked out of the first play, and I guess he saw the middle of the field was open," Adams said of his QB to Packers.com. "I just had to widen my guy and get in there quick, and Aaron put it right on me. "I tried to lull (Wilcox) to sleep and get outside and then get to the pylon."

In the fourth quarter, Adams added an 18-yard catch to get the Packers across midfield, five snaps before the Rodgers fired the game-winning 13-yard TD.

With Green Bay trying to run the final 4:06 off the clock, Adams caught a quick hitch on third-and-3, shook a tackle attempt and turned it into a 26-yard gain with just over two minutes left.

After the game, Adams said his quarterback told him he was proud of him, especially given his lack of action over the final month of the regular season.

"He said that's what good players do, make sure they stick in there and step up in big games," Adams told Packers.com.

The drama wasn't done, however, as Adams' final catch-and-run set the stage for the game-sealing first down just after the two-minute warning.

The Packers will be making their first trip to the NFC title game since 2010 and will be facing the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks plus former Stanford standouts Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman.

Baldwin had three catches for 38 yards, including a 16-yard scoring reception from Russell Wilson in the first quarter in a 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday. Sherman had three tackles and picked off Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton.

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