|Rookie Sanchez calls a play as he guides the Jets to their first playoffs win since 2004 [GALLO/GETTY]
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez played mistake-free in subzero wind chill to help the New York Jets upset the Cincinnati Bengals 24-14 for their first NFL playoffs victory since 2004.
Sanchez went 12 of 15 for 182 yards and threw a touchdown pass on a rollout play, becoming the fourth rookie quarterback since 1950 to start and win a playoff game.
Running back Shonn Greene ran for 135 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown, as the Jets' rookies made plays under the biggest pressure on Saturday.
The Jets, six days after crushing the Bengals' second-stringers 37-0 at home to make the playoffs as an AFC wild card, pulled off a rare back-to-back sweep of the Bengals, who got a team playoff-record 169 yards from Cedric Benson but little else.
Cincinnati's streak without a playoff win reached 19 years and counting.
The Dallas Cowboys ended 13 years of NFC playoff frustration with a crushing 34-14 wild-card victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Jets pulled ahead 14-7 by half-time with two big plays off Sanchez's hand. He faked a handoff and made a perfect pitchout to Greene, who needed only one block to find open space for a 39-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career.
In the second quarter, Sanchez caught the Bengals off-guard. He rolled to his right and found tight end Dustin Keller running uncovered beyond the secondary. The throw was perfect, and Keller kept his balance for the last 15 yards.
Sanchez led an eight-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in Thomas Jones' 9-yard run for a 21-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Benson broke a 47-yard touchdown run - the longest in Bengals playoff history - that got Cincinnati within a touchdown, but Sanchez and Greene turned it on again, setting up Jay Feely's 25-yard field goal.
|Tony Romo takes a hit [GALLO/GETTY]
At Arlington, Texas, quarterback Tony Romo broke open a scoreless game with five straight scoring drives in the second quarter, sending Dallas to their first playoff victory since 1996.
Dallas had lost six straight postseason games and would have set an NFL record with another one. But now all those slumps are history, buried along with the notions that Wade Phillips (0-4 as a head coach) and Romo (0-2) couldn't win a playoff game.
And the way the Cowboys have played over the last four games - all wins, behind dominating defence and efficient offence - they could be sticking around a while this postseason.
Next up for Dallas is a trip to the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday, with Romo taking on childhood hero Brett Favre.
Philadelphia lost their playoffs opener for the first time under coach Andy Reid. The Eagles had been 7-0 in playoff openers with Reid and 6-0 with Donovan McNabb at quarterback.