China Round of 16: Hangzhou Smilodons shut down Changchun Icebreakers, advance to quarterfinals

The Chinese National Football League playoffs have kicked off with the top 16 teams battling it out to qualify for the quarterfinal round.

Despite a recent outbreak in China resulting in clamped-down traveling restrictions, the Changchun Icebreakers made the long 1,578 km trip to take on the #1 seed out of the East division, the Hangzhou Smilodons. Unfortunately for the visitors, the home team Smilodons were primed and ready and made short work of the travel-weary Changchun squad.

Hangzhou Smilodons 36 – Changchun Ice Breakers 7

After both teams exchanged punts to start the game, the Icebreakers made the first mistake as a muffed punt on their half of the field led to a 42-yard field goal by kicker #7 Hu Qingbin (胡庆斌) as the Smilodons took a 3-0 lead. Hangzhou eventually stretched the lead to 17-0 at halftime thanks to touchdowns by running back #26 Jiang Zipeng ( 江子鹏) and wide receiver #10 Tuo li (托黎).

The Icebreakers would cut it to 17-7 early on in the second half on a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback #87 Liu Yong(刘勇) to wide receiver #82 Song Yulun (宋禹论).

However, that was as close as Changchun would get. The Smilodons’ defense took over, forcing turnovers on three straight Icebreaker possessions and completely shutting down the Icebreakers’ offense throughout the game. The Smilodon offense didn’t have to do too much, as their signature defense set them up with excellent field position, courtesy of four interceptions.

Still, it was enough for the Smilodons to grab a relatively easy victory and advance to the quarterfinals, where they will meet the winner of the Foshan Tigers and the Zhengzhou Steamer.

Steamer unable to travel to Foshan.

Zhengzhou Steamer had to forfeit their game against the Foshan South China Tigers after being unable to make the 1,301 km trip to Foshan. As a result, the South China Tigers automatically advanced to the quarterfinals to take on the Hangzhou Smilodons.


Allen Hu is a Chinese-American who grew up playing American Football in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He primarily spends his time in both the United States and China