New Orleans Saints vs Los Angeles Rams
The Saints and Rams both came into the NFC Championship averaging over 30 points per game. The Saints were in control throughout the first half, leading 13-10. The second half unfolded with numerous touchdowns and controversial calls by the NFL officials. The Rams came out on top 26-23 after heading to overtime and will head to the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia. It will be the Rams first super bowl appearance since their 2001 season.
Jared Goff went 25/40 through the air, 297 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Goff connected with former Saint, Brandin Cooks seven times for 107 yards. The Rams running backs were unable to relive their monster performance of 200 plus yards as they did last week against the Cowboys. C.J Anderson took on most of the workload with 16 touches for 44-yards. Gurley was limited to only four carries for 10-yards. It appears Gurley’s injury is more significant than he was expressing after last weeks victory. He did score the only rushing touchdown of the game on one of his four carries.
Brees finished the game with 26/40, 249 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He was efficient through the air, spreading the ball to nine different receivers. When the pressure gets to Brees he looked to dump it off to running back Alvin Kamara, who had 11 catches for 96 yards.
The Saints struggled getting the run game going, only having 48 rushing yards and zero rushing touchdowns collectively. New Orleans is known to have an aggressive running attack with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield. The struggling run game really made the offense reliant on the right arm of Drew Brees, which the defense was able to sit back longer and play tighter coverage.
NFL officiating is a concern
Late in the fourth quarter Drew Brees dropped back and looked to complete a pass to Tommylee Lewis near the sideline but was blown-up by Nickell Robey-Coleman before the ball got there. Also, when Robey-Coleman delivered the hit on Lewis, it was a helmet-to-helmet blow.
The NFL officiating has been hit or miss all season, although when it comes down to the playoffs every call needs to be correct in order to have the appropriate outcome of the game. Numerous reports have came out saying that the NFL will take a further look into making pass interference calls reviewable. If you have the technology available to make the game better, why not use it?
Sean McVay’s Mastermind
Sean McVay has turned around the Rams franchise in ways that many questioned, was even possible? McVay took over a 4-12 football team after the 2016 season that was ran by Jeff Fisher. Since then McVay has coached his way to a 24-8 record as the Rams head coach. McVay has been labeled as one of the brilliant offensive minds in the game and continues to build his legacy in Los Angeles.
Since McVay became the head coach he has gone on to send several assistants onto coordinator jobs and head coaches. He has really changed the way teams view candidates when hiring a head coach.
Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots
The Patriots got off to a hot start, scoring a touchdown on a 15-play drive. In fact, the Chiefs were shut out before halftime 14-0. Kansas City couldn’t get any momentum started offensively in the first half. The Chiefs were forced to punt on all three drives before halftime approached.
After halftime Patrick Mahomes started feeling it, going 74-yards on four plays on the first possession in the third quarter. Later in the game Brady and Mahomes started exchanging touchdowns with one another.
The game came down to the final seconds, when the Patriots scored a touchdown with less than a minute of action left, giving them a 3-point lead. Mahomes had very limited time to work with, but put together a couple of completions that got them in field goal range. Kicker Harrison Butker came through with a 39-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. Brady and the Patriots won the toss in overtime and marched right down the field to score the winning touchdown. Patriots won the game 37-31 and will take on the Rams in the Super Bowl.
Brady finished the game 30/46, 348 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. One of Brady’s interceptions came on the one-yard line when Reggie Ragland picked him off just before the Patriots scored. Brady found eight different targets when passing the ball against the Chiefs. The Patriots were led by a heavy running attack led by Sony Michel, who had 29 touches for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Patriots had a total of 48 running attempts throughout the game. Rex Burkhead also had 2 rushing touchdowns.
Mahomes ended the game 16/31, 295 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mahomes connected with Sammy Watkins for 114 yards on just four catches. The Patriots limited the speedy Tyreek Hill to just one catch for 42-yards. Kansas City leaned very heavy on the pass game, as they played from behind most of the game. Running back Damien Williams only carried the ball ten times for 30-yards. Mahomes faced a lot of pressure in the pocket, forcing him to make quick decisions or to get rid of the ball. He seamed to make the adjustments in the second half, as he got the offense going late in the game.
Brady is now set to make his ninth Super Bowl appearance in his 19-year career. He has more Super Bowl victories than any other quarterback in NFL history, although he’s chasing his sixth Super Bowl ring against the Rams to help build his legacy. Brady also has been to the AFC Championship game eight straight years. He has played in 39 playoff games and has a record of 29-10 in those games. As Brady continues to fight his way into the playoffs year-after-year his legacy as an all-time quarterback helps his case in getting into Canton, Ohio one day as a Hall of Famer.
(Top Photo courtesy of Barry Wilner/KSFY)
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