We have some new faces making the trip to the Super Bowl this year as the AFC sends an upset winner to the game while the NFC sends a team that sold out this season to win and now has a chance to do so. The fight for the Lombardi Trophy is marked with new and unexpected storylines, and is part of one of the most memorable and surprising NFL seasons in years. How did the winners make it to the big game, and what happens to those they left behind in their wake? Let’s recap Championship Weekend in the NFL.
Cincinnati 27, Kansas City 24 (OT): For the first time since George H.W. Bush was three days into his presidency back in January 1989, the Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC Championship game after their overtime win over Kansas City. Cincy didn’t make it easy for themselves after allowing their hosts to score touchdowns on their first three possessions to take a 21-3 lead. It was then that the Bengals not only started, but completed their comeback, scoring the next 18 points to tie the game in the fourth quarter. With each team reaching the end zone, and honestly looking nervous and fearful of going for the end zone and losing three points, the game ended regulation tied at 24 with KC getting the ball first. It was the Bengals’ defense that made the first big play of the extra session, picking off Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes, setting up the Cincy offense for the game-winning FG and a trip to the Super Bowl. Andy Reid and the Kansas City offense appeared to be playing the clock before taking the lead in the fourth quarter, and watched Mahomes get sacked on both second and third down and goal to go, forcing a field goal attempt rather than a chance for the win with more aggressive play calling. With some of Reid’s assistant coaches in line for head coaching jobs next season, perhaps a few changes to the staff will jumpstart what appears to be a team that known how to play well in spurs, but struggles to put sixty minutes together, which is why the Cincinnati Bengals and not Kansas City is going to the Super Bowl.
LA Rams 20, San Francisco 17: There are definitely two sides to this football game. For the victorious Rams, being able to play the Super Bowl on their home field after selling out by trading for Matthew Stafford in the offseason and bringing in Von Miller and Odell Beckham, Jr. during the season justifies all their moves. For Stafford, especially, who the Rams paid a king’s random to free him from the Detroit Lions, being able to post the final 13 points in the NFC Championship game and overcome a 17-7 deficit may take away much of the pain he suffered playing in the Motor City. Now, for the second year in a row, a team will play for a Super Bowl title on their home field, and with the Rams already use to playing in front of a mixed crowd, the game on February 13th won’t be much different then the game was Sunday night against the 49ers. As for San Francisco: How much more prove do we need that Kyle Shanahan CANNOT coach in big games or hold leads in them. (Remember, he was the offensive coordinator when Atlanta was beating New England 28-3 in the Super Bowl, yet found a way to lose.) Yes, I know it is easy to blame Jimmy Garoppolo for making a bad throw at the end, but how about a head coach that has seen two and three score leads disappear in big games under his watch. Everyone wants to point the finger at Jimmy G, but when does the sone of a Super Bowl winning head coach start to take the blame for his shortcomings. Does the franchise take a different direction and dump Kyle Shanahan? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable question to ask, and if it was my choice, I would say yes since I don’t believe in the current coach.
So, who do you have in the Super Bowl: The upstart Cincinnati Bengals, or the team build to win this season at all costs, the Los Angeles Rams?
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NFL Championship Weekend Recap | TooAthletic.com