Last year both the AFC and NFC top seeds were knocked out in the Divisional Round. This year the home teams held serve all the way, which means we are getting the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57 down in Glendale, Arizona.
The Eagles took apart the San Francisco 49ers, thumping them 31-7 and really taking just about all the drama out of the game by halftime. Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the opening quarter, and Josh Johnson was pressed into action. Other than Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown run, the 49ers offense was pretty much toast. Johnson was concussed in the 3rd quarter, leading to Purdy coming back in, and he only threw two very short passes. Jalen Hurts ran for a touchdown, as did Boston Scott, and Miles Sanders had two as part of a 148-yard day for the Eagles. Nick Sirianni is in the big game in just his second season, just like his predecessor Doug Pederson.
Of course, the 49ers are a bit peeved with this DeVonta Smith 4th down grab that wasn’t, but Kyle Shanahan could’ve challenged and did not. San Francisco was flagged 11 times for 81 yards and Trent Williams got himself ejected as part of one of the many skirmishes that took place. The title drought is now 28 years.
In the AFC Championship Game, the Kansas City Chiefs got revenge on the Cincinnati Bengals with a 23-20 win in the closing seconds. Harrison Butker’s 45-yard game-winning field goal was made possible thanks to a huge punt return by Skyy Moore, as well as a devastating roughness penalty on Joseph Ossai when he shoved an already out of bounds Patrick Mahomes on the sidelines.
Needless to say, the officiating in this game will be heavily scrutinized given some of the wacky calls that were and were not made throughout the evening. Unfortunately for Ossai, who was in tears at the end of the game, this is a penalty that will be one of the most infamous moments in postseason history.
Patrick Mahomes, playing on a bad ankle, threw for over 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns, including a 4th and 1 throw to Travis Kelce and a dart to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Joe Burrow was sacked five times and the Bengals offense, which had repeatedly ripped up the Chiefs in previous matchups, struggled to gain any consistent traction this evening. And Travis Kelce kept the receipts.
The last three meetings had all gone Cincy’s way by a field goal. This time the field goal was Kansas City’s, and they are AFC champions for a third time in four seasons. Joe Burrow was sacked five times and relentlessly pressured by the Chiefs defensive line (namely Chris Jones), and he threw two interceptions that may not have led to points but certainly ended their own drives. Cincy’s backup-heavy OL shined in Buffalo but faltered at Arrowhead, and their season ends perhaps with the identical 23-20 scoreline as their Super Bowl defeat last year.
Andy Reid can win his second Super Bowl as head coach against the team he coached for 14 seasons. Alternatively, the Eagles could win their second Super Bowl in franchise history at the expense of the man who led them to four NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl runner-up.
Oh yes, and one of Travis Kelce or Jason Kelce will win another ring.
February 12th, State Farm Stadium, Chiefs vs. Eagles for all the marbles! At least neither of those teams is the 49ers.