Chasing Championship Sunday
Source: The Associated Press
Before every Super Bowl, you have the day that is not as hyped but could be the biggest day of the NFL Calendar and that is Championship Sunday. Two games to decide who will represent each conference in the biggest game of the year, Super Bowl LIII. Unfortunately, horrible officiating took center stage on this day as there were several controversial blown calls that overshadowed what was otherwise a great pair of football games that both went to overtime to decide the conference champions.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - LOS ANGELES RAMS 26, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 23 (OT)
The Saints had 2 possessions in the red zone early in the 1st quarter but only came out with a pair of field goals, blowing an opportunity to blow the doors off early, although they did get a touchdown shortly after that to lead 13-0. The limited damage only kept the Rams behind by 2 scores, as they would climb to within a field goal making it 13-10 at the half. These two teams would score just one touchdown each until late in the 4th quarter when the Rams would settle for a field goal on a 4th and short. The score is tied 20-20. Then the drama unfolded. With less than 2 minutes to play on 3rd and 10, once again in the red zone, Saints quarterback Drew Brees throws a ball towards wide receiver Tommylee Lewis who was clearly interfered by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, but for some obscene reason, no flag was thrown. To make things worse there was a clear helmet-to-helmet hit to go with it. Un-believable that the officials blew a call that was so blatantly obvious to everyone watching around the world. Since the Rams only had 1 timeout left, the Saints could have milked the clock down and kicked a game-winning field goal to end it, but with the non-call, it was 4th down and a field goal was the only option. The Rams had plenty of time to march down the field and tie the game 23-23 and take it into overtime. New Orleans would win the toss but on that initial drive, Brees threw an interception, giving Los Angeles the ball on their own 46-yard line. They would drive down to the Saints 39 and the hero would be kicker Greg Zuerlein, who would nail a 57-yarder to end it. Rams go to the Super Bowl for the 1st time in 17 years, ironically since Tom Brady's 1st championship win in February 2002, Super Bowl XXVI when they were the St. Louis Rams.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 27, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS 21 (OT)
This one lived up to the hype as well, with the Patriots practically dominating the 1st half up 14-0 to shut out the Chiefs offence for the 1st time in the Andy Reid era dating back 5 years. Kansas City gets the 2nd half kickoff and finally gets on the board with a statement touchdown getting them back into the game, then all of a sudden that explosion of offence we all expected took off and in a big way trading touchdowns and field goals scoring a total of 54 points between them to take this one also going into overtime at a score of 31-31. The Chiefs seemed to have sealed the victory when they were up by 28-24 in the final drive of regulation when a tipped ball fell into the hands of cornerback Charvarius Ward with under a minute to go but due to a defensive offside of all things it got called back into the hands of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who if you give him a couple of extra chances he will come back to bite you every time as he marched them into the end zone to dramatically take the lead with just 39 seconds left. Give the Chiefs and QB Patrick "Show Time" Mahomes some credit as he got his team into position for a 39-yard field goal to tie it up. New England won the toss and would never give Mahomes a shot, methodically moving the ball down the field on the strength of the Patriots run game, all while exploiting the Chiefs biggest weakness, their run defence. They punched it through the end zone to send them back to the Super Bowl for the 3rd year in a row, 4th time in the last 5 years and 5th time this decade.
And then there were 2 in the chase of the Lombardi Trophy!!!
SUPER BOWL LIII - SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3rd, 2019 - 6:30PM EST (CBS)
AFC CHAMPIONS - New England Patriots vs NFC CHAMPIONS - Los Angeles Rams
ENJOY SUPER BOWL 53!!!