American football | NFL | Super Bowl | Monday, February 1, 2022

wow. What a Sunday of football. We saw more Mahomes magic, Burrow’s jaw-dropping brilliance, a consistently solid Stafford and a gritty performance from Garappolo, but it was the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams who advanced to Super Bowl LVI in SoFi Stadium on February 13.

Here’s a look at the action as we now begin our preparation for the NFL Grand Finals in two weeks.

AFC Championship: Bengals 27-24 Chiefs

It was the first game of the night and it was an incredible start to the league on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium as the self-proclaimed underdogs Cincinnati Bengals came to face last season’s Super Bowl finalists Kansas City Chiefs. .

The Chiefs shot out of the blocks and forced a three-and-out for the Bengals before heading down the field where Tyreek Hill made a big effort to grab the back of the end zone. The Kansas defense appeared to be serious and held the Bengals to the basket on their second practice. Mahomes led the Chiefs 75 yards before connecting with Travis Kelce to extend their lead to 3-14 going into the second quarter. Kansas scored its third touchdown of the game shortly after the start of the second and it looked like that would be it. The Bengals weren’t clicking on offense and looked vulnerable defensively.

That was until Joe Burrow found Samaje Perrine rushing for 41 yards to put the Bengals back in the game. Inspired by their offense, the Bengals defense put up a heroic goal line to close out the half and make it a two-run game. HT score 10-21.

Oh for being a fly on the wall in the Cincinnati locker room at halftime. No matter what, it certainly worked. The Bengals forced two punts and an interception that changed the momentum. It was Patrick Mahomes’ first in 132 pass attempts in an AFC Championship game. The Bengals had their tails up and used the short field to their advantage as they scored with the young starlet, Ja’Marr Chase stepping onto the board with a two-yard reception.

A two-point conversion closed the gap to 18-21 with a quarter to play. The final 15 minutes of regulation flew by as Burrow was intercepted. The Bengals defense got into position again and then Evan McPherson, who holds the record for most successful field goals, stepped up and converted to give the Bengals the lead before the Chiefs kicker, Harrison Butker won’t repeat the feat on the death to take the game to overtime. The Bengals’ 18-point comeback tied the record for the biggest comeback in conference championship history.

Heads never fail, so of course Joe Burrow picked heads and lost the coin toss. The Chiefs chose to receive the ball and many thought that would be it. However, just 13 seconds into the OT and Mahomes looked to find Tyreek Hill, but a crucial breakup with Jessie Bates landed in Vonn Bell’s arms and the Bengals only needed a field goal. to win the game.

Driving methodically towards the goal posts, the Arrowhead faithful gradually faded away. The Bengals offense left the field at the Kansas 13-yard line, leaving Evan McPherson with a 31-yard attempt to send the Bengals to their first Super Bowl since 1988. And that’s why you’re drafting a kicker.

NFC Championship: 49ers 17-20 LA Rams

Game 2 of Championship Sunday was a much-anticipated clash between two strong teams, with the LA Rams heavily favored to win. The game started with punts on either side before the Rams started to spin and looked like they were getting into the rhythm. That was until Matt Stafford gave up an interception with LA on a third-and-go situation, with the pass slightly behind Cooper Kupp and ended up getting knocked into the hands of Jimmie Ward.

San Francisco couldn’t take advantage of the turnover and had to pay, as the next time the Rams got the ball they walked for the game’s opener with Kupp inevitably scoring the game opener. The 49ers fought back directly thanks to Deebo Samuel’s 44-yard touchdown, which is the second-longest receiving touchdown for the 49ers in a playoff since a certain Terrell Owens in 2002.

The Rams looked to get back in the game, but kicker Matt Gay pushed his 54-yard attempt wide of the posts. San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould didn’t make the same mistake and with just over a minute remaining in the first half, he gave the 49ers the halftime lead. 10-7 at HT.

Los Angeles’ tough day at the office continued as the San Francisco defense made a monstrous save on 4th down, forcing a turnover on the downs and feeding the ball to Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garappolo on their own line of 43 meters. The following drive caused the visitors to jubilate as an 11-play, 58-yard pushing field ended with a George Kittle touchdown and put the Niners in a solid position with a 17-7 lead.

Although, in typical Sean McVay fashion, the Rams fought back with a 3:29 drive that ended with, you guessed it, a Cooper Kupp touchdown. The scoreboard read 17-14 heading into the fourth quarter. It was yet another historic moment for Kupp, as he became just the third Rams player to record more than 2 receiving touchdowns since 1950.

The pressure of opportunity began to seep into the Niners and like an aging wall, cracks began to appear. The offense gave way and fell on back-to-back punts as the Rams kicked two field goals in response to both. The second of those gave the Rams the lead for the first time since the first quarter. 5:20 p.m. with 1:49 remaining on the clock. The game ended 30 seconds later as 49er QB Jimmy Garoppolo attempted to return the ball as he was tackled by rusher Aaron Donald. Instead of finding his own player, he found Travin Howard from the Rams defense.

It was a heartbreaking way to lose the game, but the continued rush of Aaron Donald and Von Miller on defense, combined with a deadly attack from Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp, proved too much for San Francisco that day. -the. They’ve done incredibly well to get as far as they’ve come, but it just wasn’t meant to be.​​​​​​

About Betty J. Snyder

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