“Going to the Super Bowl-Old Guard-vs-New Breed”
It was wild, it was worth watching.
It was controversial, it was emotional.
When we were done with a Sunday of football, the old reliable team, the New England Patriots, were heading to the Super Bowl to face a team fueled by unknowns, who helped the Rams win their playoff game.
The Patriots survived a raucous 4th quarter comeback engineered by Kansas City QB-Patrick Mahomes, but in the end, Bill Belicheck and his QB-Tom Brady made all the plays in the New England overtime win.
And in the end, what was bad most all the season, the Chiefs defense, cost Kansas City the ticket to the Super Bowl, despite the heroics of Mahomes.
The Rams-Saints game was marred by a horrific non-call on a blatant pass interference call against a Rams DB. Could have been pass interference, or a helmet hit, or a blow to a defensive receiever. The side judge didn’t see it? The back judge didn’t see it? The whole nation did on TV.
Instead of the ball at the two yard line, and a likely go-ahead TD that would have given New Orleans a (27-20) lead, we got silence-no officials whistle. We got bedlam from the Saints sideline and an enormous outpouring of venom from Saints fans. Da-Saints got robbed by Who-Dat, the refs.
But it was the unsung heroes who rallied the Rams from a horrid start. If you’re looking for Rams heroes on Sunday, think Tyler Higbee-Josh Reynolds-Gerald Everett, the cadre of pass catchers not named Robert Woods or Branden Cook. The trio combined for 10-critical receptions. And kicker Greg Zeurlein added a field goal with (:15) left to tie the game, and then the (:57Y) to win it in OT.
A bitter shot of bourbon coming for Sean Payton and Drew Brees, the officials calls. An amazing win for the star studded roster from LA, thanks to a lot of unknown players who stepped up.
At frigid Arrowhead Stadium, what was bad since week one of the season, the Kansas City defense, was bad the final day of their season too, the defense.
You remember the Chargers Philip Rivers putting up 424-yards in passing yards on opening day against KC, a game the Chiefs won, but should have lost. By the time the season was over, despite the spectacular things their young QB did, KC was ranked 31st in defense, giving up 405-yards a game.
Then there was Tom Brady, gunslinging his way thru the cold and the pass rush as New England rallied time and again. When he was done, the Patriots had 524Y-in offenses too. They had a (94-47) edge in plays, and a (43:20) to (20:00) advantage in time of possession.
The Chiefs died on the field Sunday night, and died most every Sunday, wasting a tremendous season of work by Mahomes-Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill in that offense. That will be a bitter cup of coffee for fans in KC to have on Monday morning.
Instant replay was everywhere on lots of calls in the 4th quarter and into overtime. The officials finished up the playoffs with lots of mistakes, much like lots of Sundays during the regular season.
But it was Brady’s heroics that got him another post season win. He was hardly touched in the pocket. He went (30-46) for 348-in the cold and the wind. And that was with a couple of interceptions off deflections.
When Belicheck’s team needed someone to help them out, Brady did. He took New England 65-yards in the final (:80) of regulation to rally them so there could be an overtime. And then in OT, he made 3-straight 3rd down and long passes that kept the drive going that setup the game winning TD. The Chiefs never saw the ball in overtime.
You may not like New England, the coach, or the quarterback, but Brady’s bunch are now (29-10) in postseason games he plays.
The QB made lots of plays, got lots of help. Rookie running back Sonny Michel had (113Y) rushing. Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, both long in the tooth, combined for 13-catches and 175-yards, much of it when they needed it late in the game.
There were bad calls in that game too, proving officials are only human, though they should get it right at the most important time of the year. Instant replay can only bail you out on turnovers, not penalties, and there were some bad flags tosses and not tossed in KC.
So on we go to the Super Bowl in two weeks.
Belicheck and his history against Sean McVay’s fast growing resume of accomplishments. The Patriots and all those guys with all that postseason experience vs a Rams team, young, green, and excited at what they have done this season.
Old School-vs-New Breed, New England vs the LA Rams come Super Bowl Sunday.
And as a footnote, for Dean Spanos and the Chargers,. Who’s won the Fight for LA? The team that owns LA, the Rams, the one going to the Super Bowl.