Games come down to final moments in NFL Conference championships


Photo used with permission from GoogleCommons

A quiet Lambeau Field before limited fans come into the stadium for the Rams v. Packers game

The NFL playoffs are down to four teams: the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was hardly a walk in the park for any of these teams as all have faced some type of adversity through the season. These four teams will meet next weekend for the conference championships and only two will come out on top to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay, FL, at Raymond James Stadium. 

On Jan. 16, the Green Bay Packers played host to the Los Angeles Rams. Aaron Rodgers had his offense cooking as usual on the opening drive of the first half, and even drew a mental error from the opposing defense that awarded him a free play, putting the Packers in the red zone. They ran into a brick wall immediately thereafter though, when the Rams defense clamped down to force a field goal. 

Despite still dealing with a broken thumb, Jared Goff came out of the gate firing with accuracy and rhythm on the following drive for the Rams. The promising drive ended deep in Packers territory after a poor timed Wildcat call followed by a stopped run and a penalty on the Rams that forced them into a field goal of their own. The Packers kept throwing body blows as they lead themselves to a 32-18 victory to stamp their ticket to the NFC Championship game for the second consecutive season and the third time since 2016, therefore arranging a meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship. This game definitely lived up to the hype.

A day later, on Jan. 17, the Kansas City Chiefs met the Cleveland Browns in Kansas City for the AFC Divisional playoffs. In the first half, it looked like Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were going to cruise their way to victory even as the Browns defense held them to kick four field-goal attempts throughout the game. However, once Mahomes was knocked out of the game due to a concussion, the tide started to turn and the Browns wanted to take over. 

Backup Chad Henne was forced to come in for the injured Mahomes and he did just enough to keep his team ahead. He completed six of his eight passes for 66 yards and an interception but also had a key 13-yard run that helped clinch the win late in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs came out of the gate pretty hot, scoring back-to-back touchdowns on their first two drives of the day and came away with points throughout their first four possessions. Andy Reid’s club once again is on the doorstep of the Super Bowl courtesy of an action-packed 22-17 win over the Cleveland Browns, and will meet the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship. This game lived up to the hype.