Championship Game Roundup

Following two entertaining Championship games on Sunday, the matchup is now set for Super Bowl 56

This weekend has very much been overshadowed by Tom Brady calling it a career, which was made official on Tuesday morning via Instagram. Let’s take a deeper look into what went down on Championship Sunday this past weekend.

Bengals at Chiefs

Tyreek Hill found the endzone on the Chiefs’ first drive after a 10-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs entering Sunday’s game were 21-0 in games where Hill crosses the goal-line. Kansas City would continue to pile the points on a stunned Bengals defense. Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman would both add a touchdown to put the Chiefs up 21-3.

Joe Burrow would march Cincinnatti down the field to score right before halftime to cut the deficit to 11. The Chiefs would then embark on a drive that would end in a controversial matter. Instead of opting to kick a field goal before halftime, the play call was to throw it to the left to Hill and let him make a play. He was stopped in his tracks and the Chiefs would be sent to the locker room without a score.

The second half was a bit of deja vu for Chiefs fans from the previous matchup with the Bengals that took place in the regular season. Kansas City was up by 11 at halftime and then only scored 3 points after halftime and the Bengals came out on top winning 34-31. The Chiefs’ offense seemed to be spinning their wheels, after punting on their first two possessions in the second half.

The Bengals were able to climb back from an 18 point deficit and take the lead 24-21 over the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes then took his offense out on the field to try and lead another game-winning drive. Kansas City would have a 1st & Goal at the 5-yard line, instead of opting to run the ball on three straight plays, the complete opposite would happen. Mahomes would be sacked on two of the next three plays after dancing around in the pocket trying to make a play. The latter of the two would result in a fumble that would push the Chiefs back to the 26-yard line. Forcing Harrison Butker to kick a 44-yard field goal to send it to overtime.

Kansas City would win the toss in overtime and looked to be in the driver’s seat after the way last week’s game concluded. Mahomes threw a costly interception that would be his second of the day to give the Bengals the ball back. The Bengals’ offense had put up 14 points in the second half and had all of the momentum. The game would then again be put on the leg of rookie kicker Evan McPherson and he would not disappoint. Cincinnatti would hoist the Lamar Hunt Trophy in front of Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt as they punched their ticket to Super Bowl 56.

49ers at Rams

The second matchup of the day started quite a bit slower than the one before. After the first quarter, both teams remained off the scoreboard and Matthew Stafford had already thrown an interception. But following an extensive 18 play drive that took up almost 10 minutes of game time, Cooper Kupp was found in the endzone and the first points of the NFC Championship were on the board.

Jimmy Garoppolo would have a quick response that concluded with a 44-yard Deebo Samuel touchdown. The Rams would follow with another length 12 play drive, that set up kicker Matt Gay for a 54-yard field goal. The kick would sail wide right and give San Francisco just enough time to set up a field goal of their own that Robbie Gould would convert on.

The 49ers’ offense would be shut down on their first drive of the second half and be forced to punt. However, the Rams couldn’t convert on a 4th & 1 and would turn the ball over on downs. Setup with great field position, Garoppolo was ready to set up shop and lead his team down the field. The drive would be capped off with a 16-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle to increase the Niners’ lead to 10.

Playing with a sense of urgency, Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp 3 times on the drive including a wide-open 11-yard pass in the endzone to cut the lead to three. San Francisco would fizzle out on a promising drive and be forced to punt. On the opening play of the Rams drive, Stafford would air a pass out deep that would hit safety Jaquiski Tartt right in the hands but he was unable to hold on to it.

Giving the Rams a second life, they would find Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. for big plays downfield to set up another Gay field goal attempt, which he converted on this time to tie the game at 17. The Niners would then have a terrible drive that took just 0:23 seconds off the clock before returning the ball to the Rams. Stafford would then drive his squad and set them up in field goal range where Gay would trot out yet again. Putting the miss at the end of the second half behind him he netted this one to give Los Angeles the lead late.

Garoppolo would then throw an interception on what was seemingly his last throw as a 49er to send the Rams into victory formation. The Rams will get to stick around and be the second straight team to host the Super Bowl at their home stadium after Tampa Bay played host to Kansas City last season.