The NFL had their third round of the playoffs last Sunday. The two best teams in the AFC and in the NFC face off in the conference championship game. Many football fans refer to this NFL gameday as “Championship Sunday”, because of the two conference championship games that are played. This year, the AFC Championship game featured a very familiar team in the Kansas City Chiefs, who played in their fourth straight AFC Championship game. Traveling to Kansas City was the Cincinnati Bengals, looking to go to their first Super Bowl since 1989. This game fit into the whole theme of the NFL playoffs so far, chaotic. The Chiefs got off to a hot start and went into halftime with a 21-10 lead over the Bengals. Personally, I thought that the magical playoff run the Bengals had put together would be coming to an end, but they came out in the second half and battled back against the Chiefs. The Bengals got some huge performances out of their star quarterback Joe Burrow and stud kicker Evan McPherson in the second half, but the Bengals defense absolutely shut down Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. After allowing 220 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, the Bengals’ defense held Mahomes to just 55 yards in the second half and also had an interception. This incredible defensive performance was enough for the Bengals to tie the game at 24 and force overtime. The Chiefs got the ball first in overtime and many fans figured the Chiefs would just go score at will and the game would be over. The Bengals’ defense stepped up once again and intercepted Patrick Mahomes for a second time. Burrow and the Bengals’ offense drove down the field and set up a 31-yard kick that McPherson nailed to send the Bengals to the Super Bowl.
The second game of Championship Sunday was between a pair of teams that have both had their fair share of success in recent years. The Los Angeles Rams, the host of the NFC Championship game, last appeared in the Super Bowl in 2018, where they lost to the New England Patriots. The San Francisco 49ers traveled to Los Angeles to face the Rams for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. The Niners last appeared in the 2019 Super Bowl, where they were handed their first Super Bowl loss in franchise history against the Kansas City Chiefs. This game was poised for a great battle between two franchises that have seen plenty of success in the last five years. The 49ers lead the Rams 17-7 heading into the fourth quarter of the game. The Niners’ defense was doing an outstanding job of containing a very high-powered Rams offense through three quarters, but in the fourth, the Rams offense came to life. San Francisco allowed the Rams to score on three straight possessions in the 4th quarter. The Rams’ star wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, was on the receiving end of the Rams’ two touchdowns. Kupp’s 11 receptions for 142 yards helped the Rams come back from that 10 point deficit and beat the 49ers 20-17. The Super Bowl matchup is set. The Super Bowl will take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and for the second year in a row, one of the teams in the Super Bowl will be playing at their home stadium. The Bengals will travel to Los Angeles on February 13th to face the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. There are many great stories to follow in this game. Joe Burrow’s chance to immediately become one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Matthew Stafford could finally get his ring, arguably the best defensive player ever in Aaron Donald could also win his first Super Bowl. There are plenty things to be excited for in this years Super Bowl.