LIII: an NFL Playoff and Super Bowl recap

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LIII: an NFL Playoff and Super Bowl recap

The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl 13-3, over the Los Angeles Rams.

The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl 13-3, over the Los Angeles Rams.

Google Images

The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl 13-3, over the Los Angeles Rams.

Google Images

Google Images

The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl 13-3, over the Los Angeles Rams.

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Once again, millions of viewers were drawn into the madness of the NFL season’s pinnacle: the playoffs. Matchups featured a double-boink, a missed pass interference call and a Super Bowl matchup where the New England Patriots’ quarterback was older than the Los Angeles Rams’ head coach.

Wild Card

As usual, the Wild Card round was as unpredictable as its name implies. Of the four home teams, only the Dallas Cowboys survived the upset bid against the Seattle Seahawks. The Houston Texans fell to the Indianapolis Colts, the Baltimore Ravens to the Los Angeles Chargers and the Chicago Bears to the Philadelphia Eagles. The most astonishing game for the NFL nation was the Eagles’ victory over the Bears on the road, as the game ended 16-15 with a Bears’ ‘double-boink’ field goal, where the ball hit the left upright and then bounced off the crossbar to punch an Eagles’ divisional round ticket.

Divisional

The winners of the Wild Card Round hoped to ride their momentum into the Divisional Round against their opponents, who were well rested after having a first round bye as a one or two seed. Each team coming out of the Wild Card was given a good chance to upset their opponent, namely the Los Angeles Chargers, who were given an underdog’s best 35 percent chance to beat the Patriots. However, New England came out firing on all cylinders, outscoring the Chargers 35-7 at halftime, and holding on to win 41-28. Like the Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs gained the lead over the Colts, 31-13. In the NFC, the Rams’ running game led them to a 30-22 win over the Cowboys, as the team ran for a total of 273 yards. For the second time in just four years, those with the highest records in their conferences and awarded the first round bye met in both conference championships.

Conference Championship

Arguably the four best teams in the NFL met in the AFC and NFC championships, and neither game disappointed. The Kansas City Chiefs met the New England Patriots for the AFC title, and the New Orleans Saints faced the Los Angeles Rams for the NFC title. For the first time in league history, both games over Championship weekend went into overtime. In the deafening Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints jumped out to an early lead, but by the fourth quarter, the Rams had tied it. When the referees did not call a pass interference penalty that could have sealed a New Orleans win, the Saints’ home crowd erupted in protest. The game then went into overtime, and Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 57 yard field goal to lift Los Angeles to their first Super Bowl since 2002, when they were based in St. Louis. In frigid Kansas City, most of the scoring occurred in the fourth quarter, with the Chiefs and Patriots combining for 38 points in the last 15 minutes. Down by three with 39 seconds left, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field in 31 seconds to tie the game up, sending the second championship of the day into overtime. The exhausted Chiefs’ defense could not stop Tom Brady and the Patriots on their opening overtime drive, and New England advanced to its fourth Super Bowl in the past five years.

Super Bowl

After an intense build up throughout the postseason, the Super Bowl lacked the offensive explosiveness that has been prominent throughout the playoffs. Super Bowl LIII became the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever with a final score of 13-3. At halftime, the Patriots led 3-0, and both defensive gameplans had shut down any chance of offensive momentum. With seven minutes remaining in the game, Patriots’ running back Sony Michel scored the game’s only touchdown to give New England a 10-3 advantage. The Rams then drove down the field, showing the offensive spark that was so common in the regular season; however, a crucial interception by the Patriots allowed them another offensive possession, they scored a field goal and ended the game. The MVP honors went to wide receiver Julian Edelman, who finished with ten catches for 141 yards. For the sixth time in their 19 seasons together, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick found a way to win yet another Super Bowl.

 

This year’s playoffs led NFL fans around the world on a rollercoaster ride, but ultimately ended with the Lombardi trophy in Tom Brady’s hands.

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