The NFL conference championships are over, and the stage is set for Super Bowl LVII as the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs are set to battle it out for the chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Here’s a look at the results from yesterday’s games:
Philly Dominates 49ers to Take NFC Championship
The 49ers’ season was destined to become complicated due to their problem with injured quarterbacks. But, unfortunately, this theme came back to haunt them during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. Brock Purdy, the unbeaten rookie quarterback, injured his throwing elbow on the 49ers’ first possession of the 31-7 loss – the third-most lopsided defeat in 49ers playoff history.
San Francisco has now lost in the NFC Championship Game for a second consecutive season. However, unlike last year’s defeat in Los Angeles, this game looked doomed from the start and is sure to cast a dark cloud over the offseason. The team’s 2021 top draft pick, Trey Lance, was lost with a broken ankle in the home opener and had follow-up surgery only a month ago.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo had had a short return until he fractured his foot in early December. Purdy had won eight games in a row and needed one more to become the first rookie to start at quarterback in the Super Bowl.
The Eagles had the luxury of a 14-point halftime lead, which they earned on three touchdown runs. Johnson came in to replace Purdy but couldn’t make an impact, going 7-of-13 for 74 yards and two sacks before suffering a concussion. Purdy then re-entered despite being in no shape to attempt more than two short passes, ending any chance of a comeback.
It was such a dire situation for the 49ers that they sent running back Christian McCaffrey to quarterback for a trick play in the final minutes. San Francisco has now lost six times in the NFC Championship away from home, with this being their most lopsided defeat.
Chiefs Get Close Win Over Bengals To Clinch AFC
The Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC Championship on Sunday, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The win sends the Chiefs to the Super Bowl to take on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The victory was a genuine team effort, with everyone contributing, from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to all the players on the game-day roster.
KC defensive tackle Chris Jones also had a great game and deserved recognition for his two key sacks. Jones had been without a playoff sack coming into the game, but his presence was felt in a big way on Sunday as he hit Joe Burrow five times, including on the final play of the Bengals’ season.
Mahomes then scrambled for a five-yard gain and had another 15 yards tacked on to the end of the play after a personal foul on the Bengals’ Joseph Ossai for hitting him out of bounds. The costly penalty set up Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker for a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds left on the clock to give the Chiefs the win. Butker struggled during the season due to an ankle injury, but he has come through in the biggest moments this season.
The Chiefs’ victory was made all the more special by head coach Andy Reid, who won six division titles and an NFC Championship in 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles before coming to Kansas City and winning seven division titles, three AFC titles, and a Super Bowl in ten years.
Sunday’s game was supposed to be the start of the Bengals’ Super Bowl window, but instead, it was the Chiefs who showed why they are a true dynasty. With one more victory in 2022, the narrative will be complete.