FC playoffs, most NFL fans are left with a sense of defeat. Maybe your team didn’t make it, or perhaps they missed it by a 50 yard field goal made with three seconds left. Or maybe your team lost by 18 points after only trailing by four points at the half.
On Saturday, Jan. 14, the Atlanta Falcons won against the Seattle Seahawks. Atlanta went into the game as one of the lowest ranked overall defenses. The Falcons proved they needed a reevaluation of this metric holding Thomas Rawls to just 34 yards, with 11 yards coming from one drive. Matt Ryan completed over 70 percent of his passes with a total of 338 passing yards ultimately leading the Falcons to the victory. A real turning point for this game happened when a Seattle offensive lineman stepped on Wilson’s foot, leading him to fall into their own end zone and resulting in a safety.
The Texans finished the first half with only a four point deficit behind the powerhouse Patriots.
However, this excitement soon left when Brock Osweiler threw his first of three interceptions. The Texans defense had a noteworthy performance holding the great Tom Brady to a 47 percent completion rate, two interceptions and an uncharacteristic 287 passing yards.
Only so much can be said about the exciting Packers and Cowboys game. Aaron Rodgers completed a 35 yard pass on a long third and 20 to set Mason Crosby up for a game winning 51 yard field goal as time expired. Do not discount the performance of the Dallas Cowboys offense. Dallas rallied from an 18 point deficit to tie the game with less than a minute to go, but Rodgers proved why he’s one of the league’s best and an MVP candidate.
After the game, both quarterbacks commended each other on a hard fought battle. The 34-31 loss was heartbreaking for Cowboy fans everywhere but with two rookie superstars in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot, the future looks bright.
The final game of the divisional round pitted the Kansas City Chiefs against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In another very close game, the Chiefs could not get going against a strong Pittsburgh defense. Tight end Travis Kelce was held to only 77 yards on five pass completions. However, Pittsburgh could not capitalize on offense much either, and won by making all six field goal attempts to win. Kicker Chris Boswell was responsible for all 18 of the Steelers points as they snuck past the Chiefs with a slim 18-16 victory.
The NFC Championship featured two of the best offenses in the league with the Falcons and Packers going head to head. In a game many thought could perhaps go down to the wire, Atlanta won big in a surprisingly lopsided 44-21 victory and clinched a spot in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons will be looking for their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
In the AFC Championship game, the Steelers faced off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. While the game was close at the half, the high powered Patriots offense pulled away in the second half and Tom Brady tied Joe Montana for the most playoff games with at least three touchdown passes with nine en route to a 36-17 victory over the Steelers. With star tight end Rob Gronkowski still out, wide receiver Chris Hogan stepped up and had a monster game with nine receptions, 180 yards and two touchdowns.
We started the 2016-2017 season with 32 teams and now we’re left with two. The Patriots and Falcons will face off Feb. 5 in Super Bowl LI from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Matt Ryan will be playing in his first Super Bowl ever while opposing quarterback Tom Brady will be looking for his fifth championship ring. Both offenses have been dominant all year long, so we should expect some fireworks from Houston come next Sunday.
Anything can happen once the teams take the field. There’s no doubt Americans will be on the edge of their seat, eating wings, making bets and cheering as loudly as they can with family and friends huddled around the television. The one and only Lombardi trophy is at stake, and next Sunday, one team will be taking it home.