32 things we learned from NFC, AFC Championship Games heading into NFL’s Favorable Bowl LIII

32 things we learned from NFC, AFC Championship Games heading into NFL’s Favorable Bowl LIII

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SportsPulse: This would likely lunge down because the worst officiated championship weekend ever. Nonetheless while you occur to are keen on chaos and pure insane leisure it became fabulous. Trysta Krick breaks down how the Patriots and Rams punched their stamp to the Favorable Bowl.
USA TODAY

NEW ORLEANS — The 32 things we learned heading into Favorable Bowl LIII following Sunday’s NFC and AFC Championship Games:

1. Query The usa to root for the Rams in the Favorable Bowl. Mostly.

1a. Nonetheless New England won’t. Clearly.

1b. And St. Louis — be mindful St. Louis — won’t, both.

2. Nonetheless soooooo many different yarn strains to unpack.

2a. Invoice Belichick and Tom Brady of their familiar, respective roles as The Galactic Emperor and Darth Vader … while we try and determine if Sean McVay or Jared Goff is Luke Skywalker.

2b. East Traipse alongside with the run vs. West Traipse alongside with the run with gritty Boston taking over glitzy Los Angeles. 

2c. I will lunge on and on and on. And I am going to.

three. The Belichick-Brady (Sith) reign began 17 years ago in opposition to the heavily liked St. Louis Rams in Favorable Bowl XXXVI. Will Favorable Bowl LIII provide a bookend to that legacy, or per chance signal its proper downfall to cap a season when the Patriots regarded to be so weak?

Four. Nonetheless plan no mistake — Spygate, Deflategate, whatever — this New England dynasty has been resplendent. 

4a. The Patriots prolonged their non-public chronicle with an Eleventh Favorable Bowl day out.

4b. Beat the Rams and so that they’ll match the Steelers for most Lombardi Trophies won (6).

4c. New England matched Pittsburgh for the most playoff wins (36) in NFL historic past and may per chance spoil the first-affirm tie in two weeks.

4d. Brady can change into the first player to consume six rings, breaking his tie with Corridor of Famer Charles Haley.

4e. The Patriots joined the 1971-seventy three Miami Dolphins and 1990-ninety three Buffalo Payments because the very best teams to formula to three consecutive Favorable Bowls.

4f. With all these nuggets about AFC East teams, we didn’t must lunge away the J-E-T-S out. When you may maybe note Brady added to his lengthy chronicle alongside with his Twenty ninth playoff consume, did you comprehend it became handiest his fourth postseason victory on the avenue — matching the total of outmoded Jets QB Ticket Sanchez. Yes, statistics lie.

4g. New England’s closing playoff consume on the avenue sooner than Sunday? It occurred in outmoded NFL metropolis San Diego following the 2006 season.

4h. Nonetheless this became the first Patriots crew to come but every other time to the Favorable Bowl the season after losing it.

SUPER BOWL: Practice USA TODAY Sports activities for reports and prognosis

5.Broken-down Patriot Map halt Gronkowski? PSA: It appears Gronk is no longer so washed up … and now has two weeks to obtain better and doubtlessly support as a predominant mismatch in opposition to the L.A. linebackers or whomever the Rams project with holding him.

6. New Patriot Sony Michel? Barely upright. The second of New England’s two first-round picks in 2018 (injured OL Isaiah Wynn became the a form of) modified into the first rookie with 5 speeding TDs in one postseason. And one game unexcited to lunge.

7. Susceptible Patriot Brandin Cooks? Barely dreadful. He began his NFL lifestyles as a member of the Saints … and burned the Who Dats for seven catches and 107 yards Sunday. Will he beget an even better performance in opposition to New England, which traded him after one season? And be aware, he’s unexcited obtained something to point out on Favorable Sunday after he became knocked from Favorable Bowl LII in approach with a concussion.

8. Relief to Brady. The Rams better no longer let Favorable Bowl LIII even reach time past law, because TB12 is three-0 in OT playoff games and has never even relinquished possession in that scenario, per ESPN Stats & Files.

9. Brady is Forty one … and unexcited the oldest starting quarterback in Favorable Bowl historic past.

10. McVay, who turns 33 on Thursday, will change into the youngest head coach in Favorable Bowl historic past. Yep, he became in high college when the Brady epic began to be solid.

eleven. BTW, what a championship Sunday — the first time ever each and each the AFC and NFC title games went into time past law.

12.The Saints’ loss became the first time coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees had suffered a playoff loss in the Superdome after a hit six in a row collectively.

thirteen. Gotta feel for Brees in specific. Days after his Fortieth birthday, his crew will get shafted by the refs and he then suffers his first profession time past law interception. 

14. Gotta feel for Belichick’s Microsoft pill, too. 

Belichick vs the pillpic.twitter.com/jLuZMf0y7R

— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 21, 2019

15. What’s next for the Saints? Absolute self assurance they’ll dwell courageous — assuming the emotional scars from this loss heal — however it remains to be seen how worthy they’ll toughen in 2019. RB Ticket Ingram is headed for free agency, New Orleans is projected to beget decrease than $20 million in salary cap house, and the crew has no first-round engage after shopping and selling it to Inexperienced Bay in shriek to favor DE Marcus Davenport in 2018.

16. Saints “utility QB” Taysom Hill — fantastic weapon, even caught his first NFL TD lunge Sunday. Coulda been you, Tebow.

17. And a tremendous weep-out to New Orleans TE Benjamin Watson. One amongst the league’s classiest guys and an generous community activist, he became robbed of the possibility to contribute Sunday after being diagnosed with appendicitis. Watson said closing month he planned to retire after the season. Correct ideal fortune, sir, for your future endeavors — they’ll no doubt plan the realm a nearer affirm.

18. When you beget no longer experienced a playoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, effect it for your bucket checklist. Colorful fan expertise … even supposing Saints followers went house inconsolable Sunday. 

19. The perfect-rated “passer” in the NFC Championship Sport? How referring to the Rams’ Johnny Hekker, whose 12-yard lunge on a incorrect punt in the second quarter sparked his crew after it had fallen staunch into a thirteen-0 deficit after the opening duration. A outmoded high college quarterback, Hekker’s passer rating Sunday became 116.7.

20. Speaking of L.A.’s very particular particular teams, Greg Zuerlein became a sniper — Vinatieri-esque even. Zuerlein, aka “Legatron,” made all six of his kicks (Four FGs and 2 PATs), in conjunction with a 48-yarder to tie the game at the stop of law and a Fifty seven-yard rocket in time past law, the longest game-a hit self-discipline goal in playoff historic past.

21. The Chiefs didn’t rating fewer than 26 ingredients in a game this season. Ideal nuts. With a little bit of additional protection, Kansas City may per chance very neatly be an AFC power for a really very lengthy time … assuming Brady and Co. resign the torch one in every of on this day and age.

22. Did Belichick mud off his Favorable Bowl XXV game plan — the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 1990, he helped New York restrict Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Buffalo’s explosive Okay-Gun offense to fewer than 20 minutes time of possession — to beat the Chiefs?

22a. The Patriots doubled up the Chiefs on first downs (36-18).

22b. They doubled them up on plays flee (ninety four-47).

22c. New England outgained Kansas City’s prime-ranked offense 524-290.

22d. Time of possession? Pats (43:59), Chiefs (20:fifty three).

23. And the device onerous did the Okay.C. protection beget to work? The Chiefs had been compelled to plan 99 tackles, while the Patriots wished precise forty. 

24. Yet New England managed four sacks. Kansas City didn’t salvage Brady once.

25. All that, and Kansas City unexcited managed to power time past law. Props, fellas.

26. Per chance seeking out some redemption in Atlanta? How about Rams all-pro RB Todd Gurley, who had a pair of drops Sunday, the first ensuing in an interception of Goff and three ingredients for the Saints. Gurley did organize a 6-yard TD flee at the stop of the first 1/2, however obtained precise Four yards on his three a form of carries. He can enact worthy, worthy better … especially with two weeks to leisure his knee … and the different to play in front of some University of Georgia alumni.

27. Speaking of the Dawgs, who ya obtained? Gurley or Michel?

28. In no want of redemption? How referring to the L.A. flee protection, scorched for a league-worst 5.1 yards per run in the regular season. That figure has been curbed to 2.28 yards per flee in the playoffs. The Rams allowed ninety eight speeding yards mixed to the Cowboys and Saints the past two weeks.

29. Finest player on the self-discipline in New Orleans? One vote for Saints RB Alvin Kamara, who snared eleven passes for Ninety six yards and returned four kickoffs for 119 yards.

30. The Rams needs to be a refreshing team to duvet in Atlanta. The boys from Hollywood no doubt don’t scared from the highlight, and a younger-ish, free-ish team will doubtlessly expertise and embrace the hype in a technique the Patriots most frequently don’t.

30a. This may per chance occasionally be very elegant of Los Angeles nickel corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, who may per chance per chance no longer talk ample about his controversial, unflagged lunge interference in opposition to New Orleans. Nonetheless hand it to Robey-Coleman, who admitted he dedicated a penalty while gambling on the play … while attempting no longer to rub it in to Saints followers.

31. This may per chance be the first Favorable Bowl staged at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a shiny venue agreeable of the nation’s biggest game. Nonetheless will Favorable Bowl LIII be as upright as Favorable Bowl XXXIV, the closing one held in Atlanta? You may per chance bewitch that’s when unheralded Rams LB Mike Jones saved the game on the closing play alongside with his kind out of Titans WR Kevin Dyson precise petrified of the Georgia Dome goal-line, retaining a 23-16 victory.

32. Lastly, thanks Patrick Mahomes. Per chance it didn’t determine the vogue you planned Sunday, whatever the 295 passing yards and three TDs, however you had been a revelation in 2018. I give you a premature congratulations on that MVP award that just isn’t any doubt coming your device. We’re all waiting for 15 extra years of brilliance.

***

Practice Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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