NFL Divisional Round Review and Some History Made in the Process

Article By: Chris Pennell

Yes! We are back! Round 2 of the DAAB Podcast weekly reviews is in session.  As always, we have a lot to talk about.

Just a little recap of the busy weekend before we dig deep into the good stuff.

NFL Divisional rounds were underway this past weekend and we saw heartbreak, dominance, and even a little history being made on the grid iron.

The first game of the weekend belonged to the Colts and the Chiefs up at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Mother Nature played a huge role in this matchup as a bit of snow layered the surface.  But hey, isn’t that what you expect in playoff football?  The football gods always bring the toughest tests to the biggest games of the year.  So, the Chiefs adjusted…

The Chiefs defeated the Colts by a final score of 31-13 with a different gameplan than usual.  As you know Pat Mahomes threw for fifty touchdowns during the regular season, so the Chiefs game plan all year long was to attack defenses through the air.  However, due to weather and harsh conditions, they proved to everyone around the league they can dominate on the ground as well.

The Chiefs had four rushing touchdowns on the day from four different offensive players.  Damien Williams led the way with twenty-five carries for 129 yards and touchdown, Tyreek Hill aka Cheetah used his speed on an end around for a 36 yard touchdown.  Backup running back Darrel Williams scored on a goal line touchdown, and finally Pat Mahomes capped it all off with a rushing touchdown for himself.  This is only the second time all year Mahomes failed to find the end zone through the air, however, the fact that the Chiefs showed everyone they can dominate a game with the rush, well the Patriots might need to do a little more homework and figure out ways to stop this explosive offense.

Yes, spoiler alert. The Patriots are headed back to the AFC Championship game for the 8th straight year.  The Pats defeated the LA Chargers in a dominating fashion by the final score of 41-28.

This game had a very similar style of play to the Chiefs Colts game.  The Patriots dominated the run game as well.  Rookie running back, Sony Michel ran for 129 yards including 3 touchdowns on the afternoon as well as a goal line touchdown from Rex Burkhead.

The Chargers never really opposed a threat to the dominate Patriots offense.  The Patriots were able to shut down star running back Melvin Gordon, only rushing for 15 yards on 9 carries. Phillip Rivers had a solid game through the air throwing for 331 yard and 3 touchdowns, but that just wasn’t enough to compete with Tom Brady and his elite offense.  Brady threw for 343 yards and touchdown in his final home game of the season and found a majority of his yards from his two elite receivers Julian Edelman and James White (24 combined catches, 248 yards).

The Patriots travel to Kansas City for the AFC Championship game next week.   These two squads met back in week 6 and the Pats came out victorious in a back in forth match up of a final score of 43-40.  Judging by these two high scoring offenses, It wouldn’t surprise me to see a similar type of game up at Arrowhead.

However, the biggest headline of this game was not from Brady or Belichick, it was a little history being made on the sidelines.

Sarah Thomas was the first female to officiate an NFL game back in 2015.  After four years of hard work and dedication to her profession, she earned a spot in the referee crew for the Pats-Chargers game.  That being said, Sarah Thomas became the first female referee to officiate an NFL playoff game. Thomas got a lot of love from fans, players, and organizations on social media and did one hell of a job in her playoff debut.  Sarah Thomas looks too continue her love for officiating in hopes to earn another playoff spot next year.

Now, to the NFC…

There seemed to be a continuous trend throughout these football games. The team that dominated the run won the game.  And that certainly was the case for the Rams.

The Rams defeated the Cowboys 30-22 in Saturdays contest.  The Rams offense was lead Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, both rushing for over 100 yards a piece with a combined total of 3 touchdowns.  The young quarterback Jared Goff only threw for 186 yards; however, he converted the most important play of the night, and it was not through the air.

Goff was faced with a 3rd and long situation with just under two minutes left in the game.  Head Coach Sean McVay had all the trust in the world in his young quarterback and made him make a decision.  Goff rolled right looking to pass, saw an opening, and took off on his own.  Goff ran for 11 yards, got the first down, and sealed the game for the Rams punching their ticket to the AFC Championship game.  But who would they play?

The final game of the weekend was one of the best and possibly the most heart breaking.  The New Orleans Saints defeated the Philadelphia eagles 20-14 in a thriller at Mercedes Benz Superdome.  The Eagles started off hot leading 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.  However, the Saints said enough is enough and showed everyone why they are the best team in football.

The Saints scored 20 unanswered points, however, they need luck on their side in the final two minutes of the game.  Nick Foles and the Eagles were marching down the field trying to make a miraculous fourth quarter comeback when Alshon Jeffery had a strike go right through his hands and into Saints defender Marshon Lattimore hands. This miscue sealed the deal for the Saints who return to the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.

The Saints will play host the LA Rams this weekend.  New Orleans defeated the Rams earlier this season 45-35 in an high powered offensive battle.  The Mercedes Benz Superdome is going to be rockin’ as these two elite squads look to punch their ticket into the Super Bowl in hopes to hold up the prestigious Vince Lombardi trophy.  Cant wait…

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