What just happened? That is the question football fans across America asked themselves this weekend. In one of the greatest weekends of football I have ever watched, so how did we get here lets recap.
Eagles 15 Falcons 10
When the first play of the game is an epic Nick Foles underthrow it’s never a good sign. The Falcons dominated the first quarter of this game easily moving the ball up and down the field. Specifically by using Tevin Coleman who had 79 yards rushing. Julio Jones carved up a Philly defense in the first half with 9 catches and 101 yards. The Falcons finished the first quarter with a 3 point lead and responded to a Legarrette Blount Touchdown with one of their own to end the half. At this point in the game the Falcons looked in total control with Nick Foles struggling mightily in the passing game. Give credit to Doug Pederson who has been criticized this year as a coach who is only as good as his QB. In the second quarter he moved to the run game and watched Jay Ajayi carve up a Falcons defense that lost their pop after a dominant game against the Rams offense. Ajayi ran for 54 yards in the game but what was most impressive was how the Eagles committed to the run. Eating up most of the second quarter and going into half down 10-9. The second half saw a passing game led by Nick Foles put up over 150 yards. A LeGarrette Blount TD won the game for the Eagles. A final play were Julio Jones fell in the end zone would end the Falcons season.
Patriots 35 Titans 14
Let’s start with a quick congratulations to the Tennessee Titans they kept this game competitive early. Now on to the Patriots, this was the result the world expected. Bill Belichick made adjustments when the offense struggled early and Tom Brady finished with 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. There was no weakness for the Patriots. They move on to yet another AFC Championship.
Jaguars 45 Steelers 42
In what was the wildest game of the weekend the Jaguars started hot. Early running the ball against a Steelers defense that could not make a stop. After getting out to a 21 point lead the Steelers responded with a massive TD to Antonio Brown. After a back and forth game what we learned was this. Don’t hate on Blake Bortles. The guy is a punching bag for the NFL but in the end he is and NFL QB and guess what. In a game where Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns in the end it was a game winning drive by Blake Bortles that finished the Steelers off. So give some respect to Blake Bortles.
Vikings 29 Saints 24
The Vikings dominated this game early. The defense in the first three quarters shut out the Saints who looked listless on offense. However the Saints defense was able to hold the Vikings to only 17 points in the half. So came a second half serge from the Saints who carved up the Vikings defense in the second half. Minnesota lost something mid way through the third quarter with the offense stalling the defense was clearly drained. After a Vikings field goal drive the Saints Will Lutz nailed the kick that looked to end the game but then, the play of the year was made. On a Case Keenum drop back Steffon Diggs caught a ball along the sideline and with no time remaining ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. This game truly was one of the best playoff games I have ever witnessed. The tension and the fact Case Keenum was the QB to save the day is why we love sports. It is time to start respecting Case Keenum as a QB. Because he is just as capable as any other of these final four Qaurterbacks to win a Superbowl. Stay tuned this week for the Conference championship previews.