Spiderfan's 2018 RT&S Conference Championship Edition Jan 22, 2019 17:59:48 GMT -8
Post by spiderfan on Jan 22, 2019 17:59:48 GMT -8
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that was the best NFL Sunday in a LONG time. Does it get any better than the 4 best teams going head to head in overtime games to decide who plays in the Super Bowl the biggest sporting event in the good old U. S. of A? I'm getting ahead of myself though. For those who are new, I'm Spiderfan the official NFL Analyst for the world's best sports forum Sports Coast to Coast and these are my Random Thoughts & Stuff, Conference Championship Game Edition.
Los Angeles Rams vs New Orleans Saints
Somewhere, Brett Favre and the members of the 2009 Minnesota Vikings are having a good laugh about the Saints losing to the Rams. You could consider it karma from the football gods for Bountygate and all the controversial calls in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. However, I would not consider the Saints loss karma from the football gods nor a loss that was caused by a horrible call. The Rams won because they hung in the game and made plays when they had to. Let me explain why I say that.
When you are a team and you go on the road, to a place where you didn't play well before, lost, and then you start out the biggest game of the season in that same place not playing well and losing, there are 2 choices: you can close up shop because you are a mentally weak squad or you can chip away and stay mentally strong. To me, the Rams of Los Angeles proved that their mental toughness is among the best in the NFL.
For all the bitterness coming from Bourbon Street, the Saints had multiple red zone opportunities that ended in FGs, not to mention other missed opportunities we will get to later. When you have a 13-0 lead that could be 17-0 or 21-0 that is a big difference in the game. The Rams defense took care of things early on. When the Rams offense started to get going later in the game, the Saints' lead shrunk and shrunk until there was ultimately no lead.
Now, I disagreed with Rams HC Sean McVay's decision to not go for it on 4th and inches at the goal line to take the lead in the 4th quarter. Because of Todd Gurley's poor play, replacement C.J. Anderson had played well all game and the ball should have been put in Anderson's hands at that time, at least in my opinion. If nothing else, a QB sneak attempt would have been good because if the Rams didn't make it the Saints would have had to fight to get out of less than the 1. Nonetheless, the decision for a short FG was made and with the game being tied at 20, the Saints had to go down and make a play to win the game.
1st and 10 not much time to go in the game. The Saints are in the redzone and because the game is tied at 20, if the Saints chew the rest of the clock they are in position to kick the game winning FG. The Rams at that point have 2 timeouts. The logical thing would be to run the ball which takes the Rams timeouts and chews clock. Hopefully, either Ingram or Kamara get the 1st down and allow the Saints to set up a short FG which if made would take them to the Super Bowl. What does offensive genius and future Dallas Ostriches HC Sean Payton do? He decides that running the ball is a weenie move and decides throw the ball on 1st down. Incomplete pass. Bad play call because now the Rams will have more time than they otherwise would have because they don't have to call a timeout. Saints next play call is a run for minimal to no gain. Rams timeout. 3rd and long, Payton decides that he wants to create a play that NFL Films will play on the America's Game episode on the Super Bowl 53 Champion New Orleans Saints, in Payton's mind a TD pass. Well, it was a play that is going to be featured in an NFL Films special alright. An incomplete pass.
Now, the instant reaction of folks on Bourbon Street and across the country is that the Saints 3rd down pass was incomplete because of pass interference. Here is the thing: football is a hard sport to officiate. People often forget that, because of the numerous slow motion camera angles that us viewers see on TV. Guess what? The refs don't see any of that on the field. Not only that, but pass interference isn't a reviewable play so the call on the field is as is (Side note: due to slow motion changing the appearance of plays, I'm not in favor of making PI reviewable) When the play initially happened, I was confused why the crowd was booing and Payton was as red as his Ferrari (For the record I don't know if Sean Payton drives a red Ferrari, but he seems like the kinda guy who would use his expendable income on such a thing). The other thought I had was what a stupid play call, I wasn't even thinking pass interference. Clearly, the refs didn't think it was interference on the field either. May, I also mention that Troy Aikman during the broadcast said that the ball should have been picked off and returned for a TD. I bet that had that happened, people (including myself) would be having a different discussion right now.
Because of Payton's bad play calling, the Saints botched yet another red zone opportunity and ultimately settled for a FG and the Rams had 1 timeout and less than 2 minutes to respond, which Jared Goff and the Rams did, taking the NFC Championship Game into overtime. The coin flip turns up in favor of the Saints and gives them an opportunity to win the game. The Rams get pressure and instead of taking the sack Saints QB Drew Brees throws an interception which puts the Rams in plus territory and after a few plays sets up this (click Watch on YouTube):
What. A. Game. The Rams after being down by 13 comeback and achieve the biggest win of the post St. Louis era. Congratulations, to the LA Rams faithful who have waited a generation to see the LA Rams in the Super Bowl. I would also congratulate our own Cal alum nevadanut for her team making the Big Game. Lastly, congratulations to the LA Rams players and coaches. Ya fought hard to get to this point and now we'll see if ya can finish the job.
New England Patriots vs Kansas City Chiefs
You know what is a bummer for folks outside of New England? The fact that in the biggest game ever played at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots. The Patriots have either controlled or been favorites to win the AFC since 2001 (shoutouts to some help from some cameras and some deflated footballs). The stage was set for the GORN himself Patrick Mahomes and the 13-3 Chiefs to slay the dragon known as the Patriots and for a new era to begin. That'll have to happen next year because as previously mentioned the Patriots made the SB yet again. How did this happen?
For starters the Patriots had control of the first three quarters. This was because the Patriots kept the ball on the ground and kept the Chiefs offense on the sidelines. The Chiefs defense bent and bent and somehow managed to keep the game at 14-0 at halftime. The 3rd quarter was mainly highlighted by Mahomes' sensational throw to Sammy Watkins which brought the game closer and by the 4th quarter the game was 17-7. At that point the game went from a relatively mundane game to an amazing affair.
When you have a 4th quarter that has a combined 38 points, something special is happening. The Chiefs have the lead with a little over a minute to go in the game. That is when Tom Brady throws an interception and crowd goes wild. Turns out that Chiefs DE Dee Ford was offside and the drive continues. Now, Ford should have known better than to be offsides however the Patriots still would have had a chance to win the game because they had all 3 timeouts left. It is quite possible that the Patriots would have gotten the ball back and won the game in the final seconds. Of course it is also possible that the Chiefs would have a had multiple first downs and end the game, ultimately going to the Super Bowl. We will never know. What we do know is that the drive kept going and the Patriots ultimately took a 31-28 lead. That is when in the biggest moment of Mahomes' career thus far, the GORN led the Chiefs down into FG range. The kick was made and the AFC Championship Game was going into overtime.
IMO, the NFL overtime rules need to be changed. The idea that a coin flip has the potential to have final say over who wins a game whether it be regular season or playoffs is absurd. Instead of having it where if the team that wins the coin toss can win the game automatically with a TD, have it where the team that wins the coin toss gets first shot and if they score a TD then that team has to attempt a 2 point conversion. The trailing team then has an opportunity to answer with a TD and either the 2 point conversion wins the game or ties the game. After that the game keeps going in a similar fashion to CFB overtime. If NFL overtime was played like how I just described the AFC Championship Game would have had a more satisfying ending regardless of who you rooted for. Instead, the Patriots won the toss got a TD and ultimately are going to the Super Bowl to face the LA Rams (click Watch on YouTube)
One thing that should be noted is that the Chiefs allowed 3 3rd and long conversions during Patriots game winning OT drive. Suffice it to say the Chiefs defense that played against the Colts wasn't the same one that played the Patriots. Chiefs DC Bob Sutton has since been fired, so it will be interesting who is the Chiefs DC next year. I imagine that the Chiefs will spend the offseason improving the defensive side of the ball, so that a loss like this doesn't happen again.
Congratulations to Patriots players and coaches and to their fanbase. I would also like to congratulate Mark Wahlberg who will most likely be making appearances on sports talk shows to talk about the Patriots.
So will the Super Bowl end in the Rams avenging their Super Bowl XXXVI loss from 17 years ago or will the Patriots win the 6th Super Bowl and have Tom Brady officially become the Thanos of the NFL? All I know is that this is the SB match up I predicted in September and I hope it lives up to the months of hype. With that said, I hope ya enjoyed my Conference Championship Edition of Random Thoughts & Stuff and I hope to see ya for The Best of 2018 edition next week as well as the Super Bowl. This is spiderfan out.