NFL 2017-2018 Conference Title Games Recap

NFL 2017-2018 Conference Title Game Recap

The Conference Title Games were played on Sunday, January 21, 2018.

AFC Title Game: Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots was the morning game.

When teams say nobody gives them a chance, it is normally hyperbolic nonsense. When the Jaguars say it, they mean it. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady had the Patriots in their 7th straight AFC Title Game. The Patriots were expected to easily dispatch Jacksonville to get to another Super Bowl. Tom Brady supposedly had an injured hand, which nobody believed. Early on the Patriots made it look as easy as everyone expected them to. On the second p[lay of the game, Brady went deep to Brandon Cooks for a 31 yard gain. The Patriots moved 62 yards in 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. On 4th and 1 from the Jacksonville 30, Brady went deep to Danny Amendola for 20 yards. Yet on 1st and goal at the 10, a pair of sacks of Brady ended the drive. Stephen Gostkowski hit the 31 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Patriots. Yet after that first drive, the game changed. The Jacksonville defense was for real, and they took over.

The Jaguars moved 76 yards and began the second quarter at the New England 28. Blake Bortles went to Grant for 24 yards and then to Marcedes Lewis for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 7-3 Jaguars. New England went 3 and out and the Jaguars soon faced 1st and 10 at their own 18. Bortles hit Grant for 15 and Alex Hurns for 27 more. On 3rd and 2 from the New England 32, Leonard Fournette banged ahead for 4 yards.On 3rd and 1 from the 6, Fournette bulled ahead for 2 yards and then ran for the 4 yard touchdown to make it 14-3 Jaguars.

With 2:02 left in the half the Patriots took over at their own 15. With 90 seconds left in the half and the Patriots at their own 40, Brady threw incomplete. Yet a roughing the passer call gave New England 15 yards. Brady then went deep incomplete, but a 32 yard defensive pass interference call kept the drive going. Brady then hit Cooks for 12 yards and White ran in the last yard for the touchdown as the Patriots only trailed 14-10 at halftime. Most football fans figured that Jacksonville had done their best, but that reality would take over in the second half. In the second half Jacksonville’s defense continued to play with heart and guts. Josh Lambo drilled a 54 yard field goal in the third quarter and a 43 yarder at the start of the fourth quarter as the Jaguars held a 20-10 lead.

New England fumbled the ball away on their next drive, but Jacksonville’s offense went 3 and out. New England took over at their own 15 and Brady went to Cooks for  18 yards. A sack of Brady had the Patriots facing 3rd and 18 at their own 25. Brady went deep to Amendola for a 21 yard gain. and to Dorsett for 31 more yards. Brady hit Amendola for 14 more and then again to Amendola for the 9 yard touchdown. With 9 minutes to play the Patriots were within 20-17. Jacksonville’s defense did all it could but when it mattered the offense could not get it done. New England took a short punt 20 yards and took over at the Jacksonville 30 with 5 minutes left in regulation. Brady hit White for 15, Amendola for 8, and again to Amendola for a 4 yard touchdown. With 2:48 the Patriots had a 4 point lead. There was no way Blake Bortles was going to win this game.

After a touchback, Bortles hit Lee for 8 and then went to Westbrook for a 29 yard gain. However a sack of Bortles led to a fumble. Jacksonville retained possession, but at the 2 minute warning they faced 3rd and 17 at the New England 45. On 4th and 14, Bortles threw incomplete. With 1:47 left, the Jaguars still had all 3 timeouts. On 3rd and 9, with the Jags needing one more stop, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels played it safe. Dion Lewis got the carry, got around the end, and ran for an 18 yard gain. Jacksonville was game, but the Evil Empire of football will be going to another Super Bowl. 24-20 Patriots

NFC Title Game: Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles was the afternoon game.

Early on the Vikings made it look easy, moving 75 yards. Case Keenum threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph to make it 7-0 Vikings. The tying touchdown bomb never happened because it was dropped. The Vikings soon faced 3rd and 8 at their own 43. Keenum got hit as he threw, and he was intercepted by Patrick Robinson at midfield. Robinson criss-crossed the entire field, picked up some fantastic blocks, and got to the end zone. Keenum had thrown a touchdown pass to each team for a 7-7 ballgame.

The Eagles got it back at their own 25 and Jay Ajayi quickly ran for a 13 yard gain. On 3rd and 10 from the Minnesota 47, Foles hit Zac Ertz for 11 yards. The second quarter began with the Eagles facing 3rd and 1 at the Minnesota 17. Foles hit Ertz for 6 yards and LaGuerrette Blount ran for an 11 yard touchdown to make it 14-7 Eagles. The Vikings held the ball for  minutes and moved from their 15 to a 3rd and 5 at the Philly 16. Keenum was sacked and fumbled to kill the drive. The Eagle soon faced 3rd and 6 at their own 28. Foles hit Clement for 8 yards. With 1:18 left in the half the Eagles faced 3rd and 10 at their own 47. Foles somehow avoided a sack and threw a 53 yard touchdown bomb to Alshon Jeffery for a 21-7 Eagles lead.

Minnesota could not even make it to the half. The Eagles got it back with 30 seconds left at their own 20 yard line. Foles hit Ajay for 11, Ertz for 36 more, and Ajayi again for 13. Jake Elliott hit the 38 yard field goal to end the half with the Eagles up 24-7. After a touchback to start the second half, the Eagles kept rolling. On 3rd and 6 from the Minnesota 48, Foles hit Smith for a 7 yard gain. On the next play Foles went deep to Torry Smith after a perfectly executed flea flicker for a 41 yard touchdown and a 31-7 Eagles lead. The Vikings moved from their 25 to a 1st and goal at the 7. After Keenum threw 3 straight incompletions, Mike Zimmer decided to go for it. Keenum went to Adam Thielen, who appeared to make a juggling circus catch for the touchdown. Replay showed that the ball clearly hit the ground, and officials properly overturned the score.

On 3rd and 4 from their own 14, Foles hit Ertz for 6 yards. On 3rd and 5 from their own 25, Foles went deep to Nelson Agholor for a 42 yard gain. From the Minnesota 35, Foles hit Burton for 12 and Clement for 14 more. The fourth quarter began with the Eagles facing 3rd and goal at the 4. Foles fired over the middle to Jeffery in the back of the end zone. Somehow Jeffery held on to the high throw and somehow maintained control of it for the touchdown. The 93 yard drive against what was supposed to be the league’s best defense had the Eagles winning a laugher. The supposed slugfest saw only one team slugging as the  game was a blowout. The rest of the game was going through the motions. Case Keenum had a great season, but he finished this game 28 of 48 for 271 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Nick Foles was magnificent, finishing 26 of 33 for 352 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. The Eagles are back in the Super Bowl for the first time in 13 years last time. the Eagles lost to the Patriots team led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Now, they face them again.

In one week we play the Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida, rather than Honolulu, Hawaii.

In two weeks we play Super Bowl LII (52) between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.


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