NFL 2022-2023 Conference Title Games Recap

NFL 2022-2023 Conference Title Games Recap

The Conference Title Games are in the books. 

NFC Title Game: 2.) San Francisco 49ers at 1.) Philadelphia Eagles at 3pm on FOX. The 49ers brought a nasty defense and a potent offense led by the unbeaten Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. The Eagles were led by Jalen Hurts and had the home field advantage and the cold weather. The Eagles began at their own 34. On 3rd and 8 from their own 48, Hurts hit AJ Brown for 10. On 4th and 3 from the San Francisco 35, Kevin Sirianni decided against a 53 yard field goal try and gambled. Hurts went deep to Smith for a 29 yard gain. Miles Sanders ran for a 6 yard touchdown to cap the 11 play, 66 yard, 5 minute drive and make it 7-0 Eagles. After that the defenses dug in. Midway through the first quarter, Purdy was sacked and fumbled. He was also injure don the play. Purdy was the 3rd string quarterback behind the injured Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. Now the 49ers would have to win with 4th string quarterback Josh Johnson. In the second quarter the Eagles had to punt on 4th and 14 from their own 2 yard line. A 9 yard return set up the 49ers at the Philadelphia 46. Johnson hit Christian McCaffrey for a pair of 9 yard gains. McCaffrey ran for a 23 yard touchdown and a 7-7 ballgame.

The Eagles soon faced 4th and 1 from their own 34. Kevin Sirianni had everyone watching nervous as he decided to go for it in his own territory. Hurts gained 2. On 3rd and 7 from their own 39, Hurts threw incomplete. Yet defensive pass interference meant 3 yards and a new set of downs. On 3rd and 2 from the San Francisco 45, Kenneth Gainwell gained 4 and then 17 more. On 2nd and 9 from the San Francisco 23, Hurts threw incomplete but defensive illegal contact meant a new set of downs. Sanders ran for 5 and then for a 13 yard touchdown. The 14 play, 75 yard, 7 minute drive made it  14-7 Eagles with 1:36 left in the half. Two plays after a touchback came the play of the game. From his own 36 out of the shotgun, Johnson fumbled the snap and the Eagles recovered at the Frisco 30. Hurts hit Dallas Goedert for a pair of 5 yard gains. A defensive facemask penalty added 10 more. Boston Scott ran for a 10 yard touchdown with 16 seconds left. 2 touchdowns in the final 2 minutes turned a defensive bonelock into a 21-7 Eagles advantage. The second half belonged to the Philadelphia defense. Early in the third quarter, Johnson was knocked out of the game. An injured Purdy had to return, and the Eagles defense feasted on him. Kevin Sirianni went ground and pound as a 15 play, 91 yard, 8 minute third quarter drive battered the 49ers into submission and broke their vaunted defense. On 3rd and goal at the one, Hurts got in to make it 28-7 Eagles. The Eagles added a fourth quarter field goal to complete the scoring. The Eagles hoisted the George Halas NFC Championship trophy. Their defense gave up only one touchdown apiece in each of their two playoff games. 31-7 Eagles

AFC Title Game: 3.) Cincinnati Bengals at 1.) Kansas City Chiefs at 6:30pm on CBS. This was a rematch of last year’s AFC Title Game when the Bengals went into Kansas City and shocked the Chiefs 19-16 in overtime. The Chiefs were hosting the AFC Title Game for an NFL record 5th straight year. Like last year, this game was a street fight. In the first quarter the Chiefs moved from their own 36 to a 3rd and 5 at the Cincinnati 25. Patrick Mahomes went deep for a big gain, but on further review it was ruled incomplete. Harrison Butker hit a 43 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Chiefs. The Chiefs got it back at their own 33 and moved 61 yards in 12 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 1st and goal at the 9, an incompletion was followed by a touchdown called back due to offensive holding. That killed the drive. On the first play of the second quarter, Butker hit from 24 to make it 6-0 Chiefs. The Bengals after a touchback moved 53 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. On 3rd and 7 from the Chiefs 12, Joe Burrow threw incomplete. Evan McPherson hit a 30 yard field goal to get the Bengals within 6-3. 

After a touchback, Mhomes hit Juju Smith-Schuster for 7, Marques Valdes-Scantling for 11, and Valdes-Scantling again for 29. On 3rd and 1 from the Cincinnati 14, Mahomes got stopped for no gain. Walrus Andy Reid passed up a chip shot 32 yard field goal and gabled. On 4th and 1, Mahomes found Travis Kelce for the touchdown and the 13-3 Chiefs lead with 4 minutes left in the half. Just before the 2 minute warning, the Bengals were pinned at their own 4 yard line. Burrow quickly moved the Bengals 90 yards in 12 plays. On 1st and goal  at the 5, Burrow threw incomplete to leave 8 seconds. Another incompletion left 4 seconds. That was not enough time to gamble on one more play. Zac Taylor played it safe. McPherson hit from 23 to get the Bengals within 13-6 at the half. In the third quarter the Bengals defense forced a 3 and out and the Bengals took over at their own 38. Burrow hit Tee Higgins for 9. Samaje Perine ran for 7 and Burrow added 11. On 3rd and 6 from the Chiefs 27, Burrow threw a fade and Higgins out-jumped everyone and caught the ball at its highest point for the touchdown and a 13-13 game.

The Chiefs soon faced 3rd and 4 at their own 29. Mahomes went to Mecole Hardman for 11. Mahomes went to Valdes-Scantling for 25. On 3rd and 7 from the Cincinnati 26, Mahomes hit Valdes-Scantling for 6. Yet instead of 4th and 1, Walrus Andy Reid challenged the spot. Valdes-Scantling somehow with 2 defenders all over him stretched the ball just enough before being flung backward. He got the first down. On 3rd and 10 from the Cincy 19, Mahomes went to Valdes-Scantling for the touchdown. The 11 play, 77 yard, 5 1/2 minute drive had theChiefs up 20-13. The Chiefs got it back at their own 31 and soon moved to a 1st and 10 at the Cincinnati 46. The Bengals needed a break and got one. Mahomes went back to pass and saw the ball slo out of his hands without being touched. It was definitely a fumble, and the Bengals recovered the gift for a short field at the Chiefs 45. On 4th and 6, Zac Taylor decided not to punt and play field position. He went for it all. Burrow threw into double coverage and JaMarr Chase came down with the ball for a 35 yard gain. Perine ran for a 2 yard touchdown. 90 seconds into the fourth quarter, this game was tied 20-20.

The defenses dug in as the game seemed destined for overtime. With 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation, the Bengals were pinned at their own 6 yard line. Rather than run the ball, Zac Taylor decided to keep being aggressive. On 3rd and 16 from their own 10, Burrow went to Hayden Hurst for 23. Yet on 3rd and 8 from their own 35, Burrow was sacked. Making matters worse for the Bengals, Moore returned the punt 29 yards. With 30 seconds left, the Chiefs had the ball at their own 47 needing only a field goal to win. They still had one timeout. An inexplicable run gained 6 yards but forced the Chiefs to use their last timeout. With 17 seconds left, the Chiefs faced 3rd and 4 at the Cincy 47. Then came the play of the season for both teams. Mahomes rolled out and could not find anyone. He tried to take off running. Yet he was only able to pick up 5 yards. A field goal try with 8 seconds left would be from 60 yards out. With the temperature at 19 degrees and dropping, this was like kicking a brick. Yet the Chiefs got lucky. a mindlessly boneheaded defensive personal foul occurred when Ossai hit Mahomes out of bounds. Zac Taylor protested to no avail. Now it was only a 45 yard try. There would be no overtime this time. Butker was good. Ossai cried on the bench knowing he cost his team the game. The Chiefs will be going to the Super Bowl for the 3rd time in the last 4 years. Andy Reid has a chance to beat his former team who fired him a decade ago. The Lamar Hunt AFC Championship Trophy remained with the team he founded, making Andy Reid a most happy Walrus indeed. 23-20 Chiefs

Super Bowl LVII (57) is set for 2 weeks from today on Sunday, February 12, 2023 at 6:30pm on Fox. The game will be played in Glendale, Arizona just outside of Phoenix. The AFC Kansas City Chiefs opened as 1 1/2 point favorites against the NFC Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams finished the regular season 14-3. Both teams were the top seed in their respective conferences, taking full advantage of home field advantage and the first round bye. 


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