The Super Bowl is Official: NFL Conference Finals Recap

Super Bowl Sunday is set after the conclusion of both conference championship games, each won by a single digit. One witnessed two all-star quarterbacks, while the other saw a second half comeback for the ages. Fasten your seatbelts for a Super Bowl rematch that only took four years to happen.

Here is everything you need to know from the AFC and NFC Championship games:

 

AFC Championship

Kansas City Chiefs 17 – Baltimore Ravens 10

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs side will visit their fourth Super Bowl in six years after holding off the top seed in the AFC. After the Ravens began the game with a punt, three touchdown drives followed. Each side scored a touchdown back to back in the first quarter while Kansas City opened the second with another. That was followed by the first of three turnovers for Baltimore, a factor that hurt its chances of victory. Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson fumbled the ball, while his side failed to score again in the first half. Kicker Harrison Butker closed the first half with his only field goal of the game for Kansas City, as it led 17-7 at halftime.

With five punts in the third quarter, Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers fumbled the ball to start the final frame. Despite this, Baltimore was beginning to look like the better team, as it held its opponents scoreless in the second half. A touchdown drive appeared to be ensuing for the Ravens until Jackson threw an interception only 25 yards away from the end zone. That was Jackson’s second turnover of the game. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker completed the only scoring of the half with his lone field goal attempt just before the two minute warning. His team never got the ball back and as the clock ran out, Jackson was being consoled by teammate Odell Beckham Jr. on the sideline.

The Chiefs held the ball 15 minutes longer than their opponents and earned six more first downs. Mahomes had an excellent day, tossing a touchdown pass and completing 30 of 39 attempts. Tight end Travis Kelce appeared to be the star for Kansas City, as he caught a touchdown and earned 115 receiving yards. He broke NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s record of 151 all-time postseason catches with his 11 receptions. Not only did turnovers hurt the Ravens, so did penalties. They lost 95 yards across 11 flags, which resulted in 65 more than the Chiefs. The Ravens may have been the favorites, but the familiar story of a determined Mahomes prevailed.

 

NFC Championship

Detroit Lions 31 – San Francisco 49ers 34

A tale of two halves prevented the Lions from visiting their first ever Super Bowl, after they fell apart during the later stages of the game. The first quarter saw two different players score rushing touchdowns for Detroit. The first came from receiver Jameson Williams and the second from running back David Montgomery, while the 49ers missed a field goal. The early punishment continued for San Francisco in the second quarter, as the Lions scored another 10 points . Running back Jahmyr Gibbs earned the team’s third rushing touchdown, while kicker Mike Badgley completed his singular field goal attempt. Badgley also executed all four of his extra point attempts throughout the game.

49er’s running back Christian McCaffrey completed a rushing touchdown, but things still looked awry as his side’s quarterback Brock Purdy threw an interception. At halftime, the Lions led 24-7. San Francisco managed to tie the game within a quarter, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal in the third. Purdy earned a touchdown pass while McCaffrey snagged his second rushing touchdown of the game. Another touchdown and field goal in the fourth gave it a commanding lead with time expiring on the Lions’ season.

In the final minute, Lions’ quarterback Jared Goff completed his first touchdown pass of the game and the difference was only three points. Not enough time remained for Detroit to receive the ball again, as the Lions’ still have yet to make a Super Bowl appearance. Purdy finished the day with his side’s only turnover and 267 passing yards. The Lions had one turnover, a fumble by Gibbs in the third quarter. Each turnover led to a touchdown drive for the opposing team. Five more first downs were earned by the Lions who held the ball just over four minutes less. Each team completed six of its 12 third downs. Detroit’s coach Dan Campbell pushed for positivity all season, but his side was a field goal away from its goal.

The only time Kansas City and San Francisco have met in the postseason was in 2020 when they played in Super Bowl 54. The 49ers will try to write a different ending from last time where they were defeated 31-20. They have not defeated the Chiefs since 2014 and have lost three in a row to Kansas City.

The Super Bowl will take place Sunday, Feb. 11, in Las Vegas, Nevada at 11:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time.

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