After a long season, last week’s NFL Conference championships determined which teams were still standing, which would be headed to Super Bowl LI in Houston. The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots earned their trips to the big game with blowout victories.
The 2nd-seeded Falcons hosted the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. The Falcons owned this game from the very beginning, scoring on two straight possessions to start the game while the Packers missed a field goal and fumbled in the red zone. After this, the Falcons never lost control of the game, defeating the Packers 44-21. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 392 yards and four TDs and Falcons WR Julio Jones received for 180 yards and two TDs in a dominating victory.
In the AFC Championship, the Patriots hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in another blowout game. But this game was much closer in the first half with a score of the Pats up 17-9 at halftime after a crucial goal line stand from the Patriots defense to end the half. The second half was all Patriots as they won the game 36-17 behind their veteran QB Tom Brady who threw for 384 yards and 3 TDs and an unexpected WR in Chris Hogan who received for 180 yards and 2 Tds.
There were only eight teams left, four from the AFC and four from the NFC. The top-seeded Dallas Cowboys faced off against the 4th seeded Green Bay Packers while the Falcons played against the 3rd seeded Seattle Seahawks in the NFC. In the AFC, the Patriots played against the 4th-seeded Houston Texans. The 2nd seeded Kansas City Chiefs played against the 3rd seeded Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC. This round had one close game and one blowout from each conference.
In the AFC, the Patriots crushed the Texans 34-16. The Texans kept it close in the first half thanks to a couple of turnovers from the Patriots. Dion Lewis, Pats RB, starred in the win by getting 1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD, and 1 kick return TD.
The second game in the AFC was much closer. The Steelers defeated the Chiefs 18-16. The Steelers, who are known for their high-powered offense, were unable to score a touchdown, but their kicker, Chris Boswell was 6 for 6 on field goal attempts. He was helped by Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell who rushed for 170 yards.
In the NFC, the Falcons controlled the game against the Seahawks, winning 36-20. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for 338 yards and three TDs, tearing apart what was supposed to be a very strong Seattle defense. Seattle also coughed up two crucial turnovers that seemed to have change momentum in the game.
The Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a nailbiter game that went down to the wire, 34-31. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 356 yards and two TDs including a very important 36-yard pass with two seconds left to put them in field goal range to win the game. Packers kicker Mason Crosby kicked 2 go-ahead field goals from 50+ yards within the final two minutes of the game.