Tumultuous postseason leads to Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl
The 2018 NFL playoffs have been wild, and even that could be considered an understatement. From the Tennessee Titans’ comeback after being down 21-3, to the New England Patriots’ comeback in the AFC championship game, NFL fans were treated to many exciting games. The Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles both earned Super Bowl appearances, and it looks like we are in store for another classic.
On wild card weekend, the Titans started by getting embarrassed in the first half by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Marcus Mariota could not get anything going, and Alex Smith was nearly perfect passing the ball.
Up 21-3 at halftime, the Chiefs appeared for their first home playoff win in 24 years. However, Mariota put the entire offense on his back. In one of the wildest plays of the season, Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself, putting the Titans back in the game.
The pass was deflected by Darrelle Revis, and hauled in by Mariota en route to the end zone. The Titans defense pitched a shutout in the second half, and Tennessee went on to win 22-21, possibly ending Alex Smith’s career as a Chief.
The New Orleans Saints hosted Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a divisional rivalry playoff matchup.
The Saints were tasked with beating the Panthers for a third time this season, but it would not be easy. Cam Newton played a flawless game, but a few key drops put them in a hole early.
Graham Gano missed a 26-yard field goal, which contributed to the 21-9 halftime deficit. The Panthers would fight back, as Newton fought through a head injury, making it a five-point deficit in the fourth.
The Saints’ Drew Brees threw an interception on a controversial fourth down call late in the game, but the Panthers’ game winning drive came up short, and the Saints moved on to the divisional round 31-26.
The Jacksonville Jaguars edged out the Buffalo Bills 10-3 in a very defensive matchup between struggling quarterbacks.
The Jaguars would move on to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers, and the Bills ended their long playoff drought with a loss in their first playoff game.
The Atlanta Falcons’ defense stifled the Los Angeles Rams’ high-flying offense. The Falcons were less than impressive, but the Rams folded in the first round at home, losing 26-13 after a phenomenal regular season.
The divisional round offered three more games. There was a snoozer in Philadelphia, as the Falcons laid an egg against the Eagles.
Julio Jones dropped a touchdown pass at the goal line to end the Falcons Super Bowl redemption dream.
The Titans started off hot against the Patriots, up 7-0 after one quarter, but the Patriots hung 21 unanswered in the second quarter to go up by 14 points at halftime.
Mariota played his heart out, persevering through a calf injury, but it was not enough as the Patriots piled it on 35-14.
The Saints found themselves in a 17-0 deficit at halftime in Minnesota against the Vikings, but that did not get to them.
The Saints were able to get 17 fourth-quarter points, and a one point lead with only 30 seconds left. Case Keenum had one last prayer, and that prayer would be answered.
Stefon Diggs found space down the sideline for a Hail Mary-like reception, and scored as time expired to complete the “Miracle in Minnesota,” defeating the Vikings 29-24.
The Jaguars came out firing on all cylinders against the Steelers in the divisional round.
A 50-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Telvin Smith gave the Jaguars a 28-7 lead right before half. However, the game was far from over. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense scored 14 unanswered points to cut the score down to 28-21 entering the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars refused to let the Steelers complete the comeback, answering every score with a score of their own. The Steelers scored a touchdown as time expired, but it would not be enough, as the Jags held on to win 45-42.
In the NFC Championship game, the Eagles scored 38 unanswered points after giving up a touchdown to the Vikings on their opening drive.
The Vikings were absolutely embarrassed, and their hopes of home field advantage in the Super Bowl were ended at Lincoln Financial Field, as they lost 38-7.
The Patriots were tested by the vaunted Jaguars defense, and would have to climb out of a 20-10 deficit in the fourth. However, an injured Tom Brady completed the comeback with ease, winning 24-20 and advancing to his eighth Super Bowl.
The Eagles will face the Patriots eyeing redemption from their loss in the big game back in 2005.
As for the Patriots, Brady is looking for a ring for his other hand, and to cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time.
This may be the final time we see Bill Belichick and Brady together, and it would only be right for them to break up after one final victory.
The Eagles have been underdogs ever since Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
However, Nick Foles has been nearly perfect this postseason in his place.
After their dismantling of the Vikings, the Eagles are confident they can bring home their first ever Lombardi trophy.