NFL Championship Sunday started with a bang as Evan McPherson had a field goal winner from 31 yards in overtime to send the Cincinnati Bengals at Super Bowl LVI.
The Bengals pulled off an incredible 18-point comeback, matching the biggest comeback in NFL playoff history.
It’s the Bengals’ first trip to the big game since the 1988 season.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams are currently hosting the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on FOX.
Big questions abound: Can Sean McVay finally beat Kyle Shanahan? Will Jimmy G intervene? Is Matthew Stafford ready to finally lead a team to the Super Bowl?
Here are the best games from Sunday in the Championship.
San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams
Great time stopper
With the Rams threatening to score first in this game, the 49ers defense got a much-needed interception on third down to walk off the field and keep the Rams off the board.
The usual suspect
The Rams needed points, so they turned to their one-man touchdown machine Cooper Kupp to give them a 7-0 lead.
The Rams went to their All-Pro wide receiver to score, and the 49ers went to their All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel for an answer. Samuel took a 44-yard screen pass home to tie the game at seven apiece.
Cincinnati Bengals 27, Kansas City Chiefs 24
the Kansas City Chiefs wasted little time getting things done in the first quarter. Patrick Mahomes continued his efficiency from last week, dissecting Cincy’s defense with an 11-play, 84-yard drive on KC’s first possession. He found Tyreek Hill running through the back of the end zone for the first score of the game.
While the Chiefs dined and threw in their first practice, they got the better of the defense in their second.
Mahomes connected with Mecole Hardman for a 44-yard play on his first drive pass, before showing off his shrewd running skills inside the 20, maneuvering out of the pocket to buy time for his favorite target of the red zone – Travis Kelce – to open up. KC took a 14-3 lead early in the second.
Have you a half, Mr. Mahomes! After taking an early 14-3 lead, Mahomes got his team back on the field with ease, dropping a penny to Hardman for KC’s third TD in as many drives.
The Bengals offense was quiet most of the time in the first half, but Samaje Perine quickly changed that theme with a 41-yard dash to the end zone on a screen play.
The Chiefs showed they could score as a group and they found their way back to the red zone after winning the ball with just under a minute left in the second quarter.
But with five seconds remaining on the clock and the ball on the 2-yard line, KC opted to try six rather than score a field goal, and failed. Eli Apple made the big save for Cincy after giving up pass interference earlier in the drive.
To beat Mahomes, you’ll have to step out of the norm, and the Bengals defense did just that with a huge interception — his first in a conference championship game.
To attach. Game.
As soon as KC moved to one-on-one coverage on Ja’Marr Chase, Cincy took advantage, overtaking the top on a tough fade route to bring it back to two. Joe Terrier found Trent Taylor in the flat for a crucial two-point conversion to tie the game after an 18-point deficit.
One for the home team
KC walked away with his own pick, courtesy of L’Jarius Sneed at a wonderful dive reception.
The score remained stuck at 24-21 for several minutes. KC got the final crack in the end zone with time ticking away, but Cincinnati’s Sam Hubbard forced a crucial sack to get the Chiefs out of the red zone.
That left the game in Harrison Butker’s hands – or should we say the legs. The sure-footed Butker sent KC to a second straight period in overtime with a 44-yard FG.
expect the unexpected
The Chiefs won the toss, much to the delight of the team’s home crowd. But their joy quickly turned to grief, thanks to Vonn Bell picking up a game-breaking INT on a pass meant for Tyreek Hill.
Forward and upward
Evan. McPherson. After a game-winning FG to send the Bengals to this game, the rookie kicker continued his historic campaign with the biggest kick of his life: a 31-yard from Cincy’s Super Bowl LVI jump right chop.
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