NFL: Rams and Patriots survive overtime, dance to Atlanta

After a thrilling championship Sunday, the Rams and Patriots will face off in Super Bowl 53 

John Laforest
Staff Writer

The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will face off in Super Bowl 53. The New England Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31, on the road in Kansas City, Missouri, while the Rams defeated the Saints, 26-23, on the road in New Orleans, Lousiana. 

Conference Championship Sunday delivered some thrilling games, which left the losing teams in heartbreak over dramatic finishes. 

The Patriots needed overtime and Tom Brady’s performance to get to the Super Bowl for the third straight year in a row. 

On the first drive in overtime, Brady blew through Kansas City’s exhausted defense on a 75-yard drive to running back Rex Burkhead on a 2-yard touchdown run in a 37-31 victory Sunday for the AFC championship. 

Tom Brady and the defense were OK in this game, but the credit for the victory should really be credited to the running backs. 

The Patriots rushed for 176 yards led by running backs Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead. The game ball deserved to be handed to these two men. 

Kansas City, on the other hand, put on a resounding effort led by what looks to be the MVP for the 2019 season in quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. He was more inaccurate than usual, but threw for an impressive three touchdowns with no interceptions on the day. 

The Patriots have Brady and Belichick leading the way. This is their ninth appearance in the Super Bowl together, as these two have put on a display over their respective careers. These two combined statistically are the most successful player-coach combination the NFL has seen. 

The Rams on the other hand came back from an early 13-0 deficit, as the Rams shocked the New Orleans Saints with kicker Greg Zuerlein’s 57-yard field goal in overtime for a 26-23 victory in the NFC Championship game Sunday, an outcome that left the football stunned after what might the most egregious mistake the officials have made in the closing minutes of regulation in history. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis well before the pass arrived inside the five-yard line, forcing the Saints to settle for Will Lutz’s 31-yard field goal that made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation. 

The Rams won the toss in overtime and elected to receive after driving down the field. The Rams couldn’t do much offensively, but it didn’t matter. 

Zuerlein booted through the winning field goal from just inside midfield with plenty of room to spare. The NFL made a statement that said it the longest game-winning kick in playoff history. 

The Super Bowl is now set for Sunday, Feb. 3 and is looking to be a fun matchup between talent and experience. 

Brady will look to capture his sixth Super Bowl title against the team he won his first one against in Super Bowl 36.

Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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