Sunday’s Conference Championship games didn’t exactly go as I was expecting them to play out.
I, as well as many others, were almost expecting a blowout in the AFC Championship with the NFC Championship game coming down to the wire.
Instead, it was the other way around. New England trailed Jacksonville for much of the game before finally pulling ahead 24-20 in the fourth quarter and fending off Blake Bortles and the Jags with a turnover on downs on Jacksonville’s final drive.
Once the NFC Championship game, it was almost over from the very start.
While Minnesota struck first, scoring a touchdown on their very first possession, Philadelphia knotted the game up halfway through the first quarter and scored three second quarter touchdowns to put up a 24-7 halftime lead.
Philadelphia’s defense shut out Case Keenum and Minnesota’s offense in the second half of play to earn the dominant 38-7 victory to earn the franchise’s third Super Bowl appearance in team history.
Backup quarterback Nick Foles, in his third career postseason start, tossed for 352 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-33 passing. His 141.4 QB rating was near-perfect, and his second career postseason win matches (or surpasses) a handful of great NFL quarterbacks, both past and present:
Joe Namath (2 playoff wins)
Norm Van Brocklin (2)
Michael Vick (2)
Ken Anderson (2)
Tony Romo (2)
Alex Smith (2)
Tim Tebow (1)
Jay Cutler (1)
Carson Palmer (1)
Marc Bulger (1)
Foles will match up against Tom Brady, who is gunning for his sixth Super Bowl victory in eight appearances. Brady will become the first 40-year old to start at QB in a Super Bowl.
Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images