Super Bowl LIV: Who’s in?

Thanks for playing, Titans and Packers

Titans at Chiefs

It is tempting to write off this game by just throwing roses at Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs and hailing them as the clear top-dog in the AFC. However, this would be a complete disservice to the Tennessee Titans. Despite the 35-24 outcome in favor of Kansas City, the Titans proved that they belonged. Yes, these 9-7 for the third straight year, Ryan Tannehill quarterbacked Titans proved that they belonged in the conversation for one of the best teams in the league. What a time to be alive.

The Titans were able to jump out to a lead in the first half. All-world running back Derrick Henry was not ripping off any of his classic 30-yard chunk runs, but at five yards a clip on the ground kept the Chiefs defense honest. A one-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Dennis Kelly (now the heaviest player to ever catch a touchdown pass in the playoffs) made it 17-7 Titans in the 2nd quarter, and the Chiefs were in desperate need for someone to make a play. Enter Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs star quarterback led his team on two back to back touchdown following Kelly’s touchdown. The first of the two came on a 20-yard strike from Mahomes to Tyreek Hill. This was Hill’s second touchdown of the day, the first coming late in the first quarter. Kansas City was then able to get a quick stop to give Mahomes and his offense a chance to take the lead before the half was over.

The Chiefs articulated the ball downfield once again and found themselves down at the 27. Mahomes then made the play of the day. He took the shotgun snap, avoided a sack, scrambled to his right and broke another tackle. He then tiptoed down the left sideline, cut back to the middle of the field where he fought through multiple defenders and fell into the end zone. Arrowhead Stadium went into a frenzy. It was one of the moments when it felt like it was simply the Chief’s time. After 50 years, it was their time to head back to the Super Bowl.

The second half was much less eventful than the first half. The Titans did not stop fighting, but as the Chiefs lead grew to 35-17 with less than eight minutes left, it was all but over. Henry, who had over 1200 yards in his previous games, was held to 69 yards on the ground. Mahomes accounted for four of the five Chiefs touchdowns.

Packers vs 49ers

What the San Francisco 49ers did to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night should be illegal in all 50 states, as well as Canada. The Niners took Green Bay’s lunch money and forced the Packers to watch them eat.

It was 37-20 victory for the 49ers, and it was not really that close. An interception thrown by Aaron Rodgers late in the first-half, followed by a touchdown run by 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (who we will get to later) made it 27-0. With the second half still to play, the Packers were dead-men walking.

The Packers defense could not stop the 49ers run game. The heralded Packers’ defensive line was punk’d and embarrassed from the opening snap. The aforementioned Mostert ran for 220 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. He averaged a staggering 7.5 yards per carry.

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s biggest accomplishment of the night was not fumbling on his handoffs to Mostert. That is not a knock on Garopollo, it’s just that he was not asked to do much. Why should he have? Green Bay knew the 49ers were running and still couldn’t stop it. Garoppolo attempted just eight passes all night, and just two in the second half.

Aaron Rodgers had a pretty good game. Rodgers threw for over 300 yards, Davante Adams had over 130 yards and a TD and the Packers even had more first downs than the 49ers. However, almost all of Green Bay’s production came in garbage time.

San Francisco proved they were very much deserving of their 13-3 record and a first-round bye. The Packers…the jury is still out. With a rookie head coach and a bunch of no-name receivers playing opposite Davante Adams, a 13-3 record is something they can hang their helmets on.

The 49ers’ win sets up a juicy Super Bowl matchup with the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes looks poised to have an all-time great career, and Andy Reid has a chance to silence any doubters and win his first Super Bowl. On the flip side, the 49ers and their suffocating defense mixed with an offense that’s brilliantly coached by Kyle Shanahan rolled through the NFC with ease.

It is going to be a long, two-week wait to see who comes out on top.

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