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― Eddie Vedder
AFC Championship: Patriots Comeback Against Jaguars
By Zach Wargo '20
Early into the week, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had injured his hand during a Wednesday practice, which later would provide plenty of drama leading up to Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. The next day it would be determined that this injury was major, as it was a cut on the inside of Tom’s hand. The media was trying to get Brady to budge, as he would just say “We’ll see” towards the media three days before the game. Jacksonville had plenty of confidence, as proving they were legit, after beating the Steelers in a shootout. They were only hoping to dethrone Brady and to go to their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
The game started quick, with Tom Brady started 3/3 and led his team down for an early 3-0 lead, as the hand did not seem to affect him at all. Jacksonville soon answered back after their solid defense, going right down the field, as tight end Mercedes Lewis caught a 4 yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles. The momentum had shifted as the Patriots offense, and defense had seemed stumped, they could move the ball or get a stop which allowed Jacksonville to take a 14-3 lead before the half ended. Tom Brady did what he does best, which giving his team a chance before the half, only taking 55 seconds off the clock to let James White score a touchdown to cut the lead to four.
The second half started off quick, with Bortles leading his team down for another field goal, which extended their lead back up too seven points early in the third quarter. The amount of defense in the game suddenly disappeared in the fourth quarter, only with the Patriots down by 10. The play of the game would be a double pass that would have been a 25 yard gain, which later turned into a fumble, only to give Jacksonville the ball back, but the Patriot defense stood strong and gave Brady for ball back.
Photo Credit: AP / Winslow Townson
Tom Brady leads history in almost every category, from Super Bowl’s too yards, too completions, he added to his legacy as the G.O.A.T for playoff comebacks. Brady led his team down the field for a key touchdown pass, only needing a stop by the defense. When Brady is clutch he is unstoppable. Giving Brady the ball when he needs a score is not a very smart thing to do, as most likely he will beat your team by passing the ball and reading your defense. His most clutch throw came to Danny Amendola who made a clutch sideline catch to secure the win with 2:48 left in the game. The Patriots will face the Eagles, as the Patriots will be looking to secure their 6th Super Bowl title.
NFC Championship: Eagles Crush Vikings
By Zach Wargo '20
In a game where people thought it would be much closer, and for a spot in the Super Bowl, the Eagles simply proved that they can be a championship team by creating offense thanks to a good defense. Only by allowing seven points for the entire game. The game started out with an opening drive touchdown by Case Keenum, as that was the only excitement for Vikings fan for the entire game. After the score, the Eagles defense took over by returning a 50 yard interception for a touchdown, which then got the offense to step up to make plays. The Vikings offense got stumped for the rest of the game, after a fumble inside the red zone, turnover on downs, and many missed tackles, with the exciting crowded being behind the Eagles.
The game started with a silent crowd after a quick touchdown by the Vikings offense, then the turning point of the game was on a 3rd & 8, which was an interception returned for 50 yards, which helped tie the game 7-7 mid-way through the 1st quarter. With all confidence being on the Eagles side again, the Vikings couldn’t move the ball at all, only to let Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, do anything he wanted to do during the entire game. The second quarter was all Philadelphia, as a 11 yard run gave them the lead, and then after a costly Minnesota fumble, Philly scored again with a 53 yard bomb to Alshon Jeffery to go up 21-7. The 1st half would end 24-7 after a quick field goal by Philly.
Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP
The second half proved no different, as the VIkings failed to move the ball, and to stop the Eagles. The final blow was with a flea flicker, which ended in another touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Torrey Smith for 48 yards. MInnesoda failed to score any points for the rest of the game, as Philadelphia will be in its first Super Bowl since 2005 against the Patriots.
Last Week's Poll Results!
According to last weeks poll! 65% of the voters voted for the AFC to win the Pro Bowl! While 35% voted that the NFC would win the Pro Bowl!
NFL Championship Games Preview
By Reylena Tsosie '21
The NFC championship game is made up of two NFL teams that have back up quarterbacks first, the Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles, and then Vikings quarterback Case Keenum. They both played together when they were quarterbacks for the Los Angeles Rams. “But like I’ve said, Case’s success doesn’t surprise me because we were together, we prepared together and we were around each other every day.” Nick Foles said in an interview. “I know this is what all you guys predicted back in the day was a Foles against Keenum in the NFC championship. So good job to all you guys that predicted that,” Keenum jokingly said this past Wednesday. On January 21, 2018 is the NFC championship which is when they will square off for a chance to go to Super Bowl LII.
Photo Credit: NFL.COM
The AFC championship is going to be very different. The Jaguars was a very surprising team to make it to the divisional playoff game. The Jaguars upset the Pittsburgh Steelers last week and moved on to the AFC championship game. Tom Brady had injured his hand during practice but he is still expected to play. Tom Brady said in an interview “This is the biggest challenge we've faced all year,” The AFC championship game will start January 21, at 1:05 P.M for a chance to go to Super Bowl LII.
A Minnesota Miracle For The Ages
By Zach Wargo '20
On another dramatic filled weekend of playoff football, with one of the most anticipated games of the weekend, the New Orleans Saints, and the Minnesota Vikings in a divisional playoff game, with a attendance of 66,612 in U.S Bank Stadium, which is also home of Super Bowl LII. In January, and in the playoffs is always a treat for sports fans around the country, so this game will be remembered for many years to come. The final six minutes of the divisional playoff game in Minnesota seemed like it lasted for two hours, the crowded always being electric, loud, deafening, and going into a frenzy after each 3rd down defensive stop, conversation, and every positive offensive play made by either Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, or Vikings kicker Kai Forbath.
With only ten seconds left in the game, a Vikings miracle was needed, as a prayer was answered. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum heard the play call on a 3rd & 10, which was Buffalo Right Seven Heaven from his Offensive Coordinator. On their own 39 yard line, three receivers on the right side of the field, only one on the left side of the field. In shotgun formation, dropping back to pass, pressure coming from his right side, fires a pass to the 34 yard line, only to be caught by wide receiver Stefon Diggs. To his surprise, Saints safety Marcus Williams clearly wiffed on a tackle, leading Diggs to an unbelievably 61 yard touchdown with no time left in the game, leading the Vikings home crowed into a frenzy, as a party was just starting in Minnesota. The Vikings will move on to play the Philadelphia Eagles this upcoming Sunday after defeating the Saints 29-24 in arguably one of the most entertaining finishes in NFL Postseason History.
The game started with all the momentum on the Vikings side, with their opening drive going eight plays, 55 yards, and ending off the drive with a 14 yard run to Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon, putting them to an early 7-0 lead. The struggles continued for the Saints, with the following drive going nowhere with another punt, and a solid drive leading to a field goal by Kai Forbath, extending their lead to 10-0, late in the 1st quarter. The Saints struggles continued, after a Vikings punt, the next play would be an interception by Andrew Sendejo.
The 2nd quarter was no different, with a tired Saints defense on the field once again, the Vikings established the run game putting the ball in Jerick McKinnon’s and Latavius Murray’s hands. The drive took the first 5 minutes of the 2nd quarter, and later a one yard touchdown by Latavius Murray would put the Vikings up 17-0. The Saints would quickly come out with a dominant passing game, and a drive that would take four minutes, only for it to get intercepted again by the dreaded Vikings defense. The quarter would play out to be sloppy, with two missed field goals at the end of the half, giving the Vikings momentum into halftime.
The 2nd half was a much different story for the Saints, starting off with a Vikings punt, and then going 80 yards to score a touchdown from a pass from Drew Brees into Michael Thomas’s hands to cut the lead to 10, making it 17-7. The third quarter consisted of only two long drives, which ending the third quarter quickly gave the Saints the ball again thanks to a Case Keenum interception. U.S Bank Stadium slowly grew into a nervous crowed after the interception and quickly the Saints would go right down the field, tearing up the Vikings defense, scoring another touchdown from Drew Brees, into Michael Thomas’s hands putting them only down by three with 13:09 left in the game. Case Keenum led the offense back out again, with a positive drive only to lead them to three points and only taking three minutes off the clock, letting the saints have 10:12 left to take the lead. After two punts by both teams, one of them later was blocked by the help of the backup QB for the Saints, and recovered at the Minnesota 40 yard line.
Soon after the blocked punt, the saints needed only four plays to get a touchdown, once again a pass to Alvin Kamara from Drew Brees, giving the Saints a 21-20 lead with 3:01 left in the game. The Stadium being silent for the first time during the game, only putting more pressure on Case Keenum and the offense shoulders. The drive started off with a pass for five yards, then a scramble for 4 yards, putting them at a key 3rd & 1 with 2:00 left in the game. Later the drive would start again with run by Jerick Mckinnon, and then a 24 yard pass to Adam Thielen. The drive would stall, putting the lead and the game in the kicker Kai Forbath’s hands. The kick would be good from 53 yards, energizing the crowd giving the lead back to the Vikings making it 23-21 with 89 seconds left in the game, only with the Saints having one timeout left. Putting the future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and his offense under pressure in a hostile crowd with 1 timeout. Drew Brees went 6/9 and led the Saints down the field for kicker Wil Lutz quieting the home crowd with a 43 yard field goal with 29 seconds left in the game. Under all circumstances, the Vikings started the drive off with a false start, putting them farther back as they would be needing a miracle. Only a few plays later that would happen, a 61 yard bomb to Diggs, from heartbreak to triumph, giving the Vikings its first NFC Championship appearance since 2009, and breaking Saints fan’s hearts. To win 29-23.
The play would be remembered forever in history, known as the Minnesota Miracle, from recent and past postseason heartbreaks. Quarterback Case Keenum mouthed the words “Oh My God’ from his mouth, looking for someone to hug, media members and cameramen scattered across the field, huddling around Stefon Diggs. Stefon Diggs would later tell reporters, “I was at a loss of words, Speechless, biggest moment of my life.” Reactions from across the country, and from radio broadcasts would later be stunned, losing their minds, and speechless after the game. Moments later Case Keenum would lead the Vikings crowd into the SKOL chant, to end off the miracle, giving the city of Minnesota a game to remember for the ages.
All Photo Credit goes to Getty Images
Wild Card Weekend: Titans Historic Comeback; Saints Brush Past Panthers
By Zach Wargo '20
With the regular season over and the playoffs beginning, it’s no better time to be a football fan. Four games were played over the weekend, and the winners would move onto the divisional rounds the following week. Their were 12 teams entering their bid to win Super Bowl LII, but only one team would become world champions of the NFL.
In the first game of the weekend, which was probably the best game was the Tennessee Titans at the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had lost five straight home playoff games, which the last quarterback to win a home playoff game was Joe Montana. The Titans who were looking to play spoiler, got off to a very slow start, and suffered miscues early, and the defense looking tired. The Titans were down 21-3 at halftime, with only 30 minutes left in their season. The Titans quickly played defense for the entire 2nd half, limiting the Chiefs defense to zero points, and taking the lead late in the fourth quarter. One of the marquee plays was made by quarterback Marcus Mariota who threw a touchdown pass to himself, the first in postseason history which sparked the Titans offense. The titans would later win 22-21, moving on to play New England Saturday night. In the second game the Falcons would roll past the Rams, 26-13, ending the historic season by the Rams. The Falcons will play the Eagles Saturday evening at 2:20 PM.
Photo Source: Tennessee Titans
The next day two more games took place, in the first time since 1999, the Bills made it to the playoffs, taking on the Jaguars, in the lowest scoring wild card game in NFL history, the final score was 10-3, Jacksonville won on the games only touchdown, and moving on to play the Steelers on Sunday. The last game of the weekend was the Panthers against the Saints. The Saints took control early with an 80 yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Ted Ginn Jr, to take an 7-0 lead. Later on the Panthers would answer with a field goal as at halftime Saints led 21-9. In the second half the Panthers would put more pressure on Bree’s to pass the ball, as the Panthers outscored the Saints 21-10 in the second half. It wasn’t enough as the last plays of the game ended on multiple sacks, and defensive plays. The Saints will play the Vikings Sunday at 2:45 PM. All eight teams in action this weekend will be looking for spots in their respective conference title games.
Alabama Wins National Title In Overtime
by Zach Wargo '20
In the week prior to the national championship game, the Georgia Bulldogs,had historically pulled off the largest comeback history of the rose bowl, with the Bulldogs being down 14 points at halftime. Georgia pulled off many spectacular plays in the 2nd half to pull off the comeback. The game was the first rose bowl to go into overtime, which meant an instant classic, Georgia would move on to the National Championship for the first time in 35 years. The 2nd game on New Years Day consisted of more defense, Alabama controlled the game from the start with its fast, and powerful defence, only to defeat Clemson to go to its third straight National Title game.
Alabama was the heavy favorite to win the National Title with many people not giving Georgia a chance at all against its defence. The game went as not many people expected too, with Alabama’s offense struggling in the first half and the Georgia offense breaking down the opposing team’s defense. Georgia lead at halftime 13-0. Alabama made many adjustments going into halftime. By switching to their inexperienced freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is from Hawaii, and had not played a snap in college until then. The freshman quicked sparked the offense, with escaping sacks, and making plays with his feet, The freshman quickly made great throws, to make the Bulldog defense second guess the play calling.
Photo Source: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
In the fourth quarter the Bulldogs scored an 80 yard touchdown to go back up by 10, with 17 minutes left in the game. Alabama did not let their head down, as they took plenty of time off the clock and were only down by seven with 7 minutes left in the game. Alabama played great defense for the entire second half, only limiting Georgia to seven points the entire half. Alabama took only 4 minutes to score again, tying the game with a seven yard pass to Calvin Ridley to time the game 20-20. With Alabama having the ball again with 3 minutes left, after a defensive stop, they only needed a field goal. Alabama got a few completions down the field to set them up with a 36 yard field goal to win the National Title, which was later missed, as the crowd was stunned and excited with the shanked field goal.
In Overtime, Georgia had the ball first, with an incomplete pass play, and a short run play for two yards, on third down Alabama’s defense once again got a key sack, setting up Georgia for a 51 yard field goal, which was good to put Georgia up 23-20 in OT. Alabama only needed two plays to win the game, the freshman quarterback took a disastrous sack which led them to a 2nd and 26, only to win the game on the next play with a 41 yard pass to Devonta Smith. The Champions were Alabama once again, putting head coach Nick Saban tied with Bear Bryant for the most National Titles in the Poll era. The game was the first title game to go into overtime in 15 years.