Hello and welcome to the Conference Championship weekend edition of ‘The Lo Down’. I can’t believe that we are now just two short weeks away from the season finale to be played at Metlife stadium in New Jersey. The question is which teams will be playing in the big game, let’s find out shall we…….
We start this week in the NFC as I know that I can quite often favour the AFC by putting it first just because it is my beloved Buffalo Bills Conference.
NFC Championship Game
This was probably the most anticipated game out of the two title games as you had two young quarterbacks and teams facing off against each other for the third time this year. The fact that these two teams are also bitter division rivals added to the excitement.
During the regular season both teams have won one game each, both teams winning at home so with this game being in Seattle in front of that famous 12th man crowd it would surely give them the edge wouldn't it?
Okay so to the game we go now and after the opening kickoff went for a touchback the Seahawks started with the ball at their own 20 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage Russell Wilson went for the play action and rolled out the left, then like a bolt of lightning Aldon Smith broke free of his blocker and attacked Wilson forcing a fumble which Aldon Smith then recovered.
It was the perfect start to San Francisco and I wondered if this was a sign of things to come! Luckily for Seattle they have possibly the best defence in the league and despite the 49ers only needing 20 yards for a score, they managed to keep them to just a field goal. This was massive stop for the Seahawks and it ensured that the crowd stayed in the game even at this early stage.
The next few possessions in the first quarter for both teams did not yield any rewards and both teams found themselves punting to the opposition as they struggled to move the ball on offense. In the second half San Francisco would strike again, this time courtesy of an Anthony Dixon one yard touchdown run.
Seattle then decided it was high time to get on the score and scored on a 62 yard drive which led to a 32 yard field goal from Steven Hauschka. This is how the score would remain until halftime and going into the locker room the 49ers were 10 - 3 to the good.
The second half started with that tough, trash talking Seattle defence forcing the 49ers to punt and in the blink of an eye Seattle drove 60 yards in four plays down with a big chunk of it coming on Mr Beast Modes 40 yard touchdown run. I am of course referring to the legendary Marshawn Lynch.
With the scores now tied 10 all it was time for another beast to show his skills and show them he did as Anquan Boldin hauled in a 26 yard jump pass from Colin Kaepernick. I know that I have mentioned this a few times before but Anquan is such a great clutch receiver, I really can’t believe they only had to give up a 7th round draft pick to get him from Baltimore.
Anyway back on with the game and San Francisco had taken the lead again making it 17 - 10 with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. Unfortunately for the 49ers this would prove to be their last score as the Seattle defence showed why they are the best in the league. Seattle managed to not only stop the scoring but they forced a fumble and two interceptions from Colin Kaepernick.
On the other side of the ball it was back to beast mode with Marshawn Lynch running the ball at will and Russell Wilson was making some great plays with both his feet and his arm. Seattle went on to score two field goals and touchdown making the final score 23 - 17 to Seattle.
Before we move onto the next game, please check out the highlights by clicking on the picture below:
AFC Championship Game
Now we move onto the 15th episode of Manning vs Brady and their fourth battle in the postseason. Over the last decade or so whilst both Quarterbacks have been extremely dominant it is Tom Brady who has the better record in these match-ups having won 10 of the 14 previous meetings. The most recent of those victories came in a dramatic comeback win earlier this season as the Patriots overcame a 24 point deficit to win 34 - 31.
Going into this game I honestly thought that the Patriots would try to run the Denver defence into the ground quite literally as I have always been a believer that the best way to beat Manning is to keep him off the field. It turns out both the commentators and New England had a different approach and seemed to think it was okay to engage in shoot out against the best offence in the league.
It did not start so well for New England as their first two possessions resulted in three and outs whilst Denver were moved the ball but ended up being forced to punt after a few more plays. In fact on Denver's second drive they drove the ball 70 yards and came away with a field goal. This was to be a sign of things to come because Denvers drives just got longer and longer and you could see that Tom Brady was getting agitated on the side line.
To be completely honest I think there was only a couple of big talking points from this game, one of which being the supposed pick play by Wes Welker which resulted in an injury to Aquib Talib. After Talib got injured it was alot easier for Peyton Manning to find his star player Demarius Thomas.
Although New England lost their most influential defender let’s be fair to Peyton Manning as he did make some epic throws during the length of this game. As you can tell I do not have a lot of good things to say about this game, because of the Patriots poor game plan and the skillful execution by Peyton Manning, I actually found this game rather boring. Shocking to say I know but see what you think by checking out the highlights by clicking on the picture below:
Final score - New England 16 vs 26 Denver
Well that wraps it up from me this week however be sure to check out our podcast ‘Spitball’ later in the week as we go over both games and their big talking points along with a look ahead to the Superbowl between Denver and Seattle in two weeks time.
With that in mind there will be no blog next week with no games of note taking place but there will be some additions to out ‘Football 101’ segment.
Until next time football fans, stay safe, take care and ‘Thanks for Stopping By’.
Adri 'BallHawk' Mallows