Chiefs to face Eagles in Super Bowl LVII

Written By Kayla Sterner, Co-Sports Editor

After a long season in the National Football League, we are less than two weeks away from what we have all been waiting for: the Rihanna concert. I’m kidding, football fans. It’s time to get ready for the Super Bowl. Now, let’s take a look at the AFC and NFC championship games from this past Sunday.


Philadelphia sends the Niners home, halting Purdy’s Cinderella story

I think everyone expected a better game than what happened at 3 p.m. on Sunday, but an elbow injury to rookie quarterback Brock Purdy during the 49ers first drive cursed the rest of game play for San Francisco. Josh Johnson, the Niners fourth quarterback this season, took over until the third quarter when he suffered a concussion and Purdy, who was visibly hurting, re-entered the game.

Considering the rookie gunslinger was not at his usual level of play, he was not able to throw the ball far and San Francisco had to rely on a run game that pretty much only featured McCaffrey. Purdy was 4-of-4 with 23 yards, Johnson was 7-for-13 with 75 yards and running back Christian McCaffrey was 0-of-1 in his quarterback debut.

Despite a strong receiver group, the Eagles’ secondary locked down the Niners. Deebo Samuel had 33 yards on three receptions, George Kittle had 32 yards on three receptions and McCaffrey had four receptions that manifested into 22 yards.

On the ground, McCaffrey did McCaffrey things. The running back scored the sole touchdown of the night and mustered up 84 yards on 15 carries. 

On the other hand, Eagles’ signal caller Jalen Hurts showed everyone why Philadelphia is heading to the Bowl for the first time since 2018, when they beat the New England Patriots to win a Lombardi. Hurts was 15-of-25 with 121 yards and one rushing touchdown. He did not throw a receiving touchdown and instead focused on the game on the ground. 

Miles Sanders had two rushing touchdowns and 42 yards on 11 carries. Boston Scott found the endzone once with six carries and 21 yards. 

Hurts targeted eight receivers in the winning effort. DeVonta Smith had 36 yards on two receptions while A.J. Brown had 28 yards on four receptions. Kenneth Gainwell had two catches for 26 yards, Dallas Goedert had 23 yards on five receptions, Jack Stoll had five yards as well as one catch and Miles Sanders added three yards on one receptions.

San Francisco fumbled the pigskin three times and lost the ball each time as well. Arik Armstead recorded the sole sack for the Niners and added a quarterback hit. The 49ers manifested 68 tackles, seven of which resulted in a loss of yards for the Eagles. Philly recorded three sacks and five tackles for loss along with 54 tackles and seven QB hits. 

The Eagles first drive of the game was an 11-play, 66 yard drive that was capped by a six yard touchdown run from Sanders to lead 7-0 with 9:48 in the first quarter. McCaffrey responded with a 23 yard touchdown run with 8:29 before the half. 

Sanders scored another touchdown with 1:36 left before the break after Philly went 75 yards down the field for a 14 play drive. Johnson fumbled the ball with 1:11 left and it was recovered by Haason Reddick, which set the Eagles up for another touchdown. Philadelphia scored with 16 seconds left to lead 21-7 at halftime. 

Philly’s momentum could not be slowed down in the second half as they put up another 10 points to send San Francisco packing. With only 43 seconds left in the third quarter, Hurts capped a 15 play, 91 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run. 

After the Niners turned the ball over on downs, Eagles’ kicker Jake Elliott nailed a 31 yard field goal to seal their fate and make a trip to the Super Bowl. 

The 49ers had 24 unanswered points and were outgained by Philly 269 yards to 164 yards. San Francisco lost 81 yards due to 11 penalties and had the ball for 22:34 compared to the Eagles who dominated time of possession and kept the ball for 37:26, more than half of the game.


Mahomes leads the Chiefs to their third Super Bowl in four years

There was nothing that could slow down the Kansas City Chiefs as quarterback Patrick Mahomes powered through a high ankle sprain to lead his team to another AFC title and Super Bowl appearance. 

Burrow, on the other hand, didn’t look very “shiesty.” The former LSU standout was sacked on the first drive of the game and then twice on the following possession. Both drives resulted in punts.

Mahomes and Co. capped a seven play, 39 yard drive with a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. On the following drive they nailed another field goal to take a 6-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

The Bengals finally found the scoreboard after kicker Evan McPherson hit a 30 yard field goal to cut the deficit to three… momentarily. Mahomes led the boys of Arrowhead on a 75 yard drive that resulted in a Travis Kelce touchdown to give them a two possession lead (13-3). 

A pass intended for Tee Higgins fell into the arms of Chiefs’ Jaylen Watson, who took the ball for 10 yards and ended up at Cincy’s 39. Luckily for the Bengals, Mahomes threw three incompletions and did not take advantage of the turnover.

McPherson hit a 23 yard field goal to trail 13-6 at the half, but the Bengals should have found the endzone. Burrow led the team on a 12 play, 90 yard drive before throwing two incompletions to Tee Higgins in the endzone.

Cincy opened up the second half with a touchdown from Tee Higgins to tie the game up at 13 apiece. Immediately after, Mahomes went on an 11 play, 77 yard drive to find the endzone and take back the advantage (20-13).

And the plot thickens…

A fumble from the Chiefs’ signal caller recovered by the Bengals with one minute left in the third quarter set Cincinnati up for the game-tying touchdown — a two yard rush from Samaje Perine to cap a 45 yard drive.

As the teams entered the final quarter of what could be their final game of the season, one thing was clear: don’t mess up. But, Burrow messed up and threw an interception on third and three with 7:02 left. The Bengals had to punt on their next drive after Burrow threw an incompletion and was sacked, which gave Kansas City the ball with 30 seconds left. 

In typical Chiefs fashion, they marched down the field to edge out the Bengals with a 45 yard field goal. The unnecessary roughness call on Ossai handed Mahomes an extra 15 yards, which put them in field goal range. Burrow and Co. tried to finesse one final play through lateral passes but Taylor was tackled as the clock had already hit zero. 

Mahomes was 29-of-43 with 326 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Pacheo led Kansas City with 26 yards on 10 carries. Receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught six passes for 116 yards while Travis Kelce had 78 yards on seven receptions. Pacheo added 59 yards on five possessions and Mahomes targeted 10 different receivers throughout the contest.

Burrow, who did not look anywhere near as dominant as he did against the Bills in the divisional round, was 26-of-41 with five sacks, two interceptions, one touchdown and 270 yards. The gunslinger also had 30 rushing yards on four carries while Perine had 22 yards and one touchdown on five carries. Mixon had 19 yards with eight carries. Higgins had 83 yards on six receptions and one touchdown while Chase had 75 yards on six catches for the Bengals. 

Now, the Chiefs head to the Super Bowl to face the Eagles after a 23-20 win over Cincy (and no celebratory cigars for Burrow this year).