STAMFORD, CT – It was a stellar NFL weekend, as Championship Sunday did not disappoint, featuring two 2nd half QB choke jobs. The bigger favorite lost and the smaller favorite won but didn’t cover… exactly as I predicted. You know, in reverse. The contestants for the Big Game are now set, with the Bengals playing the Rams in their home L.A. stadium. I can’t say I saw that one coming. With that, here are some Final Thoughts on the Championship Games and a quick and dirty Super Bowl Preview.
KC vs Cincy
This one has been talked to death but it’s hard to get over what a choke job this was by Patty Mahomes & the Chiefs. As much as they pulled victory from the jaws of defeat against the Bills, they pulled shoved victory right into the jaws of defeat in this one. They trusted their superstar QB a bit too much.
Obviously, the last play of the first half was not wise. You’re getting the ball in the second half, kick the FG or throw a quick fade or something. Tyreek Hill was probably meant to be a decoy there or only an option if he had an easy jaunt to the end zone. He didn’t, but Mahomes threw it to him anyway.
The end of regulation was equally weird, with the Chiefs trying to score a TD and run out the clock at the same time. On the 2nd and 3rd down drop backs, Mahomes didn’t want to throw it away and stop the clock. So we had those two weird plays where he was caught in no-man’s-land, with nobody open and without the option to throw it away. Wouldn’t it have been better just to run it twice? Keep the clock moving and maybe you score a TD. They outsmarted themselves there.
Then in OT, they should have been patient and methodically moved it down the field like they did at the end of regulation. The Bengals were dropping eight on most plays and bracketing Hill. You can’t totally blame that last interception on Mahomes, but I think he got a little greedy there. It was a brutal second half by Mahomes.
Joey Big Balls
Man, you got to give it to this kid Burrow. I thought they made a mistake by passing on the big tackle Sewell for Chase, but his pal Burrow lobbied for Ja’Marr and it sure has worked out. Burrow still gets hit a lot, but he makes it work. He had some slithery plays in key spots that I didn’t know he had in his tool box. Joey has skipped the “just happy to be here” year and has gone directly to the Super Bowl.
Rams vs 49ers
Oh, now I understand why the 49ers gave up a boatload of draft capital to get Trey Lance. This is a really good team, but the QB is holding them back. Did you see his post game interview outfit, by the way? He looked like a dreamy version of Tony Montana. Um, I mean a ridiculous version. Anyway, will they be ready to turn the reigns over to Lance next year?
Odell and Deebo
I enjoyed Odell Beckham Jr going over to console Deebo Samuel after the game. Mahomes did the same thing to Josh Allen last week. That’s just sportsmanship and class. Michael Jordan would never do something like that. That assassin’s attitude is probably part of the reason he was so great. In The Last Dance you saw Jordan ribbing guys like Bird and Barkley after beating them, forget consoling them. But I like to see it. Kudos to Mahomes and OBJ.
Speaking of OBJ, he is a different guy in interviews these days. He must have gone to the Derek Jeter School of Interviewing because everything is “we” now and not “I.” He’s focused, humbled, and grateful for this opportunity. Getting out of that toxic relationship with the kicking net surely helped. Color me surprised. Helluva game on Sunday too, good for him.
The Rams might be just good enough to pull it off. When Stafford threw that interception in the end zone early, I thought they were cooked. But they battled back and overcame a late 10-point lead.
Stafford should retire if they win and live out his days telling anyone who’ll listen that he would have easily won a dozen Super Bowls had he not ended up on Detroit. “At least a dozen! People would barely remember Tom Brady, I tell ya.”
I don’t have much else to say about this one except I wish Kyle Shanahan were coaching the Giants. All the play-action, misdirection stuff is fun to watch. If he is the Picasso of offensive creativity, Jason Garrett is the 3-yearold with a crayon. A brown, broken crayon. Maybe Shanahan can come over and bring Deebo with him.
Super Bowl Preview
The first thing that jumps out at you is the mediocre O-line of the Bengals vs Aaron Donald and the stellar D-front of the Rams. Huge advantage for the Rams could be the biggest factor in this contest. This feels like a cover for the Rams, which means you should bet big on the Bengals money line.
I’m looking forward to seeing Eli Apple cover Odell Beckham while I play my Spotify “Lost Love” playlist, featuring Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” “Miss You” by the Stones, and “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. The tears will be flowing into my red wine glass full of bourbon.