Both these offenses put up monster numbers on their way to blowout victories. However, both defenses also effectively shut down 2 of the top offensive units in the NFL. Should be an exciting Super Bowl. Two high powered offenses, with sneaky good defenses. Brady vs. Matty Ice. Can’t wait for Houston.
Falcons 44 – Packers 21
This is a game Aaron Rodgers would like to forget, as he and the Packers had one of their worst first halves in recent memory. Rodgers ended up throwing for 3 TDs in the second half, but it was far too little, too late. This one was all Falcons early as they jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. The real turning point in this game was when Ripkowski was stripped on what would have been 1st and goal for the Packers, which turned into Falcons ball at the 20 yard line after the touchback.
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2017
The Falcons were able to score twice more in the half to take a 24-0 lead into half time. Both were terrific scores as well. First, Matty Ice ran one in from 14 yards out.
MATT RYAN ON THE LOOSE! ??
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 22, 2017
Then, Julio Jones made an acrobatic sideline catch with only 3 seconds remaining in the 1st half.
Another @AtlantaFalcons TD!
— NFL (@NFL) January 22, 2017
The most devastating play for the Packers came in the early minutes of the second half. Already down 24-0 and after going 3 and out, Julio Jones simply imposed his will on the Packers’ secondary.
#JetJones✈️ has taken off!
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 22, 2017
Julio Jones is a man among boys when he steps on a football field. The only thing that has slowed this beast down in his career is injuries. He compiled a massive stat line of 9 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns; one of the greatest Championship Game performances by a wide receiver. With that game, Julio became the only player in NFL history with at least 2 games of 180+ receiving yards and 2 TD catches. At that point everyone knew this one was over. Even if the Packers could score on every drive, they weren’t going to stop the juggernaut Falcons offense. What a final game in the Georgia Dome for Falcons fans.
Patriots 36 – Steelers 17
Fans got to see another game with a high powered offense clicking on all cylinders. Tom Brady was on fire, completing over 75% of his passes for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns. Speaking of receivers having a monster game, Chris Hogan matches Julio Jones’ numbers exactly. What are the odds of two receivers on Championship Weekend both having career type days. Of course, Julio Jones is expected to be able to put up these types of numbers, Chris Hogan….. not so much. In fact he was frequently left uncovered by the Steelers secondary in this one, including on both TD receptions.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 23, 2017
By the way, is anyone better at running/more famous for successful flea flickers than Tom Brady. I feel we haven’t seen this in a while, perfect time to bring it out in a big playoff win.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) January 23, 2017
The Steelers defense was overmatched by the Patriots offense, which was expected coming into this game. Unfortunately for the Steelers they lost Le’Veon Bell for the game so their offense really struggled. Bell apparently got hurt on the second play of the game and didn’t look like himself. He left and didn’t return after only 6 carries. It looked like the Patriots scheme was set up well to slow him down, as they were collapsing well once he picked a hole; however, Bell is the best running back in football and would have been a nightmare to deal with all game.
DeAngelo Williams played well in Bell’s absence, but he’s just not the same game changing player. DWill caught 7 passes for 51 yards, I’m guessing Bell would have had more opportunity. It sucks as a Patriots fan that they had to play the Steelers twice while they were short handed, because now the “yeah, buts” can start rolling in. In the regular season meeting, the Steelers didn’t have Big Ben and in this game they lost Bell. The Patriots were the better team today and I don’t think Bell would have mattered much, but it’s unfortunate for the Steelers to be without a key player in both matchups against the top AFC team.
Aside from Hogan, the only other big game for the Patriots offense came from Edelman. JE11 has been on an absolute tear since the Pats bye week and hauled in 8 passes for 118 yards and a score. He’ll continue to have a big role in the Super Bowl against a Falcons team that can get after the QB in a hurry. None of the Patriots running backs were very effective in this one, although they didn’t need to be. Blount took over lead back duties after Dion Lewis dominated the touches last week- highlighted by one incredible run.
— Seahawks Fan (@centurylinkfiel) January 23, 2017
The Pats defense continues to play well. They forced one fumble and intercepted a deep Big Ben pass in this one. More importantly, they held when they were backed up deep in the red zone. The Steelers were only 1/3 in red zone efficiency, highlighted by a tremendous series by the Pats’ defense after a Jessie James TD had been overturned and ruled down at the 1. The defense kept the Steelers out of the end zone and forced a field goal. Which was huge, considering that made the score 17-9 instead of 17-13 or 17-14. The defense will have it’s hands full in 2 weeks against the Falcons, but I think they’re up for the challenge. On to Houston!