The Kansas City Chiefs have ended their 50-year wait for a second Super Bowl victory, coming from 20-10 down at the end of the third quarter to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 and earn their first championship since 1970.
Championship weekend has now delivered us the two teams who will meet in Super Bowl 54: the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.
The two games held little resemblance to each other, however, both the AFC championship and NFC championship games told unique stories and have presented the world with an extremely fascinating Super Bowl match-up.
The first of the games, the AFC championship, was held in Arrowhead Stadium where the Chiefs played host to the Tennessee Titans. The two halves told two completely different stories.
The first half of the game started with the Titans getting out to a 10-0 lead, based behind their heavy run attack with Derrick Henry and their play-action pass game. However, like the week before, the Chiefs were able to get back into the game led by their all-world quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Titans were caught off guard by the Chiefs’ ability to run the ball which only opened things up more for Mahomes. Mahomes was able to bring the Chiefs back into the game midway through the second quarter, only trailing 14-17.
But on a huge drive that saw the Titans being forced to punt the ball back to the Chiefs on a three and out, the Titans opted to go with uncreative passing plays instead of going with what had been their successful formula, Derrick Henry. On the last drive of the half, the Chiefs were able to score the touchdown that would give them a lead they would never give up.
The touchdown came from a spectacular 27-yard rushing touchdown from Patrick Mahomes, but rewatching the play will prove painful for many Titan defenders as they failed to make simple tackles on Mahomes in a needed moment. In the second half, Mahomes and the Chiefs just never let the Titans get back into the game, handing them some of their own medicine and forcing them to play from behind and sit back and try and battle in a shootout.
The Chiefs would end up winning the game 35-24, breaking the 50-year Super Bowl drought that Chiefs fans had endured. They will be sure to savour this moment, but will also be aware that the long-awaited glory of being Super Bowl champions is still far away. The Titans, on the other hand, will have to feel as if they have let a huge opportunity go, as it seems they may have missed out on their best moment to capture their first Super Bowl trophy.
The next game of the day, the NFC championship, saw the 49ers host the Green Bay Packers in Levi’s Stadium. This game, unlike the first game, saw no comeback and no moment where the 49ers had to battle back into the game, but instead saw the 49ers go into the halftime break with a 27-0 lead.
This game mirrored much of their first meeting earlier in the season, with the 49ers leading the Packers 23-0 at the half in that meeting. The 49ers shutout Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offence in the first half, led by an undrafted free agent running back Raheem Mostert. Mostert posted historic numbers with the second-most rushing yards in a playoff game (220) and also four touchdowns to go with that.
There were some moments that the Packers would wish to have back, with a failed snap that led to a turnover in the second quarter while the Packers were only down 17 and on what seemed at the time a very promising drive. However, at the end of the game, it was clear that the overall better team was winning the NFC championship as the 49ers beat the Packers 37-20.
The Niners now become only one of three teams to go to the Super Bowl one season removed from having a four-game winning season. The 49ers will now be looking to win their sixth Super Bowl and first since 1995.
With the two championship games now over two more teams now begin their offseason and search for the missing pieces that can give them a shot at winning Super Bowl 55. But for the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, both teams have a date with destiny in Miami in two weeks.