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NFL Wrapup: Questionable referee decisions lead to botched championship weekend

By Frankie Rizzo, Sports Editor

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Questionable referee decisions lead to botched championship weekend

Both games this weekend put the two best teams in each conference against each other, and that was evident as both games needed an overtime period to determine a winner. Unfortunately, few people will remember that aspect, but instead how the game got to that point: the reffing. Here is what unfolded this weekend:

AFC Championship Game: New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs

In a game with potential of Brady passing of the torch to the next great, this pitted Brady’s Patriots against Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs. The Patriots started off firing, going up 14-0 at half, setting up Mahomes to come up with a comeback plan to help his team make the big game. He got the Chiefs back into the game, putting them up 28-24 with little time left in the fourth quarter. This is when the refs stepped in. The Patriots were bailed out of multiple situations on their last drive of regulation, both on third down. On the first third down, Brady was barely touched by the defender, yet the flag was thrown for roughing the passer. Then, on a later third down in the drive, Brady lost the game by throwing an interception on a poorly thrown ball. However, that was negated by a late offsides call on the Chiefs that didn’t even have any bearing on the play. The Patriots scored on the drive, and with a Chiefs field goal at the end regulation, the game went into OT tied at 31. The Patriots lucked out again, winning the coin toss and keeping the ball away from the explosive Chiefs offense. The Pats when down the field and scored a touchdown, winning the game with a score of 37-31. Brady threw for 348 yards and a touchdown, while RB Sony Michel ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns. With the win, the Patriots will be going to their third straight Super Bowl.

NFC Championship Game: Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints   

From the early looks of things, it looked like this one was going to be a blowout, as Drew Brees put the Saints up by 13 at the end of the first quarter. The Rams woke up however, as they held the powerful Saints offense scoreless and allowing their offense to put up 10 of their own points to make it 13-10 Saints at the end of the first half. With the score tied up at 20 with the Saints driving down the field and most definitely about to score, the Rams needed something extraordinary to stay alive in this game, and that surely happened. On a pass to wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, he was blatantly laid out before the ball reached him by corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, but a flag for pass interference was not thrown nor a flag for targeting with helmet to helmet contact. This was a controversial call that changed the whole outcome of the game. Instead of getting an automatic first down right near the goal line, the Saints lost the down and had to settle for a field goal. The Rams would later score the game tying field goal at the end of the regulation, and later kick another field goal in overtime, this one being the game winner to send the Rams to the Super Bowl. QB Jared Goff threw for 297 yards and a touchdown, and while rushing is usually in the hands of Todd Gurley, it was C.J. Anderson who got the bulk of the touches, with 44 yards on 16 carries. Gurley did put up a score, but he only touched the ball a total of 6 times in the whole game. The Rams return to the big game for the first time since 2002, where they coincidentally played the New England Patriots in Tom Brady’s first ever Super Bowl.  

 

The Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m on CBS

Behind the Byline
Frankie Rizzo, Sports Editor

Frankie Rizzo is the Sports Editor of the Wessex Wire. Frank enjoys playing football, wrestling, playing Xbox, driving his car "The Green Goblin," and...

NFL Wrapup: Questionable referee decisions lead to botched championship weekend