NFC and AFC Championship review

Controversial reffing and a kicker’s payback.

Arrowhead Stadium, home of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Wikimedia Commons

Arrowhead Stadium, home of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Chris Restivo, Staff Writer

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 at Lincoln Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday, Jan. 29 – and later that day, the Kansas City Chiefs would go on to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 49ers vs. Eagles game started neck and neck. 

The Eagles were up 7-0 before a punting mishap occurred following a 34 yard punt by Eagles punter Brett Kern seemed to touch the wire of Fox’s overhead camera. The officials thought the kick would have to be redone, but they claimed they could not definitively prove the ball hit the wire, giving the 49ers a prime field position. The 49ers took advantage of this by tying the game up 7-7 on a Christian McCaffrey touchdown soon after. 

This, however, was not the first piece of questionable officiating in this game. 

A replay of a 4th down, one-handed catch by Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith showed that Smith didn’t actually catch the ball. The Eagles swiftly ran another play to limit the time the 49ers had to challenge the play.

“The replay we saw didn’t definitively show that,” Kyle Shannahan, the 49ers head coach, said when asked why he didn’t challenge the call.

The 49ers offense was heavily brought down, as their starting quarterback, Brock Purdy, suffered an elbow injury in the first quarter. It was later revealed he completely tore his UCL, and would need Tommy John surgery. 

Tragedy continued in the second half, as their fourth string QB, Josh Johnson, suffered a concussion and exited the game. Purdy would play the rest of the game with his torn UCL, only being able to complete two passes after returning. 

The Eagles offense picked the 49ers defense apart with their run game, scoring four rushing touchdowns. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts completed 15-of-25 attempts for 121 yards, and sneak for a one yard touchdown. Purdy completed 4-of-4 attempts for only 23 yards, while Josh Johnson completed 7-of-13 for 74 yards.

One year after Bengals’ kicker Evan McPherson shut the door on the Chiefs’ hopes of a Super Bowl in 2022, the boot was finally on the other foot for the Chiefs. 

Kicker Harrison Butker scored a 45 yard field goal with three seconds left on the clock to seal the game and send the Bengals home, getting his revenge for last year. 

The Bengals missed two good chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Chiefs defense relentlessly pressured Joe Burrow, squandering their chances to take the lead. 

The Bengals also forced the Chiefs to punt with only 2:30 remaining, and would make a 16 yard completion to Hayden Hurst before the Chiefs yet again turned up the heat and ended the Bengals’ drive following a sack by Chris Jones. 

The Kansas City offense struggled throughout the second half, but moved the ball enough to get Butker in position for a game-winning kick. A primary reason for the Chiefs getting into field goal range was an unnecessary roughness penalty on defensive end Joseph Ossai, after quarterback Patrick Mahomes made a dangerous rushing attempt. 

Patrick Mahomes completed 29-0f-43 attempts for 326 yards, a great performance despite the Chiefs offense struggling in the second half. Joe Burrow completed 26-of-41 attempts for a total of 270 yards in a great attempt to beat the Chiefs. 

The Super Bowl will take place at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 12. The game will see the Philadelphia Eagles meet the Kansas City Chiefs in a battle for the Lombardi trophy. Chiefs coach Andy Reid will face off against the team he coached for 14 years, while Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will battle it out for the Lombardi trophy in a game seeing All-Pro brothers Jason and Travis Kelce go head to head with one another.