New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks won, 23-15)
This round was certainly much closer than the last round, but in the end, it was play calling and decision making (including this mind-boggling one to end the game) that sent the Saints home. Seattle doesn’t look as good offensively as they have in the past, but the Legion of Boom looks as good as ever.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (Patriots won, 43-22)
I was completely convinced that the Colts were going to come back to win after scoring a touchdown to close the Pats’ lead to 7 in the 3rd quarter. But a third interception from Andrew Luck (though only 2 were really his fault) sealed the deal for New England. To add insult to injury, Tom Brady proved that he really can do everything.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (49ers won, 23-10)
The Panthers undoing came by choosing to only score points in the 2nd quarter. At halftime, this was a competitive 13-10 game. But the wheels noticeably came off as the second half progressed. The Niners are now off to their 3rd conference championship game in three years. That’s incredible.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (Broncos won, 24-17)
If you only watched this game in the final minutes of the 4th quarter you probably never would have guessed that the score was 17-0 just minutes before. True to form, the Chargers mounted a surprising comeback and seemed like they just might keep the good times rollin’ on their wild playoff ride. But it wasn’t to be, and as a result, we all get to see another edition of Brady v. Manning.
And all is as it should be.
Manning and the Broncos will travel to Brady and the Patriots for the AFC Championship next Sunday. We’ll chat more about that game on Friday, and the NFC game, too: a Niners at Seahawks rematch in Seattle.
Oh. My. Word.
It’s going to be one amazing Conference Championship Sunday, people.