The Super Bowl matchup is officially set. The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles travel to Minnesota in two weeks to face off for a championship.
First, let’s take a look back at some winners and losers from the AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was much-to-do-about-nothing with Brady’s hand injury when game time rolled around. He started the game relatively slow as he tried to figure out the Jacksonville defense, but he was able to turn it late in the game.
Brady finished 26 of 38 passing for 290 yards with two touchdowns in yet another come-from-behind playoff win. He now has eight such victories in his career. The comeback was also without Brady’s favorite target, Rob Gronkowski, who exited to the concussion protocol just before halftime.
Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola
After Gronkowski exited the game, Cooks and Danny “Playoff” Amendola took over as the top receiving threats. Cooks finished with 100 yards on six receptions, while Amendola became the hero.
Amendola reeled in seven catches for 84 yards and two scores. He also received credit for 20 passing yards on the trick play that ended in the Dion Lewis fumble.
The Patriots defense didn’t start the game well. It’s how they finished that earns them this spot. The pass rush started connecting in the second half, finishing with three team sacks and eight hits on Blake Bortles. Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers also managed to bat passes down at the line of scrimmage.
It’s no secret how the rest of America feels about the Patriots. Some would rather lose a limb than see New England win. That hatred often leads to misconceptions about game events, and that’s putting it nicely.
The biggest “misconception” is that referees favor the Patriots in every game, and go as far as to fix the outcome. One such instance this week was an official supposedly celebrating with the Patriots after Jame’s White’s touchdown.
Once again, that simply just wasn’t the case.
James White scores a touchdown and Miles Jack slams him to the ground after the play (he could have been flagged for unnecessary roughness on this body slam but was not). A scuffle ensues. pic.twitter.com/suHQh6RG9l
— Bernd Buchmasser (@BerndBuchmasser) January 22, 2018
As the video in the above tweet shows, this official wasn’t really celebrating the touchdown. Rather, he was laughing at his own mistake of separating two Patriots from each other thinking it was two opposing players scuffling. Don’t read into things too much things people.
Pregame Trash Talk
You’d think after the Pittsburgh Steelers spent the week leading up to their matchup with the Jaguars yapping about facing New England and winning, Jacksonville wouldn’t make the same mistake.
That wasn’t the case, however, as several Jaguars did some talking coming into the game. The most notable was Jalen Ramsey.
First Ramsey told the Jacksonville faithful that they would come to New England and win after defeating the Steelers. It’s one thing to say the team will do their best and play hard, but it’s another thing entirely to flat out say you’ll win.
Then Ramsey made comments about possibly covering Gronkowski during the game. Showing confidence in your abilities is great, but it felt like Ramsey went a little overboard saying Gronkowski “hasn’t seen a corner like him.”
Now the Eagles are already falling into the same trap. Lane Johnson reportedly says he can’t wait to “dethrone the pretty boy [Tom Brady].”
Can Philadelphia back up the smack talk? Only time will tell.
The sure thing is, if you talk trash to New England, it’s put up, or shut up.
–Chris Morgan is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @THECapnMorgan76