The 2022 NFL Playoffs

June 15, 2022

The NFL Playoffs is one of the most watched and most beloved American sporting events. But this year has stood out.

The road to the playoffs has been rocky for some teams, but smooth sailing for others. Teams such as the Chiefs and Buccaneers were highly favored to make it to the championship, but teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers were heavy underdogs. 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs were all eliminated during the playoffs. 

Ultimately, out of all of them, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams made it all the way to the Super Bowl. 

The Bengals made it to the Super Bowl on the back of their second year quarterback Joe Burrow.

As for the Rams, making it to the Super Bowl was bound to happen. The Rams have a history of trading the future of their team for players that can help them win in the present, and this season was no different. If they didn’t make the Super Bowl, it would have been embarrassing considering their transaction log. 

Super Wild Card Weekend featured twelve games in one weekend, but the event did not live up to the name. The closest game was the 49ers beating the Cowboys by six points, and the only other one-score game was the Bengals beating the Raiders by seven; many teams lost by deficits in the 20s and 30s. However, the second AFC Divisional playoff game pitted the 12-5 Chiefs against the 11-6 Bills in a match that will go down in history as one of the greatest playoff games of all time, a shootout from start to finish. 

Twenty five combined points were scored in just the last two minutes of game time, and a Harrison Butker field goal tied the game to send it to overtime. The Chiefs won the overtime coin toss, and scored a touchdown in just four minutes of game time. 42-36, a victory for the Chiefs.

Aaron Rodgers’ Packers played Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers, who won 13-10 on a Robbie Gould field goal with time expiring in the 4th. 

The underdog Bengals also won by field goal in the other AFC Divisional game; they beat the number one seeded Titans with an Evan McPherson game winning field goal. The Rams upset the Buccaneers in their 30-27 victory, having also won on a game winning field goal by kicker Matt Gay. 

 Next up were the Conference Championships, the winners of whom would face off in the Super Bowl. 

The NFC Championship game saw the Rams face the 49ers. Scoring a field goal, the Rams upped the score to 20-17 in the fourth. Jimmy Garoppolo threw an interception on the ensuing drive, sealing the win for the Rams. 

The AFC Championship game was the Bengals vs Chiefs. Once again, Harrison Butker tied the game with a field goal, and once again, they won the overtime coin toss. This time, however, Patrick Mahomes was picked off, and the Bengals scored a field goal to win.

The Super Bowl saw the Rams playing the Bengals at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, giving the Rams a home field advantage in the Super Bowl, the second time a team has gotten home field advantage in the Super Bowl in NFL history. 

The Super Bowl can be characterized as a defensive game, despite the game being relatively medium scoring, with neither team breaking the 25 point mark. The Bengals completely shut down the Rams’ run game throughout the match. But the Rams racked up seven sacks to compensate for it, tying the Super Bowl record. 

While Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr tore his ACL late in the 2nd quarter, he was still able to contribute with a touchdown.

The game was deadlocked at 16-20 in favor of the Bengals until the last drive, when Stafford and the Rams stormed down the field to take the lead with a Cooper Kupp touchdown. Kupp won the Super Bowl MVP for his unbelievable performance. He had more receptions, yards, touchdowns, and targets than any other Rams receiver. After the Kupp touchdown, the Rams led 23-20. The Bengals had the opportunity to win or tie the game with a minute left; but on the 4th down, who better to end the game than Eight year Rams veteran and three time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. 

Donald sacks Joe Burrow and the game is over. The Rams have won the Super Bowl 23-20. With that dramatic match, the NFL season concludes, giving way to other sports until next September, a bittersweet ending to satisfy fans until the next season rolls around. A new chapter has been written in the history of football, with more on the way.

 

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