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NFL week in review: Super Bowl matchup, and some hiring thoughts

Nick Falato takes us around the NFL

NFL: NOV 29 Chiefs at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have a Super Bowl matchup, ladies and gentlemen. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV (55). The Buccaneers defeated the Green Bay Packers, 31-26, to propel Tom Brady to his 10th Super Bowl. Brady threw three second half interceptions, but the Packers couldn’t take full advantage and went three and out after two of the interceptions.

Two big storylines of the game happened in the final two minutes and five seconds. Aaron Rodgers had an open path to the end zone on a third-and-goal from the8-yard line, but decided to throw a pass to DaVante Adams, who was double covered. Rodgers would have more than likely scored with his legs to set up a pivotal two-point conversion, but the incompletion set up a fourth-and-goal.

The first big storyline is Packers head coach Matt LaFleur kicking a field goal after the Adams incompletion. This cut the deficit from 31-23 to 31-26 - still trailing by five and needing a touchdown. LaFleur gave the football back to Tom Brady and never possessed it again. The Packers had three timeouts and they were just north of the two-minute warning, so LaFleur felt the defense could stop Brady and company - they couldn’t, but that gets a bit controversial.

The second storyline was the third-and-4 pass interference against Kevin King (yikes, terrible game for that guy). Was it a pass interference? Yes. Should the yellow laundry have been thrown? Probably not. The referees thought it was wrestling and there were so many no calls throughout the game. The Sean Murphy-Bunting interception was obvious defensive pass interference, as were so many other plays throughout the game.

On the third-and-4 that just about iced the game, Tristin Wirfs was holding a Green Bay pass rusher - no flag. The flag also came a full five seconds after the play; the precedent was already set and the referees deviated from that with the flag. Tough break for the Packers, but this wasn’t a Saints/Rams type of blown call in my opinion.

The Packers also relived their past by allowing a 39-yard touchdown pass to Scotty Miller as time ran out of the first half. Hakeem Nicks and Eli Manning pulled this same stunt off for 37 yards against the Packers in the 2011 Divisional round that led to Super Bowl XLVI. New York defeated the 15-1 Packers, 37-20, at Lambeau Field. The Randall Cobb variation of this play in the 2016 Wild Card round was, I guess, payback. Thank you Tom Brady and Scotty Miller for giving it right back to the Pack.

The post game comments from Aaron Rodgers may not sit all too well with the cheese heads. After the loss, Rodgers said his future with the team is “uncertain.”

“A lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain, myself included. That’s what’s sad about it most. Getting this far. Obviously there’s going to be an end to it at some point whether we make it past this one or not. Just the uncertainties are tough and the finality of it.”

Rodgers stated the above quote and LaFleur was asked about Rodgers return and he said he “really hopes” Rodgers returns. If Rodgers is on the market, after the first round draft pick of Utah State’s Jordan Love last year, then this offseason is going to be wildly entertaining.

The Bills also had some questionable coaching decisions in their game as well. Against one of the best offenses the game has ever seen, the Bills kicked two field goals within the ten yard line on fourth down - one was on the two yard line. As a 1980s South Park skier would say “you’re gonna have a bad time” if you expect to beat the Chiefs in the playoffs by kicking field goals in those situations.

Patrick Mahomes will now play in his second consecutive Super Bowl and Tom Brady will be his opposition. Former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have his second opportunity to square off against the GOAT in a quest for the Lombardi Trophy. Super Bowl champion Jason Pierre-Paul will have a chance to win his second title. This should make for a great match-up on February 7th.

The Chiefs suffered a devastating loss towards the end of the game; left tackle, and former 2013 number one selection in the draft Eric Fisher, tore his achilles. This is tough to see for Kansas City. The Buccaneers are also dinged up; star rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. missed the conference championship and hopes to be back for the Super Bowl, and fellow safety Jordan Whitehead left the game with a shoulder injury. Whitehead was playing incredibly well against the Packers. These two will, along with the dinged up Antonio Brown, will have an extra week to get healthy for their big game against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Other news

The Texans are the only team who has yet to hire their new head coach. The Jets brought in the motivating defensive-minded Robert Saleh, the Chargers hired defensive wunderkind Brandon Staley (which seems a bit premature), and the Lions hired a coach who has an insatiable appetite for human kneecaps in Dan Campbell.

Houston is interviewing Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Ravens assistant head coach David Culley, and they’re going on the second interview with former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. The Texans also reportedly have interest in Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. The future of DeShaun Watson still remains uncertain.

Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has reportedly been playing through a broken fibula. The Dwight look alike from The Walking Dead reportedly broke the bone in his leg in Week 17. Through the playoffs, he had 14 catches for 145 yards - that’s impressive physical toughness right there.

The Eagles new head coach Nick Sirianni hired Shane Steichan and Jonathan Gannon as his coordinators. Steichan was the offensive coordinator for the Chargers and helped Justin Herbert have his breakout rookie season. Gannon was the defensive backs coach for Sirianni with the Colts. This staff will be young and purportedly heavily influenced by general manager Howie Roseman and owner Jeffery Laurie. The Chargers also replaced Steichan at offensive coordinator with Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi.