National Football League

Top Plays: Championship Sunday

January 24

The matchup for Super Bowl LV is set!

After a Championship Sunday full of action and drama, it will be a matchup between the old guard, Tom Brady, and the new guard, Patrick Mahomes.

Earlier Sunday, Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers outlasted Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 31-26 at Lambeau Field to win the NFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl.

It will be Brady's 10th Super Bowl appearance.

After that, Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs defended their AFC crown against Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, defeating them 38-24.

At 25 years old, Mahomes will be the youngest quarterback in NFL history with two Super Bowl starts.

Here are the top plays from both conference championship games.

BILLS VS. CHIEFS

Early luck

The Chiefs' defense forced a punt on the Bills' second drive of the game, but a fumbled punt return by Mecole Hardman gave the ball back to the Bills.

That led to a touchdown on the next play for the Bills' offense.

Hardman was visibly frustrated on the sideline after the play.

Hardman's redemption

The early fumble by Hardman didn't shake his confidence, with the second-year wide receiver recording two receptions on the Chiefs' second drive.

One of those resulted in a touchdown.

Getting it done on the ground

For the second consecutive drive, Hardman played a major role, gaining 50 yards on the ground to get the Chiefs into scoring position.

A few plays later, running back Darrel Williams finished the drive with a 6-yard rushing touchdown.

The Chiefs' offensive dominance on consecutive drives allowed them to flex their muscles and remind social media that they have the most feared offense in the NFL.

21 unanswered

The Chiefs were rolling!

After falling down 9-0, they couldn't be stopped. This time, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire got in on the fun.

Hill's speed sets up TD

There aren't too many players in the NFL who have the speed to contain Tyreek Hill, and by the looks of it, none of those who do play for the Bills.

Hill's 71-yard reception left the Bills' defense scrambling and put the Chiefs inside the 5-yard line.

Mahomes and Travis Kelce finished the drive with a 1-yard connection for a touchdown.

Hill's speed left viewers in awe, with his reception garnering attention on Twitter.

Bills' woes continue

It was a rough day at the office for Allen, who struggled to get the Bills' offense on track against the Chiefs.

Those struggles continued in the fourth quarter, when Rashad Fenton intercepted Allen, stopping a promising Bills drive.

Icing on the cake

Seemingly everything went well for the Chiefs' offense against the Bills.

The dominance continued with Mahomes once again finding Kelce in the end zone.

For Kelce, it added to a stellar night for the All-Pro tight end.

BUCCANEERS VS. PACKERS

Brady, Evans strike first

The Buccaneers got the ball first, and they made sure to capitalize on the opening possession.

Brady and the Tampa Bay offense converted three first downs on the opening drive, with Mike Evans on the receiving end of two of them and his second reception resulting in a touchdown.

Quick and easy.

Bucs' pressure thwarts Pack's opening drive

After the Buccaneers converted three third downs on their opening drive, the Packers didn't have the same success.

Shaquil Barrett got pressure on Rodgers on third down and recorded a sack to get the Packers off the field.

Of course, this was music to the ears of Skip Bayless.

Rodgers responds

After the Packers' defense got a much-needed stop, Rodgers and the offense finally found a groove.

Rodgers connected with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 50-yard bomb to tie the game at 7 apiece.

The second-quarter touchdown pass was the norm for Rodgers this season.

Godwin, Fournette put the Bucs back on top

Through the first 18 minutes of the NFC Championship, there was no shortage of big plays. Brady saw Rodgers' 50-yard touchdown pass and raised him one, with a 52-yard bomb to Chris Godwin to put the Buccaneers in scoring position.

It made up for a drop by Godwin one play prior. 

That led to a 20-yard rushing touchdown from Leonard Fournette that showed off the running back's elusiveness.

The impressive run from Fournette garnered a lot of attention on Twitter.

Murphy-Bunting continues opportunistic play

Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting entered the postseason with one interception on the season.

But after a pick in the second quarter against the Packers, he has three this postseason.

Next Gen Stats broke down the turnover:

Brady punctuates dominant first half

Tom Brady's first half against the Packers can be described as nothing short of dominant, as he completed 13 of 22 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

His second touchdown was to Scott Miller on a 39-yard strike with one second left in the half.

Here's how Twitter reacted:

Picking up where they left off

The Buccaneers' defense ended the first half with a takeaway, and that's exactly how they started the second half.

Jordan Whitehead forced a fumble when tackling Packers running back Aaron Jones, and it was recovered by linebacker Devin White.

On the first play after the takeaway, the Buccaneers capitalized, with Brady's third passing touchdown of the game.

This time, it was to tight end Cameron Brate.

Signs of life

Trailing 28-10, the Packers needed a touchdown to stay within arm's reach, and that's what they got.

It's hard to imagine a better player to lead a big drive than Rodgers, who found tight end Robert Tonyan for a touchdown to cut into the Bucs' lead.

Getting even

The Packers had turned the ball over twice, which the Buccaneers turned into 14 points. In the third quarter, Green Bay forced a turnover of its own with an interception of Brady by Adrian Amos.

Davante Adams gets in on the action

Through three quarters, between Brady and Rodgers, there were five passing touchdowns to five receivers.

None of those was to the NFL's receiving touchdown leader, Davante Adams, until late in the third quarter.

Rodgers finally found Adams for a quick, 2-yard touchdown to bring the score to 28-23.

The release from Adams off the line of scrimmage gave defensive backs trouble all season, as pointed out by viewers on Twitter.

Jaire Alexander's takeover

When a team gets the momentum, it can be difficult to stop.

That was evident with the Packers' defense ending a second straight Buccaneers drive by way of interception, this time by All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander.

He followed that interception with another on the very next drive.

For Brady, it continued a rough second half for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Pass interference on third down

The Packers' defense needed just one stop to get off the field and give the ball back to Rodgers with a chance to win.

But pass interference from cornerback Kevin King prolonged the Buccaneers' drive.

The pass-interference call came after officials let both secondaries play physical football throughout the game.

The call sparked immediate debate on Twitter.

Stay tuned for more updates!


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