Five plays that decided Super Bowl LV

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Now, in the Super Bowl, five plays showed how all the work paid off:

Brady to Brown, stop route, KC up 3-0, 3:14 left, first quarter. Classic Brady favorite. He torched the Atlanta secondary four years ago in the comeback Super Bowl win with stop routes. Receiver runs what looks like a go route, puts his foot in the ground, turns back and catches the ball two or three yards shy of where he stopped. Brown sprinted 19 yard down the ride sideline, Charvarius Ward in tight coverage, Brown stopped, ball already in the air . . . Brown caught it 16 yards past the line of scrimmage. Looked so easy. And it is—if you’ve practiced it a hundred times. Which very likely they had done.

Brady to Gronkowski, flat-screen route, KC up 3-0, 0:41 left, first quarter. “Byron couldn’t wait to call this play,” Christensen said. “We were so sure it’d work.” This is something I’d never seen—Gronk the tight end in fast motion, right to left, in front of the quarterback, in motion as a receiver and not as a seal-blocker cutting off the edge-rush. You can see on replay defensive end Frank Clark anticipating Gronkowski cutting off his motion just after the snap to seal him off from rushing Brady; Clark girds for contact from Gronkowski, and the contact never comes. Gronkowski, swift from a soft practice year coming out of retirement, turns to Brady for the soft toss, and he turns upfield for the easy 8-yard touchdown. How many touchdowns in his tremendous career has Gronk done this—sprint motion, catch in the flat, score, without being touched? Well, never. When Gronkowski got to the bench after the play, he was excited, like a kid. “That’s so cool!” he said. “I always wanted to run that route! No one’s ever called that play for me before!”

Brady to Gronkowski, improvised route, Tampa up 7-3, 6:11 left, second quarter. At the KC 17-yard line, Gronkowski was supposed to run a corner route—to the back right corner of the end zone. But he was closely guarded by cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who had outside leverage. (Meaning it’d be fruitless to run to the right corner, because Sneed would be all over Gronkowski.) “Now it’s just playing ball,” Christensen said. “Tom and Gronk have had to do this a lot in their career. The defense had the perfect design. They get paid too.” Gronkowski knew to turn left, across the back of the end zone, and Brady knew that’s what Gronkowski would do. As soon as Gronk began trolling the back of the end zone, Brady released a line-drive spiral exactly 32 yards in the air. It was on Gronk before KC could help Sneed. Touchdown.

Brady to Brown, improvised route, Tampa up 14-3, 0:10 left, second quarter. The idea was for Brady, under center at the 1-yard line, to play-action to Fournette, and turn around and fire to Brown, single-covered by Tyrann Mathieu, alone two-yards deep in the end zone. Brown was supposed to run a different route to get to the spot, but you can see on replay why he did what he did. Mathieu had no help behind him and Brown figured with a hard jab step to the right coming off the line, Mathieu would have to respect an outside throw. For a split-second, Mathieu jabbed with Brown—just long enough for Brown to be able to box out Mathieu. Brady fired it low, and Mathieu didn’t have time to deflect it away. “There’s something to getting an A in recess,” Christensen said. “Tom and Antonio are on the playground there, and the play doesn’t happen the way you’ve designed it. But they’ll figure it out, because they’re parks-and-rec players.”

Fournette run, Tampa up 21-9, 7:45 left, third quarter. When I asked Leftwich for his favorite play of the game, he picked this one. “That Leonard Fournette run in the third quarter was something that was really set up throughout the game,” he told me. “What they were doing defensively . . . the great thing for us, we had a lot of things that we talked about throughout the week that showed up in the game. It was just amazing, all the conversations we had for two weeks, and how the game turned out on Sunday evening.” Leftwich wouldn’t say what exactly he saw, but it’s likely that on Fournette runs to the right of center earlier in the game against certain Kansas City defensive looks, the Bucs would have a totally open second level. So if they blocked it right and opened a gap, Fournette would have an open field ahead. That’s exactly what happened, and that was the game.

I would not call these five plays the most important of the game. The defensive vise-grip on Patrick Mahomes was gigantic; holding KC to three field goals is a career achievement for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and his troops. But for a new quarterback to learn a new team after 20 years in one place, and for four brand-new players to score every point in a Super Bowl upset when nothing was normal . . . that, to me, is truly extraordinary about the 2020 season and the Bucs winning Super Bowl LV. In a rout.

The defense was picture perfect all day too. Devin White said after the game he felt he was the best linebacker in football, and who’s disagreeing with him now? After missing the wild-card game in Washington, White led the Tampa defense in tackles against the Saints, Packers and Chiefs and had a ridiculous three-game stat line: 38 tackles, 3 for losses, two interceptions, two passes defensed, two fumbles recovered. At 22, the second-year player from LSU is turning out to be one of the great defensive players in football. Altogether, the Bucs’ youth all over the field will make them big factors so long as they have a quarterback to keep the offense humming. After seeing Brady in this Super Bowl, you’ve got to figure he’s got two years left in Tampa. Maybe more.


 

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here. 

2023 NFL Playoffs, Conference Championship scores: Final bracket, recaps, results for every AFC and NFC postseason game

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The 2023 NFL Playoffs are finally here as the battle for the Lombardi Trophy continues. After six action-packed games on Wild Card Weekend and all the excitement of the Divisional Round and Conference Championships, the time has almost come for Super Bowl LVII, and the stage is now set.The Philadelphia Eagles routed the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, and the Kansas City Chiefs bested the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC to make it back to the Super Bowl for the third time in the last four seasons. Andy Reid will face his former team and Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will meet in a battle of young superstar quarterbacks.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule

See below for the final scores, results, schedule and bracket for every game through Super Bowl LVII. Check out the full 2023 NFL playoff and Super Bowl schedule here.

2023 NFL Playoff Scores – Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, January 14

Seahawks (7) vs 49ers (2)

Chargers (5) vs Jaguars (4)

Sunday, January 15

Dolphins (7) vs Bills (2) 

Giants (6) vs Vikings (3) 

Ravens (6) vs Bengals (3) 

Monday, January 16

Cowboys (5) vs Buccaneers (4) 

Divisional Round Scores

Saturday, January 21

Jaguars (4) vs Chiefs (1)

Giants (6) vs Eagles (1)

Sunday, January 22nd

Bengals (3) vs Bills (2

Cowboys (5) vs 49ers (2)

Conference Championships Scores

Sunday, January 29

NFC Championship Game: 49ers (2) vs Eagles (1)

AFC Championship: Bengals (3) vs Chiefs (1)

Super Bowl LVII – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs

  • Date: Sunday, February 12
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Network: Fox

Which teams are still in the 2023 NFL Playoffs?

The Eagles (NFC Champions) will play the Chiefs (AFC Champions) in Super Bowl LVII.

Which teams have been eliminated from the 2023 NFL Playoffs?

The Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals have all been eliminated from the 2023 NFL playoffs.

RELATED: Giants hold off Vikings 31-24 to advance to Philadelphia next weekend

2023 NFL Playoff Bracket:

RELATED: NFL overtime rules and procedures


2023 NFL Playoff Picture:

AFC:

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-3)
  2. Buffalo Bills (13-3)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-8)
  5. LA Chargers (10-7)
  6. Baltimore Ravens (10-7)
  7. Miami Dolphins (9-8)

NFC:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
  2. San Francisco 49ers (13-4)
  3. Minnesota Vikings (13-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-9)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
  6. New York Giants (9-7-1)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (9-8)

How to watch 2023 NFL Playoffs and Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2023 NFL postseason overtime rules: How OT works in the playoffs & Super Bowl, difference from regular season

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The 2023 NFL Playoffs are underway and this year’s slate of games have already brought some thrilling action leading up to tonight’s Conference Championship matchup between the Bengals and Chiefs. 

Unlike the regular season, playoff games cannot end in a tie so the rules are a bit different. But some very important things are exactly the same. This year will also mark the first playoffs with new overtime rules in place, spurred in large part by the showdown between the Bills and Chiefs in last season’s Divisional Round that saw the Chiefs score a game-winning OT TD on the opening possession without Josh Allen and the Bills offense ever getting to touch the ball. See below to find out how overtime works in the NFL playoffs according to the league’s official rulebook, as well as what’s different in 2023. 

 RELATED: Click here for the complete 2023 NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl schedule 

What has changed in NFL playoff overtime rules in 2023? 

That 42-36 Kansas City Chiefs overtime win over the Buffalo Bills in last year’s AFC Divisional Round was one of the greatest playoff games of all time, but also one of the most controversial. The 2023 playoffs will feature guaranteed possession for both teams, rather than the receiving team being able to take the win on the opening possession. Here’s the full breakdown from ProFootballTalk:  

Now if a team scores a touchdown on the first possession of overtime, it will line up to kick an extra point or attempt a two-point conversion. Then that team will kick off, and the other team will get a chance to score a touchdown. If that team does score a touchdown, it will line up for an extra point or two-point conversion of its own. It’s possible that the game can end at that point: For instance, if the first team kicked an extra point, the second team can try a game-ending two-point conversion attempt. But if the score remains tied after both teams’ touchdowns, at that point the team that scored the second touchdown would kick off again, and from there on it would be sudden-death overtime.

How does Overtime work in the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl? 

  • In the regular season, overtime periods last 10 minutes. In the playoffs, OT periods are 15 minutes long, and with a tie game not an option, action continues until there is a winner. 
  • If the score is still tied at the end of an overtime period — or if the second team’s initial possession has not ended — the teams will play another overtime period. Play will continue regardless of how many overtime periods are needed for a winner to be determined.
  • There will be a two-minute intermission between each overtime period. There will not be a halftime intermission after the second period. 
  • The captain who lost the first overtime coin toss will either choose to possess the ball or select which goal his team will defend, unless the team that won the coin toss deferred that choice. 
  • Each team will have an opportunity to possess the ball in overtime. 
  • Each team gets three timeouts during a half. 
  • The same timing rules that apply at the end of the second and fourth regulation periods also apply at the end of a second or fourth overtime period. 
  • If there is still no winner at the end of a fourth overtime period, there will be another coin toss, and play will continue until a winner is declared. 

RELATED: PFT– What do NFL’s new postseason overtime rules mean? 

Why did the NFL overtime rules change? 

Last year’s Divisional Round proved to be one of the best weekends of football in the history of the sport, capped off with Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomesdueling it out in a saga for the ages. 

The Chiefs and Bills combined for 25 points in the final two minutes, and after Mahomes led an incredible drive down the field in the final seconds of the game, Harrison Butker tied the game on a 49-yard field goal to send it to OT. The Chiefs won the coin toss, and on the opening drive of bonus football, Mahomes connected with Travis Kelcefor an 8-yard TD to cap off an eight-play, 75-yard game-winning drive. Allen and the Bills’ offense never touched the ball in overtime. 

The result reignited the conversation on why these rules might need to change, and in the ensuing offseason, they did. In March 2022, NFL owners approved a proposal that gives both teams (in the postseason) a guaranteed possession in overtime before the game becomes sudden death. 

It’s not clear how long these changes will stay in effect but for now, at least, this is how all NFL postseason games will be played out. 

RELATED: Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk was among those to weigh in on the OT conversation. Click here for more. 

Click here to see the full 2023 NFL playoff schedule and be sure to check out ProFootballTalk for more on the 2022 NFL Playoffs as well as game previews, predictions, recaps, news, rumors, and more.