The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles go head-to-head in what should be a thrilling Super Bowl 57 matchup on Sunday, February 12. Before fans look ahead to the big game, let’s recap the 2022–23 NFL playoffs that included memorable moments in both the AFC and NFC.
Wild Card Round
In spite of a brief first-half deficit, the San Francisco 49ers scored 25 unanswered points to eliminate the Seattle Seahawks 41-23, with the former compiling 505 total yards of offense. Over in the AFC, the Jacksonville Jaguars overcame an even bigger deficit as they trailed the Los Angeles Chargers 27-0, with Trevor Lawrence throwing four interceptions alone in the first half. But that double-digit lead proved to be for naught, as Jacksonville completed the third-largest comeback in postseason history, thwarting the Chargers 31-30 with a Riley Patterson walk-off field goal.
The wild card matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins proved to be closer than expected, even with the Dolphins having to start third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson. Miami fell behind early 17-0 and was outgained 423-231 on offense, and yet they still managed to keep Buffalo on their toes, coming just short of a comeback with a final score of 34-31. Over in the NFC, the New York Giants avenged their three-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the regular season, upsetting the Vikings on the road with a 31-24 win. New York got the victory in their first playoff game in six years.
The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Baltimore Ravens 24-17 with the latter starting Tyler Huntley at quarterback, but the final score arguably can be attributed to one key defensive play. Staring at a third-and-goal from the one-yard line, Huntley attempted to stretch the ball over the line of scrimmage before Logan Wilson knocked the ball out of his hands and into the arms of defensive end Sam Hubbard. Hubbard then preceded to notch an NFL postseason record 98-yard fumble return touchdown that would effectively seal the game for Cincinnati.
The matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Buccaneers proved to be no real contest at all, as Dallas ran up a 24-point lead and kept the Bucs scoreless through the third quarter. The Cowboys would go on to win 31-14 in spite of Brett Maher’s four missed extra points, and this would eventually prove to be the final game of Tom Brady’s NFL career.
The Chiefs would go on to punch their ticket to their fifth-straight AFC Championship in the aftermath of their 27-20 win over the Jaguars. Kansas City advanced in spite of a high ankle sprain suffered by Patrick Mahomes in the second quarter, who would eventually play through his injury and complete 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Over in the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles had no issue showing why they finished as the number one seed in the conference, riding a 268-yard rushing performance and swarming defensive outing in a 38-7 blowout win over the Giants.
Joe Burrow would ensure no neutral site AFC Championship as the Bengals took care of business on the road in a 27-10 dominating win over the Bills. Cincinnati would finish with 412 yards of offense, at one point jumping to an early 14–0 lead and never leading by less than 7 points in the win. And in the final divisional matchup in the NFC, two elite defenses were on display in the 49ers' 19-12 win over the Cowboys. Brock Purdy would go on to win his seventh consecutive start and became the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to a conference championship game since Mark Sanchez.
The magic had to run out eventually for the 49ers, and they encountered the worst string of injuries in a 31-7 loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. After Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the first quarter, and backup Josh Johnson was ruled out with a concussion early in the second half, San Francisco could only generate 164 yards of offense with their top four quarterbacks on the depth chart sidelined. Defensive end Haason Reddick had a strong performance, recording three tackles (two solo), two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
The brewing rivalry between the Chiefs and Bengals added another chapter with Kansas City’s 23-20 win, as Harrison Butker converted a 45-yard walk-off field goal in the closing moments of the AFC Championship. The matchup proved to be tightly contested through all four quarters, but the play that drove the most discussion in the aftermath was Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai’s unnecessary roughness tackle on Mahomes’ scramble. The penalty would give Kansas City another 15 yards on the end of the run, moving Butker further into position to seal the game-winning kick.
Super Bowl matchup
This article can also be found in our Ultimate Guide to Super Bowl 57, presented by Frank’s Red Hot.