Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for winning the NFC Championship game 31-28 in OT. And both No. 1 seeds advance to the Super Bowl. I'm not expecting a game for the ages, but it's clearly a matchup of the top two teams this season.
It was the 2nd NFC Championship game in the past 3 years in which QB Brett Favre's final pass of the season was an INT. Let the annual retirement waffling begin! I'm betting on his return again because no matter how that drama has played out over the past whatever many seasons, he keeps coming back (eventually). I wasn't rooting for him tonight, but I wasn't rooting against him either. I've moved on.
|3rd Down Efficiency||3 for 12||7 for 12|
What really stood out for me in this game was how important those turnovers were. I've been beating on this point throughout the playoffs, but the Vikings would have killed the Saints if it hadn't been for those turnovers. Favre was completing passes despite all the hits he took, RB Adrian Peterson had arguably his best game of the season, and the Vikings' defense did a great job. They even won the penalty battle (Saints had 9 for 88 yards, and the Vikings had 5 for 32 yards). But the turnover battle, the Vikings only had 18 turnovers during the regular season, was something that was unexpected and lost the game for them.
This didn't matter in the results, but that was one of the worst OT periods I've ever watched. Three booth challenges on the Saints' game winning drive and none were overturned. Only one fumble by QB Drew Brees (recovered by the Saints), but Colston dropped one pass (a Viking penalty gave them a 1st down anyway), Thomas lost it (sort of) on that 4th down leap, and Meachem tried to drop the catch that set up the FG. It's disappointing that the NFC winner was decided on such a lousy drive for both teams.