NFL Team of the Conference Championships featuring Tom Brady, Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski
By Thomas Brooks
Last Updated: 22/01/19 11:44pm
Who were the top performers from the Conference Championships in the NFL? We have picked out our Team of the Week...
Both of Sunday's Championship games were full of controversy, with officials at the center. Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a 37-31 overtime victory over the Kansas City Chiefs while Brandin Cooks inspired the Los Angeles Rams to an overtime win against his former team, the New Orleans Saints.
There were many superstar performances as the final four teams battled it out, and we have picked out some of the best...
Quarterback - Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Brady did what Brady does best against the Chiefs. Although he threw one touchdown and two interceptions, the 41-year-old still performed when it mattered.
He led the Patriots to a third straight Super Bowl - and their fourth in five years as he completed 30 of 46 passing attempts for 348 yards. His lone touchdown was thrown to Phillip Dorsett in the second quarter.
With only two minutes left in the game and the Chiefs up 28-24, Brady marched the Patriots to what looked to be a game-winning drive when Rex Burkhead raced in from four yards out. However, a late Harrison Butker field goal sent the game to overtime.
Brady and company received the ball to start overtime and the rest was history. Burkhead bundled over the line from two yards out for his second touchdown of the game to ensure Brady has now played in more Super Bowls (nine) than he has playoff road games (eight).
Running Back - Sony Michel, New England Patriots
After a huge game against the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round - he rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns - Sony Michel did it all again against the Chiefs, racking up 113 yards and two scores on the ground.
The rookie scored the first touchdown of the game when he powered into the end zone from one yard out. His second was scored in much more spectacular fashion, as on fourth and inches from the Chiefs' 10-yard line, he sped straight into the end zone untouched to put the Patriots up 24-21 in the fourth quarter.
Wide Receiver - Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams
Cooks has already played for three of the four teams who took part in the Championship games (Rams, Saints and Patriots). On Sunday, he burned the team that originally drafted him for seven receptions and 107 receiving yards, including a massive 36-yard play that set up a Todd Gurley touchdown just before half time.
The 25-year-old was also on hand to convert for two massive third-down plays for the Rams, as they overcame the Saints 26-23 in overtime. Greg Zuerlein's field goal ensured the Rams went to their first Super Bowl since 2001, which they lost 20-17, coincidentally against the Patriots.
Tight End - Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
The 29-year-old hasn't had as much of an impact in the passing game throughout the season as he posted career low stats across the board. However, against the Chiefs, he hauled in six receptions for 79 yards and made his presence felt in the blocking game.
He saved his best play of the evening for the last minute of the game when on a crucial third-and-five, Brady lofted a pass in Gronkowski's direction and he somehow brought it in for a 25-yard gain to set up Burkhead's TD on the next play.
Offensive Line - New England Patriots
Surprisingly, the Patriots' offensive line kept the Chiefs' pass rush at bay throughout the game, as Brady wasn't sacked or even hit during the victory.
The offensive line was instrumental in the Patriots running game, as the trio of Michel, Burkhead and James White combined for 177 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
Defensive Line - Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh were in fine form for the Rams defense, as the pair pressured Drew Brees all night long at the Superdome.
Suh helped himself to 1.5 sacks and four tackles, while Donald had two tackles. Linebacker Dante Fowler Jr also had half a sack and crucially batted a Brees pass high into the air in overtime which was subsequently intercepted.
Alongside mounting constant pressure on Brees, the Rams' defensive line also held the best running back duo in the NFL to just 46 rushing yards. Mark Ingram finished with 31 rushing yards, and Alvin Kamara had 15.
Linebacker - Kyle Van Noy, New England Patriots
The 27-year-old had a night to remember as he sacked Patrick Mahomes twice and also made the Chiefs quarterback fumble on the last play of the first half. On an earlier drive, the former Detroit Lion also got to Mahomes before he could release a pass to put the Chiefs way out of field goal range.
Van Noy also had 10 tackles during the game.
Cornerback - P.J. Williams, New Orleans Saints
Despite being on the losing team, Williams had the best night of all cornerbacks. He has been injured for a lot of his three-year career, but has finally come good this season for the Saints. Against the Rams, Williams had eight tackles.
Safety - Daniel Sorensen, Kansas City Chiefs
The 28-year-old was one of the bright sparks on defense for the Chiefs during the loss to the Patriots as he intercepted Brady deep in his own territory.
Brady rifled a pass towards Julian Edelman, but he could only get his fingertips on it which then led to an easy interception for Sorensen.
The Chiefs then turned Sorensen's interception into a touchdown as Mahomes found Damien Williams with a screen pass to give them a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
Sorensen also had 14 tackles in the game, including a massive short-yardage stop.