After rallying from an early 13-0 deficit, the Rams stunned the New Orleans Saints with Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal in overtime for a 26-23 victory in the NFC championship game Sunday - an outcome that might not have been possible without an egregious mistake by the officials in the closing minutes of regulation.
Los Angeles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis well before the pass arrived inside the 5, forcing the Saints to settle for Wil Lutz's 31-yard field goal that made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation.
After the no-call, Jared Goff had enough time to lead the Rams down the field for Zuerlein's tying field goal, a 48-yarder with 15 seconds remaining.
New Orleans won the coin toss and got the ball first in overtime. But, with Dante Fowler Jr. in his face and striking his arm, Drew Brees fluttered up a pass that was picked off by John Johnson III, who was able to hang on to the interception while stumbling backward.
The Rams weren't able to do much offensively, but it didn't matter. Zuerlein booted through the winning field goal from just inside midfield with plenty of room to spare. The NFL said it the longest game-winning kick in playoff history.
Tom Brady blew through Kansas City's exhausted defense on a 75-yard drive to Rex Burkhead's 2-yard touchdown run in a 37-31 victory Sunday for the AFC championship.
The drive, during which New England (13-5) had three third-down conversions, was reminiscent of when the Patriots beat Atlanta in the only Super Bowl to go to OT two years ago.
Brady was 30 of 46 for 348 yards.
Brady, at 41 already the oldest quarterback to have played in a Super Bowl, drove New England 65 yards in 1:24 to Burkhead's go-ahead 4-yard touchdown with 39 seconds left in regulation. That was enough, though, for his far younger counterpart, the 23-year-old All-Pro Mahomes, to take the Chiefs 48 yards to Harrison Butker's 39-yard field goal with 8 seconds left to force overtime.
Mahomes finished 16 of 31 for 295 yards and three touchdowns.
The Patriots head to Atlanta to play the Rams in the Super Bowl.
>>Bears Add Former Steeler To Coach Defensive Backs
The Chicago Bears have hired former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend as defensive backs coach.
Townsend played on two Super Bowl championship teams with Pittsburgh and has spent eight years on NFL and college staffs. He was the New York Giants' assistant defensive backs coach this season.
Townsend will work with two All-Pros in safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Kyle Fuller. He replaces Ed Donatell, who joined Vic Fangio's staff in Denver as defensive coordinator after getting passed over by the Bears in favor of Chuck Pagano. Chicago went 12-4 to win the NFC North and made its first playoff appearance since 2010 in coach Matt Nagy's first season.
The Bears also hired Ronell Williams as defensive quality control coach on Friday.