Brady, Belichick and the Pats run Mahomes, Reid and the Chiefs in OT

The good, bad and ugly of the AFC Championship game

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In the matchup of the old versus young, we saw the oldhead prevail as the Patriots beat the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime. Here's how I saw things play out:

The Good

-Bill Belichick found what worked best and exploited it. He made Pat Mahomes uncomfortable in the pocket by getting pressure up the middle, while also maintaining containment on the outside. Four sacks for 46 yards lost, mostly in the first half, was enough to frustrate the Chiefs' offense and help the Pats build a lead. But…

-…Andy Reid and Mahomes have weapons to combat whatever is thrown at them. The signing of running back Damien Williams midseason has proven to be their answer for losing Kareem Hunt due to stupidity. Mahomes/Reid is similar to the Brett Favre/Mike Holmgren combo in that you have a good, young quarterback with a good play calling coach.

-Tom Brady is the GOAT. There's no more arguing or debate. Put it to rest please. We all must learn to appreciate greatness when we see it happening, and the Brady/Belichek era of what they're doing is great.

The Bad

-Brady made an uncharacteristic red zone interception. In the second quarter, he threw a pass off target that Chief's linebacker Reggie Ragland picked off. Rob Gronkowski was running a crossing route off play action. He wasn't wide open, but the pass should've been thrown higher and more towards the back of the end zone.

-Speaking of Gronk, he went 50-plus minutes in between catches. From the 12:28 mark of the first quarter to the 5:28 mark of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs defense held him in check. Being such a large part of what the Pats are able to do on offense, it helped the Chiefs get back into the game.

-The Chiefs defense couldn't hold up in overtime. They played up, or down, to the level of their competition up until when it counted most. In overtime, they never gave their offense a chance to try to win the game.

The Ugly

-Chiefs' safety Eric Berry was clearly playing injured. He was a shell of his former All-Pro self. On the Patriots' touchdown just before halftime, his zone assignment was a short zone in the middle of the field. He barely moved and the bulk of the action was nowhere near his zone. He also gave up a 25-yard completion to Gronk with 54 seconds left in the game that put the Pats in touchdown range. Word is that he'll need surgery on the heel in the offseason.

- The Chiefs were held scoreless in the first half. They totaled 32 yards of offense in the first half which 43 yards less than Patriot running back Sony Michel had rushing in the same time frame. All season, we've never seen this Chiefs team held in check like this for that extended period of time.

-Brady threw two interceptions in this game. Both came with them ahead by one score, but only one turned into points for the Chiefs. Typically when the Chiefs are given extra possessions, they're able to turn them into points and wins.

The Super Bowl in this day and age wouldn't be complete if the Patriots weren't in the mix. The Chiefs gave it their best shot, but couldn't pull off the win. As much as people would love to see the Patriots dynasty fall to pieces, it isn't time yet. A matchup with the Rams looms. Super Bowl 53 is set and we get another young versus old matchup.

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McCullers Jr. had nine strikeouts over four

McCullers Jr. looks sharp in tune-up before Rangers overpower Houston's bullpen

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite watching their chance to clinch their playoff spot on the field slip away in the walk-off loss on Friday, the Astros benefited from a loss by the Angels later in the night, securing their playoff berth. That meant they could play conservatively in the final two games of the season against the Rangers in Arlington. Here's a quick rundown of Saturday's matchup:

Final Score: Rangers 6, Astros 1.

Record: 29-30, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jimmy Herget (1-0, 3.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-3, 6.75 ERA).

McCullers Jr. looks playoff-ready 

With nothing substantial to play for, the Astros did not expect to ask Lance McCullers Jr. to go deep into Saturday's game, instead giving him a few innings for a tune-up before assuming whatever role he would play in the post-season. He looked impressive, a promising sign after his injury stint and struggles on the road at points this season.

He finished four innings, during which he racked up a season-high nine strikeouts while giving up no runs on just two hits, both singles, and two walks. His final line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 61 P.

Both teams trade runs as  they go to their bullpens

Meanwhile, neither team was getting much going at the plate in the early goings, keeping it a scoreless game through the first five. Brandon Bielak took over for McCullers Jr. starting in the fifth but would allow the first run of the night in the bottom of the sixth as the Rangers would get three singles to take a 1-0 lead.

After Kyle Gibson held the Astros at bay for six innings, Houston would get on the board against Texas' bullpen, getting a leadoff double by Aledmyz Diaz in the top of the seventh. Diaz moved to third on a sac bunt, then scored on a sac fly by Jack Mayfield, making it 1-1.

Rangers blow it open in the seventh

The tie didn't last long, as Bielak would put two on base in the bottom of the seventh before giving up a three-run homer to make it a 4-1 Rangers lead. Andre Scrubb was next out of Houston's bullpen and allowed a solo home run on his first pitch. Scrubb would complete the inning, but not before allowing another run on three singles to push Texas' lead to 6-1.

Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame with two strikeouts. Houston would not make the unlikely comeback in the top of the ninth, with the Rangers taking the game 6-1.

Up Next: The last game of the Astros' 2020 regular season will be Sunday at 2:05 PM Central, as are most other games on the MLB slate on the league's final regular-season day. Houston's starter is TBD as they will continue to preserve their arms for the best-of-three first round that starts on Tuesday, while Texas will send Jordan Lyles (1-6, 7.08 ERA) to the mound.

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