Julian Edelman snagged eight-of-10 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.
Edelman has been rolling since Rob Gronkowski went out with a season-ending back injury and that trend continued in Sunday’s AFC title game. He ate up 41 yards on a catch-and-run on the Patriots’ opening drive and never took his foot off the gas. Edelman scored his fifth career playoff touchdown on a 10-yard strike from Tom Brady late in the third quarter. He’s now the Patriots all-time leader in postseason receiving yards with 937 and also set an NFL record with Chris Hogan for the most receiving yards by two teammates in a postseason game. This marks Edelman’s third trip to the Super Bowl.
LeGarrette Blount rushed 16 times for 47 yards and a touchdown and caught his only target for eight yards Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.
Blount has spent the past month playing second fiddle to Dion Lewis but that changed on Sunday as he led the backfield with 17 touches. He was mostly held in check but did break out for a big run in the second half. Blount carried a host of defenders on his back en route to a highlight-reel 18-yard scramble in the third quarter. He plunged ahead for a one-yard touchdown on the following play. New England’s running game comes and goes but when they’re committed to it, the 250-pound Blount is always tough to bring down. Blount and the Patriots are headed to Super Bowl XLI, where they will take on the Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston two weeks from today.
Chris Hogan corralled nine-of-12 targets for 180 yards and two touchdowns Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.
If they ever make a 30-for-30 about Hogan’s career, this game might be a good place to start. There was legitimate concern about how effective Hogan would be this week after sporting a noticeable limp in the locker room after Friday’s practice. Hogan erased any doubts about his health by having the game of his life, setting career-highs in yards, catches and touchdowns. He ran circles around the Steelers’ overmatched secondary while breaking Deion Branch’s team record for most receiving yards in a postseason game. Hogan was left wide open on his first touchdown of the night and later scored a 34-yarder on a perfectly executed flea-flicker by Tom Brady. Next up for Hogan and the Pats is a Super Bowl XLI matchup against the NFC Champion Falcons. That game will be held in Houston two weeks from today.
Tom Brady completed 32-of-42 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns and rushed four times for a loss of one yard Sunday in the Patriots' AFC Championship Game win over the Steelers.
Coming off a sluggish game against Houston in the Divisional Round, Brady was near-perfect Sunday in a convincing win over the Steelers. New England came out gunning, peppering the Pittsburgh secondary with short passes. That opened up things downfield for Chris Hogan, who led the way with a career-high 180 yards on nine catches. Brady delivered a spot-on flea-flicker to Hogan, who took it 34 yards for the score. He also dished out a 10-yard touchdown strike to Julian Edelman late in the third quarter, which essentially put the game out of reach. Brady is throwing the deep ball as well as he ever has and simply doesn’t make mistakes when he has time to throw. A win over the Falcons in Super Bowl XLI would cement Brady’s status as the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Jeff Janis was held without a catch on one target in the Packers' NFC Championship Game loss to the Falcons.
Even with the Packers banged up at receiver down the stretch, Janis could not carve out a role on offense. The Packers view him as a special teams only player. Janis has theoretical big-play ability, but going on 26, he's probably never going to rise above folk hero status in fantasy football.
Packers FB Aaron Ripkowski rushed three times for 11 yards in the Packers' NFC Championship Game loss to the Falcons, also losing a fumble.
Ripkowski's giveaway was devastating, costing the Packers a potential touchdown and giving the Falcons a touchback. A 2015 sixth-rounder forced into far too big of a role this season, Ripkowski doesn't have a fantasy future.
Christine Michael rushed six times for 11 yards in the Packers' NFC Championship Game loss to the Falcons.
He "added" a three-yard catch. Michael reminded of why he's been cut so many times, giving back yards he had already gained. Now 26, Michael has all the raw ability in the world, but little clue of how to actually play football. An impending free agent, Michael will be up against it to make someone's 53-man roster next summer.
Taylor Gabriel caught 2-of-3 targets for 24 yards in the Falcons' NFC Championship Game win over the Packers.
Gabriel's missed connection was a rare drop. The Falcons will need Gabriel to bust a big play or two to bring home the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 51.