Top takeaways from NFL Championship Sunday

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will do battle in Super Bowl LIV two weeks from Sunday.

Both teams imposed their will during Championship Sunday. Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs overcame a slow start to defeat the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium by the score of 35-24.

At Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the 49ers absolutely dominated a lesser Packers team by the score of 37-20. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a grand total of eight passes in the win.

It’s in this that we give you the top takeaways from the 49ers and Chiefs wins on Championship Sunday.

Slow start doesn’t phase the Chiefs

We saw it last week against Houston. Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs failing to show up early. In the end, Kansas City came out on top by the score of 51-31 after initially trailing 24-0. Another slow start in the AFC Championship Game likely wouldn’t lead to the same result.

At least, that’s what we thought.

Down 10-0 against at red-hot Titans team at Arrowhead on Sunday, Kansas City came roaring back. It eventually took a 21-17 halftime lead before opening the game up big time after intermission.

We have no idea why the Chiefs have started slow in their first two playoff games. What we do know is that a multi-score deficit has not phased Patrick Mahomes and Co. That’s no small thing heading into Super Bowl LIV.

One of the greatest turnarounds in NFL history

From 4-12 to a 15-3 mark heading into Super Bowl LIV. That’s been the turnaround in Santa Clara under third-year 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Here’s a dude that won 10 games in his first two seasons in that role. He now has San Francisco one win away from the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy.

A lot was made of Shanahan and general manager John Lynch looking to change the culture in San Francisco. It was a toxic culture towards the latter part of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure. That continued under one-and-done head coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.

Now in the midst of the greatest turnaround we’ve seen in the modern history of the NFL, it’s clear that these 49ers are on the verge of great things. Shanahan should be commended for that.

It’s midnight for Cinderella

Mike Vrabel and the Titans more than looked the part early during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the heavily-favored Chiefs. Unfortunately, their improbable run came to an end at Arrowhead Stadium.

It became clear that the Chiefs were too dynamic on offense to be held in check by a squad that defeated New England and Baltimore heading into the championship round. Once Derrick Henry was held in check to the tune of 69 rushing yards, it was midnight in Nashville.

In no way is this a knock on the Titans. They showed everyone that this team will be a force moving forward as long as Ryan Tannehill and Mr. Henry are re-signed. Vrabel changed the culture. It showed at every turn this January. We should be pouring one out for the Titans.

Aaron Rodgers has a 49ers-sized problem

A lot was made of San Francisco passing up on Rodgers in the 2005 NFL Draft leading up to Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. It’s a worn-out narrative that has now existed for 15 years.

Following Rodgers and his Packers being blown out by the 49ers, there’s another narrative that’s going to take hold. He has a major problem against the team he grew up rooting for.

Rodgers’ Packers were outscored 74-28 in two games against the 49ers. He’s now 0-3 in three playoff matchups taking on San Francisco. Given how the 49ers are built to contend for the long-term, this is going to be an issue for the future Hall of Famer.

Patrick Mahomes is not from this world

One major advantage Kansas City has heading into Super Bowl LIV is at quarterback. Mahomes isn’t just spectacular, he’s otherworldly. We found this out first-hand during a dominant performance against the Titans on Sunday.

Whether it was throwing bombs to Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins or putting up the run of the NFL season, Mahomes could not be stopped. It came against a Titans defense that had held both Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson in check in their previous two playoff games.

Regardless of the dominance we saw from San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, Mahomes gives the Chiefs a dramatic advantage heading into Super Bowl LIV.

49ers turn back the clock

Absolutely dominant. Imposing their physical will. Whatever terms you want to use to describe it, the San Francisco 49ers took it to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Raheem Mostert went for 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. That very same span saw San Francisco’s defense hold the Packers to under 100 yards en route to taking a 27-0 halftime lead.

After Green Bay scored a touchdown to get on the board to open the third quarter, the 49ers went back to the ground game. That included eight consecutive running plays in a drive that culminated in another Mostert touchdown. All said, the 49ers put up 288 rushing yards in a dominant, throwback performance to head to Super Bowl LIV.

Contrasting styles in Miami

Super Bowl LIV in two weeks is going to field two teams with vastly different offensive philosophies and ways to win. During Sunday’s victory over the Titans, Chiefs running backs went for a combined 59 yards on the ground. Patrick Mahomes was the team’s leading rusher.

In Santa Clara, the 49ers put up an absurd 285 rushing yards in a dominating physical performance on both sides of the ball.

In an NFL that’s all about the flashy passing game, Mahomes and Co. will be given the beauty points over the next two weeks. Meanwhile, the 49ers have turned the clock back to the 1980s. Heck, Jimmy Garoppolo attempted eight passes Sunday evening. That’s going to be a major story heading into this game.