NFL Championship Sunday: 6 biggest winners and losers, including Patrick Mahomes

NFL Championship Sunday: 6 biggest winners and losers, including Patrick Mahomes

Updated: 1 month, 29 days, 20 hours, 55 minutes, 16 seconds ago

NFL Championship Sunday got off to a rip-roaring start with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles taking on one another in the NFC Championship Game.

Things started out in a disastrous manner for San Francisco. Head coach Kyle Shanahan failed to challenge a one-handed catch from Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith early in the first quarter. It came on fourth down at the 49ers’ 35-yard line. Replay clearly showed that Smith did not have control of the ball going to the ground. Two plays later, and Miles Sanders scored from six yards out to give Philadelphia a 7-0 lead.

The 49ers lost Brock Purdy to injury and ended up losing their cool as Philadelphia came away with a blowout 31-7 win on NFL Championship Sunday.

The AFC Title Game was a different beast with the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs doing battle. It was close throughout, coming down to a last-second game-winning field for Kansas City.

Patrick Mahomes played stellar football while dealing with a high-ankle sprain. On the other side, a lack of pass protection impacted Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. It also didn’t help that Joe Mixon couldn’t get it going in what ended up being a 23-20 loss.

These are among the six biggest winners and losers from NFL Championship Sunday with the Eagles and Chiefs now set to take on one another in Super Bowl LVII.

Related: 49ers-Eagles NFL Championship Sunday highlights

Winner: Haason Reddick absolutely dominated for the Philadelphia Eagles

nfl championship sunday winners/losers: haason reddickBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

When Philadelphia signed Reddick last spring, we viewed it as one of the most-underrated moves of the NFL offseason. Reddick more than played into that narrative with a brilliant regular-season performance.

Haason Reddick stats (2022): 49 tackles, 26 QB hits, 16 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 5 forced fumbles

Reddick was one of four Eagles players to record double-digit sacks as Jonathan Gannon’s defense registered a whopping 70 quarterback take downs. Whether it was Brock Purdy or Josh Johnson during NFL Championship Sunday, San Francisco quarterbacks felt this in a big way. In fact, Reddick forced Purdy from the game with a sack in the first quarter. It set the tone for a dominating and physical performance from Philadelphia’s defense.

When all was said and done Sunday in Philadelphia, Reddick had recorded two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in a brilliant all-around performance. His ability to win out on the edge set the stage for what promises to be an epic Super Bowl LVII matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Loser: Joe Mixon comes up small for the Cincinnati Bengals

NFL: AFC Championship-Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City ChiefsDenny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

One week after recording 105 yards on 20 attempts in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Mixon was nowhere to be found during NFL Championship Sunday. The Pro Bowl running back registered all of 19 yards on eight rush attempts as Kansas City’s defense focused on him.

Cincinnati really needed more production from the back given the injuries it had on the offensive line. Instead, Joe Burrow and Co. were forced to go one dimensional. It resulted in Burrow being hit 12 times and sacked a total of five times.

Winner: Marquez Valdes-Scantling comes up huge on NFL Championship Sunday

nfl championship sunday winners and losersDenny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A free-agent signing of the Chiefs last offseason, Valdes-Scantling had a pretty solid impact in the regular season. He caught 42 passes for 687 yards with two touchdowns. However, it was somewhat of a struggle to conclude the regular season and in the playoffs. Over the course of the Chiefs’ previous six games heading into NFL Championship Sunday, Valdes-Scantling had caught a total of 10 passes for 107 yards.

You wouldn’t know it by what he did against Cincinnati. Burning the Bengals’ secondary early and often. Valdes-Scantling caught six passes for 116 yards. That included a go-ahead touchdown from Patrick Mahomes late in the third quarter.

Immediately prior to that grab, Valdes-Scantling extended for a first down to continue the drive. He was Mahomes’ favorite target with star tight end Travis Kelce limited due to a back injury. The end result was the fourth-most receiving yards in Valdes-Scantling’s career. Way to come up big when it counted the most.

Related: Bengals-Chiefs NFL Championship Sunday highlights

Loser: San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan

nfl championship sunday winners/losers: kyle shanahanBill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a certain narrative surrounding Shanahan throughout his career, both as an offensvie coordinator and as a head coach. He can’t win the big game. This started when he worked under Dan Quinn with the Atlanta Falcons as they blew a 28-3 lead against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

As the 49ers’ head coach, Shanahan has seen his team blow double-digit fourth quarter leads in both an NFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl. While he’s been extremely successful in Northern California, NFL Championship Sunday did not paint the head coach in the best of lights.

Early in the first quarter, Shanahan refused to challenge a huge DeVonta Smith catch that led to Philadelphia’s first touchdown of the game. It became clear on replay that Smith did not maintain possession of the ball as he hit the ground.

This was just a harbinger of things to come for Shanahan’s 49ers. He did not seem to have this team ready to play. Frustration boiled over late in the game with San Francisco getting blown out, resulting in Trent Williams getting ejected. The 49ers committed 11 penalties compared to four for the Eagles. They lost the turnover battle by two. It was just an ugly display from Shanahan. There’s no other way to go about it.

Winner: Patrick Mahomes does it again

nfl championship sundayKareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

We already know that Mahomes is among the most-talented players in modern NFL history. We can add gutsy and tough to the list of words describing what the quarterback continues to do on the field.

Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain in last week’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Typically, these types of injuries cost players multiples of weeks. A clear sign that he’s as tough as they come, Mahomes was able to return to the game and lead Kansas City to a win.

Throughout Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, it was clear that Mahomes was nowhere near 100%. The dude was hobbled throughout. Despite this, he was able to put up an electric all-around performance. That included a scramble late in the fourth quarter, leading to Kansas City’s game-winning field goal.

Patrick Mahomes stats (AFC Championship Game): 29-of-43 passing, 326 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 105.4 QB rating

We have absolutely no idea how Mahomes is going to look in Super Bowl LVII against an elite-level Eagles defensive front. But for one night, the quarterback showed what he was made of.

Related: NFL QB rankings heading into Super Bowl LVII

Loser: Trent Williams proves himself to be a sore loser

nfl championship sunday loser: trent williams, san francisco 49ersKyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Getting beat in the NFC Championship Game is not the end of the world. Losing in the manner the 49ers did had to be frustrating. We get that. Unfortunately, it’s all about how you respond to defeat that can define you.

As a member of the franchise in Washington for nine seasons, Williams knows all about losing. He’s also a seasoned veteran and one of the most-respected players in the game. That’s why it was so surprising to see the future Hall of Famer lose his cool late in his team’s loss during NFL Championship Sunday en route to being ejected.

There’s no room in the game for this. As noted above, Williams was frustrated. The 49ers’ entire team had to be frustrated given how things turned out in Philadelphia. There were issues with officiating, too. That’s all fine and dandy. But a respected veteran such as Williams should’ve shown more restraint and maturity.