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Late for Work 1/21: Ravens, Media React to Insane Championship Games

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Let's be honest. As much as watching the Patriots go to yet another Super Bowl stinks, yesterday's conference title games were awesome from a pure entertainment standpoint.

For the first time in NFL history, both conference championship games went to overtime.

In case you missed it, the Patriots topped the Chiefs, 37-31, when Tom Brady and Co. took the first drive of overtime down the field for a game-winning touchdown.

Earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Rams pulled off a comeback in New Orleans when kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 57-yarder in overtime for the 26-23 win.

The Patriots are headed to their third straight Super Bowl and Brady will make his ninth appearance in the big game.

Still, I won't blame you if you felt like this before going to bed …

Since yesterday's games are all the talk around the NFL, let's check out some of the best reaction from Ravens players, fans and media members:

Tom Brady Does It Again

When the Chiefs took the lead with a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:06 remaining, pretty much everyone in Baltimore thought the same thing.

Turns out, that was pleeeenty of time. Brady drove the Patriots back down the field for a go-ahead touchdown in just one minute, 24 seconds. That left young Chiefs gunslinger Patrick Mahomes with enough time to put the Chiefs in range for a 39-yard field goal to send the game to overtime.

The Patriots won the coin toss and Brady sent them on a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to win.

I don't know who Tom Bradby is, but I get this sentiment.

The Ravens and Joe Flacco are still one of the very few teams to break through the AFC's elite, putting into re-focus how special that 2012 accomplishment was.

Ravens' Predictions Were Not Good

Let's just say Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (aka Analyst Humph) and safety Tony Jefferson are not as good at predictions as Tony Romo.

Jefferson was even worse …

When New Orleans had a 13-0 lead in the first quarter and the high-flying Rams offense was out of sorts in the deafening Superdome, players envisioned the Saints marching into the Super Bowl.

In the end, however …

Ravens React to Refs' Bad Calls

Unfortunately, a lot of the talk after both games centered around missed/bad referee calls.

The worst was near the end of regulation in the Saints-Rams game when New Orleans was driving to take a touchdown lead with under two minutes left.

A pass intended for Tommylee Lewis never had a chance because Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman decked Lewis as the pass was in the air. It was obvious pass interference, but no flag.

After the game, Head of Officials Alberto Riveron immediately told Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, "We messed it up."

Referees' mistakes didn't end with the first game. There were several really close calls that went to replay review in the Patriots-Chiefs game, including a potential muffed punt by Julian Edelman.

Three replays went the Patriots' way, then they got a very generous call in the fourth quarter when Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones was called for roughing the passer. Instead of facing a key third-and-7, the Patriots got a free 15 yards and first down, and later scored a touchdown.

All Teams' Kickers Shine

Zuerlein's 57-yard game winner obviously takes the cake, but he also hit a 48-yard field goal to send the game into overtime with 15 seconds left. He and Saints kicker Wil Lutz (a former Raven) combined for seven field goals.

In the AFC championship, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 47-yard field goal and the Chiefs' Harrison Butker hit a 39-yarder to send it into overtime.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker took notice …

Former Ravens and Baltimore Kids Are Headed to Super Bowl

The Patriots have three former Ravens: linebacker Albert McClellan, defensive end Lawrence Guy and outside linebacker John Simon.

Guy and Simon were key parts of putting pressure on Mahomes. McClellan had a key fumble recovery on special teams in the Patriots' divisional win.

Still, I don't expect a lot of Ravens fans to be rooting for the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. While there are no former Ravens players on the Rams, there are Baltimore connections.

Let's just all hope Ravens lineman Jermaine Eluemunor had the best prediction of the night. It won't be easy.

John Harbaugh's Contract Extension Is 'One Coaching Decision That Makes Sense'

We're still waiting on confirmation of John Harbaugh's reported contract extension, but the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

"The longest-tenured coach in the Ravens' short history and the fourth-longest of any coach at his current franchise, Harbaugh is as synonymous with his club as any coach west or south of Bill Belichick," wrote NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman. "That will remain so for at least the next few years."

According to ESPN, Harbaugh's extension is "the one coaching decision this offseason that makes the most sense.

"The biggest reason this was a no-brainer resolution comes in the form of a question: Whom would the Ravens replace him with?"

ESPN pointed to the Cardinals' hiring of Kliff Kingsbury (35-40 at Texas Tech before being dismissed), Packers' Matt LaFluer (playcaller for Titans' No. 25 offense that got shut out by the Ravens this season), and Buccaneers' Bruce Arians (health issues who retired a year ago).

"While no one knows how any of these surprising hires will pan out, Harbaugh has proven to be as sure of a bet as there is in today's coaching landscape," ESPN wrote.

"Harbaugh is at a different level than these other candidates, which is why he presumably would have been at the top of the list for any team looking for a new head coach."

Harbaugh's 10 playoff wins since 2008 rank second behind the Patriots' Bill Belichick. The Ravens have gone to the playoffs seven times in Harbaugh's 11 seasons and had just one season with a losing record.

"NFL history has shown an extended run of success comes when teams have cornerstones in place at head coach and quarterback," ESPN Wrote. "The Ravens are hoping they have their franchise quarterback in [Lamar] Jackson. But Baltimore already knows the commodity it has in Harbaugh, which is why a recommitment to him is the best move the Ravens will make this offseason."

Mark Andrews Featured in Verizon Ad Thanking First Responders

Usually it's the Super Bowl commercials that get all the attention, but Verizon launched a really neat ad during yesterday's championship games that may have caught some Ravens fans' attention.

Rookie tight end Mark Andrews was featured in Verizon's "All Our Thanks" campaign thanking first responders for their life-saving work. Andrews was part of "The Team That Wouldn't Be Here."

Andrews has Type-1 diabetes, and one day in college, his roommate found him unresponsive when his blood-sugar levels dropped too low. Here's the full story on what happened on that day in 2014, and below is Verizon's ad.

Interesting Mock Draft Gives Ravens an Eric Weddle Replacement

Since we launched Mock Draft Monitor 1.0, two of the biggest names in the draft prediction business – ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah – released their mock drafts. Doh!

I still have you covered, as Jeremiah projected a very interesting pick to the Ravens at No. 22: Delaware safety Nasir Adderley.

"Adderley is a perfect fit to take over for Eric Weddle, whether that transition takes place this year or next year," Jeremiah wrote. "Weddle has one year left on his contract and recently said he'll either play for the Ravens in 2019 or retire if the team decides to move on without him. Adderley offers a similar skill set and toughness."

Adderley had nine interceptions over the past two seasons, showing excellent range and ball skills. He's also a playmaking punt returner.

Adderley is currently at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where Ravens scouts and coaches will get a good look at his skills for themselves.

Quick Hits

Our own Evan Washburn got the quote of the day from Tom Brady after last night's game. (Warning: Brady drops the F-bomb).

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