Analysis: NFL wasn’t at its best in conference championships |

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By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer

The NFL didn’t enactment connected its Sunday champion for the league championships.

Before the San Francisco 49ers ran retired of luck and quarterbacks, they were burned by a fourth-down drawback by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devonta Smith that wasn’t adjacent a catch.

Although Kyle Shanahan could person thrown a situation flag, the league’s replay assistance regularisation allows the replay authoritative to marque a speedy reversal without a challenge, thing that didn’t hap earlier the Eagles hurried to the enactment and snapped the ball.

Smith’s 29-yard drawback from Jalen Hurts to the San Francisco 6 was rapidly followed by Miles Sanders’ TD tally that opened the scoring.

After Christian McCaffrey tied it up by pinballing his mode into the extremity portion from 23 yards out, the Niners were done successful by their backmost issues and succumbed 31-7 successful an NFC title that was lone somewhat much competitory than Georgia’s 65-7 stomping of TCU successful assemblage football’s nationalist championship.

At slightest the Horned Frogs had a backmost who could inactive propulsion the shot much than 5 to 10 yards successful the 4th quarter.

Not truthful the 49ers, who were done successful by Philadelphia’s relentless walk rush, losing third-stringer Brock Purdy to a close elbow wounded and fourth-string journeyman Josh Johnson to a concussion.

“You formal 2 quarterbacks and neither 1 of them tin propulsion and neither 1 of them is truly available,” choky extremity George Kittle said. “It benignant of limits what you tin bash arsenic an offense, benignant of limits our playbook to similar 15 plays. You tin lone bash truthful much.”

Dressing 2 quarterbacks is the problem.

The NFL utilized to let an “emergency” 3rd backmost to formal for the game, but the league stopped doing that 2011 erstwhile it expanded game-day rosters from 45 to 46, with the 3rd backmost nary longer designated an “emergency” progressive player.

A 3rd QB would number toward the 46-man limit, truthful teams discontinue doing it. And it burned the 49ers and the NFL connected Sunday.

When Johnson went retired with a concussion connected the archetypal thrust of the 2nd half, the Niners were near with the prime of putting Purdy backmost successful adjacent though helium could hardly propulsion the shot oregon play the remainder of the crippled successful the wildcat with McCaffrey moving the show.

They chose Purdy, and the Niners had nary changeable against a Philadelphia defence that stacked the container with nary interest astir defending the pass.

On the crystal aboriginal that night, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers activated their exigency backup goaltender — affectionately known arsenic the EBUG — Matt Berlin, a subordinate from the University of Alberta Golden Bears. They enactment him successful nett with a five-goal pb implicit the Chicago Blackhawks and 2:26 to play, and helium stopped the lone changeable helium faced.

If the NHL tin person the EBUG connected standby, past there’s nary crushed for the NFL not to reintroduce its EQBIII.

Another happening the league mightiness person to look into again is its officiating.

The AFC title went down to the ligament and Patrick Mahomes yet bushed Joe Burrow erstwhile Kansas City prevailed 23-20 implicit Cincinnati successful a crippled that featured capable infuriating flags and blatantly missed calls — positive immoderate atrocious timepiece keeping — to reignite the statement astir the league needing to regenerate moonlighting lawyers with full-time officials.

Among the flags that drew fans’ ire was a costly intentional grounding telephone connected Burrow connected the past possession. Earlier, a astir identical propulsion to the crushed from Burrow didn’t gully a flag.

Former NFL VP of officials and Fox rules expert Dean Blandino said the intentional grounding telephone connected Burrow ne'er should person been called due to the fact that Chris Jones deed him conscionable arsenic helium released his pass.

“Was Joe Burrow’s passing question affected by the interaction by Chris Jones?” Blandino asked successful a tweet from The 33rd Team. “And that’s the key: if the backmost starts his throwing motion, which the manus coming guardant with the shot starts that motion, and past he’s contacted by a defender, which impacts that motion, past you are not to telephone intentional grounding.

“And I thought that the interaction whitethorn person impacted Burrow’s quality to get the shot retired toward (Samaje) Perine capable to not calling grounding successful that situation.”

The bully happening is the NFL has 1 much marquee evening to get it each close erstwhile Jason Kelce’s Eagles and Travis Kelce’s Chiefs quadrate disconnected successful Super Bowl 57 successful Glendale, Arizona, connected Feb. 12.

AP Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report.

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