Unstoppable: Greg Zuerlein boots Rams to SB LIII

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Well, that was thrilling, wasn't it?

Each of the two conference championship games went to overtime for the first time in NFL history. It doesn't get much more exciting than that.

Such entertaining football means we must have had some players who were difficult to contain, and maybe even unstoppable. The banner above sure suggests it.

I mean, the Patriots' offense sure looked unstoppable in overtime. But I digress.

Here are your Unstoppable Performers from the second-best weekend in football: Championship Weekend.


Unstoppable Performer


Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams


The guy hit a 57-yarder to send his team to the Super Bowl. You better believe we're picking a kicker.

Zuerlein's leg strength is a primary reason, if not the reason the Rams are in the Super Bowl. His first kick traveled a winding path that briefly made the hearts of Rams fans stop, curving in, then out, and then back inside the goal post to tie the NFC Championship Game and send it to overtime.

It was enough to keep them alive. It didn't exactly inspire confidence, though.

Then again, when we're talking about a confident field-goal unit, this is the one:

Zuerlein's second attempt -- the 57-yarder, for the win -- wasn't as much of a guarantee. In fact, most kickers struggle to hit that distance, even in a dome.

Not Zuerlein. The man nicknamed Legatron drilled the kick with what looked like enough distance to convert from 65 yards, sending the Rams to the Super Bowl and capping a perfect day: 4 for 4 on field goal attempts and 2 for 2 on PATs. In a close contest in which one kick proved to be the difference, Zuerlein came through time and time again.


Also considered ...


Sony Michel, New England Patriots


It wasn't three touchdowns like last weekend (which landed him in this space), but it was two! Those two were even more important with the AFC Championship on the line.

Michel took two-thirds of the ground-game pie and ran with even more force, racking up 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. With Rex Burkhead mixed in, New England gained 176 yards on 48 carries, just 3.7 yards per carry, but still scored four times on the ground, including Burkhead's game-winning tote.

Michel continued to be a tough tackle, which helped wear down Kansas City's tough front seven and provide balance to a Patriots offense that broke 500 yards of total offense at frigid Arrowhead Stadium. His first-quarter touchdown from one yard out set the tone of the evening, and his 10-yard touchdown run in the fourth gave New England the lead with 3:32 left in what became a wild fourth quarter. The success just keeps coming for the rookie.


Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams


It hit me in the second quarter, on a long completion to Cooks: Sunday was a Brandin Cooks revenge game opportunity.

Selected by the Saints in the first round of the 2014 draft out of Oregon State, Cooks was traded to New England in 2017, and traded again (to the Rams) in 2018. What better way to make it to your second straight Super Bowl (with your two most recent teams) than by burying your first team in the process?

Cooks was a welcome sight to Jared Goff, who was visibly frazzled by the extremely loud Mercedes-Benz Superdome crowd. The receiver helped the Rams get back on track with receptions of 17 and 36 yards in the final minute of the first half, leading to an incredibly important touchdown to cut New Orleans' lead to 13-10.

Cooks continued to contribute, especially as the deep threat the Saints once drafted him to be in gold and black, catching three more passes for 43 yards in the third and capping his receiving day late in the fourth with a 7-yard catch that helped set up Zuerlein's game-tying field goal.

He left the Superdome with a smile and some conference champions gear -- which is more than his former team could say.

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