Top 5 Performances From NFL Conference Championship Weekend

1 of 6

Top 5 Performances From NFL Conference Championship Weekend

AFC/NFC Championships
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Conference championship weekend is often called the most exciting in the entire NFL season. After watching the games on Sunday, it’s easy to understand why. The final four teams battling it out for a trip to play for one of the most coveted prizes in all of sports brings out the best in each individual player. There were plenty of outstanding individual performances from Sunday, but there are a few that stick out more than others.

It’s been a year for standout individual showings in the 2012 season with Adrian Peterson giving chase to what was thought to be one of the safest records in all of sports and Calvin Johnson shattering the mold for what a wide receiver can do in the modern day NFL. Records are made to be broken, but there are some that just seemed like they would be safe forever.

While none of the players in this countdown set any records with their performances, they did something even more important in the process. Shining brightest on the biggest stage is a daunting task that even the most talented of athletes cower away from at times. It takes courage and the recognition that failure might happen, but leave it all out on the field regardless of the consequences.

Clearly a lot of the players on this list are going to be large factors in Super Bowl XLVII set to be played on February 3rd in New Orleans. It remains to be seen if they can actually outperform the ridiculous standards that they have set for themselves in conference championship weekend, but I’m sure they will give their best shot.

Here they are, the top 5 performances from the NFL conference championship weekend that was.

2 of 6

Matt Ryan/Julio Jones

Falcons duo
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Even in defeat, the gutty efforts that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones put together kept the Atlanta Falcons in the game with little to no ground attack. Ryan’s 396 yards through the air and three scores were extremely impressive, but Jones was the real beast with 11 grabs for 182 yards and two of Ryan’s end zone strikes. These two may not have won the game, but they certainly showed what they are capable of as individuals out on the gridiron.

3 of 6

Vernon Davis

49ers TE
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

He once was lost, but now he’s found. After a coming out party in NFC title game, Vernon Davis is ready to continue his beastly trend in the Super Bowl. The playoffs bring out the best in this guy as he amassed five catches for 106 yards and a score to show that he is still a force to be reckoned with. There are no linebackers fast enough to cover him and he is too physically imposing for safeties and corners. There’s no doubt Davis will be a match-up nightmare for Ravens in Super Bowl.

4 of 6

Frank Gore

49ers RB
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Someone needs to give credit to the unsung hero on this San Francisco 49ers team. The bulk of the attention has gone to Colin Kaepernick, but Gore has been steady as always. With 21 carries for 90 yards, Gore was the driving force for San Francisco as he added two trips to the end zone as well. His ability to grind down the clock in critical situations is invaluable to a 49ers team that is still centered around a terrific defense. Look for Gore to have a significant impact in the Super Bowl.

5 of 6

Anquan Boldin

Ravens WR
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here is one of my personal favorites. Arguably the toughest receiver in NFL history, Anquan Boldin just continues to be productive on a yearly basis. His five grabs for 60 yards weren’t explosive by any means, but he is a consummate professional and a terrific route runner. Awareness is the key attribute for this veteran as he makes catches and immediately tucks the ball to get it out of harm’s way. His two touchdowns sealed the deal for the Baltimore Ravens against the New England Patriots and I expect him to play a large role in the Super Bowl as well.

6 of 6

Joe Flacco

Ravens QB
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

This one is pretty easy. Joe Flacco has been one of the most scrutinized quarterbacks in the league throughout the year, but the postseason has just been his way of telling the critics to put a sock in it. The conference championship game was arguably his best game yet as he led the Ravens to 21 unanswered second half points en route to Super Bowl. 240 yards passing and three touchdowns don’t tell the entire tale as it was his leadership and determination in the face of pressure that really impressed. This is a contract year for Flacco and the Ravens made a costly (literally) mistake by not getting him signed prior to the start of the season.