When the unplayable service at Estadio Azteca forced the NFL to move its Mexico City showcase between the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs back to California, it would have been fair to worry if one of the most-anticipated matchups in modern NFL history would turn out to be a damp squib.
It would not have been a total surprise to see the Rams produce a rare dud in this battle of 9-1 teams. After all, their plans, which saw the team travel to Colorado to practice at altitude, were derailed by a surface torn up by multiple football matches and a Shakira concert.
However, the disjointed preparations of the hosts had no impact on an instant classic.
Those robbed of seeing this contest in Mexico in part because of a performance by a Colombian songstress missed out on a frenetic symphony of incessant scoring orchestrated by two of the finest offensive coaches in the game, Sean McVay and Andy Reid, and arguably its two most exciting young quarterbacks, Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes.
The Rams' 54-51 win saw the game feature the third-most combined points in NFL history. It ended with 1,001 total yards, 56 first downs and 14 touchdowns - one more than the Buffalo Bills have managed all season.
For a league that has implemented rule changes to benefit quarterbacks and the evolution of dynamic passing attacks, the sight of two premier star-studded offenses performing at such a rarefied level was everything the NFL could have hoped for.
Some purists may bemoan the lack of defensive resistance on show yet, while there were plenty of blown coverages in the respective secondaries, there were also a multitude of stunning throws that defenders could do little to stop, with Goff's inch-perfect toss down the sideline to Gerald Everett a fitting way for the Rams to score what proved the final points.
Still, the defenses more than had their say in the outcome. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald demonstrated why he is seen by many as the best player in the NFL, serving as a wrecking ball in the trenches as he forced two Mahomes fumbles, including one returned for the first two of defensive touchdowns by Samson Ebukam.
A much-maligned Chiefs defense forced a pair of fumbles from Goff, who had issues dealing with interior pressure. Allen Bailey returned one for a touchdown as 21 points were scored off the game's seven turnovers, two of which came in the closing minutes as former Chief Marcus Peters and Lamarcus Joyner intercepted desperate heaves downfield from Mahomes as he tried to deliver the decisive score.
This was a game that showcased the blueprint for NFL success in 2018 - have an offense that can put up seemingly endless points and a defense with enough game-changing options to render the yardage and points it concedes largely meaningless.
This is the first game in NFL history in which each team scored 50+ points— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 20, 2018
Even in an era comprising of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history and a Lombardi Trophy decider that ended 41-33 last year, the desire to score points delivered an encounter that should be considered the NFL's modern-day masterpiece in a Los Angeles market where the league's struggles to make a long-term impact have been well-documented.
The question of whether the NFL is suited to be the United States' dominant sport in 2018 is one that has been frequently raised by dissenters in recent times. This thrilling, lightning-paced, emotional rollercoaster was an emphatic answer in the affirmative, proving the sport has evolved to such an extent that it is poised to strengthen its position at the top of the pile as games akin to Monday's cliffhanger become the new norm.
15 de diciembre 2018
|Hosszu claims fourth Hangzhou gold, Le Clos beaten by Santos|
|Manchester City 3 Everton 1: Jesus at the double as City go top|
|Parker defiant on low blow claims after ending 2018 ´with a bang´|
|Alisson: Liverpool must beat Manchester United|
|Mourinho´s brutal honesty praised by Karanka|
|Fielding inspired by Bellew after overcoming setbacks to face Canelo|
|Mourinho loves being a manager ´more than ever´|
|Khawaja unconcerned by poor start to India series|
|WATCH: Dellavedova dives into media table to rescue possession|
|Christmas form could transform Man United´s season - Rashford|
|Urgent changes needed at Manchester United – Ferdinand|
|Ishant confident as Kohli carries India into day three|
|Modric takes aim at Simeone for ´constantly undermining Real Madrid´|
|Kevin Durant provides playoffs warning to inconsistent Warriors|
|A-League Review: Janjetovic off as Wanderers suffer derby defeat|
|VanVleet turnover the ´turning point´ in Raptors loss|
|Shanahan on Mahomes no-look pass: ´I do it all the time´|
|De Bruyne and Aguero return to City bench, Sterling left out of starting XI|
|Kohli and Rahane combine to thwart Australia in Perth|
|Modric cool on Madrid future beyond current deal|
|´Fatigued´ Embiid has a lot on his shoulders - Brown|
|Crespo agrees to take charge at Banfield|
|Westbrook on Murray scuffle: He was in my way|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Van Dijk the rock on which Klopp can build a title triumph|
|Marcelo ´never´ considered Madrid exit amid Juventus links|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Resurgent Rashford now a leader for Mourinho|
|Injury-plagued Nuggets beat Thunder to hold Western Conference lead|
|Southee takes five as Sri Lanka recover in Wellington|
|Kings troll Curry by playing clips of moon landing|
|Guardiola: Premier League title race similar to Barca-Madrid battles|
|Ovechkin joins rare NHL club with second straight hat-trick|
|Liverpool can´t be judged just on trophies – Klopp responds to Mourinho|
|Athletics´ Chapman undergoes procedure on left shoulder|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid miss Ronaldo|
|Ronaldo right about Juventus team spirit – Allegri|
|Klopp: I´m not the pope of football tactics|
|Stade beat Ospreys on emotional Chauvin tribute night|
|Ligue 1 survival bid a marathon not a sprint for Monaco, as club appoints distance runner|
14 de diciembre 2018
|Vertonghen eyeing Spurs future beyond 2020|
|De Bruyne injuries could be a blessing for City, says Guardiola|
|Emery prepared to face Arsenal´s centre-back crisis|
|Ulster complete Scarlets double, Exeter gain Gloucester revenge|
|Sheffield United 1 West Brom 2: Baggies comeback boosts automatic promotion push|
|Del Potro back on court following knee injury|
|Canelo v Fielding: Rocky ready to write his own fairytale in New York|
|Boca part company with Schelotto after Copa Libertadores loss to River|
|Canelo v Fielding: Tale of the tape|
|Juventus defender Cancelo has knee surgery|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez and Rocky make weight in New York|
|Spalletti does not fear another mid-season crisis at Inter|
|Salah headlines CAF Player of the Year shortlist as Koulibaly misses out|
|Beckham Jr. out of Titans clash|
|Lipsky hits the front at Leopard Creek|
|Pederson coy over Wentz back injury|
|Liverpool ´not really likely´ to be active in January window, reveals Klopp|
|Always on the move and unpredictable - Pavard reveals surprising choice over toughest opponent|
|We need to get back to respect - Lampard alarmed by hate in football|
|Giles returns to England to replace Strauss as director|
|Hansen has no issue with Milner-Skudder Toulon switch|
|Juventus to rest Ronaldo after Torino showdown|
|Titmus strikes gold again as world records tumble in Hangzhou|
|Malinga to captain Sri Lanka in New Zealand|
|Rivaldo would like ´excellent´ Isco at Barcelona|
|United a long way from Mourinho´s vision|
|´Klopp denies an answer!´ - Liverpool boss dismisses questions about ´world-class´ Pogba|
|Returning Nowitzki ´so tired´ after making NBA history|
|Aguero and De Bruyne in contention for Manchester City v Everton|
|Simeone has no plans to cash in on Costa|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez´s greatest nights|
|Fabregas: Chelsea being unfairly scapegoated over racism allegations|