Some of the greatest games in NFL postseason history are given names to remember them by. There was the “Ice Bowl” in 1967 between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers at frozen Lambeau Field. There was the “Immaculate Reception” in 1972 between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two other memorable games, which decided conference championships, were “The Catch” on Jan. 10, 1982, and “The Drive” on Jan. 11, 1987. In “The Catch,” Dallas was playing at San Francisco against the 49ers and their third-year quarterback, Joe Montana, for the NFC title. Cowboys quarterback Danny White put his team ahead 27-21 on a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Doug Crosbie in the fourth quarter.
With 4 minutes 54 seconds left to play, the 49ers were backed up at their own 11. Montana drove his team 83 yards to the Cowboys’ 6. On third-and-3, Montana ran right to avoid the fierce Dallas rush. He threw off his back foot, high to the back of the end zone. That was where Dallas Clark made a leaping catch for the winning touchdown with 51 seconds to play.
It was the sixth lead change in the game. White lost a fumble to end the game with the 49ers on top 28-27. San Francisco went on to win Super Bowl XVI over Cincinnati.
“The Drive” was another appropriately named game, featuring Denver at Cleveland for the AFC Championship.
The Browns had taken a 20-13 lead over Denver on a 48-yard pass from Bernie Kosar to Brian Brennan with 5:43 to play in the fourth quarter.
After that, it was all John Elway, who led the Broncos on a 15-play, 98-yard drive after starting from their own 2 with 5:32 left. Elway connected on 6 of 9 passes for 78 yards, and ran for 20 more. His 5-yard pass to Mark Jackson with 37 seconds remaining tied it at 20.
Rich Karlis kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime to win it 23-20 after a 60-yard drive. The Broncos ended up losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXI.
The conference championships will be played this weekend, and there’s always room for another “name” game.
Carroll takes over in Seattle: Pete Carroll is excited to be in Seattle as the Seahawks new coach and vice president of football operations. The former USC coach has signed for five years at $30 million-plus.
“I am so fired up to be here,” Carroll said at his press conference last week. “They’ve embraced my approach…and give me the clearest opportunity to bring everything I have to offer.
“That’s really what I was looking for. They don’t have an agenda of how they want their football played. They want me to do that.”
Carroll went 97-19 at USC, winning one national championship. He was 33-31 previously as an NFL head coach with the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
End of the Patriots? Probably not, especially as long as they have Tom Brady calling the signals. But the numbers in New England’s 33-14 wild-card round playoff loss to Baltimore look dreadful.
It was New England’s first home playoff loss since 1978, snapping its 11-game winning streak. It also was the first time coach Bill Belichick lost a playoff opener (6-1) and the first time that Belichick and Brady lost a home game in the postseason (8-1).
Some of the numbers from the wild, wild-card playoff game between Arizona and Green Bay:
- The teams combined for a playoff record 96 points and 1,024 total offensive yards.
- Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, 29-33, 379 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs. Tied career playoff-best for touchdowns.
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, 28-42, 422 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT. Set franchise single-game record for passing yards in a playoff game.
- Second time in Super Bowl era that both quarterbacks passed for at least 300 yards and 4 TDs in the same game.
- The 13 touchdowns set an NFL playoff record.
- Green Bay had 32 first downs to the Cardinals 30. The 62 total first downs set an NFL postseason record.
“The demons are gone!”
– Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Jan. 9 after his team won a playoff game for the first time since 1996.
The Kansas City Chiefs hope that some of that old New England magic will rub off on them with the hiring of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Both were in the same positions with the Patriots when they won three Super Bowl titles from 2002-05. But they didn’t have much success after that, with Crennel going 24-40 as the Cleveland Browns head coach and Weis compiling a 35-27 record in five years as the head coach at Notre Dame. The Chiefs were 4-12 this season and have won 10 games in three years.
Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.