American Football Database

The NFL playoffs following the 1983 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XVIII.

Due to Christmas, the two wild card playoff games were played in a span of three days.

Playoff seeds
1 Los Angeles Raiders (West winner) Washington Redskins (East winner)
2 Miami Dolphins (East winner) San Francisco 49ers (West winner)
3 Pittsburgh Steelers (Central winner) Detroit Lions (Central winner)
4 Seattle Seahawks Dallas Cowboys
5 Denver Broncos Los Angeles Rams

Note: As per the rules of the NFL playoffs prior to the 1990 season (notwithstanding the strike-shortened 1982 season), the Los Angeles Raiders (the AFC 1 seed) did not play the Seattle Seahawks (the 4 seed) in the Divisional playoff round because both teams were in the same division.


*Note: Two teams from the same division were not allowed to play against each other in the Divisional playoff round.
Divisional Playoffs
    December 31 - Candlestick Park        
NFC Wild Card Game NFC Championship
 3  Detroit  23
December 26 - Texas Stadium     January 8 - RFK Stadium
 2  San Francisco  24  
 5  L.A. Rams  24  2  San Francisco  21
January 1 - RFK Stadium
 4  Dallas  17      1  Washington  24   Super Bowl XVIII
 5  L.A. Rams  7
    January 22 - Tampa Stadium
 1  Washington  51  
 N1  Washington  9
December 31 - Miami Orange Bowl
AFC Wild Card Game AFC Championship    A1  L.A. Raiders  38
 4  Seattle  27
December 24 - The Kingdome     January 8 - L.A. Memorial Coliseum
 2*  Miami  20  
 5  Denver  7  4  Seattle  14
January 1 - L.A. Memorial Coliseum
 4  Seattle  31      1  L.A. Raiders  30  
 3  Pittsburgh  10
 1*  L.A. Raiders  38  

This box: view · talk · edit

Wild Card playoffs

December 24, 1983

AFC: Seattle Seahawks 31, Denver Broncos 7

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Broncos 7 0 0 0


Seahawks 7 3 7 14


at Seattle Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

The Seahawks won their first playoff game in team history with quarterback Dave Krieg's 200 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. They also got a big performance out of rookie running back Curt Warner, who rushed for 99 yards and caught 3 passes for 22 yards. Seattle scored first with Krieg's 17-yard pass to wide receiver Steve Largent, but the Broncos responded before the end of the first quarter with Jesse Myles' 13-yard touchdown reception from Steve DeBerg. The Seahawks then controlled the rest of the game by scoring 24 unanswered points. Tight end Pete Metzelaars recorded a 5-yard touchdown reception to end a 73-yard drive in the third quarter. In the fourth period, wide receiver Paul Johns caught an 18-yard touchdown and running back David Hughes, scored on a 2-yard run.

December 26, 1983

NFC: Los Angeles Rams 24, Dallas Cowboys 17

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 7 0 7 10


Cowboys 0 7 3 7


at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

The Rams converted 3 turnovers in the second half into 17 points to upset the heavily favored Cowboys in Texas. Los Angeles scored first in the first quarter on quarterback Vince Ferragamo's 18-yard touchdown pass to Drew Hill after an 85-yard drive. The Cowboys then tied the game just before halftime after quarterback Danny White capped a 70-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tony Hill. Dallas then took the lead in the third period with Rafael Septien's 41-yard field goal. But then the Rams took advantage of the Cowboys' turnovers. Los Angeles' Mike Wilcher recovered a muffed punt at the Dallas 16-yard line, setting up wide receiver Preston Dennard's 16-yard touchdown reception. Then linebacker Jim Collins' interception set up Ferragamo's 8 yard pass to wide receiver George Farmer. Finally, defensive back LeRoy Irvin's 94-yard interception return set up Mike Lansford's 20-yard field goal. By the time White threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Doug Cosbie, the game was out of reach.

Divisional playoffs

December 31, 1983

AFC: Seattle Seahawks 27, Miami Dolphins 20

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Seahawks 0 7 7 13


Dolphins 0 13 0 7


at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Seahawks converted three turnovers in the second half into 13 points, while running back Curt Warner rushed for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter: A 19-yard pass to tight end Dan Johnson and a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Mark Duper. Seattle's only score in the first half was quarterback Dave Krieg's 6-yard touchdown pass to running back Cullen Bryant. In the third quarter, a fumble led to Warner's 1-yard touchdown. A fourth quarter interception from Marino then led to Norm Johnson's 27-yard field goal to give Seattle a 17-13 lead. After the Dolphins regained the lead off of running back Woody Bennett's 3-yard touchdown, Seattle responded with Warner's 2-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Miami returner Fulton Walker fumbled, setting up Norm Johnson's 37-yard field goal.

NFC: San Francisco 49ers 24, Detroit Lions 23

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 3 6 0 14


49ers 7 7 3 7


at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 59 °F (15 °C), sunny
  • Game attendance: 59,979
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers (CBS): Frank Glieber and Dick Vermeil

Lions kicker Eddie Murray made 3 field goals but missed the winning 43-yard attempt with 5 seconds left in the game. Murray put the Lions in the lead first with a 37-yard kick, but then Detroit quarterback Gary Danielson threw two interceptions that led to two touchdowns by the 49ers: a 1-yard score from running back Roger Craig and a 2-yarder from running back Wendell Tyler. Murray then scored two more field goals in the second quarter, a 21- and a 54-yarder, before San Francisco kicker Ray Wersching made a 19-yard filed goal in the third period. In the fourth quarter, running back Billy Sims scored two touchdowns to give the Lions a 23-17 lead with five minutes left to play. But then 49ers quarterback Joe Montana completed 6 consecutive passes, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Solomon to retake the lead. Danielson then completed 4 passes to set up Murray's 43-yard field goal attempt with 5 seconds remaining, but the kicker missed and San Francisco escaped with the win.

January 1, 1984

NFC: Washington Redskins 51, Los Angeles Rams 7

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 0 7 0 0


Redskins 17 21 6 7


at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

The Redskins crushed the Rams by scoring on their first five possessions to build a 51-7 win, the largest margin of victory in any game in their team history. Washington drove 65 yards in eight plays on their opening possession, with Running back John Riggins rushing six times for 23 yards and scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run. Five minutes later, quarterback Joe Theismann threw a 40-yard touchdown to receiver Art Monk. An interception by Anthony Washington then set up kicker Mark Moseley's 42-yard field goal with less than a minute left in the first quarter. Then early in the second period, Nick Giaquinto returned a punt 48 yards to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Riggins to give the Redskins a 24-0 lead with nearly 14 minutes left until halftime. Moseley's two field goals were the only scoring in the third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, defensive back Darrell Green intercepted Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo's pass after it bounced off running back Eric Dickerson and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown.

Riggins recorded 119 yards and three touchdowns. Theismann completed 18 out of 23 passes for 302 and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Washington receiver Charlie Brown caught 6 passes for 171 yards. Meanwhile, Ferragamo was limited to just 20 of 43 completions for 175 yards and a touchdown, with 3 interceptions. And Dickerson, who led the league in rushing during the regular season, was limited to only 16 yards on 10 carries, and 9 yards on 6 receptions.

AFC: Los Angeles Raiders 38, Pittsburgh Steelers 10

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 3 0 7 0


Raiders 7 10 21 0


at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

The Raiders scored 3 touchdowns in the third quarter en route to a 38-10 win over the Steelers. In the first quarter, Pittsburgh advanced on a 78-yard drive, but when faced with fourth down and inches near the goal line, they opted for kicker Gary Anderson's 17-yard field goal. But the Raiders controlled the rest of the game, as Lester Hayes returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown. A 4-yard touchdown by running back Marcus Allen and a 45-yard field goal gave the Raiders a 17-3 lead. The Raiders then scored three touchdowns in the third period, including Allen's 49-yard run. Allen finished the game with 121 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on just 13 carries, while also catching 5 passes for 38 yards. The Steelers' lone score in the second half was wide receiver John Stallworth's 58-yard touchdown reception.

Conference championships

January 8, 1984

NFC Championship: Washington Redskins 24, San Francisco 49ers 21

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 0 0 21


Redskins 0 7 14 3


at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

After the 49ers overcame a 21-0 deficit in the fourth quarter, two controversial penalties against San Francisco led to the Redskins' kicker Mark Moseley overcoming an awful day and kicking the winning field goal.

The first quarter was scoreless. The closest either team came was Washington's drive inside the 49ers 30-yard line that ended when Joe Washington lost a fumble that was recovered by San Francisco lineman Lawrence Pillers. In the second quarter, Washington managed to fool the 49ers with a trick play when punt returner Nick Giaquinto threw the ball across the field to Darrell Green who took it all the way to the end zone, but Giaquinto inadvertently threw a forward pass rather than a lateral and the score was called back. The Redskins still managed to drive into 49ers territory, but ended up with no points when Moseley drove a 45-yard field goal attempt wide right.

After forcing a punt, Joe Theismann's 46-yard completion to tight end Clint Didier moved the ball to the 49ers 18-yard line, setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by fullback John Riggins with 6:16 left in the half. Later in the quarter, the Redskins drove deep into San Francisco territory, featuring a first down run by Jeff Hayes on a fake punt, but once again Moseley sent a field goal wide right, this time from 35 yards, and the score remained 7-0 at the end of the half.

San Francisco started the second half with a drive into Washington territory, aided by a controversial ruling in which running back Wendell Tyler dropped the ball just a second after catching it and then dove on it. Officials ruled the play a fumble and recovery for the 49ers rather than an incompletion. But kicker Ray Wersching later slipped on the muddy field while attempting a 50-yard field goal and it fell well short. On Washington's next drive, they ran another trick play, this time a pass from Riggins, who threw a 36-yard completion to Charlie Brown inside the 49ers 15-yard line. But all that led to was Moseley's third missed field goal of the day, this one from 38 yards, that he once again sent wide right.

Midway through the third quarter, San Francisco receiver Freddie Solomon lost a fumble while being tackled by Green that linebacker Rich Milot recovered on the 49ers 36-yard line. A few plays later, a pass interference penalty on defensive back Ronnie Lott moved the ball to the 6-yard line, and Riggins took it the final six yards to the end zone with two more runs, making the score 14-0. Then on their next drive, Theismann completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to Brown, giving Washington a 21-0 lead with just over a minute left until the final period.

But with 14:37 left in the game, 49ers quarterback Joe Montana completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wilson. San Francisco subsequently forced a punt, but returner Dana McLemore fumbled the ball and Washington's Mark Murphy recovered it. Still, the Redskins were unable to capitalize, failing to get a first down and once again coming up empty when Moseley missed his fourth field goal of the day, a 41 yarder. On the next play, Solomon scored a 76-yard touchdown reception from Montana. Later with 7:08 remaining, Wilson tied the game, 21-21 with a 12-yard touchdown reception.

The Redskins then marched on a 13-play, 78-yard drive that took 6:12 off the clock and set up Moseley's 25-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the game. This possession was aided by two controversial penalties:

  1. On second down and 10 on the San Francisco 45-yard line, Theismann threw a long incompletion intended for wide receiver Art Monk, but cornerback Eric Wright was called for pass interference at the 18-yard line. It seemed that nobody had a reasonable chance to catch the ball, which, under the rule, would have nullified any pass interference penalty.
  2. On third down and 5 from the San Francisco 13-yard line, cornerback Ronnie Lott was called for holding on what seemed to be a harmless act with Brown far away from where the pass fell incomplete.

The 49ers got the ball back one last time, but Montana was intercepted by Vernon Dean on the final play of the game, sealing Washington's victory.

Brown finished the game with 5 receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown, while Riggins rushed for 123 yards and 2 scores. In addition, his 36-yard completion to Brown was the only completion he would ever throw during his 14-season career. This was the only postseason meeting between Hall of Fame coaches Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs, two of the most successful coaches of the 1980s.

The game was featured as part of the NFL's Greatest Games, known as The Forgotten Classic.

AFC Championship: Los Angeles Raiders 30, Seattle Seahawks 14

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Seahawks 0 0 7 7


Raiders 3 17 7 3


at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles

Seattle had defeated Los Angeles twice during the regular season, but this game had a very different outcome.

The Raiders jumped to a 20-0 halftime lead en route to a 30-14 victory. The Seahawks were held to 65 rushing yards while Raiders Running back Marcus Allen ran for 154 yards, caught 7 passes for 62 yards, and scored 2 touchdowns. Lester Hayes' interception on Seattle's first drive of the game set up a 20-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Raiders running back Frank Hawkins then scored two touchdowns. In the second half, Seahawks starting quarterback Dave Krieg was benched and replaced by Jim Zorn. Zorn threw two touchdown passes, but it was not enough as Allen's 3-yard touchdown reception and another Raiders field goal put the game away. Seahawks running back Curt Warner, the AFC's leading rusher during the regular season, was held to just 26 yards on 11 carries.

External links

Super Bowl

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins (NFC) 0 3 6 0


Raiders (AFC) 7 14 14 3


at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

  • Date: January 22, 1984
  • Game attendance: 72,920
  • Referee: Gene Barth
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden


This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at 1983–84 NFL playoffs.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with American Football Database, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.