NO - Martin 10 pass from Hebert (Andersen kick) NO 7-0
MIN - field goal Nelson 42 NO 7-3
MIN - Carter 84 punt return (Nelson kick) MIN 10-7
MIN - Jordan 5 pass from Wilson (Nelson kick) MIN 17-7
MIN - Carter 10 pass from Rice (Nelson kick) MIN 24-7
NO - field goal Andersen 40 MIN 24-10
MIN - Jones 44 pass from Wilson (Nelson kick) MIN 31-10
MIN - field goal Nelson 42 MIN 34-10
MIN - field goal Nelson 19 MIN 37-10
MIN - Dozier 18 run (Nelson kick) MIN 44-10
In the Saints' first playoff game in history, the Vikings dominated the game by recording 2 sacks, forcing 4 turnovers, and allowing only 149 yards. New Orleans scored first after Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer's fumble on a bad snap led to Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert's 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eric Martin. Kramer then had to leave the game midway through the first quarter after reaggravating a pinched nerve in his neck that bothered him throughout the entire season. However, Minnesota took control of the contest from that point on. Backup quarterback Wade Wilson threw two touchdown passes, running back D. J. Dozier rushed for an 18-yard touchdown, and kicker Chuck Nelson made 3 field goals. Wide receiver Anthony Carter recorded an NFL playoff record 84-yard punt return for a touchdown, and finished the game with a postseason record 143 total punt return yards. Carter also scored a touchdown on a 10-yard halfback option pass from Allen Rice. New Orleans' only other score in the game was a 40-yard field goal by Morten Andersen. Wilson finished the game with 11 of 20 completions for 189 yards and 2 touchdown.
SEA - Largent 12 pass from Krieg (Johnson kick) 20-20
HOU - field goal Zendejas 42 HOU 23-20
Oilers kicker Tony Zendejas won the game with a 42-yard field goal 8:05 into overtime. Although Houston outgained Seattle with 427 total offensive yards to 250, the game remained close until the very end. The Seahawks scored first on wide receiver Steve Largent's 20-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Dave Krieg. The Oilers then scored 13 unanswered points with two field goals by Zendejas and running back Mike Rozier's 1-yard rushing touchdown. However, Seattle tied the game in the third quarter after kicker Norm Johnson made his second field goal of the game. Later in the third period, Houston quarterback Warren Moon threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Willie Drewrey to give his team a 20-13 lead. With only 1:47 left in regulation, Krieg threw his second touchdown pass to Largent, a 12-yarder, to tie the game. Largent finished the game with 7 receptions for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Browns defensive back Felix Wright's interception deep inside his own territory sparked his team to score 17 unanswered points.
Cleveland started off the game with an impressive 15-play, 86-yard drive, converting five third downs on the way to Bernie Kosar's 15-yard touchdown pass to Earnest Byner. The Colts stormed right back, as quarterback Jack Trudeau threw completions for gains of 18 and 21 yards before finishing the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pat Beach. Cleveland responded by driving from their own 35 to the Indianapolis 2-yard line, but on third down and goal, Colts safety Freddie Robinson intercepted Kosar's pass in the end zone. After an exchange of punts, the Browns took a 14-7 lead on Kosar's 39-yard scoring strike to Reggie Langhorne with 1:51 left in the second quarter. Once again, the Colts responded with a touchdown drive of their own, moving the ball 59 yards in seven plays and tying the score on Trudeau's 19-yard touchdown pass to Eric Dickerson with 40 second left in the half
Indianapolis took the second half kickoff and stormed down the field, overcoming some blown plays along the way. During the drive, Trudeau was sacked for an 11-yard loss on second down and 11, but a defensive holding penalty negated the play and gave the Colts a first down. Later on, Dickerson fumbled the ball, but Trudeau picked it up and threw a 15-yard first down completion to Bill Brooks. Eventually, Indianapolis reached the Browns 20-yard line, but blitzing linebacker Eddie Johnson hit Trudeau as he threw a pass, causing the ball to go straight up in the air where it was intercepted by Wright at the 14.
After the interception, Kosar completed 5 of 7 passes for 65 yards while Byner rushed six times for 20 and capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, putting the Browns back in the lead, 21-14. Then after forcing a punt, Matt Bahr's 22-yard field goal gave the Browns a 10-point lead with just over 11 minutes left in the game. Following another punt, Byner fumbled the ball on a 25-yard run, but running back Herman Fontenot recovered the ball at the Colts 6-yard line, turning the play into a 41-yard gain. Three plays later, Kosar's 2-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brian Brennan made the score 31-14 with 3:44 left.
However, the Colts were not quite out of the game. With 1:07 remaining in regulation, Albert Bentley's 1-yard touchdown run cut the score to 31-21. Then Indianapolis recovered an onside kick on their own 41-yard line. But on the first play after that, Browns defensive end Al Baker sacked Trudeau for a 9-yard loss, knocking him out of the game. One play later, backup quarterback Sean Salisbury's pass was intercepted by Frank Minnifield, who returned the ball 48 yards for a touchdown to put the game away.
Byner finished the game with 122 rushing yards, 4 receptions for 36 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Kosar completed 20 of 31 passes for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 1 interception.
NFC: Minnesota Vikings 36, San Francisco 49ers 24Edit
MIN - Hilton 7 pass from Wilson (Nelson kick) MIN 10-3
MIN - field goal Nelson 23 MIN 13-3
MIN - Mustafaa 45 interception return (Nelson kick) MIN 20-3
SF - Fuller 48 interception return (Wersching kick) MIN 20-10
MIN - Jones 5 pass from Wilson (Nelson kick) MIN 27-10
SF - Young 5 run (Wersching kick) MIN 27-17
MIN - field goal Nelson 40 MIN 30-17
MIN - field goal Nelson 40 MIN 33-17
SF - Franklin 16 pass from Young (Wersching kick) MIN 33-24
MIN - field goal Nelson 23 MIN 36-24
Aided by wide receiver Anthony Carter's 10 receptions for an NFL playoff record 227 receiving yards, the Vikings upset the top seeded 49ers, who had earned the league's best record during the regular season at 13-2. After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, quarterback Wade Wilson completed a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Carl Hilton. Minnesota then jumped to a 20-3 lead before halftime with Chuck Nelson's 23-yard field goal and defensive back Najee Mustafaa a.k.a. Reggie Rutland's 45-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the third period, San Francisco defensive back Jeff Fuller returned an interception 48 yard for a touchdown, but it was countered with Wilson's 5-yard touchdown pass to Hassan Jones. 49ers backup quarterback Steve Young, who replaced starter Joe Montana midway through the game, scored a rushing touchdown and threw another. But it was not enough as Nelson made 3 more field goals in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Until 2008, this was the last time the #1 seed in the NFC did not advance to the NFC Championship game.
CHI - Morris 14 pass from McMahon (Butler kick) CHI 14-0
WAS - Rogers 3 run (Haji-Sheikh kick) CHI 14-7
WAS - Didier 18 pass from Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick) 14-14
WAS - Green 52 punt return (Haji-Sheikh kick) WAS 21-14
CHI - field goal Butler 25 WAS 21-17
The Redskins overcame a 14-0 Bears lead by scoring three touchdowns. Chicago's first score was running back Calvin Thomas' 2-yard rushing touchdown. Bears quarterback Jim McMahon then threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ron Morris. However, Washington tied the game before halftime with George Rogers's 3-yard touchdown run and quarterback Doug Williams' 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clint Didier. In the third quarter, Redskins cornerback Darrell Green scored on a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown, a play made even more memorable when Green injured his ribs hurdling over a Chicago defender en route to the end zone. Chicago responded with kicker Kevin Butler's 25-yard field goal, but were shut down for the rest of the game. This was the final game in the Hall-of-Fame career of Bears running back Walter Payton, who rushed for 85 yards and caught 3 passes for 20 yards.
DEN - Kay 27 pass from Elway (Karlis kick) DEN 14-0
DEN - field goal Karlis 43 DEN 17-0
HOU - field goal Zendejas 46 DEN 17-3
DEN - Kay 1 pass from Elway (Karlis kick) DEN 24-3
DEN - field goal Karlis 23 DEN 27-3
HOU - Givins 19 pass from Moon (Zendejas kick) DEN 27-10
DEN - Elway 3 run (Karlis kick) DEN 34-10
The Broncos jumped to a 14-0 early lead by converting two turnovers into two touchdowns. Denver defensive back Steve Wilson recovered a lateral pass by Oilers quarterback Warren Moon at the Houston 1-yard line, setting up Gene Lang's 1-yard rushing touchdown. Then on the Oilers next drive, linebacker Karl Mecklenburg intercepted a pass, and Broncos quarterback John Elway completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clarence Kay. Both teams exchanged field goals in the second period before Elway threw a 1-yard touchdown to Kay. In the fourth quarter, Moon completed a 19-yard touchdown to wide receiver Ernest Givins, but it was countered with Elway's 3-yard touchdown run.
Broncos receiver Vance Johnson caught 4 passes for 105 yards, but was injured in the game and had to miss the rest of the postseason.
WAS - Bryant 42 pass from Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick) WAS 7-0
MIN - Lewis 23 pass from Wilson (Nelson kick) 7-7
WAS - field goal Haji-Sheikh 28 WAS 10-7
MIN - field goal Nelson 18 10-10
WAS - Clark 7 pass from Williams (Haji-Sheikh kick) WAS 17-10
In a defensive battle, the Redskins played a little better by limiting the Vikings to only 76 rushing yards and forcing 8 sacks. Washington scored first on a 98-yard drive that was capped by running back Kelvin Bryant's 42-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Doug Williams. However, Minnesota tied the game before halftime with quarterback Wade Wilson's 23-yard touchdown pass to Leo Lewis. In the third quarter, Redskins linebacker Mel Kaufman returned an interception 10 yards to the Minnesota 17-yard line to set up kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh's 28-yard field goal. In the final period, Vikings kicker Chuck Nelson made an 18-yard field goal to tie the game, 10-10. The Redskins then marched 70 yards to score on Williams' 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gary Clark to take the lead, 17-10, with 5:06 remaining in the game. Minnesota then advanced to the Washington 6-yard line, but Wilson's fourth down pass, intended for running back Darrin Nelson was dropped. With 52 seconds remaining, the Redskins ran out the clock.
AFC Championship: Denver Broncos 38, Cleveland Browns 33Edit
DEN - Nattiel 8 pass from Elway (Karlis kick) DEN 7-0
DEN - Sewell 1 run (Karlis kick) DEN 14-0
CLE - field goal Bahr 24 DEN 14-3
DEN - Lang 1 run (Karlis kick) DEN 21-3
CLE - Langhorne 18 pass from Kosar (Bahr kick) DEN 21-10
DEN - Jackson 80 pass from Elway (Karlis kick) DEN 28-10
CLE - Byner 32 pass from Kosar (Bahr kick) DEN 28-17
CLE - Byner 4 run (Bahr kick) DEN 28-24
DEN - field goal Karlis 38 DEN 31-24
CLE - Slaughter 4 pass from Kosar (Bahr kick) T 31-31
DEN - Winder 20 pass from Elway (Karlis kick) DEN 38-31
CLE - Safety, Horan ran out of end zone DEN 38-33
This game is best remembered for The Fumble when Browns running back Earnest Byner fumbled at the Broncos' 3-yard line with 65 seconds remaining. Also, these two teams were scheduled to meet during the regular season, however, the game happened to be scheduled during the week of games that was canceled (they were to meet on Monday Night Football).
Several early Cleveland miscues helped the Broncos jump to an early 14-0 lead. First, Cleveland kick returner Gerald McNeil was tackled by Tony Boddie on his own 12-yard line. Then after a sack by Denver lineman Simon Fletcher, Bernie Kosar threw a pass that went through the arms of Webster Slaughter and into the hands of linebacker Freddie Gilbert on the Browns 17, setting up John Elway's 8-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Nattiel. On Cleveland's next drive, FB Kevin Mack lost a fumble while being tackled by Tony Lilly. One play later, Gene Lang's 42-yard run (easily surpassing the team's longest run of the season; 29 yards) gave Denver a first and goal situation. Elway eventually threw an incomplete pass on third and goal from the Browns 3-yard line, but a defensive holding penalty on Frank Minnifield gave Denver a first down at the 1, and running back Steve Sewell scored a touchdown on the next play.
After the ensuing kickoff, Kosar completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Ozzie Newsome and a 19-yarder to Clarance Weathers on 3rd down and 17 on the way to a 29-yard field goal by Matt Bahr two minutes into the second quarter. But Denver stormed right back on an 80-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchodown run by Lang, making the score 21-3. A sack by Denver's Rulon Jones helped force the Browns to a three and out. This time all the Broncos could manage was a missed field goal by Rich Karlis. But once again Cleveland could not move the ball and turned it over with a fumble from receiver Brian Brennan that was recovered by cornerback Randy Robbins. This time the Browns defense stepped up, sacking Elway twice and forcing Denver's first punt of the game. After that, Kosar's 24-yard comepletion to Slaughter set up a 45-yard field goal attempt by Bahr, but he sent it wide right as time expired in the half.
Four plays into the second half, Browns defensive back Felix Wright intercepted a pass from Elway, setting up Kosar's 18-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Langhorne. But less than a minute and a half later, Elway threw a short pass to receiver Mark Jackson, who broke a tackle from Mark Harper and evaded a tackle attempt from Wright on the way to an 80-yard touchdown reception (the longest play in Denver postseason history), giving the Broncos a 28-10 lead. Cleveland responded with two consecutive touchdowns. First Kosar threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Byner. Then Broncos returner Ken Bell muffed the kickoff and was downed inside his own 10-yard line. Following a three and out, McNeil returned their punt to the Broncos 42. Kosar then completed four consecutive passes en route to a 4-yard touchdown run by Byner, making the score 28-24 with less than four minutes left in the third quarter. Denver struck back with a 38-yard field goal from Karlis to give them a seven point lead going into the final period.
In the fourth quarter, the Browns drove 87 yards and tied the score with Kosar's 4-yard touchdown pass to Webster Slaughter, but it was countered by Elway's 20-yard touchdown pass to running back Sammy Winder with 4 minutes left in the game.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Browns got the ball on their own 25-yard line. Byner started out the drive with a 16-yard burst and a 2-yard run, and then Kosar completed two passes to Brennan for 33 total yards. Following an encroachment flag on defensive lineman Andre Townsend and 6-yard run by Byner, an offsides penalty on Denver linebacker Karl Mecklenburg moved the ball to the Broncos 8-yard line with 1:12 remaining in regulation. The Browns had moved 67 yards in just six plays covering 2:41. On the next play, Byner took a handoff and appeared to be on his way to score the game-tying touchdown. But he was stripped of the ball by Broncos defensive back Jeremiah Castille, and fumbled at the 3-yard line. The Broncos recovered the fumble (Castille made the recovery), gave the Browns an intentional safety, and went on to win 38-33.
Byner's fumble ruined an otherwise superb performance, as he finished the game with 67 rushing yards, 7 receptions for 120 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Elway finished the game with 14 of 26 completions for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception, and also rushed for 36 yards. His top target was receiver Mark Jackson, who caught 4 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Nattiel added 5 receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.