American Football Database

The NFL playoffs following the 1991 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XXVI.

Playoff seeds
1 Buffalo Bills (East winner) Washington Redskins (East winner)
2 Denver Broncos (West winner) Detroit Lions (Central winner)
3 Houston Oilers (Central winner) New Orleans Saints (West winner)
4 Kansas City Chiefs Chicago Bears
5 Los Angeles Raiders Dallas Cowboys
6 New York Jets Atlanta Falcons


  Wild Card Playoffs Divisional Playoffs Conference Championships Super Bowl XXVI
5  Dallas 17  
4  Chicago 13  
  5  Dallas 6  
    2  Detroit 38  
  2  Detroit 10  
  1  Washington 41  
6  Atlanta 27  
3  New Orleans 20  
  6  Atlanta 7
    1  Washington 24  
  N1  Washington 37
  A1  Buffalo 24
6  N.Y. Jets 10  
3  Houston 17  
  3  Houston 24
    2  Denver 26  
  2  Denver 7
  1  Buffalo 10  
5  L.A. Raiders 6  
4  Kansas City 10  
  4  Kansas City 14
    1  Buffalo 37  

Wild Card playoffs

December 28, 1991

AFC: Kansas City Chiefs 10, Los Angeles Raiders 6

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Raiders 0 3 3 0


Chiefs 0 7 0 3


at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Chiefs Quarterback Steve DeBerg completed a play-action 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Fred Jones in the second quarter, which was the difference in K.C.'s narrow 10-6 win over long-time rival Los Angeles. K.C. Running back Barry Word was arguably the Chiefs' most effective offensive weapon, rushing for 133 yards.

The Raiders started rookie quarterback Todd Marinovich over veteran Jay Schroeder. Marinovich, who performed well in a loss to Kansas City the week before, instead threw 4 interceptions in the wild card rematch, including the one to Kansas City defensive back Deron Cherry that set up DeBerg's touchdown.

The Raiders defense gave up huge rushing yardage to Word, but kept the game close by limiting the Chiefs to field goal tries after DeBerg's touchdown throw. Usually reliable Kansas City kicker Nick Lowery missed two field goals that could have given the Chiefs breathing room. The Raiders drove deep into Kansas City territroy on several occasions, but came away with only 6 points from Jeff Jaeger field goals.

Marinovich, who was rattled in the first half, found a rhythm in the second half, completing key passes to Raiders wideout Tim Brown that moved Los Angeles into scoring position. But a fumble by Raiders running back Marcus Allen gave the Chiefs the ball again. Four plays later, Lowery redeemed himself with an 18-yard score in the fourth period that put the Chiefs up 10-6.

Los Angeles advanced to the Kansas City 24-yard line in the closing minutes. But the offense self-destructed with almost a dozen successive penalties in the drive that moved the ball back behind mid-field. Chiefs linebacker Lonnie Marts sealed the victory for the Chiefs with an interception of Marinovich.

The game was also significant in that it featured what was at the time the oldest starting player in the NFL (DeBerg)and the second-youngest player to start at QB in a play-off game in Todd Marniovich (Cleveland's Bernie Kosar being the youngest).

NFC: Atlanta Falcons 27, New Orleans Saints 20

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


Saints 7 6 0 7


at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

Falcons quarterback Chris Miller completed the game-winning 61-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Haynes with 2:41 left in the contest. Miller completed 18 out of 30 passes for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Saints jumped to a 10-0 with quarterback Bobby Hebert's 26-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Floyd Turner and kicker Morten Andersen's 45-yard field goal. But the Atlanta tied the game with wide receiver Andre Rison's 24-yard touchdown reception from Miller and a 44-yard field goal by Norm Johnson. The score was later tied 20-20 late in the final period as the teams traded scores: Andersen and Johnson each added another field goal, Miller threw a 20-yard touchdown to Haynes, and New Orleans running back Dalton Hilliard rushed for a 1-yard touchdown. After Haynes scored the winning touchdown for the Falcons, the Saints reached the Atlanta 35-yard line before Hebert threw an interception to Falcons defensive back Tim McKyer to clinch the victory.

December 29, 1991

NFC: Dallas Cowboys 17, Chicago Bears 13

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


Bears 0 3 3 7


at Soldier Field, Chicago

The Cowboys jumped to a 10-0 first quarter lead and held on to win their first playoff game in nine years. Dallas' first score was a 27-yard field goal by Ken Willis. Then Cowboys linebacker Darrick Brownlow blocked a punt that was recovered by linebacker Ken Norton Jr., setting up a 1-yard touchdown by running back Emmitt Smith, who finished the game with 105 rushing yards. Bears kicker Kevin Butler kicked two field goals to cut the score 10-6 by the third period. However, Dallas responded by marching 75 yards to score on quarterback Steve Beuerlein's 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jay Novacek. With 2:42 left in the game, Chicago wide receiver Tom Waddle scored on a 6-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jim Harbaugh, but the Bears could not score again.

AFC: Houston Oilers 17, New York Jets 10

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 0 10 0 0


Oilers 7 7 0 3


at Astrodome, Houston, Texas

After leading 14-10 at halftime, the Oilers stopped the Jets twice inside the 5-yard line in the second half to preserve the victory. Houston quarterback Warren Moon threw two touchdowns in the first half, both to Ernest Givins for 5 and 20 yards. For New York, wide receiver Al Toon recorded a 10-yard touchdown reception from Ken O'Brien and kicker Raul Allegre made a 33-yard field goal. The Jets then took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched to the Houston 8-yard line, but O'Brien threw an interception to Oilers defensive back Bubba McDowell. Then after Oilers kicker Al Del Greco made a 53-yard field goal, New York faced fourth down and inches at the Houston 3-yard line. Rather than attempt a field goal, running back Freeman McNeil tried to advance the ball but was tackled for no gain. Late in the game, the Jets has another chance to score after recovering a fumble by Moon at the Houston 26-yard line, but turned it over on downs again.


Divisional playoffs

January 4, 1992

NFC: Washington Redskins 24, Atlanta Falcons 7

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


Redskins 0 14 3 7


at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

During their regular season meeting, Washington defeated Atlanta 56-17, with quarterback Mark Rypien throwing for 446 yards and 6 touchdowns. Atlanta starting QB Chris Miller and CB/KR Deion Sanders missed that initial meeting however. In this game the score was closer, but the result was still the same.

Under rainy and muddy conditions, the Falcons' pass-happy run-and-shoot offense turned the ball over 6 times, with Chris Miller, who had problems all game with his footing, throwing 4 INTs. The Redskins held the ball for over 36 minutes, scoring two touchdowns in a span of 3:11 in the second quarter. Washington scored first by driving 81-yards to score on running back Ricky Ervins' 17-yard rushing touchdown. Then, Redskins defensive lineman James "Jumpy" Geathers recovered a fumble to set up running back Gerald Riggs' 2-yard touchdown. The Falcons mounted a long drive to draw within 7 at halftime on a 1-yard Tracy Johnson TD run. Washington's Chip Lohmiller missed 3 field goals in the first half which could have widened the lead.

In the second half, Lohmiller scored a 24-yard field goal to make the game 17-7, while Atlanta's Norm Johnson missed a critical field goal on the ensuing possession. Following another Atlanta fumble at midfield in the 4th quarter, Riggs added a clinching 1-yard touchdown run, prompting the fans in attendance to shower the field with the yellow seat cushions that were given out before the game.[1]

AFC: Denver Broncos 26, Houston Oilers 24

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Oilers 14 7 0 3


Broncos 6 7 3 10


at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

Trailing 24-23 with 2:07 left in the game, quarterback John Elway led the Broncos from their own 2-yard line to the winning 28-yard field goal by David Treadwell with 16 seconds remaining. On the drive, he converted on two fourth downs. On fourth down and 6 from the Denver 28, he rushed for 7 yards. Then on fourth down and 10, he completed a 44-yard pass to wide receiver Vance Johnson.

The Oilers jumped to a 14-0 lead with quarterback Warren Moon's two touchdown passes to wide receivers Haywood Jeffires and Drew Hill for 15 and 9 yards, respectively. Elway then completed a 10-yard touchdown to Johnson, but kicker Treadwell missed the extra point. Moon responded by throwing a 6-yard touchdown to wide receiver Curtis Duncan to give Houston a 21-6 lead, but Denver running back Greg Lewis scored a 1-yard touchdown before halftime. In the second half, the Oilers were limited to only a 25-yard field goal by kicker Al Del Greco, which gave Houston a 24-16 lead in the fourth quarter. The Broncos then marched 80 yards to score on Lewis' 1-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 24-23.

Moon finished the game with 27 of 36 completions for 325 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.

January 5, 1992

AFC: Buffalo Bills 37, Kansas City Chiefs 14

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


Bills 7 10 7 13


at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Buffalo avenged their 33-6 loss to Kansas City during the regular season by eliminating them from the playoffs with a dominating 37-14 win. The Bills crushed the Chiefs by jumping to a 24-0 lead in the third quarter. Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly threw 3 touchdown passes: a 25-yarder to wide receiver Andre Reed, a 53-yard one to Reed, and a 10-yarder to wide receiver James Lofton. Bills kicker Scott Norwood added 3 field goals, running back Kenneth Davis scored a touchdown on a 5-yard run, Reed finished with 4 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns, and running back Thurman Thomas recorded 100 rushing yards. Meanwhile, Chiefs starting quarterback Steve DeBerg was knocked out of the game in the second period with a sprained thumb, and backup quarterback Mark Vlasic threw 4 interceptions. Although Kansas City running back Barry Word scored on a 3-yard touchdown, he was held to 50 rushing yards. The Chiefs only other score was Vlasic's 10-yard touchdown completion to wide receiver Fred Jones.

This was Thomas' fourth consecutive postseason game with at least 100 rushing yards, the second longest streak in NFL history (behind John Riggins' 6)

NFC: Detroit Lions 38, Dallas Cowboys 6

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Cowboys 3 3 0 0


Lions 7 10 14 7


at Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan

Quarterback Erik Kramer led the Lions to their first and only postseason victory since 1957 by completing 29 out of 38 passes for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kramer completed a 31-yard score to wide receiver Willie Green, a 6-yarder to Green, and a 7-yarder to wide receiver Herman Moore. Detroit defensive back Melvin Jenkins returned an interception 41-yard for a touchdown, kicker Eddie Murray added a 36-yard field goal, and running back Barry Sanders rushed for a 47-yard touchdown. The Cowboys' only scores were two 28-yard field goals by kicker Ken Willis. Dallas quarterback Steve Beuerlein was held to just 7 of 13 completions for 91 yards, with 1 interception.

Conference championships

January 12, 1992

AFC Championship: Buffalo Bills 10, Denver Broncos 7

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


Bills 0 0 7 3


at Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

  • Game time: 12:30 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 34 °F (1 °C), clear
  • Game attendance: 80,272
  • Referee: Dale Hamer
  • TV announcers (NBC): Dick Enberg and Bill Walsh

Buffalo relied on missed field goals by Denver and some key plays from their defense to edge the Broncos 10-7, in what was a knock-down, drag-out defensive drama that featured devastating pass rushes that limited both offenses to meager, hard-fought-for yardage throughout the game.

Although the score was 0-0 at the half, Denver advanced into Buffalo territory on all five of their first half possessions. However, Broncos kicker David Treadwell missed 3 field goals (hitting the uprights twice and driving the other attempt wide right).

Early in the third quarter, Denver QB John Elway (who was sacked 3 times) suffered a deep thigh bruise that limited his mobility. Meanwhile, Buffalo QB Jim Kelly (who was sacked once and intercepted twice) and the Buffalo offense were kept at bay by the Broncos' hard-hitting defense.

Late in the third quarter, the Broncos faced second down and 10 at their own 19-yard line. Elway attempted a middle screen pass to running back Steve Sewell (which had been Denver's most effective play), but it was tipped by Bills defensive lineman Jeff Wright into the arms of linebacker Carlton Bailey. Bailey broke an Elway tackle and returned the ball 11 yards for what would be Buffalo's only touchdown of the game.

Elway's injury worsened to the point of his being replaced by backup Gary Kubiak in the 4th quarter. After Denver turned the ball over on downs, the Buffalo offense got on track with a pivotal third down completion by Jim Kelly to tight end Keith McKellar. Hobbled Buffalo running back Thurman Thomas carried the Bills to within field goal range. And with 4:18 left in the game, Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood made a 44-yard field goal to increase the lead to 10-0.

Kubiak, who was playing in his last NFL game before retiring, led the Broncos 85 yards in eight frantic plays and scored a 3-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw play with 1:43 left. Denver then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the Bills clinched the victory after defensive back Kirby Jackson forced and recovered a fumble from running back Steve Sewell.

Denver finished the game leading in almost every statistical category, except for rushing. Broncos receiver Vance Johnson finished the game with 8 receptions for 104 yards. Kubiak completed 11 of 12 passes for 136 yards and rushed for 22, outscoring and out-passing Jim Kelly and John Elway. The Broncos defense held the high-powered Bills offense to 13 catches (most completed to tight ends and running backs) and 3 offensive points.

NFC Championship: Washington Redskins 41, Detroit Lions 10

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 10 0 0


Redskins 10 7 10 14


at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

In their season opening game, Washington beat the Lions 45-0. The Lions now had hall of fame running back Barry Sanders, who had missed their first meeting with an injury, but it didn't help.

The Redskins crushed the Lions, 41-10, as quarterback Mark Rypien completed 12 out of 17 passes for 228 yards and 2 touchdowns. Detroit quarterback Erik Kramer was sacked 5 times, three of them by Washington linebacker Wilber Marshall. Sanders, who rushed for 1,548 yards during the season, was held to just 44 yards on 11 carries.

The Redskins forced 2 turnovers on the Lions' first two possessions, and jumped to a 10-0 lead with just 4:02 into the game. On Detroit's first play of the game, Washington defensive lineman Charles Mann forced Kramer to fumble, setting up running back Gerald Riggs' 2-yard touchdown. Then Redskins kicker Chip Lohmiller made a 20-yard field goal after linebacker Kurt Gouveia intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards to the Detroit 10-yard line. In the second period, Kramer completed an 18-yard touchdown to wide receiver Willie Green, but it was countered by Riggs' 3-yard touchdown. Lions kicker Eddie Murray then made a 30-yard field goal and the Redskins only led 17-10 at halftime.

However, Washington scored 24 unanswered points in the second half. Lohmiller scored his second field goal of the game, a 28-yarder. Rypien threw a pair of touchdown passes to wide receivers Gary Clark and Art Monk for 45 and 21 yards, respectively. Cornerback Darrell Green also returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown.

After the game, the Redskins dedicated their win to WUSA sports anchor Glenn Brenner, who died from a brain tumor later that week.

Super Bowl

Game summary
1 2 3 4 Total
Redskins (NFC) 0 17 14 6


Bills (AFC) 0 0 10 14


at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Date: January 26, 1992
  • Game attendance: 63,130
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (CBS): Pat Summerall and John Madden


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