NFL playoffs, 1998-99: Wikis

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The NFL playoffs following the 1998 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XXXIII.

Playoff seeds
Seed AFC NFC
1 Denver Broncos (West winner) Minnesota Vikings (Central winner)
2 New York Jets (East winner) Atlanta Falcons (West winner)
3 Jacksonville Jaguars (Central winner) Dallas Cowboys (East winner)
4 Miami Dolphins San Francisco 49ers
5 Buffalo Bills Green Bay Packers
6 New England Patriots Arizona Cardinals

Contents

Wild Card playoffs

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January 2, 1999

AFC: Miami Dolphins 24, Buffalo Bills 17

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 7 7 3 17
Dolphins 3 3 8 10 24

at Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida

The Dolphins forced five Bills turnovers, including Buffalo quarterback Doug Flutie's fumble at the Miami 5-yard line with 17 seconds left in the game. Buffalo's wide receiver Eric Moulds set an NFL postseason record with 240 receiving yards, including a 32-yard touchdown catch.

The Bills twice erased deficits before falling behind 24-14, then rallied again. Late in the fourth quarter, the Bills drove the Dolphins 1-yard line, but receiver Andre Reed's unsportsmanlike conduct foul pushed them back 15 yards and forced them to settle for Steve Christie's 33-yard field goal with 1:47 left. Buffalo subsequently recovered an onside kick and drove 64 yards in 10 plays to the Dolphins 5-yard line. But as Flutie stepped up to make a throw, he lost the ball while being sacked by Miami's Trace Armstrong and lineman Shane Burton recovered the fumble.

  • Scoring
    • MIA - field goal Mare 31 MIA 3-0
    • MIA - field goal Mare 40 MIA 6-0
    • BUF - Thomas 1 run (Christie kick) BUF 7-6
    • MIA - Abdul-Jabbar 3 run (Pritchett run) MIA 14-7
    • BUF - Moulds 32 pass from Flutie (Christie kick) Tie 14-14
    • MIA - field goal Mare 23 MIA 17-14
    • MIA - Thomas 11 pass from Marino (Mare kick) MIA 24-14
    • BUF - field goal Christie 33 MIA 24-17

NFC: Arizona Cardinals 20, Dallas Cowboys 7

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 7 3 7 3 20
Cowboys 0 0 0 7 7

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Quarterback Jake Plummer passed for 213 yards and two touchdowns as he led the Cardinals to their first playoff victory since 1947. Their victory was especially satisfying against the Cowboys, who defeated them twice during the season. Arizona running back Adrian Murrell rushed for 95 yards and caught 2 passes for 16 yards and a touchdown, while their defense sacked Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman four times (twice by linebacker Jamir Miller) and intercepted three of his passes (two by defensive back Aeneas Williams).

On the Cardinals second possession of the game, Plummer completed a 59-yard pass to receiver Frank Sanders, setting up Murrell's 11-yard touchdown catch a few plays later. Later on, the Cardinals increased their lead to 10-0 with Chris Jacke's 37 yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the half.

On the first play of the second half, Murrell took off for a 74-yard run to the Cowboys 3-yard line. It was the longest postseason run ever surrendered by the Cowboys in their 52-postseason game history. On the next play, Plummer threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Larry Centers, making the score 17-0. In the fourth quarter, Arizona defensive back Aeneas Williams recorded his second interception from Aikman, setting up a 46-yard field goal by Jacke. Meanwhile, all Dallas could do was score a meaningless touchdown on Aikman's 6-yard pass to Billy Davis with 3:33 left in the game.

  • Scoring
    • ARI - Murrell 12 pass from Plummer (Jacke kick) ARI 7-0
    • ARI - field goal Jacke 37 ARI 10-0
    • ARI - Centers 3 pass from Plummer (Jacke kick) ARI 17-0
    • ARI - field goal Jacke 46 ARI 20-0
    • DAL - Davis 6 pass from Aikman (Cunningham kick) ARI 20-7

January 3, 1999

AFC: Jacksonville Jaguars 25, New England Patriots 10

1 2 3 4 Total
Patriots 0 0 7 3 10
Jaguars 6 6 0 13 25

at ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida

Running back Fred Taylor ran for 162 yards and a touchdown as the Jaguars won their first home playoff game in team history. Jacksonville kicker Mike Hollis contributed 4 field goals. Patrtiots running back Robert Edwards, who rushed for 1,115 yards and 9 touchdowns during the season, was held to 28 yards on 17 carries.

The Patriots, playing without starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe, receiver Terry Glenn and linebacker Ted Johnson due to injuries, could not score any points in the first half. Hollis opened up the scoring with two field goals. The second one was set up by a 46-yard run by Taylor and followed two overthrown passes by quarterback Mark Brunell to receiver Keenan McCardell and running back George Jones, who were both wide open in the end zone. Brunell struggled throughout most of the game, finishing with just 14 of 34 completions for 161 yards. Later in the second quarter, Taylor's 21-yard run gave his team a first down on the Patriots 34-yard line. Four plays later, he scored on a 13-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 12-0 lead after a failed 2-point conversion attempt.

But in the third quarter, Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak managed to spark a rally. First he led New England 85 yards on a drive that consumed 8:48 off the clock and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Edwards. Then on the Patriots next possession, he led them to Jacksonville's 9-yard line. Following a dropped pass by tight end Lovett Purnell on third down, Adam Vinatieri's 27-yard field goal cut the score to 12-10. But on the Jaguars ensuing possession, quarterback Mark Brunell, threw a pass to receiver Jimmy Smith, who managed to break past defensive back Ty Law and make a 37-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone. On the Patriots next drive, Jacksonville lineman Joel Smeenge forced and recovered a fumble, setting up Hollis' third field goal. He added a fourth field goal to close out the scoring after the Patriots turned the ball over on downs deep in their own territory on their next possession.

  • Scoring
    • JAC - field goal Hollis 35 JAC 3-0
    • JAC - field goal Hollis 24 JAC 6-0
    • JAC - Taylor 13 yard run (Two-Point Conversion Failed) JAC 12-0
    • NE - Edwards 1 yard run (Vinatieri kick) JAC 12-7
    • NE - field goal Vinatieri 27 JAC 12-10
    • JAC - Smith 37 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick) JAC 19-10
    • JAC - field goal Hollis 34 JAC 22-10
    • JAC - field goal Hollis 21 JAC 25-10

NFC: San Francisco 49ers 30, Green Bay Packers 27

1 2 3 4 Total
Packers 3 14 0 10 27
49ers 7 3 10 10 30

at 3Com Park, San Francisco

The 49ers defeated the Packers, who had eliminated them from the playoffs in each of the past 3 seasons, in one of the wildest, back-and-forth games in league history.

Both teams took advantage of each other's turnovers and mistakes throughout the game. In the first quarter, Green Bay safety Pat Terrell's recovery of a fumble from receiver Terrell Owens set up a 48-yard drive that ended with a Ryan Longwell field goal. But later in the period, 49ers lineman Chris Doleman recovered a fumble from Dorsey Levens on the Packers 17-yard line. Two plays later, Steve Young threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Clark, giving San Francisco a 7-3 lead. The Packers offense responded by driving 62 yards in 9 plays, and Levens made up for his miscue with a 22-yard run to the 49ers 2-yard line on fourth down and 1. On the next play, quarterback Brett Favre finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman 4 seconds into the second quarter.

Later in the second quarter, 49ers defensive back R. W. McQuarters returned a punt 19 yards to the 47-yard line. Running back Garrison Hearst then rushed 3 times for 28 yards on a 37-yard drive that ended with a field goal by Wade Richey, tying the game at 10. But before the half ended, the Packers retook the lead with a 9-play, 83 yard drive, aided by two 15-yard penalties against San Francisco. Levens finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving Green Bay a 17-10 halftime lead.

Early in the third quarter, 49ers linebacker Lee Woodall intercepted a pass from Favre and returned it 17 yards to the Packers 33-yard line. Five plays later, Young tied the game with his second touchdown pass to Clark. Then after forcing a punt, they took the lead by driving 48 yards and scoring with a 48-yard field goal by Richey.

In the fourth quarter, the Packers drove 60 yards in 11 plays, featuring a 33-yard reception by fullback William Henderson, and scored a 37-yard field goal to tie the game. But on the 49ers ensuing drive, a 34-yard completion for Young to Owens set up another Richey field goal to put them back in the lead, 23-20.

Trailing 23-20 with 2 minutes remaining, Favre lofted a 15-yard touchdown pass to Freeman, completing an 89-yard drive that had seen the Packers run a risky 4th-and-1 play from deep in their own territory and Favre completing a 47-yard pass to seldom-used rookie receiver Corey Bradford. But San Francisco responded with an equally impressive drive, in which Jerry Rice visibly fumbled and instant replay was not in effect until the following year, allowing the drive to continue behind Young, who completed 7-of-9 passes in a 76-yard drive for the winning score,. Owens, who had dropped four passes and lost a fumble, caught the 25-yard winning touchdown pass with three seconds left in the game (a.k.a. The Catch II).

Hearst finished the game with 128 rushing yards and 3 receptions for 15 yards. Levens rushed for 116 yards, caught 6 passes for 37 yards, and scored a touchdown. Favre threw for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Young passed for 182 yards and 3 scores. Both Young and Favre were intercepted twice.

  • Scoring
    • GB - field goal Longwell 23 GB 3-0
    • SF - Clark 1 pass from Young (Richey kick) SF 7-3
    • GB - Freeman 2 pass from Favre (Longwell kick) GB 10-7
    • SF - field goal Richey 34 Tie 10-10
    • GB - Levens 2 yard run (Longwell kick) GB 17-10
    • SF - Clark 8 yard pass from Young (Richey kick) Tie 17-17
    • SF - field goal Richey 48 SF 20-17
    • GB - field goal Longwell 37 Tie 20-20
    • SF - field goal Richey 40 SF 23-20
    • GB - Freeman 15 pass from Favre (Longwell kick) GB 27-23
    • SF - Owens 25 pass from Young (Richey kick) SF 30-27

Byes

Divisional playoffs

January 9, 1999

NFC: Atlanta Falcons 20, San Francisco 49ers 18

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 10 0 8 18
Falcons 7 7 3 3 20

at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta running back Jamal Anderson rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while the Falcons defense intercepted three passes from quarterback Steve Young as they barely escaped with a victory in the first playoff game ever played at the Georgia Dome. This would eventually prove to be the final postseason game in Young's hall of fame career.

Early in the first quarter, the 49ers suffered a major setback when running back Garrison Hearst suffered a broken leg. This turned out to be a devastating injury that would prevent Hearst from playing another game until the 2001 season. Two touchdown runs by Anderson gave the Falcons a 14-0 first half lead. Late in the second quarter, backup running back Terry Kirby fumbled a pitch from Young. After several players scrambled for it, the ball bounced up in the air and was picked up by Atlanta's Chuck Smith, who returned it for an apparent touchdown. However, line judge Ron Baynes ruled that Kirby briefly gained possession of the ball and his knee was down when touched by Atlanta linebacker Henri Crocket, and the 49ers regained possession. A few plays later, Young threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice, cutting the score to 14-7. Then on the Falcons ensuing possession, linebacker Charles Haley deflected a pass from Chris Chandler into the arms of defensive end Junior Bryant, who returned the interception to the Falcons 36-yard line. On the final play of the half, Wade Richey kicked a 36-yard field goal to cut the 49ers deficit to 14-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the 49ers drove all the way to the Falcons 3-yard line. But safety Eugene Robinson intercepted a pass from Young and returned it 77 yards, setting up Morten Andersen's 29-yard field goal. Later in the quarter, the 49ers drove deep into Falcons territory again, only to have Young throw an interception to William White, who returned the ball 14 yards with a personal foul on the 49ers adding another 15. At the end of Atlanta's ensuing drive, Andersen kicked his second field goal, giving his team a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.

With 2:57 left in the regulation, Young scored on an 8-yard touchdown run. Backup quarterback Ty Detmer fumbled the snap on the extra point attempt, but he picked up the ball and threw it to tight end Greg Clark for a successful 2-point conversion, making the score 20-18. San Francisco managed to force a punt and got the ball back with 34 seconds but no timeouts left. William White's interception at midfield as time expired sealed the victory. This was the last game for Jerry Markbreit as he retired from officiating NFL football.

  • Scoring
    • ATL - J. Anderson 2 run (M. Andersen kick) ATL 7-0
    • ATL - J. Anderson 34 run (M. Andersen kick) ATL 14-0
    • SF - Rice 17 pass from Young (Richey kick) ATL 14-7
    • SF - field goal Richey 36 ATL 14-10
    • ATL - field goal M. Andersen 29 ATL 17-10
    • ATL - field goal M. Andersen 32 ATL 20-10
    • SF - Young 8 yard run (Clark pass from Detmer) ATL 20-18

AFC: Denver Broncos 38, Miami Dolphins 3

1 2 3 4 Total
Dolphins 0 3 0 0 3
Broncos 14 7 3 14 38

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

Denver blew out Miami, outgaining them in rushing yards 250-14 and scoring touchdowns on each of their first three possessions. On their opening drive, they took 7:55 off the clock on the way to a 1-yard touchdown run by Terrell Davis. Then after forcing a punt, they moved the ball much faster, driving 66 yards in four plays and scoring with Davis' second touchdown on a 20-yard burst. Miami managed to respond with a 22-yard field goal from Olindo Mare. However, the Broncos stormed right back, driving 87 yards in 11 plays and scoring with Derek Loville's 11-yard touchdown run, giving them a 21-3 lead by halftime

On the first play of the second half, Davis took off for a 62-yard run, setting up Jason Elam's field goal to make the score 24-3. Miami managed to prevent Denver from scoring for the rest of the period, but in the fourth quarter, Broncos quarterback John Elway threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith. Then on Miami's ensuing drive, defensive end Neil Smith closed out the scoring by returning a fumble 79 yards for a touchdown.

Terrell Davis ran for 199 yards, caught a pass for 7 yards, and scored 2 touchdowns. Elway threw for 182 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 19 yards. Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino threw for 243 yards, but could not lead his team to a single touchdown and was intercepted twice. This was the only time that Hall of Famers Elway and Marino (both members of the famous 1983 draft class) faced each other in the playoffs; Elway was in his last season, and Marino in his next-to-last.

  • Scoring
    • DEN - Davis 1 run (Elam kick) DEN 7-0
    • DEN - Davis 20 run (Elam kick) DEN 14-0
    • MIA - field goal Mare 22 DEN 14-3
    • DEN - Loville 11 yard run (Elam kick) DEN 21-3
    • DEN - field goal Elam 32 DEN 24-3
    • DEN - R Smith 28 pass from Elway (Elam kick) DEN 31-3
    • DEN - N Smith 79 fumble return (Elam kick) DEN 38-3

January 10, 1999

AFC: New York Jets 34, Jacksonville Jaguars 24

1 2 3 4 Total
Jaguars 0 7 7 10 24
Jets 7 10 14 3 34

at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Quarterback Vinny Testaverde passed for 284 yards as the Jets held the ball for 39:16. Receiver Keyshawn Johnson caught 9 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 28 yards and a touchdown, recovered a fumble, and intercepted a pass on defense near the end of the game when he was brought in as an extra defensive back. Jets running back Curtis Martin rushed for 124 yards, caught 6 passes for 58 yards, and scored 2 touchdowns. Jacksonville receiver Jimmy Smith caught 5 passes for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Mark Brunell threw 3 touchdown passes, but was held to just 12 of 31 completions for 156 yards and intercepted 3 times.

Johnson's 21-yard touchdown reception on the opening drive of the game was the only score from either team in the first quarter. Most of the second quarter belonged to the Jets, who held the ball for all but 51 seconds of the period and added 10 points to their lead. First, John Hall made a 51-yard field goal. Then on New York's next drive, Martin lost a fumble that safety Chris Hudson initially recovered on the Jaguars 18-yard line. But during the return, he fumbled while attempting a lateral to teammate Dave Thomas as he was being tackled by Testaverde, and Johnson recovered the ball on New York's 34-yard line. The Jets then drove back into Jacksonville territory and scored with Johnson's 10-yard run. However, Brunell threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith on the last play of the half, cutting the score to 17-7.

Early in the third quarter, Jets defensive back Corwin Brown intercepted a pass from Brunell on third down and returned it 40 yards. On the ensuing drive, Testaverde's 23-yard completion to Johnson set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Martin. However, Jacksonville's Reggie Barlow returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards, setting up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Brunell to Keenan McCardell and cutting their deficit to 24-14. New York struck right back, with Testaverde throwing for 70 yards on a six minute drive then ended with Martin's second touchdown to put them up 31-14 going into the fourth quarter.

But Jacksonville refused to give up. First, Brunell threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Smith. Then a fumble from Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet set up a field goal from Mike Hollis, bringing the Jaguars to within one touchdown, 31-24. New York responded by driving inside the Jacksonville 20-yard line. With 2:30 left in the game, rookie safety Donovin Darius intercepted a pass from Testaverde in the end zone, but instead on kneeling down for a touchback, he attempted to return the ball and was tackled at the one yard line. Jacksonville was unable to get a first down on their ensuing drive and turned the ball over on downs. A few plays later, Hall kicked a field goal to put the game away..

  • Scoring
    • NYJ - K. Johnson 21 pass from Testaverde (Hall kick) NYJ 7-0
    • NYJ - field goal Hall 52 NYJ 10-0
    • NYJ - K. Johnson 10 run (Hall kick) NYJ 17-0
    • JAC - Smith 52 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick) NYJ 17-7
    • NYJ - Martin 1 run (Hall kick) NYJ 24-7
    • JAC - McCardell 3 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick) NYJ 24-14
    • NYJ - Martin 1 run (Hall kick) NYJ 31-14
    • JAC - Smith 19 pass from Brunell (Hollis kick) NYJ 31-21
    • JAC - field goal Hollis 37 NYJ 31-24
    • NYJ - field goal Hall 30 NYJ 34-24

NFC: Minnesota Vikings 41, Arizona Cardinals 21

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 0 7 7 7 21
Vikings 7 17 10 7 41

at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Running back Robert Smith led the Vikings to a victory as he ran for a team-playoff-record 124 yards and caught 2 passes for 14 yards. Fullback Leroy Hoard scored franchise playoff record 3 touchdowns, while quarterback Randall Cunningham completed 17 of 27 passes for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception. Arizona quarterback Jake Plummer threw for more yards than Cunningham, but was intercepted twice by Robert Griffith. Running back Mario Bates scored 3 touchdowns, but had only 4 rushing yards.

Hoard's 1-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the game gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead. Later in the period, the Vikings drove all the way to the Cardinals 7-yard line, but on the first play of the second quarter, defensive back Aeneas Williams intercepted a pass intended for Randy Moss in the end zone. However, Griffith recorded interceptions on each of the Cardinals next two possessions, setting up Cunningham's 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Glover and a 34-yard field goal by Gary Anderson. his gave the Vikings a 17-0 lead before Arizona had made a single completion or gained a first down. Arizona managed to respond with a 1-yard touchdown run from Bates, but Smith's 45-yard run on the ensuing drive set up Hoard's 16-yard touchdown reception, increasing the Vikings lead to 24-7 by halftime.

Leading 27-14 late in the third quarter, Minnesota took advantage of a fumbled snap by Plummer by converting it into Cunningham's third touchdown pass of the day, a 3-yard pass to Moss. Arizona responded with another touchdown run from Bates, but the Vikings struck back with Hoard's 6-yard touchdown run at the end of a 12-play drive to seal the victory.

  • Scoring
    • MIN - Hoard 1 run (Anderson kick) MIN 7-0
    • MIN - Glover 15 pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick) MIN 14-0
    • MIN - field goal Anderson 34 MIN 17-0
    • ARI - Bates 1 run (Jacke kick) MIN 17-7
    • MIN - Hoard 16 pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick) MIN 24-7
    • ARI - Bates 1 run (Jacke kick) MIN 24-14
    • MIN - field goal Anderson 20 MIN 27-14
    • MIN - Moss 2 pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick) MIN 34-14
    • ARI - Bates 1 run (Jacke kick) MIN 34-21
    • MIN - Hoard 6 run (Anderson kick) MIN 41-21

Conference Championships

January 17, 1999

NFC: Atlanta Falcons 30, Minnesota Vikings 27 (OT)

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Falcons 7 7 3 10 3 30
Vikings 7 13 0 7 0 27

at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

This was the first conference championship game to feature two teams who play their home games in domes. The Falcons came into the game as 11 point underdogs, but managed to win an extremely competitive game late in overtime, making Minnesota the first 15-1 team ever to fail to reach the Super Bowl. The Vikings had set an NFL record with 556 points and won their nine previous home games by an average of 23 points, but they could not win this game despite maintaining a lead for nearly all of the time in regulation. Fox Sports ranked it the third most exciting NFC Championship Game ever.

Atlanta took the opening kickoff and stormed down the field, scoring with Chris Chandler's 5-yard pass to Jamal Anderson. Aided by a 30-yard pass interference penalty on Falcons defensive back Ray Buchanan, Minnesota struck right back on their first drive with Randall Cunningham's 31-yard scoring strike to Randy Moss. In the second quarter, the Vikings converted an Atlanta fumble into a Gary Anderson field goal. Then after forcing a punt, Cunningham's 1-yard touchdown run increased his team's lead to 17-7 with 5 minutes left in the half. Atlanta lost another fumble on their next possession, giving the ball back to Minnesota again. The Vikings blew a chance at another touchdown when Moss dropped a pass in the end zone, but Anderson kicked another field goal to make the score 20-7. After forcing another Atlanta punt, the Vikings attempted to increase their lead more before halftime, but this time Falcons lineman Chuck Smith forced a fumble from Cunningham and Atlanta recovered the ball deep in Vikings territory, setting up Chandler's 14-yard touchdown pass to Terance Mathis to cut their deficit to 20-14 by the end of the half. It was the turning point for the Falcons, as the game's momentum began to shift their way.

Atlanta forced the Vikings to punt on the opening drive of the second half, and two plays by receiver Tim Dwight, a 26-yard punt return and a 21-yard run, set up Morten Andersen's 27-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 3 points. The Vikings countered on their ensuing possession, driving 82 yards in 15 plays and scoring on Matthew Hatchette's 5-yard reception to make the score 27-17 with just over 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta responded by driving inside the Vikings 10-yard line and scoring with Andersen's 24-yard field goal, narrowing the gap to 27-20. Minnesota took the ensuing kickoff and marched down to the Falcons 30-yard line, but lost their scoring opportunity when Cunningham fumbled a snap and Atlanta recovered the ball. The Falcons subsequently marched deep into Vikings territory, but also failed to score when Chandler's incomplete pass on a fourth down and 2 attempt turned the ball over on downs with 6 minutes left in regulation.

Minnesota then drove to the Falcons 20-yard line, setting up a 38-yard field goal attempt for Gary Anderson, who had not missed a field goal all season. Another successful kick would have all but wrapped up the NFC title for Minnesota, but Anderson's kick sailed wide left, giving the ball back to Atlanta with 2:07 left and new life. Chandler then led his team down to the Vikings 16-yard line. Following a near interception by Minnesota LB Dwayne Rudd, Mathis' 16-yard touchdown catch tied the game with 49 seconds left. Viking's coach Dennis Green then chose to kneel down and sent the game into overtime.

After the first 3 possessions of overtime ended in punts, Chandler, on a bad ankle, led his team 70 yards to set up Andersen's 38-yard field goal with 3:08 remaining that put Atlanta in the Super Bowl for the first time in team history.

Chandler had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Tony Martin caught 5 passes for 129 yards. Cunningham also had a solid performance, throwing for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also rushing for 13 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

Numerous references to this game are made in Little Minnesota, an episode from the television series How I Met Your Mother.

  • Scoring
    • ATL - J. Anderson 5 pass from Chandler (M. Andersen kick) ATL 7-0
    • MIN - Moss 31 pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick) Tie 7-7
    • MIN - field goal Anderson 29 MIN 10-7
    • MIN - Cunningham 1 run (Anderson kick) MIN 17-7
    • MIN - field goal Anderson 35 MIN 20-7
    • ATL - Mathis 14 pass from Chandler (M. Andersen kick) MIN 20-14
    • ATL - field goal M. Andersen 27 MIN 20-17
    • MIN - Hatchette 5 pass from Cunningham (Anderson kick) MIN 27-17
    • ATL - field goal M. Andersen 24 MIN 27-20
    • ATL - Mathis 16 pass from Chandler (M. Andersen kick) Tie 27-27
    • ATL - field goal M. Andersen 38 ATL 30-27

AFC: Denver Broncos 23, New York Jets 10

1 2 3 4 Total
Jets 0 3 7 0 10
Broncos 0 0 20 3 23

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

In John Elway's last home game of his career, he completed only 13 of 34 passes. However, running back Terrell Davis, the NFL MVP in 1998, ran for 167 yards and a touchdown, and Denver capitalized on 6 turnovers (two interceptions by defensive back Darrien Gordon and four fumbles) by the Jets to overcome a 10-0 deficit. Jets running back Curtis Martin was held to just 14 rushing yards on 13 carries. New York quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw for 356 yards, but no touchdowns and was intercepted twice.

Both teams blew scoring opportunities throughout the first half. The Jets took the opening kickoff and drove deep into Denver territory, only to have John Hall miss a 42-yard field goal attempt. New York forced the Broncos to punt on their ensuing possession, and Dave Meggett gave his team good field position with a 33-yard return. However, Martin lost a fumble on the Broncos 44-yard line and defensive back Tyrone Braxton recovered it. Then Denver took the ball and drove all the way to the Jets 1-yard line, only to give it back when linebacker Mo Lewis deflected Elway's pass on a fourth down conversion attempt.

In the second quarter, Broncos punter Tom Rouen fumbled a snap and was downed on the Denver 43-yard line. New York subsequently drove to the 18-yard line, but then fullback Keith Byars fumbled the ball and linebacker John Mobley recovered it. On their next drive, New York opened up the scoring with Hall's 32-yard field goal. Then early in the second half, the Jets tight end Blake Spence blocked a punt and recovered it on the Broncos 1-yard line. On the next play, Martin scored a 1-yard touchdown run to increase their lead to 10-0.

However, Denver stormed back with 23 unanswered points. On their ensuing possession, Elway completed a 47-yard pass to Ed McCaffrey. Two plays later, his 11-yard touchdown pass to Howard Griffith cut the score to 10-7. Then the Broncos caught a lucky break when the ensuing kickoff bounced back in their direction and was recovered by linebacker Keith Burns, setting up Jason Elam's 44-yard field goal to tie the game. The next time Denver got the ball, Elam kicked another field goal, giving the Broncos their first lead of the game.

With time running out the third quarter, Gordon's 36 yard punt return gave the Broncos great field position. A few plays later, Davis' 31-yard touchdown burst 18 seconds into the fourth quarter gave them a 20-10 lead. Later in the period, Elam kicked a 35-yard field goal to close out the scoring.

  • Scoring
    • NYJ - field goal Hall 32 NYJ 3-0
    • NYJ - Martin 1 run (Hall kick) NYJ 10-0
    • DEN - Griffith 11 pass from Elway (Elam kick) NYJ 10-7
    • DEN - field goal Elam 44 Tie 10-10
    • DEN - field goal Elam 48 DEN 13-10
    • DEN - Davis 31 run (Elam kick) DEN 20-10
    • DEN - field goal Elam 35 DEN 23-10

Super Bowl

Denver Broncos (AFC) 34, Atlanta Falcons (NFC) 19, at Pro Player Stadium, Miami, Florida

Bracket

  Wild Card Playoffs Divisional Playoffs Conference Championships Super Bowl XXXIII
                                     
6  New England 10  
3  Jacksonville 25  
  3  Jacksonville 24  
    2  N.Y. Jets 34  
      
        
  2  N.Y. Jets 10  
AFC
  1  Denver 23  
5  Buffalo 17  
4  Miami 24  
  4  Miami 3
    1  Denver 38  
      
        
  A1  Denver 34
  N2  Atlanta 19
5  Green Bay 27  
4  San Francisco 30  
  4  San Francisco 18
    2  Atlanta 20  
      
        
  2  Atlanta 30*
NFC
  1  Minnesota 27  
6  Arizona 20  
3  Dallas 7  
  6  Arizona 21
    1  Minnesota 41  
      
  • Indicates overtime victory

References


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