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San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs in for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)
January 24th, 2022
The Divisional Round of this year’s NFL playoffs gave us some truly memorable matchups. Every game was decided on the final play, and it's fair to say it was among the most dramatic full weekends in NFL playoff history.
It set the stage beautifully for a Conference Championship weekend that promises to deliver plenty of intrigue as unexpected contenders have arisen from the chaos.
In the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that gives us Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes. The NFC gives us a West Division matchup with the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Los Angeles Rams in a battle of elite defenses.
In eager anticipation of the games ahead, let’s take a look at some of the most unbreakable records in NFL Conference Championship history.
Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time and has the seven Super Bowl rings to prove it, but the record that is arguably just as impressive is TB12's 10 conference championship victories. Nine of them came with the New England Patriots, and it is an absolutely incredible number considering some of the game’s greatest players have two or fewer.
The NFL is built on parity, and the league is set up to make it difficult for winning teams to continue dominating. The Chiefs and Mahomes have a nice run going, but as players like Burrow, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert emerge and grow, it is hard to envision the Chiefs replicating Brady’s success, or for any other player to maintain such dominance for such a prolonged period of time.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert made history on Jan. 19, 2020 when he put up 220 rushing yards in a landslide 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Two years ago today...Raheem Mostert ran all over the Packers. 220 yards and four TDs. 😲 #FTTB 📺: #SFvsGB -- Saturday 8:15pm ET on FOX📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/ysZlsZVmmI— NFL (@NFL) January 19, 2022
Two years ago today...Raheem Mostert ran all over the Packers. 220 yards and four TDs. 😲 #FTTB 📺: #SFvsGB -- Saturday 8:15pm ET on FOX📱: NFL app pic.twitter.com/ysZlsZVmmI
As passing continues to take over the league, rushing attacks will continue to decline. Player speed on defense continues to improve as well, with linebackers and secondary players often being capable of catching running backs.
Mostert was a unique case with his elite sprinter speed on a Niners offense that was built to run with great success. Facing a Packers defense that struggled tremendously to stop the run, we saw a perfect storm that enabled Mostert to set the single-game rushing record, and it's hard to imagine it being broken anytime soon.
The Buffalo Bills began a run of four straight Super Bowl appearances beginning with the the 1990 season’s AFC Championship. They never won a Super Bowl victory during that stretch, but they did manage to set an unbreakable record with a 51-3 victory over the Los Angeles Raiders on Jan. 20, 1991.
The 48-point margin of victory is by far the largest in NFL Conference Championship history, and it seems impossible that such a whooping could ever occur again this late into the season. Even the team’s worst teams don’t have days that bad.
Quarterback Jim Kelly had 300 yards and his favorite target, James Lofton, caught both touchdown passes.
In the NFC Conference Championship on Jan. 20, 1991, two teams combined for eight made field goals. The New York Giants notched five, and the San Francisco 49ers added three of their own.
On this date in 1991, New York Giants kicker Matt Bahr set an NFC Championship Game record with five field goals (including a 42-yarder as time expired) to lift the Giants past the 49ers 15–13 and send the New York to the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/9mu3qaSsoa— brian (@brianbuck13) August 17, 2021
On this date in 1991, New York Giants kicker Matt Bahr set an NFC Championship Game record with five field goals (including a 42-yarder as time expired) to lift the Giants past the 49ers 15–13 and send the New York to the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/9mu3qaSsoa
This kind of strategy is from an era of yesteryear as analytics increasingly tells us that kicking a field goal diminishes your expected return. As a result, we see teams passing on field goals in favor of attempting fourth down conversions.
It's unlikely we'll ever see eight field goals attempted in an NFL Conference Championship game again, let alone made.
In Jan. 7, 1979, there must have been a full moon and black cats roaming the sidelines between the Houston Oilers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The game was a blowout won by the Steelers 34-5, but the remarkable record to come out of the game was the combined number of turnovers. The Oilers had nine, and the Steelers added five more for a combined 14 turnovers in a single NFL game.
Each team had six fumbles in cold, miserable weather. We will never see this many turnovers in an NFL Conference Championship game again.
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