NFL playoffs, 1994-95

NFL playoffs, 1994-95

The NFL playoffs following the 1994 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XXIX.

Playoff seeds
1 Pittsburgh Steelers (Central winner) San Francisco 49ers (West winner)
2 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Dallas Cowboys (East winner)
3 Miami Dolphins (East winner) Minnesota Vikings (Central winner)
4 Cleveland Browns Green Bay Packers
5 New England Patriots Detroit Lions
6 Kansas City Chiefs Chicago Bears


  Wild Card Playoffs Divisional Playoffs Conference Championships Super Bowl XXIX
6  Kansas City 17  
3  Miami 27  
  3  Miami 21  
    2  San Diego 22  
  2  San Diego 17  
  1  Pittsburgh 13  
5  New England 13  
4  Cleveland 20  
  4  Cleveland 9
    1  Pittsburgh 29  
  A2  San Diego 26
  N1  San Francisco 49
5  Detroit 12  
4  Green Bay 16  
  4  Green Bay 9
    2  Dallas 35  
  2  Dallas 28
  1  San Francisco 38  
6  Chicago 35  
3  Minnesota 18  
  6  Chicago 15
    1  San Francisco 44  

Wild Card playoffs

December 31, 1994

NFC: Green Bay Packers 16, Detroit Lions 12

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Lions 0 0 3912
Packers 7 3 3316

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

The Packers defense held Lions running back Barry Sanders to -1 rushing yards, while holding Detroit to 12 points and -4 yards on the ground. Green Bay scored first when running back Dorsey Levens capped the Packers opening 76-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown. The Packers later led 13-3 going into the fourth quarter after Packers kicker Chris Jacke made two field goals and Lions kicker Jason Hanson made one. In the final quarter, Detroit quarterback Dave Krieg threw a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Brett Perriman, cutting the deficit to 13–10. However, Jacke made a 28-yard field goal with 5:35 left to make it 16-10. The Lions reached the Green Bay 11-yard line with 2:00 to play, but Packers linebacker Bryce Paup sacked Krieg for a 6-yard loss. Then on fourth down and 14 from the 17-yard line, Detroit wide receiver Herman Moore caught Krieg's pass at the back of the end zone, but came out of bounds past the end line. Afterwards, Green Bay ran out the rest of the clock, giving up an intentional safety on the last play of the contest.

Lions receiver Mel Gray returned 4 kickoffs for 159 yards and a punt for 17. Paup had two sacks.

AFC: Miami Dolphins 27, Kansas City Chiefs 17

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chiefs 14 3 0017
Dolphins 7 10 10027

at Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida

This game marked the second time in December 1994 that the Monday Night Football crew came to Miami to cover a game between these two teams - on December 12, the Dolphins beat the Chiefs 45-28.

After a 17–17 tie at halftime, the Dolphins forced two turnovers in the second half to stop any Chiefs scoring threat. Both teams scored on each of their first three possessions of the game. Kansas City quarterback Joe Montana, playing in his last NFL game before retiring, threw two touchdowns in the first half: a 1-yard completion to tight end Derrick Walker and a 57-yarder to running back Kimble Anders. Meanwhile, Kansas City kicker Lin Elliot made a 21-yard field goal. For Miami in the first half, running back Bernie Parmalee scored a 1-yard touchdown, quarterback Dan Marino threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ronnie Williams, and kicker Pete Stoyanovich made a 40-yard field goal.

The Dolphins then took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 64 yards to score on wide receiver Irving Fryar's 7-yard touchdown reception. Stoyanovich then kicked a 40-yard field goal to give Miami a 27-17 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, Dolphins defensive back J.B. Brown intercepted a pass from Montana at the goal line. Then with 7:31 left in the game, Dolphins defensive back Michael Stewart wrestled the ball away from Chiefs running back Marcus Allen at the Miami 34-yard line to stop a second Kansas City scoring threat.

Montana finished his final postseason game with 314 passing yards and two touchdowns.

January 1, 1995

AFC: Cleveland Browns 20, New England Patriots 13

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Patriots 0 10 0313
Browns 3 7 7320

at Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

The Browns intercepted three passes from New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe and halted attempted comeback in the final minutes of the game to clinch the victory. Cleveland scored first on kicker Matt Stover's 30-yard field goal, but New England responded with Bledsoe's 5-yard touchdown pass to running back Leroy Thompson. The Browns then scored on Mark Carrier's 5-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Vinny Testaverde, but Patriots kicker Matt Bahr made a 23-yard field goal before halftime to tie the game, 10-10. In the third quarter, Cleveland running back Leroy Hoard scored on a 10-yard rushing touchdown. Then, Stover made a 21-yard field goal, giving the Browns a 20-10 lead with 3:36 left in the game. However, New England put together a 63-yard drive to score on Bahr's 33-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining. New England then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but after gaining a first down, Bledsoe threw 4 straight incompletions and the ball was turned back to Cleveland on downs.

NFC: Chicago Bears 35, Minnesota Vikings 18

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bears 0 14 71435
Vikings 3 6 3618

at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bears quarterback Steve Walsh passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns as he led Chicago to a win. However, the Bears committed two turnovers on their first two possession, leading to Vikings kicker Fuad Reveiz's 29-yard field goal to open the scoring. But Chicago scored two unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter: running back Lewis Tillman's 1-yard run and Walsh's 9-yard completion to tight end Keith Jennings. Minnesota wide receiver Cris Carter caught a 4-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Warren Moon with 19 seconds left in the first half, cutting the score to 14-9 (the two-point conversion failed). In the third quarter, Bears running back Raymont Harris scored a 29-yard touchdown before Reveiz made a 48-yard field goal. Then in the fourth quarter, Walsh threw a 21-yard touchdown completion to wide receiver Jeff Graham. Moon later threw an 11-yard touchdown to running back Amp Lee, but Chicago defensive back Kevin Minniefield returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown to close out the scoring.


Divisional playoffs

January 7, 1995

AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers 29, Cleveland Browns 9

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Browns 0 3 069
Steelers 3 21 3229

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Aided by running back Barry Foster's 133 rushing yards, the Steelers controlled the game by scoring on their first three possessions and holding the ball for 42:27. Pittsburgh jumped to a 17-0 lead by the second quarter with a 39-field goal by kicker Gary Anderson, quarterback Neil O'Donnell's 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Green, and running back John L. Williams' 26-yard touchdown run. Browns kicker Matt Stover made a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead, 17-3, but in the closing seconds of the quarter, Steelers defensive back Tim McKyer intercepted a pass from Cleveland quarterback Vinny Testaverde and returned it to the Browns 6-yard line. O'Donnell then completed a 9-yard touchdown to wide receiver Yancey Thigpen with 16 seconds left in the first half. In the final quarter, Testaverde completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Keenan McCardell, but the Cleveland quarterback was later sacked in the end zone by Pittsburgh defensive back Carnell Lake for a safety.

NFC: San Francisco 49ers 44, Chicago Bears 15

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bears 3 0 01215
49ers 7 23 7744

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

  • Game time: 4:00 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 54 °F (12 °C), rain
  • Game attendance: 64,644
  • Referee: Howard Roe
  • TV announcers (Fox): Dick Stockton and Matt Millen

The 49ers scored on six consecutive possessions to crush the Bears 44–15. Chicago scored first after a fumble by San Francisco tight end Brent Jones set up kicker Kevin Butler's 39-yard field goal. However, the 49ers then scored 37 unanswered points, including 23 in the second quarter. They led 30–3 at halftime. San Francisco rookie running back William Floyd scored three touchdowns from 2, 4, and 1 yard out. 49ers quarterback Steve Young threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jones, and ran for a 6-yard score. San Francisco kicker Doug Brien also added a 36-yard field goal. The Bears eventually scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but the game was already out of reach and the 49ers had already replaced their starters with their backups.

January 8, 1995

NFC: Dallas Cowboys 35, Green Bay Packers 9

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Packers 3 6 009
Cowboys 14 14 0735

at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman led his team to victory by completing 23 out of 30 passes for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide receiver Alvin Harper caught 2 passes for 108 yards, including a 94-yard touchdown reception that broke the NFL playoff record for the longest play from scrimmage. Wide receiver Michael Irvin recorded 6 receptions for 111 yards. Tight end Scott Galbraith scored on a 1-yard catch and tight end Jay Novacek added 11 catches for 104 yards. Dallas running back Emmitt Smith recorded a 5-yard touchdown before leaving the game with a hamstring injury, while backup running back Blair Thomas rushed for 70 yards and scored from 1 yard and 2 yards out. For the Packers, kicker Chris Jacke made a 50-yard field goal while running back Edgar Bennett scored on a 1-yard touchdown. Receiver Robert Brooks caught 8 passes for 138 yards.

AFC: San Diego Chargers 22, Miami Dolphins 21

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Dolphins 7 14 0021
Chargers 0 6 9722

at Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego

The Chargers overcame a 21-6 halftime deficit by limiting the Dolphins offense to only 16 plays in the second half. Miami quarterback Dan Marino threw three touchdowns in the first half: two to tight end Keith Jackson for 8 and 9 yards, and a 16-yarder to wide receiver Mike Williams. San Diego could only counter with two field goals by kicker John Carney. But in the third quarter, Chargers defensive lineman Reuben Davis tackled Dolphins running back Bernie Parmalee in the end zone for a safety. San Diego then took the ensuing free kick and marched 54 yards to score on running back Natrone Means' 24-yard touchdown. The Chargers later took the lead, 22–21, with 35 seconds left with quarterback Stan Humphries's 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mark Seay. Miami kicker Pete Stoyanovich then attempted a game-winning 48-yard field goal on the final play of the game, but his kick was wide right.

Conference championships

January 15, 1995

AFC Championship: San Diego Chargers 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 13

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chargers 0 3 7717
Steelers 7 3 3013

at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh

The Chargers scored 14 unanswered points in the second half to upset the heavily favored Steelers. In one of the greatest games in his career, Junior Seau recorded 16 tackles while playing with a pinched nerve in his neck.[1] Although Pittsburgh held advantages in total plays (80–47), total offensive yards (415–226), and time of possession (37:13–22:47), it was San Diego who made the big plays.

The Steelers took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards to a score on Neil O'Donnell's 16-yard touchdown pass to fullback John L. Williams. O'Donnell also made two big completions to Andre Hastings on the drive, the first for 18 yards, and the second for 11 yards on 4th down and 2. Later in the quarter, the Chargers got a big opportunity when safety Darren Carrington recovered a fumble from Steelers running back Barry Foster on the San Diego 41, but Pittsburgh's defense stepped up and force a punt. Pittsburgh then advanced the ball to the Chargers 27-yard line, but a holding penalty pushed them out of field goal range and they ended up punting it back.

In the second quarter, San Diego's offense finally managed to get a drove going, with running back Natrone Means rushing for 17 yards and catching a pass for 15. On the next play, a long pass interference penalty gave them a first down on the Steelers 3-yard line, but they could not get into the end zone and settled for John Carney's field goal, cutting the score to 7-3. Pittsburgh struck back with a 12-play, 51-yard drive, including three first down completions from O'Donnell to receiver Ernie Mills, and scored on Gary Anderson's 39-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the half. Although their halftime lead was only 10-3, Pittsburgh seemed in control of the game. They had outgained San Diego in total yards 229-46, and first downs 13-4.

The situation kept getting better for Pittsburgh in the second half. O'Donnell was intercepted by cornerback Rod Woodson on the third play of the quarter, and O'Donnell's 33-yard ariel strike to tight end Eric Green set up Anderson's 23-yard field goal, increasing their lead to 13-3. But on the 5th play of the Chargers ensuing drive, quarterback Stan Humphries faked a handoff, fooling the Steelers defensive backs long enough to find tight end Alfred Pupunu wide open to complete a 43-yard touchdown. The score was cut to 13-10 and would remain so going into the fourth quarter.[2]

Early in the final period, Humphries completed consecutive passes to Pupunu for 31 yards, moving the ball across midfield. Then with 5:13 left in the game, Humphries threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tony Martin, who out-jumped defensive back Tim McKyer to make the catch and give the Chargers a 17–13 lead. O'Donnell then completed seven consecutive passes, the longest a 21-yard gain to Green that gave them a first and goal at the Chargers 9-yard line and put them in position for a potential winning touchdown. However, Foster was dropped for a one-yard loss on the next play, followed by an incompletion and a 7-yard catch by Williams. On fourth down, Chargers linebacker Dennis Gibson sealed the victory by tipping away O'Donnell's pass intended for Foster. The Steelers lost for the first time during the season in which they held a lead at halftime. (In 1994, they were 9–0 when leading at halftime prior to this game.)

O'Donnell finished the game with 32/54 completions for 349 yards and a touchdown. His top receiver was Mills, who caught 8 passes for 106 yards. Humphries completed 11/22 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, with 1 interception.[3]

NFC Championship: San Francisco 49ers 38, Dallas Cowboys 28

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Cowboys 7 7 7728
49ers 21 10 7038

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

This was the third straight season that the Cowboys and 49ers met in the NFC Championship Game, with Dallas winning the first two conference title games. San Francisco quarterback Steve Young still faced the pressure of "never being able to win the big ones", while Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman entered the game with a 7–0 win-loss record as a starter in the playoffs.

Although the Cowboys eventually held a 451–294 advantage in total offensive yards, the 49ers converted three turnovers into three touchdowns in the first quarter en route to the 38–28 victory. On the third play of the game, San Francisco cornerback Eric Davis intercepted Aikman's pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown. Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin lost a fumble on the next Dallas possession, setting up a 29-yard touchdown pass from Young to running back Ricky Watters, who eluded several Cowboys defenders high-stepping his way down the sideline en route to the goal line in spectacular showboating fashion. Dallas returner Kevin Williams then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, San Francisco kicker Doug Brien recovered the ball at the Cowboys 35-yard line, and running back William Floyd scored on a 1-yard touchdown to give his team a 21–0 lead with 7:33 left in the first quarter.

A 44-yard touchdown pass from Aikman to Irvin cut the lead 21-7 going into the second quarter. Brien then kicked a 34-yard field goal, but Dallas countered with a 4-yard rushing touchdown by running back Emmitt Smith. In the closing minutes of the first half, Aikman threw three straight incompletions, and a short punt by the Cowboys set up Young's 28-yard touchdown completion to All-Pro wide receiver Jerry Rice, who made a diving catch in the back-left corner of the end zone with 8 seconds left in the first half.

In the third quarter, Smith scored on a 1-yard touchdown, but was countered with Young's 3-yard rushing touchdown. In the final quarter, Smith, who compiled 74 yards and two touchdowns, departed with an injured hamstring, which he had already injured before this game, it got enough wear and tear to the point he couldn't play anymore. Aikman then completed a 10-yard touchdown to Irvin in the final quarter, but Dallas could not score again. On a critical play in the final quarter, the refs threw a flag but it was on Cowboys coach Barry Switzer for being on the field arguing a no-call. Although Aikman broke an NFC Championship Game record with 380 yards passing, and Irvin also broke an NFC Championship Game record with 192 receiving yards, ultimately the first-quarter turnovers were too much to overcome.

Super Bowl XXIX: San Francisco 49ers 49, San Diego Chargers 26

Further information: Super Bowl XXIX
Game summary
1 2 34Total
Chargers (AFC) 7 3 8826
49ers (NFC) 14 14 14749

at Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami, Florida

  • Date: January 29, 1995
  • Game attendance: 74,107
  • Referee: Jerry Markbreit
  • TV announcers (ABC): Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, and Dan Dierdorf