NFL playoffs, 1984-85

NFL playoffs, 1984-85

The NFL playoffs following the 1984 NFL season led up to Super Bowl XIX.

The two wild card games were held on different days because both venues were in the Pacific Standard Time Zone. The NFL did not schedule prime time playoff games on the east coast until 2002. Normally, playoff games started at either 12:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/9:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time or 4 p.m. EST/1 p.m. PST. A 9:30 a.m. PST game was considered too early to be played on the west coast.

Playoff seeds
Seed AFC NFC
1 Miami Dolphins (East winner) San Francisco 49ers (West winner)
2 Denver Broncos (West winner) Washington Redskins (East winner)
3 Pittsburgh Steelers (Central winner) Chicago Bears (Central winner)
4 Seattle Seahawks Los Angeles Rams
5 Los Angeles Raiders New York Giants

Bracket

Wild Card playoffs

December 22, 1984

AFC: Seattle Seahawks 13, Los Angeles Raiders 7

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Raiders 0 0 077
Seahawks 0 7 3313

at Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

The Seahawks ran for 205 rushing yards while Seattle's defense forced 2 interceptions and 6 sacks to avenge their AFC championship loss to LA in the previous season. Although Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg only completed 4 passes in 10 attempts, he threw a 26-yard touchdown to Daryl Turner. Meanwhile, running back Dan Doornink recorded 29 carries for 126 rushing yards and a 14-yard reception, while kicker Norm Johnson made two field goals. Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett threw a 46-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, but his team could not overcome his 2 interceptions or Seattle's ball control offense.

December 23, 1984

NFC: New York Giants 16, Los Angeles Rams 13

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Giants 10 0 6016
Rams 0 3 7313

at Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim, California

In a defensive struggle, the Giants ended up scoring one more field goal than the Rams. Giants kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh made 3 field goals while the Rams' Mike Lansford made 2. In the first quarter, New York defensive back Bill Currier recovered a fumble at Los Angeles 23-yard line, setting up running back Rob Carpenter's touchdown run. Running back Eric Dickerson recorded a 14-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The Rams lost five fumbles in this game.

Divisional playoffs

December 29, 1984

AFC: Miami Dolphins 31, Seattle Seahawks 10

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Seahawks 0 10 0010
Dolphins 7 7 14331

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

The Dolphins ran off 70 plays, gained 405 yards of total offense, and scored 17 unanswered points in the second half. Miami scored first with Tony Nathan's 14-yard touchdown run, but the Seahawks responded with a field goal. In the second quarter, Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino threw a 34-yard pass to wide receiver Jimmy Cefalo, but Seattle wide receiver Steve Largent, who finished the game with 6 receptions for 128 yards, recorded a 56-yard touchdown catch, and Miami only lead 14-10 before halftime. However, the Dolphins dominated the Seahawks in the second half. Marino threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter: a 3-yard pass to tight end Bruce Hardy, and a 33-yarder to wide receiver Mark Clayton after the Dolphins recovered a fumble.

NFC: San Francisco 49ers 21, New York Giants 10

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Giants 0 10 0010
49ers 14 7 0021

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

Quarterback Joe Montana threw for 309 yards and 3 touchdown passes as he led the 49ers to a victory, while receiver Dwight Clark caught 9 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. The 49ers defense also played exceptionally well, holding the Giants offense to a single field goal even though Montana was intercepted 3 times. On San Francisco's first drive of the game, Montana completed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Clark. Then defensive back Ronnie Lott intercepted a pass to set up Montana's 9-yard pass to Russ Francis. In the second quarter, New York kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh's 46-yard field goal and linebacker Harry Carson's 14-yard interception return for a touchdown cut the score, 14-10. But Montana responded with a 29-yard touchdown to Freddie Solomon. Both defenses then controlled the rest of the game, allowing no points in the second half.

December 30, 1984

NFC: Chicago Bears 23, Washington Redskins 19

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bears 0 10 13023
Redskins 3 0 14219

at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.

The Bears upset the Redskins' bid for a third consecutive NFC championship with clutch plays and a stout defense that forced 3 turnovers and 7 sacks. Chicago's victory was Washington's first-ever playoff defeat at RFK Stadium.

With the scored tied 3-3 in the second quarter, the Bears executed a halfback option play at the Redskins' 19-yard line, with running back Walter Payton throwing a 19-yard touchdown to Pat Dunsmore. Then on the second play in the third period, Bears wide receiver Willie Gault caught a short pass from quarterback Steve Fuller, evaded Redskins defensive back Darrell Green who was too aggressive in trying to make an interception, and turned upfield for a 75-yard touchdown. Redskins running back John Riggins capped off a 74-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run then cut the lead, 16-10. But a roughing the passer penalty call against Ken Coffey set up Dennis McKinnon's 16-yard reception to cap a Chicago 77-yard scoring drive to push their lead back to 13 at 23-10.

Washington attempted a comeback late in the third quarter. Rich Milot recovered a Fuller fumble at the Chicago 36-yard line, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Riggins to cut the Bears lead to six. Then after being backing up deep in their own territory on fourth down with eight minutes left in the game, Chicago punter Dave Finzer stepped out of the end zone and give the Redskins an intentional safety to make it 23-19. Washington then advanced to the Bears 24-yard line, but quarterback Joe Theismann threw three straight incompletions and Mark Moseley missed a 41-yard field goal attempt. Two other Washington possessions went nowhere and Chicago moved on to the NFC championship game.

Payton finished the game with a career postseason high 104 rushing yards, and caught one pass for 12.

This game would be the only time in Joe Gibbs' original tenure in Washington that his team would lose their opening playoff game. It happened for the only other time in what was Gibbs' final game in his career in the 2007-08 NFL playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks.

AFC: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Denver Broncos 17

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Steelers 0 10 7724
Broncos 7 0 10017

at Mile High Stadium, Denver, Colorado

The Broncos scored first after linebacker Tom Jackson's fumble recovery set up quarterback John Elway's 9-yard touchdown pass to Jim Wright. But Pittsburgh then scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter, including running back Frank Pollard's 1-yard touchdown. Denver tied the game in the third period with a 21-yard field goal. Then Elway completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Steve Watson to take the lead. But the Steelers tied the game with a quarterback Mark Malone's 10-yard touchdown to Louis Lipps. With 3 minutes left in the game, Steelers safety Eric Williams returned an interception to the Broncos' 2-yard line to set up Pollard's winning touchdown. Malone finished the game with 227 passing yards and a touchdown. This was Elway's first playoff game as a starter; because of the Broncos' elimination, he was denied the opportunity to play in the only Super Bowl to be held at his college home field, Stanford Stadium.

Conference championships

January 6, 1985

AFC Championship: Miami Dolphins 45, Pittsburgh Steelers 28

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Steelers 7 7 7728
Dolphins 7 17 14745

at Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida

Pittsburgh racked up 455 yards of offense and converted 54% of their third downs, but it still wasn't enough to keep pace with Miami, who gained 569 yards in 71 plays en route to their fifth Super Bowl in franchise history. Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino led the Dolphins to a victory by throwing for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns with 1 interception. Steelers quarterback Mark Malone recorded 312 yards and 3 touchdowns, but was intercepted 3 times.

Miami scored first on Marino's 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mark Clayton, but Pittsburgh countered with running back Rich Erenberg 7-yard rushing touchdown. Then after Dolphins kicker Uwe von Schamann made a 26-yard field goal, the Steelers took the lead, 14-10, with wide receiver John Stallworth's 65-yard touchdown reception. Marino threw a 41-yard touchdown to wide receiver Mark Duper, and an interception then set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Tony Nathan to give Miami a 24-14 lead before halftime. On the opening drive of the second half, Marino completed a 36-yard touchdown to Duper. Then after Stallworth caught a 19-yard touchdown, the Dolphins scored two more touchdowns, including Marino's fourth score, to clinch the victory. Malone threw a 29-yard touchdown pass in the final period to close out the scoring.

Duper finished the game with 5 receptions for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. Clayton caught 4 passes for 95 yards and a score. Nathan rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown, while also catching 8 passes for 114 yards. Stallworth caught 4 passes for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns in the final postseason game of his Hall of Fame career.

NFC Championship: San Francisco 49ers 23, Chicago Bears 0

Game summary
1 2 34Total
Bears 0 0 000
49ers 3 3 71023

at Candlestick Park, San Francisco

The 49ers passed for 228 yards while limiting the Bears to only 37 passing yards and no points. San Francisco kicker Ray Wersching made 3 field goals, running back Wendell Tyler scored on a 9-yard touchdown on the 49ers first possession of the third quarter, and quarterback Joe Montana threw a 10-yard score to Freddie Solomon early in the fourth quarter. Chicago quarterback Steve Fuller threw one interception and was sacked 9 times. Bears safety Gary Fencik intercepted Montana twice in the first half, but Chicago could not convert those turnovers into points.

Super Bowl XIX: San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16

Further information: Super Bowl XIX
Game summary
1 2 34Total
Dolphins (AFC) 10 6 0016
49ers (NFC) 7 21 10038

at Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California

  • Date: January 20, 1985
  • Game attendance: 84,059
  • Referee: Pat Haggerty
  • TV announcers (ABC): Frank Gifford, Don Meredith, and Joe Theismann

References