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Greatest Moments in NFL Playoff History: Moments 31-40

Posted on January 05, 2010 by A.J. Foss
The Colts fell just short of pulling off a miracle in the 1995 AFC Championship Game.

The Colts fell just short of pulling off a miracle in the 1995 AFC Championship Game.

Continuing our look at the 50 greatest moments in NFL Playoff History (since the beginning of the Super Bowl era in 1966), today we look at moments 31-40. These moments include some great comebacks and some exciting final plays by some of the greatest players of all-time.

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40. 1966 NFL Championship-Packers vs. Cowboys
One year before their famous battle in the “Ice Bowl”, the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys played in another epic NFL Championship Game.

This game comes down to a goal-line stand as the Cowboys cannot get a touchdown after four plays from inside the 2 to tie the game and send into overtime.

The Cowboys’ fate is sealed when quarterback Don Meredith is intercepted in the end zone by Tom Brown on 4th-and-2 with 28 seconds to go.

The Packers come away with a 34-27 victory for their fourth NFL championship in seven years, and advance to the very first Super Bowl where they would trounce the AFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Ricky Proehl caught the game winning touchdown to help the Rams defeat the Buccaneers in the 1999 NFC Championship Game.

Ricky Proehl caught the game winning touchdown to help the Rams defeat the Buccaneers in the 1999 NFC Championship Game.

39. 1999 NFC Championship-Buccaneers vs. Rams
Following a 30-yard touchdown pass from Rams quarterback Kurt Warner to Ricky Proehl to with 4:44 left in the game to give the Rams a 11-6 lead, Buccaneers quarterback Shaun King leads his team down the field in hopes of scoring the winning touchdown.

King complete a 11-yard pass to Bert Emanuel at the Rams’ 22-yard line for a first down with 47 seconds left when the officials in the replay booth stopped play to review Emanuel’s catch.
Emanuel had control of the ball the entire time but the nose of the ball touched the ground leading to referee Bill Carollo to overturn the call on the field and ruling it an incomplete pass, making it third down for Tampa at the 33-yard line.

King threw incompletion on third and fourth down, ending the Buccaneers’ chances of advancing to the Super Bowl and allowing the Rams to escape with an 11-6 victory.

During the next offseason, the NFL changed the rules to accompany such a catch as the one Emanuel made in the NFC Championship Game against the Rams.

38. 2002 AFC Wild Card Game-Browns vs. Steelers
Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox throws three touchdown passes in the final 19 minutes to lead Pittsburgh back from a 24-7 deficit and to a 36-33 win over the Cleveland Browns.

The comeback was capped when the Steelers take their first lead of the game with 54 seconds remaining when Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to complete the fifth greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.

37. 1983 AFC Divisional Playoff-Seahawks vs. Dolphins
Making their first appearance in the NFL Playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks shock the defending AFC Champion Miami Dolphins 27-20 to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

Running back Curt Warner scores on a 2-yard touchdown run with 1:48 left to give Seattle a 24-20 lead which is followed by the Seahawks recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that leads to Norm Johnson’s game-icing 37-yard field goal.

36. 1991 AFC Divisional Playoff-Oilers vs. Broncos
It was déjà vu all over again for John Elway and the Broncos as Elway lead Denver from their own 2-yard line down the field for a score in the closing minutes of a playoff game.

This time, the Broncos trailed 24-23 with 2:07 left and had no timeouts left when they got the ball at the 2-yard-line.

All Elway did was drive his team 87 yards in 10 plays, which included two fourth down conversions (a Elway 7-yard run on 4th-and-6, then a 44-yard completion to Vance Johnson on a 4th-and-10) to set up David Treadwell’s game-winning 28-yard field goal with 16 seconds remaining for a 26-24 win.


35. 2003 NFC Divisional Playoff-Packers vs. Eagles

With 1:12 left in the fourth quarter and trailing 17-14, the Philadelphia Eagles convert an improbable a 4th-and-26 when quarterback Donovan McNabb completes a 28-yard pass to Freddie Mitchell, coming down at the Packers’ 46 with a first down.

The 4th-and-26 conversion leads to David Akers’ 37-yard game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime where Akers would kick a 31-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 20-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers and their third straight berth in the NFC Championship Game.

34. 1986 AFC Divisional Playoff-Jets vs. Browns
The Browns score 10 points in the last 1:57 of regulation, then win the game 2:02 into the second overtime when Mark Moseley kicks a 27-yard field goal give the Browns a 23-20 win in the third longest game in NFL history.

Bernie Kosar and the Browns rallied to defeat the Jets and reach the 1986 AFC Championship Game.

Bernie Kosar and the Browns rallied to defeat the Jets and reach the 1986 AFC Championship Game.

The comeback is helped by Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau, who spears quarterback Bernie Kosar and is called for a roughing the passer penalty, on an incomplete pass and the Browns about to face a 3rd-and-24 at their own 18-yard line with nearly four minutes left and trailing 20-10.

Instead, the Browns get 15 yards and an automatic first down, as Kosar who throws for a NFL-playoff record 489 passing yards, leads the Browns on a dramatic comeback victory.

33. 2006 NFC Wild Card Game-Cowboys vs. Seahawks
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo botches the hold on a potential game-winning field goal allowing the Seahawks to come away with a 21-20 victory.

As the Cowboys lined up for a 19-yard field goal attempt, Romo dropped the snap, recovered the ball, then try to run it in into the end zone but it is tackled at the 2-yard line by Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux, turning the ball over on downs.

32. 1983 NFC Championship-49ers vs. Redskins
Two controversial penalties help the Redskins set up Mark Moseley’s game-winning 25-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the game and give Washington a 24-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

The first questionable call occurs on a 2nd-and-10 at the 49ers’ 45-yard-line when 49ers cornerback Eric Wright is flagged for pass interference on Art Monk, even though the pass was too high and too far out of bounds for anybody to catch it.

Mark Moseley kicked game-winning field goals in two games on this list. The 1983 NFC Championship Game for the Redskins and 1986 Divisional Playoff for the Browns.

Mark Moseley kicked game-winning field goals in two games on this list. The 1983 NFC Championship Game for the Redskins and 1986 Divisional Playoff for the Browns.

Three plays later on 3rd-and-5 at the 13, Ronnie Lott is called for holding receiver Charlie Brown, far away from where the pass fell incomplete, giving Washington an automatic 1st down.

The questionable calls end a bizarre game as the 49ers score 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to come back from a 21-0 deficit and Moseley missing four field goals until his game-winning field goal.

31. 1995 AFC Championship-Colts vs. Steelers
Down by four points and at the Steelers’ 29-yard line with 5 seconds left in the game, Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh throws a Hail Mary pass into the end zone that falls into the lap of wide receiver Aaron Bailey, but falls to the ground and incomplete before Bailey could get his arms around for the catch.

The Steelers escape with the 20-16 win and advance to their first Super Bowl in 16 years.


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