Great conference champ. game performances

01/01/2005

Great conference championship game performances
Names like Csonka, Staubach and Marino dot the history books
by profootballhof.com

Other playoff programming: The first championship game

1973 AFC Championship
Miami Dolphins 27, Oakland Raiders 10


Advancing to the Super Bowl is a very difficult feat to accomplish, advancing to the Super Bowl in three consecutive years is even more difficult. The Miami Dolphins, though, had Larry Csonka's running abilities to rely on.

Larry Csonka

Larry Csonka

Csonka propelled his team to a third straight Super Bowl appearance with a 117-yard, three touchdown performance against the Raiders. He started quickly, hitting paydirt from 11 yards out on the Dolphins' first possession. The Hall of Fame fullback scored again late in the second quarter giving his team a 14-0 lead at the half.

The Raiders tried to make a game of it in third quarter by scoring ten points, but Miami's ball-control offense exhausted most of the game clock leaving Oakland little time to mount a comeback. Csonka's third TD came in the fourth quarter and sealed the game for the Dolphins.

The Dolphins went on to Super Bowl VIII to win their second consecutive championship.

1975 NFC Championship
Dallas Cowboys 37, Los Angeles Rams 7

Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and running back Preston Pearson led the charge as Dallas defeated the favored Rams. Staubach performed his now-famous game-day magic by throwing four touchdown passes with Pearson on the receiving end of three. 

The game began with an early gift from the Rams' James Harris, throwing an interception on his first pass attempt. One play later, Staubach connected with Pearson from 18 yards out. The Dallas quarterback's second TD pass was to Golden Richards in the second quarter. Staubach parlayed that score with a 15-yard touchdown to Pearson with only 54 seconds remaining in the half.

In the third quarter, Pearson and Staubach picked up where they left off, scoring from 19 yards on their first possession. The four unanswered touchdowns, giving the Cowboys a 28-0 lead, were all Dallas needed. 

The Cowboys advanced to Super Bowl X but lost in a thriller to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

1984 AFC Championship
Miami Dolphins 45, Pittsburgh Steelers 28


Second year record-setter Dan Marino displayed his offensive weaponry by throwing for 421 yards and four touchdowns while leading his Dolphins to victory over the Steelers.

Marino jumped out of the gate quickly, throwing a 40-yard TD pass to Mark Clayton on Miami's first possession. Pittsburgh, however, countered and gained a 14-10 lead late in the second quarter. The strong-armed quarterback never wavered though,  as he directed two TD drives within the final 2:52 of the half, one of them culminated with a 41-yard pass to Mark Duper.

Marino and the Dolphins, with a 24-14 lead to start the third quarter, never had to look back as the team continued to score behind their quarterback's direction. A 36-yard TD pass to Duper and a 6-yard TD to Nat Moore capped off Marino's brilliant day.

The Dolphins went on to Super Bowl XIX to face the San Francisco 49ers, but failed to recapture the offensive magic of the conference title game. 

1990 NFC Championship Game
New York Giants 15, San Francisco 49ers 13


Lawrence Taylor recovers a fumble to set up Matt Bahr's winning FG
Lawrence Taylor recovers a fumble to set up Matt Bahr's winning FG

The New York Giants had the daunting task of trying to derail the San Francisco 49ers, which had won the previous two Super Bowls. Little did the team know that kicker Matt Bahr would lead them to victory with a post-season record-tying five field goals, including the 42-yard game-winner as time expired. 

The game began as a kickers' duel with both Bahr and San Francisco's Mike Cofer booting a pair of field goals resulting in a 6-6 tie at halftime. In the second half, San Francisco forged ahead with a touchdown but Bahr countered with two more field goals to cut the lead to one. 

The outcome looked bleak for the Giants late in the fourth quarter with the 49ers driving in New York territory. But a San Francisco fumble turned the ball over to the Giants and gave Bahr the chance to kick the game-winner.

Bahr and the Giants went on to defeat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.

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