The Pythagorean NFL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Garrett Garlits, Mar 27, 2018.

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  1. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    I don't usually do two sims in one day, but I've been interrupted a number of times this weekend while trying to post my 1993 AFC Championship sim, and I want to get to it before it becomes too old-hat, especially since my Steelers are in it.

    We're at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. Game time temperature is 29 degrees, with cloudy skies and south-southwest winds at 12 MPH. Wind chill at kickoff is nineteen degrees.

    The Steelers scored first when a Jim Kelly pass intended for Andre Reed was picked off by Rod Woodson, who returned it to the Buffalo twenty-seven yard line. On first and ten from the sixteen, Neil O'Donnell found Ernie Mills between two Bills defenders and threaded the needle for the touchdown. Gary Anderson added the extra point, and with 8:56 remaining in the opening period the Steelers led 7-0.

    The Bills answered with a touchdown of their own on their next possession. The biggest play of the drive was a forty-one yard gain on a sweep to the left by Thurman Thomas. That play gave the Bills a first down at the Pittsburgh eighteen, and on third and nine from the seventeen Kelly threw to tight end Pete Metzelaars, who broke a tackle at the five and made his way into the end zone for the score. Steve Christie's extra point knotted the game at seven after one quarter.

    The Bills took the lead with a second-quarter field goal. Russell Copeland's punt return set up the offense at its own forty-four, and Kelly collaborated with wide receiver Bill Brooks on a pair of key passes, one for fourteen yards and another for seventeen. The drive died at the Steelers' sixteen, but Christie's thirty-three yard kick gave the home squad a 10-7 halftime lead.

    The Bills added another field goal midway through the third period after a forty-seven yard attempt by Anderson sailed wide left. This time, Kelly's partner in crime was Don Beebe, who caught passes of thirteen and fifteen yards to set up another attempt by Christie, this one from thirty-seven yards. Everything worked perfectly, and the Bills extended their lead to 13-7 after three quarters.

    The Steelers got back on the board with three points late in the final quarter. Woodson picked off a second Kelly pass, this one meant for Thomas in the flat, and returned it to the Bills' thirty-yard line. The key play of the drive came on the first play from scrimmage, as Eric Green's twelve-yard catch-and-run gave the Steelers a first down at the eighteen. They only gained three yards in the next three plays, and Anderson's thirty-two yard field goal cut the Bills' lead to 13-10 with 4:20 left in regulation. The Steelers' defense was able to force a punt, but their final desperation drive ended at the Bills' twenty-eight. Final score: Bills 13, Steelers 10.

    Thomas was named MVP by NBC after gaining ninety-two yards on twenty-six carries. It should be noted however, that one of thse carries was the forty-one yard ramble that we described earlier. Kelly finished sixteen of twenty-five for 187 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions; Metzelaars led the Buffalo receiving corps with five catches for fifty-one yards plus a touchdown.

    The Steelers finally felt the absence of Barry Foster, as they were held to forty-four rushing yards on twenty-four attempts. Leroy Thompson was their leading ground gainer with twenty-eight yards on thirteen carries. As for O'Donnell, he was still trying to shake off the virus that had sidelined him in Denver two weeks ago, and he played like it, completing fourteen of thirty passes for just 119 yards. Jeff Graham was his leading receiver with three catches for thirty yards. Woodson was the best player for the Steelers on this day, making seven tackles, breaking up three passes, and intercepting Kelly twice.

    The Bills will now represent the AFC in Super Bowl XXVIII next Sunday at Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Kickoff is set for 6PM Eastern on NBC, with Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy calling the action and O.J. Simpson and Will McDonough serving as sideline reporters.

    Next: The Giants face the Cowboys in an NFC Divisional Playoff.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  2. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1993 NFC Divisional Playoff from Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. Game time temperature is 45 degrees, with cloudy skies and a southeast wind at 20 MPH.

    The Cowboys scored first after taking the opening kickoff. The big play on the drive was a spectacular fifty-six yard catch-and-run by future Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith. Quarterback Troy Aikuuuuuman also connected with another future Hall of Famer, Michael Irvin, for sixteen yards and a first down at the Giants' seven-yard line. From there, Aikman threw to Smith in the flat, and Emmitt breezed into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Eddie Murray added the extra point, and the Boys led 7-0 with 11:54 to play in the first quarter.

    The home squad added another touchdown before the end of the first quarter. The biggest play of the drive came on its first play when Aikman, himself a future Hall of Famer, delivered a forty-three yard bomb to reserve wideout Kevin Williams. The connection earned the Cowboys a first and ten at the Giants twenty-five, and three plays later on third and two from the seventeen, it was 8 (Aikman) to 88 (Irvin) for six. 3 (Murray) added the extra point, and after one quarter the Cowboys were in front 14-0.

    The Boys added a field goal early in the second quarter. Smith busted a draw play up the middle for seventeen yards, which set up Aikman's thirty-one yard pass to Irvin. Later in the drive, it was Aikman to Williams for seventeen and a first down at the Giants' seventeen. A false start penalty knocked the Boys back five yards on first down, and they could only make up four of those yards before the drive stalled, which translated into a thirty-five yard attempt for Murray. The kick was good, and with 10:42 left in the first half it was Dallas 17, New York 0.

    The Boys added one last field goal before halftime, thanks to a thirty-one yard catch-and-run by wideout Alvin Harper. Murray was on the money from forty-eight yards as time expired in the half, and the Cowboys carried a 20-0 lead to the locker room.

    The Giants finally caught a break midway through the third quarter when Dave Meggett's punt return gave them prime field position at the Dallas forty-nine. Meggett also caught a twelve-yard pass from quarterback Phil Simms for a first down to set up a forty-five yard field goal attempt by David Treadwell, which was good. With 9:03 left in the third quarter, the G-Men were on the board but still trailed 20-3.

    The Giants put together another field goal drive toward the end of the third period, thanks mostly to Simms' thirty-six yard completion to wide receiver Mike Sherrard, their longest play of the day so far. It gave the visitors a first down at the Dallas twenty-four, but they could only gain four yards on their next set of downs. Treadwell kicked a thirty-seven yard field goal to cut the Dallas lead to 20-6, but those were the final points of the day. The Cowboys will meet either the Green Bay Packers or the San Francisco 49ers in next Sunday's NFC Championship Game here at Texas Stadium.

    Smith was named Player of the Game by CBS. He was a double threat, gaining seventy yards on eighteen carries and also catching three passes for sixty-eight yards and a touchdown. The Giants have seen enough of him for one career, as he has gouged them for 238 yards rushing and 129 yards receiving over the clubs' last two games, the other being his legendary Week 17 performance at Giants Stadium two weeks ago. Aikman finished fifteen of nineteen for 248 yards and two touchdowns, while Irvin caught five passes for seventy-two yards and a score.

    The Giants didn't send Simms out a winner, as he went off to the broadcast booth having completed sixteen of thirty for 214 yards with an interception. Sherrard led the receivers with three catches for fifty-four yards, and Meggett added four receptions for forty-nine yards. They each gained more than leading rusher Rodney Hampton, who was held to just forty-eight yards on twenty carries. The only bright spot for Big Blue was that their defense sacked Aikman four times.

    The Packers and the Niners actually played yesterday at Candlestick Park. Kickoff was at 4PM Eastern on CBS, with Pat Summerall and John Madden on hand to call the action.

    Next: The Pack battles the Niners.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  3. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 1993 NFC Divisional Playoff from Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Game time temperature is 55 degrees, with fair skies and a northeast wind at 7 MPH.

    After a scoreless opening quarter, the Niners drew first blood with a second-quarter field goal. Quarterback Steve Young was battling a head cold, so coach George Seifert and offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan designed a game plan that emphasized the run more than was usual for a West Coast offense, and it began to pay off here. First, Ricky Watters gained twenty-seven yards on a draw play. Two plays later backup Amp Lee found a hole off to his left and darted trough it for seventeen more yards. The drive eventually ended up at the Packers' five-yard line before the Green Bay defense finally stopped it, and kicker Mike Cofer was called on for a twenty-two yard field goal attempt. The kick was good for the onl points of the first half, and the Niners took a 3-0 lead to the locker room.

    The Niners scored again after taking the second half kickoff. Young felt stronger coming out of the halftime break, so the Niners went back to their precision passing attack. Young threw to Jerry Rice for fifteen yards, then found tight end Brent Jones over the middle for seventeen. The big play of the drive was Young's twenty-six yard completion to John Taylor, which featured an acrobatic one-handed catch. On second and nine from the Packers' seventeen, Watters picked his way through another hole in the middle of the Green Bay defense and strutted into the end zone untouched for the score. Cofer added the extra point, and after three quarters the Niners' lead was now 10-0.

    The Niners guaranteed their ticket to the NFC Championship Game with one last touchdown midway through the final period. Young set it up with a sixteen-yard pass to Rice that gave the Niners a first down at the Green Bay thirty-eight. It's third and six from the thirty-four as we pick up the call from Pat Summerall:

    "Third down and six for the 49ers from the Green Bay thirty-four. Watters the single setback, with Rice and Taylor to the left and Jamie Williams, normally a tight end, split wide right. Give to Watters, and there's that draw play again. It's worked all day, and it's working again! Twenty, fifteen, ten, five, ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN FOR WATTERS UNTOUCHED!...……..The Packers haven't stopped that play all day, John, and it's cost them two touchdowns."

    John Madden: "Look at the blocks here by (left guard) Guy McIntire and (center) Jesse Sapolu. The Green Bay defensive line has been outmuscled all day, and Watters has been having his way up the middle. The total lack of tackling in the secondary hasn't helped either. I won't say that anybody could run though these holes, but certainly a great back like Ricky Watters can gain all the yardage he needs through them."

    Cofer's extra point established our final score: Niners 17, Packers 0.

    Watters was named Player of the Game by CBS after gaining 111 yards on fifteen carries with two touchdowns. His excellent day allowed Young to breathe more easily, no pun intended. He was still productive when he was needed, completing eleven of his seventeen passes for 150 yards. Rice was his leading receiver with four catches for fifty-one yards, and Jones caught four more passes for forty-six yards. The defense helped out by sacking Packers quarterback Brett Favre four times.

    Speaking of Favre, he wasn't awful, completing sixteen of his thirty-one passes for 206 yards and an interception. Tight end Jackie Harris was his leading receiver with eighty-six yards on five catches. Fullback Edgar Bennett was the leading Green Bay rusher with forty-eight yards on fourteen carries, while leading regular-season ground gainer Darrell Thompson was held to forty-two yards on thirteen carries.

    The following week, the Niners traveled to Texas Stadium to take on the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. The good news for them was that Young was healthy once more, and he completed twenty-seven of his forty-five passes for 287 yards, with Rice catching six of those passes for eighty-three yards. The bad news was that Young was also sacked four times, and Watters couldn't take the pressure off of him this week, as he was held to thirty-seven yards on twelve carries.

    The worse news was that despite Troy Aikman being knocked out of the game early in the third quarter, the Dallas passing game was unaffected; backup Bernie Kosar threw a key touchdown pass to go with Aikman's earlier pair. The worst news of all was that Emmitt Smith had another dynamic two-way game, gaining eighty-eight yards on twenty-three carries, catching seven passes for eighty-five yards, and scoring a touchdown each way. The final score was Cowboys 38, Niners 21.

    The following week in Super Bowl XXVIII, the Bills led the Boys 13-6 at halftime of their rematch, but the defending world champions buried Buffalo under an avalanche of twenty-four second half points. Smith scored a pair of touchdowns on his way to the MVP trophy, and he finished his day with 132 yards on thirty carries plus four catches for twenty-six yards. Aikman recovered from his concussion enough to complete nineteen of his twenty-seven passes for 207 yards, with Alvin Harper catching three passes for seventy-five yards. The defense sacked Jim Kelly three times, and defensive back James Washington returned a fumble for a touchdown, the third fumble return for a score by the Dallas defense in the last two Super Bowls.

    For the Bills, Thurman Thomas scored a touchdown, but was held to thirty-seven yards on sixteen carries. Kelly had to throw fifty times, completing thirty-one for 260 yards, with Andre Reed catching six balls for seventy-five yards in a losing cause. The Boys prevailed 30-13, and have now won back-to-back Super Bowls and a total of four in the franchise's history, which ties them with the Steelers and Niners for the most ever by a franchise. If they plan to win a fifth in 1994, however, they'll have to do it with a new coach. Jimmy Johnson was fired on March 28, and he was replaced by former Oklahoma University coach Barry Switzer.

    Through twenty-eight Super Bowls, the NFC holds the all-time advantage, 17-11.

    Next: The standings for 1994.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  4. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's look at 1994 in the AFC. We begin in the East:

    Miami Dolphins: 10-6 (0)
    New England Patriots: 9-7 (-1)
    Indianapolis Colts: 8-8 (0)
    Buffalo Bills: 8-8 (+1)
    New York Jets: 6-10 (0)

    The real-life tie at the top resolves itself, as the Pats drop a game to leave the Fins as undisputed champions. The Bills add a game, but they still fall from two-time defending AFC champs all the way to .500 and a third-place tie with the Colts. The Jets stay where they are, which is in the basement.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for third, and the teams remain tied at 7.6. The next step is head-to-head, and since the Colts swept the season series they take third and the Bills finish fourth.

    Now to the Central:

    Cleveland Browns: 12-4 (+1)
    Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5 (-1)
    Cincinnati Bengals: 5-11 (+2)
    Houston Oilers: 4-12 (+2)

    The Browns and Steelers change places at the top, as the Browns add a game while the Steelers drop one to earn the Browns their first division crown since their Super Bowl year of 1987. The Bengals add a pair, as do the Oilers, who don't recover from their shocking playoff loss to the Steelers the year before even after coach Jack Pardee is fired and defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher is promoted to replace him. Fisher did do enough to be named permanent head coach for 1995.

    Last but not least, the West:

    San Diego Chargers: 10-6 (-1)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7 (0)
    Los Angeles Raiders: 7-9 (-2)
    Denver Broncos: 7-9 (0)
    Seattle Seahawks: 7-9 (+1)

    The Bolts drop a game, but still take the division title by a game over the Chiefs, who remain stable. The Raiders say farewell to Los Angeles by dropping a pair, which not only leaves them under .500 but also in a three-way tie with the Broncos and Seahawks. They'll try to do better as they come home to Oakland in 1995 and also welcome a new coach, as Hall of Famer Art Shell will be replaced by Mike White.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the three-way tie, and we find that the Raiders take third place with 7.3 expected wins. The Seahawks finish fourth with 6.9, and the Broncos bring up the rear with 6.8.

    Seeds:

    1. Browns (AFC Central champs): 12-4
    2. Chargers (AFC West champs): 10-6
    3. Dolphins (AFC East champs): 10-6
    4. Steelers (AFC Central second place): 11-5
    5. Patriots (AFC East second place): 9-7
    6. Chiefs (AFC West second place): 9-7

    The Chargers hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the two seed over the Dolphins, 10.0 to 9.6.

    The Patriots hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the second wild card over the Chiefs, 9.1 to 8.6.

    The Wild Card weekend began on New Year's Eve at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, where the Fins eliminated the Chiefs 27-17. Danny Marino led the way, completing twenty-two of twenty-nine passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Irving Fryar caught six passes for seventy-one yards and a score, and running back Bernie Parmalee gained led the ground game with fifty-seven yards on eighteen carries and a touchdown.

    In his final NFL game, Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana performed superbly, finishing twenty-six of thirty-seven for 314 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Fullback Kimble Anders caught six passes for 103 yards, including a fifty-seven yard touchdown. Marcus Allen led the Kansas City ground game with sixty-four yards on fourteen carries.

    The Fins moved on to San Diego the following week, where the Chargers stunned them 22-21 to move on to the AFC Championship Game. Stan Humphries' fourth-quarter touchdown pass to wideout Mark Seay provided the winning margin, and running back Natrone Means shredded the Miami defense for 139 yards on twenty-four carries with a touchdown. Marino finished twenty-four of thirty-eight for 262 yards and all three Miami touchdowns, Two went to tight end Keith Jackson, who caught eight passes for 109 yards on the day. On the flip side, the Dolphs attempted just eight rushes for twenty-six yards. Incidentally, Humphries outpassed Marino, completing twenty-eight of forty-three for 276 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

    That brings us back to the second Wild Card Game, in which the Patriots will visit the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium on New Year's Day. Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM Eastern on NBC, with Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy set to call the action. Beasley Reece will serve as the sideline reporter.

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  5. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's move to the NFC in 1994, beginning in the East:

    Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 (0)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8 (0)
    New York Giants: 7-9 (-2)
    Arizona Cardinals: 7-9 (-1)
    Washington Redskins: 6-10 (+3)

    The Boys keep right on rolling under Barry Switzer, freezing at 12-4 and taking the division by four games over the Eagles, who move up with their real-life 8-8 record thanks largely to the Giants' two-game slide and the Cards' one-game drop. The Skins gain three games under new coach Norv Turner, but still finish last, six games behind the Boys.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for third between the Giants and the Cardinals, and the Giants prevail 7.2 to 6.8.

    Next, to the Central:

    Green Bay Packers: 11-5 (+2)
    Minnesota Vikings: 9-7 (-1)
    Detroit Lions: 8-8 (-1)
    Chicago Bears: 7-9 (-2)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11 (-1)

    The Pack's two-game uptick and the Vikes' one-game drop result in a title change and back-to-back division titles for coach Mike Holmgren, The Lions shed a game and finish at .500, while the Bears drop a pair and end up under .500. As for the Bucs, their futility continues with a one-game drop and a last-place finish.

    Finally, to the West:

    San Francisco 49ers: 13-3 (0)
    New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (0)
    Atlanta Falcons: 6-10 (-1)
    Los Angeles Rams: 6-10 (+2)

    The Falcons and Rams do the moving here, with the Dirty Birds dropping a game under new head coach June Jones and the Rams adding a pair to force a tie for third. The Rams are doing another type of moving as well; they'll call St. Louis home in 1995. They'll also have a new head man in former Oregon coach Rich Brooks.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to snap the tie for third, and the Falcons prevail, 6.2 to 5.8.

    Seeds:

    1. 49ers (NFC West champs): 13-3
    2. Cowboys (NFC East champs): 12-4
    3. Packers (NFC Central champs): 11-5
    4. Vikings (NFC Central second place): 9-7
    5. Lions (NFC Central third place): 8-8
    6. Eagles (NFC East third place): 8-8

    The Lions hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the second wild card over the Eagles, 8.4 to 8.0.

    Wild Card Weekend schedule (all times Eastern):

    Saturday, December 31:

    Eagles-Packers, 12:30, ABC- Brent Musburger, Dick Vermeil, Lesley Visser (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 1:

    Lions-Vikings, 4, Fox- Pat Summerall, John Madden, Matt Millen (sideline reporter), Anthony Munoz (sideline reporter)

    Next: The Pats take on the Steelers.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  6. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1994 AFC Wild Card Game from Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Game time temperature is 47 degrees, with cloudy skies and a west wind at 13 MPH.

    The Patriots opened the scoring with a field goal late in the first quarter. Marion Bitts picked up ten yards on a draw play, and quarterback Drew Bledsoe found wide receiver Michael Timpson for twenty-two yards and a first down, then picked up another on his own when he twisted out of the grasp of Pittsburgh linebacker Kevin Greene and picked up eighteen yards on a scramble. The drive got as far as the Steelers' ten-yard line before former Steeler Matt Bahr was asked to try a twenty-seven yard field goal. His kick was good, and after one quarter the visitors held a 3-0 lead.

    The Steelers tied the game with a field goal of their own just before halftime. The drive's biggest running play was an eighteen-yard gain on a sweep to the left by Barry Foster; its biggest pass play was a twelve-yard completion from Neil O'Donnell to Eric Green. The Black and Gold got as far as the New England sixteen before Gary Anderson was called on from thirty-three yards out. His kick was on the money, and the teams went to the locker room at the half tied at three.

    The Steelers scored a touchdown to take the lead after receiving the second half kickoff. Foster picked up thirteen yards on another sweep to the left, and O'Donnell completed consecutive fifteen-yard passes. one to Ernie Mills and another to fellow wideout Andre Hastings. The touchdown came from nineteen yards out, as O'Donnell connected with a third receiver, Yancey Thigpen, who was wide open in the end zone. Anderson added the extra point, and with 11:54 to play in the third period the Steelers moved in front, 10-3.

    The Steelers added another touchdown on their next position. Foster picked up fifteen yards on a pitchout to the right, and Thigpen's eighteen-yard catch-and-run gave the Steelers a first and ten at the New England forty-five. They wasted no time taking advantage of it, as we hear from Dick Enberg:

    "First and ten for the Steelers in New England territory at the forty-five. Foster back in after (running back) Bam Morris took his place in the backfield on the last play, and he gets the call. Has a hole over the forty, thirty-five, still on his feet at the thirty, twenty-five, and he's gone! No one left to catch him, and he's all the way in for the touchdown!...………..The Terrible Towels are flying here at Three Rivers, and there you see Franco Harris on his feet for the man who's finally taken his place in Pittsburgh."

    Bob Trumpy: "Let's wait until he wins a few Super Bowls before we go that far, Dick. But the running style is definitely similar, and so is the way he can take over a game singlehandedly. The Patriots haven't figured him out all day, even though they know he's coming. All they can do here is swipe at him; I'm not even sure they laid a hand on him during that whole run."

    Anderson's extra point extended the Pittsburgh lead to 17-3 after three quarters.

    The Pats made it interesting with a touchdown in the last three minutes. Troy Brown's punt return set up the offense at its own forty-eight, and on the first play from scrimmage it was Butts' turn to run a sweep to the left. This one went for twenty-five yards and a first down at the Pittsburgh twenty-seven. On third and seven from the twenty-four Bledsoe found Timpson for the touchdown, and after Bahr's extra point the Pats' deficit was 17-10 with 3:03 to play. But the Steelers were able to run out the clock with Foster and secure the victory. Final score: Pittsburgh 17, New England 10.

    Foster was named MVP by NBC after gaining 124 yards on nineteen carries with a touchdown. Morris added fifty-eight yards on twelve carries in his first-ever playoff game. Their success allowed O'Donnell to throw just nineteen times, completing ten for 107 yards and a touchdown. Thigpen was his leading target with three catches for fifty-two yards and said touchdown. Bledsoe threw for 190 yards and a touchdown, but completed just fourteen of his thirty-five passes and was also intercepted once. Timpson led all receivers with six catches for ninety-seven yards, while tight end Ben Coates caught five passes for fifty-five yards. Butts led the New England ground game with seventy-four yards on fifteen carries.

    Six days later, the Steelers traveled up to Cleveland for the divisional round and dominated the Browns from start to finish, 29-9. Foster ripped through the Browns defense for 133 yards on twenty-four carries, and Morris added sixty more yards on twenty-two totes. John L. Williams added a rushing touchdown. Through the air, O'Donnell finished sixteen of twenty-three for 186 yards and touchdown passes to Thigpen and Eric Green, while Mills caught five passes for 117 yards. The Blitzburgh defense intercepted Cleveland quarterback Vinny Testaverde twice and sacked him twice while limiting him to thirteen completions in thirty-one attempts for 144 yards. Wide receiver Keenan McCardell caught a touchdown pass and finished with three catches for forty-seven yards, as did fellow wideout Michael Jackson. Earnest Byner was the Browns' leading rusher with forty-three yards on nine carries.

    The Steelers were riding high going into the AFC Championship Game the following Sunday at Jack Murphy Stadium, but for the second time in three years their Super Bowl dreams would end there, as Stan Humphries tossed forty-three yard touchdown passes to both wideout Tony Martin and tight end Alfred Pupunu to erase a 13-3 Steelers lead and give his team a 17-13 win. Humphries finished just eleven of twenty-two for 165 yards and those two touchdowns plus an interception; Pupunu led his receivers with four catches for seventy--six yards, while Natrone Means gained sixty-nine yards on twenty carries.

    The Bolts' defense smothered the Steelers' running game, as Foster only managed forty-seven yards on twenty carries. O'Donnell finished thirty-two of fifty-four for 349 yards and a touchdown to Williams, but it's his fourth down incompletion intended for Foster from the Chargers' three-yard line on the Steelers' last offensive play that Pittsburgh fans will remember forever. Mills led the receivers with 106 yards on eight catches, while Green caught four balls for eighty yards.

    Next: We begin the NFC playoffs with the first Wild Card Game, as the Packers host the Eagles.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  7. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 1994 NFC Wild Card Game from Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Game time temperature is 33 degrees, with cloudy skies and a northwest wind at 8 MPH.

    The Packers scored first after taking the opening kickoff, with the big play of the drive being Brett Favre's forty-six yard bomb to reserve wideout Anthony Morgan. That completion gave the Pack a first and ten at the Eagles' sixteen, but they could only gain three yards in the next three plays. This led to a thirty-yard field goal attempt by kicker Chris Jacke, which he converted to give the home squad a 3-0 lead with 10:25 left in the opening period.

    The Eagles answered with a field goal of their own. Quarterback Randall Cunningham connected with wide receiver Calvin Williams for thirty-six yards and a first down at the Packer twenty-two, and three plays later from the nineteen Eddie Murray connected on a thirty-six yarder to tie the game at three after one quarter of play.

    The Eagles scored the game's first touchdown early in the second quarter. Jeff Sydner's punt return gave them the ball at their own forty-three, and as we pick up Brent Musburger's call they face a third and one from the Green Bay thirty-seven:

    "Cunningham takes the snap, looks like he'll run, no, it's a pass. Going for Barnett downfield...…...HE'S GOT IT AT THE FIVE, AND HE'S IN! TOUCHDOWN PHILADELPHIA!!……..And to my right, a former Eagles coach is smiling from ear to ear, as his former club has the lead on a brilliant play."

    Dick Vermeil: "Randall Cunningham is someone I'd have had a ball coaching, Brent. No offense to Ron Jaworski, but we could have won a Super Bowl with a quarterback like Cunningham. He has speed, mobility, and a cannon for an arm. Look at this pass, right between Fred Barnett's numbers for an easy catch. I don't say he's the best quarterback in the NFL right now, but he's probably the most complete one."

    Murray added the extra point, and with 10:30 left in the second quarter the Eagles had taken a 10-3 lead.

    The Packers cut into their deficit with six points just before the half. Despite having to start at his own twelve-yard line, Favre ran a picture-perfect four-minute drill, getting his team out of trouble by hitting reserve wide receiver Ron Lewis at midfield for thirty-eight yards, then later in the drive connecting with Morgan for twelve yards and backup tight end Reggie Johnson for twelve more. The touchdown came from twenty-one yards out with less than a minute to play, as running back Edgar Bennett stormed up the middle and into the end zone without being touched. Unfortunately, Jacke shanked the extra point, so the Eagles clung to a 10-9 lead at halftime.

    There was only one more score in the game, and it came with less than two minutes to play in regulation. Favre completed passes of fifteen and fourteen yards to wide receiver Robert Brooks, then hit fellow wideout Sterling Sharpe for seventeen and a first down at the Philly twenty-six. It's first and ten just out of the two-minute warning as we pick up Brent's call:

    "First and ten from the Eagles' twenty-six, with 1:56 left in regulation and the Eagles clinging to a one-point lead. Three wide receivers for Favre, and Reggie Cobb the lone setback. They'll run it, and Cobb cuts back to the right and finds a hole! Twenty, fifteen, ten, five, TOUCHDOWN PACKERS! THEY TAKE THE LEAD WITH 1:51 ON THE CLOCK!"

    Vermeil: "Great vision by Reggie Cobb, Brent. This play was supposed to be right up the middle, but there's nothing there, so Cobb cuts back to the right and finds a ton of room. A couple of guys take off after him, but they can't catch him."

    The Packers then tried the first two-point conversion in Pythagorean postseason history, but running back Darrell Thompson was stopped just before he reached the goal line. The Eagles managed to get as far as the Green Bay thirty-five on their final drive, but Cunningham's last-second Hail Mary went out of the back of the end zone. The Pack had survived 15-10, and they'll travel to take on the Cowboys at Texas Stadium in next Sunday's second NFC Divisional Playoff. Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM Eastern on Fox, with Pat Summerall and John Madden on hand to call the action.

    Bennett was named MVP by ABC. He led the Packers in both rushing and receiving, carrying the ball sixteen times for fifty-two yards with a touchdown and also catching a pair of passes for sixty-one yards, including a fifty-four yard catch-and-run. Favre completed just eleven of his twenty-three passes, but they went for 233 yards. He was also intercepted once. Future Hall of Famer Reggie White had two of the Pack's three sacks of Cunningham.

    Speaking of Randall, he finished thirteen of twenty-eight for 216 yards and a touchdown. Williams was his leading receiver with three catches for sixty yards, while fellow wideout Victor Bailey caught two balls for fifty-seven yards. The Eagles' running game managed just ninety-two yards on thirty-three attempts; Herschel Walker led the way with thirty-nine yards on eleven carries.

    The following week in Dallas, the two-time defending world champions eliminated the Packers, 35-9. Troy Aikman finished twenty-three of thirty for 337 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception, and three Cowboys pass-catchers topped a hundred yards: Michael Irivin caught six for 11 yards. Alvin Harper snagged two for 108 (including a ninety-four yarder for a touchdown), and Jay Novacek pulled in eleven for 104. Emmitt Smith has to leave the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury, but Blair Thomas filled the void, gaining seventy yards on twenty-three carries and scoring two touchdowns. Smith made his mark while he was in the game, with fofrty-four yards on seven carries plus a score.

    Meanwhile, Favre was held to eighteen of thirty-five for 211 yards and an interception. His lone bright spot was Brooks, who caught eight passes for 138 yards. Bennett was held to thirty-four yards on eleven carries with a touchdown, and Cobb to twenty-six yards on four carries. The Cowboys have thus clinched a spot in the NFC Championship Game on January 15, their third in a row.

    Next: The second NFC Wild Card Game, as the Vikings host the Lions.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  8. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1994 NFC Wild Card Game from the Metrodome in Minneapolis:

    The Vikings scored first. Warren Moon completed a fourteen-yard pass to wide receiver Cris Carter, and running back Robert Smith added a nineteen-yard catch-and-run. Fellow running back Terry Allen went up the middle for the touchdown from three yards out, and the home squad led 7-0 after one quarter when Fuad Reveiz's extra point was good.

    The Vikes added a field goal in the opening seconds of the second quarter. Smith gained seventeen yards on a draw play, and Allen cut back to the right with a pitchout and exploited the hole he found to the tune of a twenty-five yard gain. The drive stalled at the Detroit twenty-seven, but Reveiz split the uprights from forty-four yards out on the first play of the second quarter to give Minnesota a 10-0 lead.

    The Lions got back into the game with a touchdown on their next possession. Quarterback Scott Mitchell connected with wide receiver Herman Moore for gains of twenty and eleven, then went to fellow receiver Brett Perriman for eighteen. A thirteen-yard pass to backup receiver Aubrey Matthews gave the Lions a first down at the Minnesota fourteen, and on third and nine from the thirteen Mitchell found Barry Sanders in the flat. Number 20 did the rest, breaking a tackle at the five and making his way into the end zone for the score. Kicker Jason Hanson made the extra point, and with 4:49 to play until halftime the Lions were within 10-7.

    The Lions added two more points within seconds. The ensuing kickoff pinned the Vikes at their own five-yard line, and on second and ten Moon was sacked in the end zone for a safety by reserve linebacker Pat Swilling. With 4:21 still left in the half it was now Minnesota 10, Detroit 9.

    As happens frequently, the team scoring a safety and receiving the free kick afterward scored again. Mel Gray returned the kick all the way to the Minnesota twenty-eight, and a fifteen-yard completion to Perriman gave the Lions a first and goal at the eight. From there, Mitchell hooked up with veteran tight end Rodney Holman for the touchdown. Hanson added the extra point, and with 2:25 still to play in the first half the Lions led 16-10.

    The Vikes got back on the board just before halftime when Qadry Ismail's kickoff return set the offense up at its own forty-seven. Allen's nineteen-yard gain on a pitch to the right brought the ball across midfield, and when the Detroit defense stopped the drive at its thirty-two the Vikes called on Reveiz, who converted a forty-nine yard attempt to cut the Lions' lead to 16-13 at the half.

    The home squad regained the lead on its first possession of the second half. Moon brought them downfield on the strength of his arm, hitting Carter for eleven yards, Ismail for thirteen, fellow receiver Jake Reed for fourteen, and tight end Andrew Jordan for fifteen. Jordan's catch set up a first and goal at the Lions' one, After a three-yard loss on first and goal, Allen raced into the end zone from four yards out for his second touchdown of the afternoon. Reveiz added the extra point, and with 8:32 left in the third the Vikes took a 20-16 lead.

    The Vikes put three more points on the board just before the end of the third quarter. David Palmer's punt return gave them the ball at the Lions' forty-five, and Moon's ten-yard pass to Reed got them into Reveiz's range. Fuad eventually hit from forty-four yards away and after three quarters it was Vikings 23, Lions 16.

    The Purple Gang added another field goal exactly midway through the final period. Completions of twenty-three yards to Reed and fourteen yards yo Jordan were the big plays, and Reveiz connected from forty-seven yards out to increase the Minnesota lead to ten at 26-16.

    One last Minnesota touchdown put the game away for good. Another great punt return by Palmer gave them the ball at their own forty-five, and consecutive fourteen-yard passes to Carter gave them a first down at the Detroit twenty-seven. On third and seven from the twenty-four, Moon fired for the end zone, and Jordan came down with a spectacular one-handed catch for the score. Reveiz added one final extra point, and the Vikes had wrapped up a 33-16 victory.

    Moon's picture would adorn the Maddencruiser as Fox's Player of the Game. He completed twenty-six of thirty-seven passes for 303 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Carter was his main target with nine catches for ninety-six yards, while Reed caught five balls for sixty-eight yards and Jordan four for fifty-seven yards and a touchdown. Allen led the Minnesota ground attack with seventy-four yards on twenty-two carries and a pair of touchdowns.

    The Lions started fast, as Mitchell completed eight of his eleven passes for 114 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the first half. The second half was a vastly different story, as Mitchell completed just three of his twelve passes for fifty-two yards and was replaced by backup Dave Krieg, who failed to complete any of his seven passes. Although Sanders scored a receiving touchdown, he was held in check on the ground, as he managed just forty-one yards on twenty carries. Moore led the Detroit receivers with sixty-seven yards on four catches. On defense, Swilling recorded both Detroit sacks.

    The Vikes will now advance to the divisional round, where they'll oppose the San Francisco 49ers next Saturday at Candlestick Park. Kickoff is set for 4PM Eastern on Fox, with Dick Stockton and Matt Millen on hand for the call.

    Note: Fox didn't put players' pictures on the Maddencruiser in real life; I borrowed that honor from ABC and NBC, where the Horse Trailer is used to display their MVPs to this day. (Madden had something to do with the tradition, obviously, since it started once he and Al Michaels teamed up for Monday Night Football in 2002. What I can't figure out is why they used a horse trailer instead of the Maddencruiser. Maybe "horse trailer" is Al's affectionate nickname for the Maddencruiser and/or the main production truck.)

    Next: The Niners entertain the Vikes.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  9. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    I've already had to scrap this sim once today, so let's take it from the top. We're at Candlestick Park in San Francisco for the first 1994 NFC Divisional Playoff. Game time temperature is 58 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south-southwest wind gusting to 30 MPH.

    The Niners scored first when linebacker Ken Norton Jr. tackled Vikings running back Scottie Graham in the end zone for a safety. They led 2-0 with 5:14 to play in the opening quarter.

    The home squad added a field goal just before the end of the first quarter. Steve Young completed passes of thirteen yards to Ricky Watters and twenty-one yards to reserve wideout Ed McCaffrey. The drive stalled at the Minnesota twenty-seven, but kicker Doug Brien smacked a three-run......er, kicked a forty-four yard field goal to increase the Frisco lead to 5-0 after one quarter,

    The Niners increased their lead with another field goal early in the second quarter. Cornerback Deion Sanders picked off a Warren Moon pass and returned it to the Niners' forty-five. Running back Rickey Watters popped through a hole on the left side for twenty-three yards and a first down, fellow running back William Floyd added a nineteen-yard catch-and-run, and Young hit John Taylor eighteen yards and a first down at the Vikings' eighteen. The drive only reached the thirteen, but Brien connected from thirty yards out to increase the Niners' lead to 8-0 with 12:44 left in the first half.

    The Niners added another three points after Fuad Reveiz's forty-eight yard attempt bounced off the left upright. The drive's key play was Young's fourteen-yard pass to Jerry Rice. The Niners' offense only got as far as the Minnesota thirty-three, but Brien boomed a fifty-yarder to increase their lead to 11-0 with 4:45 left until halftime.

    The Vikes got on the board next with a field goal of their own. Linebacker Lee Woodall was flagged fifteen yards for spearing the Vikes' Robert Smith, which got the ball across midfield. From there, Moon hit Cris Carter for ten yards and Jake Reed for twenty-two. The drive got as far as the Niners' six-inch line, but after Terry Alllen lost three yards Vikes coach Dennis Green decided to take the chip-shot field goal. Reveiz connected from twenty-one yards out, and with 1:02 left in the first half the Vikes had gotten back within eight at 11-3.

    A Niners' turnover allowed the Vikes to kick another field goal before the end of the half. A Young pass intended for Rice was swiped by free safety Vencie Glenn, who returned it to the Niners' thirty-one. Three plays later from the twenty-seven, Reveiz made a forty-four yard attempt to get the Vikes to the locker room on the short end of an 11-6 score.

    The Niners increased their lead after Reveiz missed a forty-two yarder on Miinnesota's first possession of the second half. The key play of the drive was a twenty-nine yard catch-and-run by Taylor, and from the Vikes' twenty-four it was Young to Rice for the touchdown. Brien added the extra point, and with 6:14 left in the third quarter it was San Francisco 18, Minnesota 6.

    The Purple Gang responded with a touchdown of their own before the end of the third period. Graham bolted up the middle for thirty-two yards on a draw play, and Moon converted a key third down when he found Qadry Ismail for twenty-six yards and a first and goal at the Niners' ten. From there, Moon and Reed hooked up for the touchdown, and Reveiz added the extra point to make this an 18-13 game after three quarters.

    The Niners scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown midway through the final period. Dexter Carter's punt return set the offense up at the Vikings; forty-two, and Young and Rice teamed up for the drive's big play: a seventeen-yard completion that gave the Niners a first and goal at the Vikes' three. Young then rolled right, spotted tight end Ted Popson standing all by himself in the end zone, and shoveled the ball to him for six. Brien added the extra point, and with 8:33 left in the game the Niners led 25-13.

    Moon wouldn't let the Vikings quit; he too them down on a touchdown drive that made this a one-score game again. His biggest completion was to Carter for nineteen yards, and Allen provided the biggest play when he popped through a hole off left tackle and raced for forty-six yards and a first and goal at the Frisco nine. On the next play, Smith took it straight up the middle and into the end zone, and the Niners'l lead was down to 25-19 with just under three minutes remaining. But Reveiz's extra point attempt was no good, and the Niners recovered the Vikes' onside kick attempt and ran out the clock. Final score: Niners 25, Vikes 19.

    Young was Fox's Player of the Game, as he braved the gusty winds to complete eighteen of twenty-six for 230 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Rice was his top target with ninety-six yards on seven catches, and Taylor caught three balls for fifty-one yards. The Minnesota defense did an excellent job of smothering the Niners' rushing attack, as the team gained only fifty-four yards on thirty-seven attempts. Watters was their leading ground gainer with twenty-two yards on seventeen carries.

    Moon played well for the Vikes, finishing seventeen of twenty-six for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Carter caught eight passes for eighty-seven yards, and Ismail added three more for fifty-nine. Allen led all rushers with ninety-eight yards on fifteen carries. On defense, linebacker Ed McDaniel sacked Young twice.

    The following week, the Niners hosted the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. Young only threw for 135 yards, and Watters only gained just seventy-two yards on fourteen carries. But somehow the Niners managed to score thirty-eight points, as Young passed for two scores and ran for another. Eric Davis contributed a defensive touchdown by returning a Troy Aikman interception forty-four yards. Aikman finished thirty of fifty-three for 380 yards, but was sacked four times and intercepted three times. Michael Irvin scorched the Niners' secondary for 192 yards on twelve catches with two touchdowns, and Emmitt Smith added two more scores on the ground for Dallas. None of that amounted to a hill of beans, though, as the Niners shocked the two-time defending world champions 38-28 to deny them a threepeat.

    Two weeks later at Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, Young got Joe Montana's monkey off his back for good, as completed twenty-four of thirty-six for 325 yards and a Super Bowl-record six touchdowns. Three of those went to Rice, who caught thirteen passes for 149 yards. Watters ran for one score and caught two more, and the Niners intercepted Stan Humphries twice and sacked him twice. They also held Natrone Means to thirty-three yards on thirteen carries. Put it all together and it spells a 49-26 blowout win and a fifth Super Bowl victory for the Niners' franchise, a record in the Pythagorean universe to date.

    We've now contested twenty-nine Super Bowls in this universe, and the NFC leads the AFC 18-11.

    Next: The standings for 1995.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  10. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's take a look at 1995 in the AFC. We begin in the East:

    Miami Dolphins: 10-6 (+1)
    Buffalo Bills: 8-8 (-2)
    Indianapolis Colts: 8-8 (-1)
    New England Patriots: 6-10 (0)
    New York Jets: 4-12 (+1)

    The Fins add a game while the Bills drop a pair to win the division crown in Don Shula's last year as head coach. Elsewhere, the Colts' miracle playoff run never happens, as they drop a game and wind up tied for second with the Bills. The Pats stay where they are and finish fourth, while the Jets' one-game bump doesn't get them out of the basement.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for second, and both teams finish with 8.4 expected wins. The next tiebreaker is head-to-head, and since the Bills swept the season series, they take second and the Colts finish third.

    Next, we go to the Central:

    Pittsburgh Steelers: 10-6 (-1)
    Houston Oilers: 9-7 (+2)
    Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9 (0)
    Cleveland Browns: 6-10 (+1)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 5-11 (+1)

    The Steelers shed a game, but still win their first Central crown in ten years. The Oilers take a two-game bump to finish above .500 and in second place, while the Bengals stay where they are and finish third. The Browns add a game, but still finish fourth in their disastrous final season in Cleveland before their three-year hiatus, and the expansion Jags add a game but still finish last.

    Finally, let's look at the West:

    Kansas City Chiefs: 12-4 (-1)
    Denver Broncos: 9-7 (+1)
    Oakland Raiders: 8--8 (0)
    San Diego Chargers: 8-8 (-1)
    Seattle Seahawks: 8-8 (0)

    The Chiefs drop a game, but still take the division by three games over the Broncos, who add a game and move up to second place. We end up with a three-way tie for third, thanks to the Chargers' one-game drop.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for third, and the Raiders take third with 8.4 expected wins. There's still a tie for fourth, as the Chargers and Seahawks each finish with 7.9 expected wins. Thus, we go to the head-to-head tiebreakers, and the Chargers take fourth because they swept the season series.

    Seeds:

    1. Chiefs (AFC West champs): 12-4
    2. Steelers (AFC Central champs): 10-6
    3. Dolphins (AFC East champs): 10-6
    4. Broncos (AFC West second place): 9-7
    5. Oilers (AFC Central second place): 9-7
    6. Bills (AFC East second place; won three-way tiebreaker with Raiders and Colts): 8-8

    The Steelers hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the two seed over the Dolphins, 10.0 to 9.7.

    The Broncos hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the first wild card over the Oilers, 9.1 to 8.7.

    The Bills have already taken one part of their tiebreaker for the third wild card by eliminating the Colts. Now they have to settle their tie with the Raiders. Each team finished with 8.4 expected wins, The head-to-head tiebreaker isn't applicable, since the teams didn't play each other. So we turn to conference record, and the Bills finished 7-5 in the AFC while the Raiders finished 5-7. Therefore, the Bills make the playoffs.

    The first AFC Wild Card Game took place on December 30 at Pro Player Stadium, and the Bills shocked the Fins 37-22. They rushed for 341 yards and three touchdowns, with Thurman Thomas providing 158 yards on twenty-five carries with a touchdown. Darick Holmes added eighty-seven yards on fifteen carries with a score. Jim Kelly completed just twelve of twenty-two passes for 195 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His main target was wide receiver Steve Tasker, who caught five balls for 108 yards and a touchdown.

    Danny Marino was practically the Fins' entire offense, throwing an astronomical sixty-four times and completing thirty-three for 422 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Wide receiver O.J. McDuffie was his main target, catching eleven passes for 154 yards with a touchdown. The Fins ran only fourteen times for seventy yards on the day. The Bills will now take on the Chiefs in the second AFC Divisional Playoff next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

    The other AFC Wild Card Game will take place on New Year's Eve at Mile High Stadium, as the Broncos host the Oilers. Kickoff is scheduled for 4PM Eastern on NBC, with Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, and Phil Simms set to call the action. Jim Gray will serve as the sideline reporter.

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  11. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time to examine 1995 in the NFC. We begin in the East:

    Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 (0)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 7-9 (-3)
    Washington Redskins: 7-9 (+1)
    New York Giants: 7-9 (+2)
    Arizona Cardinals: 4-12 (0)

    The Boys freeze to take the East by a whopping five games. Below them, we have a three-way tie for second, the Giants add a pair, the Skins add one, and the Eagles fall off by three. And then there are the Redbirds, who hold the line and finish deep in the basement.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the second place issue. The Eagles have 7.4 expected wins, so they take second, followed by the third-place Redskins with 7.1 and the G-Men, who finish fourth with 6.5.

    Next, let's look at the Central:

    Green Bay Packers: 10-6 (-1)
    Detroit Lions: 10-6 (0)
    Chicago Bears: 9-7 (0)
    Minnesota Vikings: 9-7 (+1)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11 (-2)

    The Pack drops a game, which lands them in a tie with the frozen Lions for the division title. In other news, the Vikes pick up a game to force a tie for third with the Bears, who stay where they are. The Bucs fall off by a pair to reserve their usual seat in the basement and thus cost coach Sam Wyche his job. Tony Dungy will man the bridge come 1996.

    We have two ties to break. First, we settle the third-place deadlock. The Bears outpoint the Vikings, 8.8 to 8.6.

    Next, let's see who wins the division title. The Lions edge the Pack, 10.4 to 10.3.

    Last but not least, let's tackle the West (no pun intended):

    San Francisco 49ers: 13-3 (+2)
    Atlanta Falcons: 8-8 (-1)
    Carolina Panthers: 7-9 (0)
    New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (0)
    St. Louis Rams: 5-11 (-2)

    The defending Super Bowl champions add a pair and take the West by five games over the Falcons, who drop one and fall to .500. The Saints remain tied for third with the expansion Panthers, while the Rams drop a pair and "celebrate" their first season in St. Louis with a last place finish.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for third, and the Saints edge the Panthers, 7.2 to 6.9.

    Seeds:

    1. 49ers (NFC West champs): 13-3
    2. Cowboys (NFC East champs): 12-4
    3. Lions (NFC Central champs): 10-6
    4. Packers (NFC Central second place): 10-6
    5. Bears (NFC Central third place): 8-8
    6. Vikings (NFC Central fourth place): 8-8

    Wild Card Weekend schedule (all times Eastern):

    Saturday, December 30:

    Vikings-Lions, 4, ABC- Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Lynn Swann (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, December 31:

    Bears-Packers, 12:30, Fox- Pat Summerall, John Madden, Pam Oliver (sideline reporter)

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  12. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1995 AFC Wild Card Game from Mile High Stadium in Denver. Game time temperature is 36 degrees, with cloudy skies and a north-northwest wind at 10 MPH.

    The Oilers scored first, thanks in part to a couple of key passes from rookie quarterback Steve McNair. One went to wide receiver Chris Sanders for fifteen yards, and other to fellow wideout Derek Russell for twelve. The touchdown came from nineteen yards out, as running back Rodney Thomas gashed the Denver defense on a draw play. Al Del Greco added the extra point, and with 8:02 left in the opening period the visitors led 7-0.

    The Broncos answered with a field goal before the end of the quarter. John Elway patiently led his team downfield, connecting with wideout Anthony Miller for sixteen yards, tight end Shannon Sharpe for seventeen, and wideout Anthony Miller for eighteen. The letter completion gave the Broncos a first down at the Oilers' nineteen, and three plays later from the fifteen kicker Jason Elam made a thirty-two yard field goal to cut the Oilers' lead to 7-3 after one quarter. That was also our halftime score.

    The broncos cut into their deficit a little further early in the third period. The first key play was a twenty-seven yard pass from Elway to Miller that got the ball across midfield. From the Houston forty-nine Elway handed off to fullback Aaron Craver, who cut back to the left and found nothing but open grass in front of him. He ran out of gas at the Houston six after a gain of forty-three yards. An illegal motion penalty and three straight running plays for no gain left the ball at the eleven, and Elam converted from twenty-eight yards out to cut the Oilers' lead to 7-6 seven minutes to play in the third quarter.

    The Oilers responded with a touchdown. McNair threw to Russell for gains of twenty-one and fourteen, and Thomas knifed his way off right tackle for seventeen more yards. A fifteen-yard pass to tight end Frank Wycheck gave the Oilers a first and goal a the Denver six, and on second and goal McNair flipped the ball to Thomas, who walked into the end zone for the score. Del Greco's extra point gave the Oilers a 14-6 lead after three quarters.

    The Oilers added a field goal just seconds later, as on the Broncos' first play from scrimmage after the kickoff Craver was leveled by linebacker Micheal Barrow, who also recovered the ball after a bit of a chase at the Broncos' forty. A holding call against the Broncos and a fourteen-yard pass to Haywood Jeffires had Luv Ya Blue in business, but the offense could move no further. Undaunted, Oilers coach Jeff fisher called on Del Greco for a fifty-three yard attempt. Del Greco's kick was wobbly but good, and the Oilers led 17-6 with a little over thirteen minutes left in regulation.

    The Broncos answered with a field goal on their next possession. Elway completed passes of eleven yards to wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and fourteen yards to Miller, and Elam was eventually good from thirty-nine yards out to cut the Oilers' lead to 17-9 with a little over nine mutes to play.

    The Oilers built their lead back up on their next possession. Wycheck had a twenty-three yard catch-and-run, and McNair followed that up with strike of eleven and sixteen yards to Sanders. Steve's namesake Todd (no relation) gained eleven yards on a sweep to the left, which gave the Oilers a first down at the Denver fourteen, and from there Steve hit a wide-open Jeffires in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Del Greco added the extra point, and with exactly 5:30 remaining the Oilers led 24-9.

    The Broncos got a good kickoff return from Glyn Milburn, who was pushed out of bounds at the Houston forty-one. A fifteen-yard pass to Sharpe gave the Broncos a first down and restored some hope to the Mile High faithful. But the hope ended on the next play when Elway threw one right to Oilers free safety Chuck Cecil. Cecil was brought down at his own five-yard line, but Steve took the Oilers on the march that would seal the game for good. Thomas got them out of the hole when he ran a sweep to the left for forty yards, and Steve then connected on consecutive sixteen-yard strikes to Jeffires. A completion to wide receiver Malcolm Floyd from the seventeen was thought to be a touchdown, but he was ruled down inside the one. A Steve-to-Todd shovel pass took care of the last six inches, and Del Greco's extra point completed the rout. Final score: Houston 31, Denver 9.

    McNair was named MVP by NBC. This was his national coming-out party, and he showed what all the hype was about, completing twenty-two of thirty-five passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. He only ran four times for eighteen yards, but showed remarkable nimbleness in the pocket, which allowed him to be more accurate in his throws. Jeffires led his receivers with four catches for sixty yards, and Wycheck added four more for fifty-five. Thomas gained ninety-four yards on twenty carries to lead the rushing attack.

    As for the Broncos, Elway delivered yet another disappointing postseason performance, completing just fifteen of twenty-nine for 165 yards and two interceptions. He wasn't sacked all day, but he still looked uncomfortable in the pocket although the Oilers' rush was minimal. Miller caught four passes for seventy-two yards, and Sharpe caught four more for forty-three yards. Future Hall of Famer Terrell Davis gained seventy-one yards on eighteen carries in his first-ever postseason game, and Carver gained sixty-eight yards on just seven totes.

    The Oilers' next stop is Three Rivers Stadium, where they'll take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 PM Eastern on NBC, with Marv Albert and Cris Collinsworth on hand to call the action. Jim Gray will serve as sideline reporter.

    Next: To be determined.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  13. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first AFC Divisional Playoff from Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Game time temperature is 19 degrees, with cloudy skies and an east wind at 14 MPH. Wind chill at kickoff is five degrees above zero. (Note: All wind chill calculations use the formula that was adopted in 2001.)

    The Oilers scored first after a holding penalty on the opening kickoff pushed them back to their own seven-yard line. The big play of the drive was a fifteen-yard catch-and-run by Todd McNair that put the ball inside Pittsburgh territory. The drive stalled at the Pittsburgh thirty-two, but Al Del Greco booted a forty-nine yard field goal with the wind in his face to give the Oilers a 3-0 lead with 6:48 to play in the opening period.

    The Steelers evened things up with a field goal on their next possession. The key play was an eleven-yard pass from Neil O'Donnell to Ernie Mills. The drive stalled at the Houston nineteen, but kicker Norm Johnson hit a thirty-six yard field goal to tie the game at three with 1:23 left in the first quarter.

    The Steelers took the lead just before the end of the quarter. The Oilers once again only made it out to their own seven with the ensuing kickoff, and Rodney Thomas was tackled for a loss on consecutive plays, first by future Hall of Famer Kevin Greene for three yards, then by fellow linebacker Levon Kirkland in the end zone for a safety. At the end of one quarter the Steelers led the Oilers 5-3.

    The Oilers retook the lead with another field goal midway through the second quarter. Mel Gray returned a Mark Royals punt to his own forty-eight, and Chris Chandler, who regained his starting job after sitting out last week with a concussion suffered in practice, got his team in field goal range with a thirteen-yard pass to Chris Sanders. That gave the Oilers a first down at the Steelers' twenty-five, but the Blitzburgh defense pushed them back a yard over the next three plays. Del Graco was called on for a forty-three yard attempt, which he converted to give the visitors a 6-5 halftime lead. There was no scoring in the third quarter,

    The Steelers retook the lead midway through the final period thanks to O'Donnell's accuracy. He connected with wide receiver Andre Hastings for fifteen yards, tight end Mark Bruener for twelve, and wide receiver Yancey Thigpen for gains of sixteen and twenty. On third and goal from the Houston three, however, coach Bill Cowher sent Kordell "Slash" Stewart into the game at quarterback, and Slash threw on the run to a wide-open Hastings for the touchdown as Three Rivers Stadium went wild. Kordell's attempt to run for two points was stopped, but with just over six minutes to play the Steelers had taken a 11-6 lead.

    The Oilers were down to their last chance with a minute and a half remaining, but their offense never got off the ground, as Chandler was strip-sacked by defensive end Ray Seals. Cornerback Carnell Lake made the recovery at the Oilers' eight, and three plays later running back Erric "Pee Wee" Pegram knifed off right tackle for the touchdown from three yards out to put the game away. Johnson's extra point established our final score: Steelers 18, Oilers 6.

    O'Donnell was named MVP by NBC. He completed sixteen of his twenty-six passes for 184 yards. Thigpen was his top target with five catches for sixty-two yards. Pegram led the rushing attack with forty-nine yards on eighteen carries with a touchdown; lead back Bam Morris was held to just twenty-seven yards on twelve carries. For those who are curious, Stewart rushed four times for seven yards, caught two passes for thirteen yards and was one of one passing for three yards and a touchdown.

    For the Oilers, Chandler finished fourteen of twenty-nine for 220 yards. Derek Russell led all receivers with an even one hundred yards on three catches, including one for seventy-five yards. The running game was stuffed all day, as Thomas was held to only eighteen yards on sixteen carries. Gary Brown was the Oilers' leading rusher with twenty-nine yards on ten carries, and the overall ground attack produced just sixty-four yards on thirty-four attempts.

    The Steelers have secured a spot in next Sunday's AFC Championship Game. If the Chiefs beat the Bills tomorrow, the game will be at Arrowhead Stadium. If the Bills upset the Chiefs, the Steelers will host the game at Three Rivers. Tomorrow's game will kick off at 4PM Eastern on NBC with Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire and Phil Simms calling the action and Jim Gray on the sidelines. The AFC Championship Game will kick off at 12:30 PM Eastern on NBC regardless of venue, with the same broadcast crew being joined by additional sideline reporter Will McDonough.

    Next: The Bills take on the Chiefs at Arrowhead.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  14. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1995 AFC Divisional Playoff from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Game time temperature is 15 degrees, with fair skies and a northwest wind at 9 MPH. Wind chill at kickoff is three degrees above zero.

    The Chiefs got on the board first after a punt return by Tamarick Vanover set up their offense at the Bills' twenty-yard line. The drive's key play was a twenty-three yard completion by quarterback Steve Bono to wide receiver Willie Davis. The Chiefs also had a long run by fullback Kimble Anders negated by a holding penalty. At any rate, Marcus Allen took it over from a yard out, and the home squad led 6-0. Unfortunately, kicker Win Elliot missed the extra point, so the Chiefs were still up by six with 7:58 to go in the opening quarter.

    The Bills answered with a field goal after a Bono pass was picked off by free safety Kurt Schulz, who returned the ball to the Kansas City twenty-nine. An eleven-yard pass to wide receiver Bill Brooks got them into Steve Christie's field goal range, and the Buffalo kicker eventually connected from thirty-six yards out to cut the Chiefs' lead to 6-3 after one quarter of play.

    The Bills tied the game midway through the second quarter. Jim Kelly completed passes of sixteen yards to rookie wide receiver Justin Armour and twenty-one yards to future Hall of Famer Andre Reed. The drive got as far as the KC twenty-four before Kelly was sacked for a four-yard loss by Neil Smith, which pushed Christie's attempt back to forty-five yards. The kick curved just inside the left upright, and with a little more than eight minutes left in the first half we were tied at six.

    The Chiefs retook the lead with a field goal of their own just before halftime. Allen popped off left tackle for a fourteen-yard gain, and fellow running back Greg Hill picked up ten yards on a draw play. Through the air, Bono hit Webster Slaughter for sixteen yards and fellow wideout Lake Dawson for twenty-three more. The Chiefs got as far as the Buffalo fourteen before calling on Elliot, who split the uprights from thirty-one yards out to give the home squad a 9-6 halftime lead.

    There was no scoring in the third quarter, but the Bills tied the game again early in the fourth. Kelly connected with Brooks for thirteen yards, and Thurman Thomas slashed his way off left tackle for twenty more. The highlight of the drive was a one-handed catch by wide receiver Russell Copeland that was good for twenty-nine yards and a first down at the Chiefs' fifteen-yard line. The offense lost a yard over the next three plays, but Christie hit a thirty-three yard field goal to tie the game at nine with 9:57 left in regulation time.

    The Choefs only had the ball for two plays before they turned it over, as Bono's pass over the middle intended for Slaughter was swiped by strong safety Henry Jones, who returned it to the Kansas City twenty. Kelly was sacked for a seven-yard loss by Smith on third down, but Christie was good from forty-four yards out to give the Bills a 12-9 lead with just under eight minutes remaining.

    After forcing a three-and-out, the Bills were forced to start their next drive at their own five-yard line. But Kelly patiently took them to the game-clinching field goal, hitting Thomas with a screen pass for ten, Copeland for twelve, Reed for thirteen, and Armour for twenty-four. The drive ended at the Chiefs thirty-two just after the two-minute warning, when Christie booted his fifth field goal of the day from forty-nine yards out to seal a 15-9 victory. Bono couldn't get the Chiefs past their own thirty in their final drive.

    Christie was named MVP by NBC for hitting all five of his field goal attempts. The award could just as easily have gone to Bills defensive end Bryce Paup, who accounted for four of the Bills' seven sacks. It could also have gone to Smith in a losing cause as he sacked Kelly three times while the Chiefs as a team totaled six. Because of their respective opponents' pass rushes, neither Kelly nor Bono had a very good day statistically. Kelly finished fourteen of twenty-five for 178 yards with an interception, while Bono was thirteen of twenty-three for 168 yards and was picked off three times. Schulz did the honors twice.

    Hill was the Chiefs' leading rusher with fifty-three yards on eight carries; Allen was held to thirty-eight yards on eleven carries. Davis was Bono's leading receiver with forty-four yards on three catches. Darick Holmes, who was mostly used as a kickoff returner by the Bills during the season, was their leading rusher with fifty-nine yards on eight carries; Thomas carried nineteen times for fifty-eight yards.

    The following week in Pittsburgh for the AFC championship, the Bills were without Bruce Smith for the second week in a row because of a bad case of the flu, and Paup was held without a sack as the Steelers' offense put up forty points. Neil O'Donnell was nineteen of thirty-five for 262 yards and a touchdown to Ernie Mills, while Yancey Thigoen led the Steelers' receivers with three catches for seventy-seven yards. On the ground, Bam Morris carried twenty-five times for 106 yards and scored twice, and the Blitzburgh defense sacked Kelly twice and intercepted him three times. The Eat Brady, PA native finished fourteen of twenty-nine for 135 yards and a touchdown, while Thomas was held to just forty-six yards on thirteen carries. Former Pitt star quarterback Alex Van Pelt relieved Kelly and threw a touchdown pass, but it didn't help. The Steelers rolled 40-21, and will go back to the Super Bowl for the first time in sixteen years. Super Bowl XXX will be contested on January 28 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.

    Next: We begin the NFC playoffs with the first Wild Card Game, as the Lions host the Vikings in a rematch from last year's Wild Card round.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  15. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 1995 NFC Wild Card Game from the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan:

    The first quarter was scoreless. Toward the end of the period, the Lions began their first scoring drive. Quarterback Scott Mitchell completed passes of eleven and fifteen yards to wide receiver Brett Perriman, and Barry Sanders broke a draw play for thirteen yards and a first down on the final play of the period. On the first play of the second quarter, Mitchell's short pass to wideout Herman Moore turned into a twenty-three yard catch-and-run and a first down at the Vikings twelve. Two plays later, Sanders scored from two yards out, and Jason Hanson added the extra point to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with 12:55 left in the second quarter.

    The Lions added a field goal before the end of the half. Reserve defensive back Sean Vanhorse intercepted a Warren Moon pass and returned it to the Minnesota twenty-eight, and an eleven-yard pass to Perriman put the Lions in Hanson's field goal range. The drive died at the three with less than ten seconds left in the half, and Hanson's twenty-one yard chip shot extended the Detroit lead to 10-0 at the half.

    The Lions extended their lead after taking the second half kickoff. Mitchell completed passes of thirteen yards to Moore and twenty-four yards to fellow wideout Johnnie Morton, and on first and ten from the Vikings' twenty-two Sanders bulled his way through a hole on the left side of the Vikes' defense and raced into the end zone untouched. Hanson added the extra point, and the Lions led 17-0 with 9:25 to play in the third period.

    The Lions scored another touchdown before the end of the period. Mitchell hit Perriman for elven yards and a first down, then connected with tight end David Sloan for eleven more. Sanders found another hole, this one off the right side, and blazed through it for twenty yards and a first down. Later in the drive, Ron Rivers replaced him and gained sixteen yards up the middle. That gave Detroit a first and goal at the Minnesota five, and on third and goal from he six Mitchell threw to Morton in the end zone, where he made the catch despite obvious pass interference from Vikings cornerback Corey Fuller. The PI penalty was declined, the touchdown was put on the board, and the Lions had a 24-0 lead after three quarters.

    The Lions scored again early in the final period after Moon was intercepted again, this time by linebacker Mike Johnson, who returned the ball to the Minnesota twenty-five. One play later from the twenty-three Mitchell hit Moore in stride for the touchdown Hanson added the extra point, and the Lions led 31-0 with 10:02 left in the game.

    The Vikes finally scored on their next possession. Moon hit backup wide receiver Chris Walsh for twelve yards, then threw short to fellow receiver Qadry Ismail, who turned it into a thirty-four yard catch-and run and a first down at the Lions' seventeen. On third and six from the thirteen, Moon found tight end Andrew Jordan, who broke a tackle at the five and made his way into the end zone for the touchdown. Fuad Reveiz added the extra point, and with less than seven minutes left in the game it was 31-7 Lions.

    The Vikes scored again on their next possession. Robert Smith gained twelve yards up the middle and thirteen more on a pitchout to the right, and fellow running back Amp Lee took another pitch to the right for eleven yards and another first down. The touchdown came from twenty yards out, when Cris Carter made a diving catch of an underthrown Moon pass and just managed to get both feet down inbounds in the back of the end zone. Reveiz added the extra point, and the Vikes were back to within 31-14 with just under four minutes left in regulation.

    The Lions put the game away for good on their next possession. Rivers returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to his own forty-nine, and it's third and three from the Minny forty-four as we pick up the call from Al Michaels:

    "Third and three now for Detroit, as we go down under three minutes to play. Barry Sanders looks to be done for the day, as that's Rivers in the backfield behind Mitchell. He gets the call and goes though a huge hole! It doesn't look like anyone's even interested in catching him, as we count it down: twenty, fifteen, ten, five, touchdown Detroit, and the Lions are headed for Irving, Texas!"

    Dan Dierdorf: "The Vikings' defense completely quit on this play, Al. It would have been a big gain regardless, but as you said no one on the Vikings' defense even looked interested in trying to make a tackle. Rivers is a fine running back, but no one, not even Barry Sanders, should have it this easy."

    Frank Gifford: "You wouldn't expect a playoff team to give so little effort, even if it's clear that they aren't going to win the game. (Vikings coach) Dennis Green needs to rattle some cages when this one's over. Losing is one thing, losing big is another, but quitting is unacceptable no matter what."

    Hanson added one last extra point, and the Lions had wrapped up a 38-14 blowout victory.

    Sanders was named Player of the Game by the Monday Night Football crew. He gained 114 yards on twenty-one carries with two touchdowns. Rivers added sixty-nine yards on just seven carries with a touchdown. Mitchell finished seventeen of twenty-three for 248 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Moore was his leading receiver with ninety-eight yards on seven catches with a touchdown, Morton added eighty-one yards on just three catches with another touchdown, while Perriman caught five balls for fifty-five yards.

    Moon didn't have a good day statistically for the visitors; he finished fourteen of twenty-three for only 152 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Carter was his leading receiver with five catches for fifty-three yards and a touchdown. Smith was the Vikes' leading rusher with sixty-seven yards on fifteen carries.

    The Lions will take on the Dallas Cowboys in the second NFC Divisional Playoff next Sunday at Texas Stadium. Game time is 12:30 PM Eastern on Fox. Pat Summerall and John Madden will be on hand to call the action, with Pam Oliver serving as the sideline reporter.

    Next: The other NFC Wild Card Game, as the Bears and Packers resume football's oldest rivalry at the Frozen Tundra.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  16. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1995 NFC Wild Card Game from Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Game time temperature is 30 degrees, with cloudy skies and a northeast wind at 5 MPH.

    The Packers scored first after taking the opening kickoff. The drive's big play was Edgar Bennett's thirty-four yard gain on a sweep to the left that gave the Pack a first down at the Chicago forty-four. Bennett also caught a screen pass from Brett Favre for a thirteen-yard gain, and Favre also hit wide receiver Mark Ingram for twelve yards and a first down at the Bears' six. On first and goal, Favre found fellow wide receiver Anthony Morgan in the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Chris Jacke added the extra point, and with 9:55 left in the opening quarter the Pack had a 7-0 lead.

    The Bears tied the game with a touchdown on their next possession, thanks to consecutive completions from quarterback Erik Kramer to wide receiver Jeff Graham. The first went for fifteen yards, while the second was a thirty-yard catch-and-run that gave the Bears a first down at the Green Bay eleven. Running back Robert Green dashed up the middle and into the end zone for the score on the next play, and kicker Kevin Butler's extra point tied the game at seven after one quarter.

    The Bears took the lead with a second-quarter touchdown that was set up after cornerback Donnell Woolford picked off a Favre pass and returned the ball to the Green Bay twenty-six. Green eventually scored again from two yards out, and Butler added the extra point to give the Bears a 14-7 halftime lead.

    The Pack got back into the game after taking the second-half kickoff. Favre completed passes of twelve yards to tight end Mark Chmura and twenty-one yards to wide receiver Robert Brooks, with the latter pass giving the Pack a first down at the Chicago thirty-six. The drive stalled at the twenty-eight, but Jacke made a forty-five yard field goal to cut the Bears' lead to 14-10 at the end of three quarters.

    The Bears extended their lead early in the final period. Graham was a one-man band on this drive; first, he returned a punt to the Packers' forty-four, then he caught a twenty-eight yard pass from Kramer to give his team a first down at the Green Bay sixteen. The Bears only gained one more yard in the next three plays, but Butler's thirty-two yard field goal extended the Chicago lead to 17-10 with 9:47 left in regulation.

    The Bears put the game away with one last field goal on their next possession. Running back Rashan Salaam gained eleven yards on a draw play, and Kamer hooked up with wide receiver Curtis Conway for gains of fifteen and eighteen, the latter of which gave the Bears a first down at the Packers' twenty-two. The drive eventually reached the Packers' fifteen, and Butler was good from thirty-two yards out to seal the Bears' 20-10 victory.

    Favre was named MVP by Fox in a losing cause after completing twenty-one of twenty-nine passes for 280 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Brooks was his leading receiver with five catches for eighty-one yards. Bennett was their leading rusher with sixty-five yards on twenty-one carries, and he also caught four passes for forty-nine yards.

    For the Bears, Kramer did just enough to win, completing nine of seventeen passes for 167 yards. Graham caught three passes for seventy-three yards, and tight end Keith Jennings added fifty-four yards on just two catches. While Green scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground, he was held to twenty-nine yards on ten carries. Salaam was the Bears' leading rusher with forty-five yards on seventeen carries.

    The Bears will now face the San Francisco 49ers in the first NFC Divisional Playoff next Saturday at Candlestick Park. Kickoff is set for 4PM Eastern on Fox, with Dick Stockton and Matt Millen calling the action and Ron Pitts serving as sideline reporter.

    Next: The Bears take on the Niners.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  17. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 1995 NFC Divisional Playoff from Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Game time temperature is 59 degrees, with fair skies and a south-southwest wind at 7 MPH.

    The Niners scored first after taking the opening kickoff, with the key play being a fourteen-yard catch-and-run by fullback William Floyd. Floyd eventually accounted for the touchdown from seven yards out, and kicker Jeff Wilkins added the extra point to give the Niners a 7-0 lead with 8:01 to play in the opening quarter.

    The Niners added a field goal just before the end of the period. Future Hall of Famers Steve Young and Jerry Rice hooked up on a pair of passes for gains of sixteen and nineteen, and the Niners were gifted a key first down by penalty when linebacker Joe Cain was called for unnecessary roughness on a late hit out of bounds to Young. The penalty gave the Niners a first down at the Chicago twelve. The Bears' defense backed the home squad up to the fourteen before Wilkins connected on a thirty-one yard field goal to give them a 10-0 lead after one quarter.

    The Niners were able to add another field goal on the final play of the first half thanks to a shanked punt by the Bears' Todd Sauerbrun and John Taylor's return of that punt to the Bears' twenty-four. There were only two seconds left on the clock, but that was long enough for Wilkins to connect from forty-one yards out to send the Niners to the halftime locker room up 13-0.

    The Bears thought that they'd caught a break when Donnell Woolford picked off a Yong pass intended for Rice in the end zone, but instead of taking the automatic touchback and getting the ball for his offense at the twenty, Woolford decided to try a return and was buried at his own three-yard line. Rashan Salaam was tackled in the end zone for a safety by linebacker Gary Plummer on the next play, and with 8:55 left in the third quarter it was San Francisco 15, Chicago 0.

    Taylor returned the ensuing free kick all the way to the Chicago twenty-nine, and Young's eleven-yard pass to Rice gave them a first down at the eighteen. The drive reached the fourteen before stalling, and Wilkins was good from thirty-one yards out to make it 18-0 Niners with a little over six minutes to play in the third period.

    The Niners added one last field goal before the end of the third quarter. Floyd gained seventeen yards on a pitchout to the right, and Young connected with tight end Brent Jones for twelve yards and a first down. From the Chicago nineteen, Wilkins connected on a thirty-six yard attempt to extend the Frisco lead to 21-0 after three quarters.

    The Bears avoided a shutout with a touchdown in the final two minutes. Jeff Graham returned a Tommy Thompson punt to his own forty-six, then caught a thirteen-yard pass from Erik Kramer. Kramer also connected with tight end Keith Jennings for nineteen yards and a first down at the Niners' twelve. Kramer was sacked by linebacker Lee Woodall for a five-yard loss on second down, which set up a third and elven from the thirteen. An undaunted Kramer hit wide receiver Curtis Conway in the end zone for the score, and the shutout threat was averted. Kevin Butler's extra point gave us our final score: Niners 21, Bears 7.

    Rice was named Fox's Player of the Game after catching five passes for sixty-three yards. Those catches provided the bulk of Young's passing yards, as he finished thirteen of seventeen for 122 yards with an interception. Floyd scored a touchdown as part of a ten-carry, thirty-six yard day, but fellow running back Derek Loville led the ground game with thirty-nine yards on fifteen carries.

    For the Bears, Conway was the leading receiver with sixty-four yards on five catches plus a touchdown, while Graham caught five more passes for forty-six yards. Robert Green once again led the rushing game with seven rushes for forty-nine yards, but one of them was for thirty-six. Thake that play away and the Bears gained just thirty-one yards on the ground in twenty-seven attempts, with Salaam being held to fifteen yards on seventeen carries. Kramer finished his mediocre day sixteen of thirty-six for 174 yards and a touchdown. If the Bears had a standout player, it was defensive end John Thierry, who registered two of the defense's four sacks.

    The Niners will host their second consecutive NFC Championship Game next Sunday, and they'll either have their fourth consecutive title game tussle with the Cowboys or welcome Barry Sanders and the Lions.

    Next: The Boys take on the Lions in the second NFC Divisional Playoff.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  18. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1995 NFC Divisional Playoff from Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. Game time temperature is 27 degrees, with fair skies and a north wind at 13 MPH. Wind chill at kickoff is eight degrees above zero.

    The Lions scored first after taking the opening kickoff. Scott Mitchell threw passes of ten yards to Johnnie Morton and thirteen yards to Brett Perriman, and the drive went all the way to the Dallas seven-yard line before stalling. Jason Hanson's twenty-four yard field goal gave the visitors a 3-0 lead with 5:54 left in the opening period.

    The Boys answered with a long drive of their own that straddled the first and second quarters. Emmitt Smith provided a fifteen-yard catch-and-run, and Troy Aikman's fifteen-yard pass to Kevin Williams gave the Boys a first down at the Detroit fourteen. On third and nine from the thirteen, Aikman threw to a wide-open Jay Novacek, who eased into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Chris Boniol missed the extra point, so with 12:48 left in the first half the Boys led 6-3.

    The Boys got the ball back on the first play from scrimmage following the ensuing kickoff. Mitchell threw short to Perriman, who was so busy looking at the green turf in front of him that he dropped the ball without being hit. None other than Deion "Prime Time" Sanders recovered for Dallas at their own forty-five, and Smith went to work from there, gaining twenty-five yards on consecutive draw plays. The touchdown came from twenty-six yards out, as Aikman's dumpoff to fullback Daryl "Moose" Johnston in the flat became a lot more when two Detroit defenders collided, leaving Johnston to rumble into the end zone untouched. Boniol was successful with the PAT this time, and with 11:53 still to play in the first half the Cowboys led 13-3.

    The Lions' next drive consisted of only one play as well, as Mitchell threw a pass right to free safety Brock Marion, who returned the gift to the Lions' thirty. Aikman completed passes pf ten yards to Irvin and eleven yards to Novacek, and Smith scored the touchdown from eight yards out off the left side. Boniol added another extra point, and with a little over nine minutes left in the first half it was Dallas 20, Detroit 3.

    The Lions managed to keep the ball long enough to go three-and-out, but their punt was short, and Williams returned it to the Lions' forty-nine. The Boys were in the end zone again in just three plays: a twelve-yard pass to Irvin, a sixteen-yard catch-and-run by Novacek, and a twenty-one yard bolt up the middle from Smith. Boniol added another extra point, and with 6:50 still left in the half it was now 27-3 Dallas.

    Next was another one-play drive for the suddenly hapless Lions, as Mitchell was picked off by cornerback Larry Brown, who returned the ball to his own forty-one. Here's what happened next, courtesy of Pat Summerall:

    "The Lions are completely shellshocked. They've run a total of five offensive plays here in the second quarter, while the Cowboys have scored twenty-seven points and are going for more. Aikman puts it up on first down...…..IRVIN'S WIDE OPEN! MAKES THE CATCH, AND HE'LL GO ALL THE WAY FOR ANOTHER DALLAS TOUCHDOWN!...…….That's thirty-four points in the second quarter, and we still have six and a half minutes left."

    John Madden: "Detroit has run into a buzzsaw, Pat. The Cowboys are firing on all cylinders, and the Lions are making mistakes all over the place. Mitchell's interceptions, guys running into each other, it's all adding up. They looked so good against the Vikings last week, but the Vikings aren't the Cowboys by a darn sight."

    Summerall: "No one was within ten yards of Michael Irvin on that last play, which is completely inexcusable."

    Boniol made another extra point, and the rout was officially on: Cowboys 34, Lions 3.

    The home squad added one more touchdown just before the half. Walliams returned a punt to his own forty-nine, and once the ball was across midfield Smith took care of the rest. First be busted off left tackle for nineteen yards and a first down at the Lions' twenty-eight. Let's see what happened when he got the ball again:

    Summerall: "First and ten from the Detroit twenty-eight. Five touchdowns in this half for the Cowboys, and they're looking for six. Smith...…..cuts it back to the left......now to the sideline, and he'll go in absolutely untouched! Count it down yourselves!...……...Are the Lions waving the flag, John?"

    Madden: "No, I don't think so, Pat. They're just being buried by superior offensive talent. This quarter has been an incredible display by the Cowboys, the likes of which you don't often see in the playoffs. You'll see a better effort from the Lions when they come out in the second half, although it won't mean a heck of a lot in terms of winning the game."

    Boniol added his fifth extra point in six tries, and the Boys led 41-3 at the half.

    The point onslaught continued after the Boys took the second half kickoff. The key play of the drive was a forty-three yard bomb from Aikman to Irivin that put the Bpys in field goal range. The Lions finally managed a spot at their twenty-nine, but Boniol kicked a forty-six yard field goal to increase the Dallas lead to 44-3 with a little over ten minutes left in the third quarter.

    After yet another Detroit three-and-out, the Cowboys scored their final three points after a Williams punt return set the offense up at its own forty-six. Smith and Johnston did all the work, getting the ball down to the Detroit thirty-three before taking their final bows of the day. Boniol's fifty-yard attempt was right down the middle, and coach Barry Switzer mercifully called off his Cowpokes. The final after an uneventful last quarter and a half: Cowboys 47, Lions 3.

    Smith's picture fronted the Maddencruiser after his incredible two-and-a-half quarter performance: 209 yards on twenty-four carries with three touchdowns. Irvin hit the showers after the first Dallas field goal drive in the third, having caught six passes for 137 yards and a score. Aikman left late in the third to the loudest ovation of all, having completed thirteen of sixteen for 242 yards and three touchdowns. All told, the home squad tallied 484 yards of total offense, and that was with backups in the game for most of the second half.

    For the Lions, Mitchell finished seventeen of thirty-eight for 209 yards and two costly interceptions. Barry Sanders gained eighty-nine yards on twenty-two carries, but most of that came with the game long out of reach, as did Perriman's eighty-seven yards on six receptions. Herman Moore caught four more balls for fifty yards.

    The Cowboys will move on to next Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park, where they'll take on the San Francisco 49ers for the fourth year in a row. Kickoff is set for 4PM Eastern on Fox, with Pat and John once again calling the action. Pam Oliver and Mat Millen will serve as sideline reporters.

    Next: The NFC Championship Game.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  19. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the 1995 NFC Championship Game from Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Game time temperature is 50 degrees, with cloudy skies and a north wind at 6 MPH.

    The Cowboys scored first after Kevin Williams returned a Tommy Thompson punt all the way to the San Francisco forty-nine yard line. The kay play of the drive was Emmitt Smith's ten-yard run up the middle, and Chris Boniol capped things off by connecting on a thirty-nine yard field goal. With 11:02 left in the first quarter, the Boys led 3-0.

    The Niners tied the game later in he period thanks to a big punt return of their own, as John Taylor returned a John Jett shank all the way o the Dallas thirty-four. A Steve Young-to-Jerry Rice pass for seventeen yards was wiped out by a holding call, but Young came right back to find fellow receiver J.J. Stokes for thirteen yards and a first down at the twenty. The Cowboys' defense kept the Niners right there, but Jeff Wilkins kicked a thirty-seven yard field goal to tie the game at three with 4:34 left in the opening quarter.

    The Bpys took the lead again Williams returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Dallas forty-eight, and Troy Aikman's twenty-yard pass to Michael Irvin gave the Boys a first down at the Frisco thirty-three. Here's Pat Summerall with what happened next:

    "First and ten from the San Francisco thirty-three, with time running out in the opening quarter. Here's the give to Emmitt Smith...….has a hole, thirty, twenty-five, twenty, and he's loose! (Free safety) Merton Hanks the last one who can catch him!...…...he doesn't. TOUCHDOWN DALLAS!...…..Emmitt found a hole off the right side and just outran everyone to the end zone."

    John Madden: "The key block here was thrown by Number 76, the right tackle Eric Williams. He clears out (Number) 94, (defensive tackle) Dana Stubblefield right there. That's the hole that opens for Emmitt, and as fast as he is and as hard as he runs, that's all he needs. Merton Hanks gives a valiant effort, but Smith's able to juke him off and go on in."

    Boniol added the extra point, and the Cowboys had a 10-3 lead after one quarter.

    The visitors increased their halftime lead with a field goal midway through the second quarter. Aikman found Irvin for fifteen yards to get one first down, then fourteen yards to earn another. Smith's ten-yard burst off left tackle got the Boys down to the Frisco sixteen, and from the thirteen Boniol kicked a thirty-yard field goal to make it 13-3 Dallas at the half.

    The Niners got back into the game midway through the third quarter with a thirteen-play touchdown drive. Highlights included a ten-yard pass to running back Derek Lovillle, a ten-yard pass to Rice, and a twelve-yard scramble by Young. On first and goal from the Boys' eight, Young hit a wide-open Rice in the end zone for the score, and Wilkins added the extra point to cut the Cowboys' lead to 13-10 with less than three minutes remaining in the third period.

    The Niners got the ball back after a Cowboys three=and-out, and got into field goal range thanks to runs of thirty yards off right tackle by Loville and nineteen yards by reserve running back Ricky Ervins. The drive stalled at the Dallas nine-yard line, but Wilkins converted from twenty-six yards out to tie the game at thirteen with a little under fourteen minutes remaining in regulation.

    The Niners launched their game-winning drive with exactly three and a half minutes remaining. The key plays were a twelve-yard run by Ervins and a twenty-seven yard catch-and-run by Rice. We pick up the action with exactly one second left. Wilkins is trying a possible game-winner from forty-four yards out, and here's what happened:

    "Wilkins from forty-four yards out for a trip to Super Bowl XXX. Kick is up and good, but Barry Switzer calls a time out...…..no, wait a minute, they're calling it good! What's going on here? We could see (Cowboys coach Barry) Switzer calling time out to ice Wilkins, but referee Ed Hochuli didn't! He says this one's over, and the 49ers are celebrating!"

    Madden: "Coaches usually call one of the officials over and tell them that they'll call time out right when the ball's snapped. That makes sure that the officials see it. But Switzer just makes the motion...…."

    Summerall: "He forgot to tell anybody!"

    Madden: "......and in all the confusion of the play getting underway, nobody saw him. We had a camera down there, so we saw him clearly as you did at home, but Ed Hochuli and his crew didn't."

    Summerall: "Switzer's all over the officials now, but it's too late. This one's over, and the Niners are heading back to the Super Bowl, where they'll try for their sixth in two weeks against the Pittsburgh Steelers."

    Final score at Candlestick: Niners 16, Cowboys 13.

    Rice went on the Maddencruiser as the game's MVP after catching four passes for sixty-five yards; one went for a touchdown, while another set up the game-winning field goal.

    I lost my sim before I could gather the rest of the stats.

    The Niners will represent the NFC in Super Bowl XXX two weeks from today at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, where they'll take on the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Kickoff is scheduled for 6PM Eastern on NBC, and Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, and Phil Simms will be on hand to call the action. Jim Gray and Will McDonough will serve as sideline reporters.

    Super Bowl XXX will be simmed at a later date.

    Next: The standings for 1996.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
  20. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time to look at 1996 in the AFC. Let's start in the East:

    New England Patriots: 11-5 (0)
    Buffalo Bills: 10-6 (0)
    Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (0)
    Indianapolis Colts: 8-8 (-1)
    New York Jets: 4-12 (+3)

    There's no change in the top two spots. The Colts drop a game to force a tie for third with the Dolphs, who finish right at .500 in Jimmy Johnson's first season as coach. Elsewhere, the Jets still finish in the cellar, but they're nowhere near as pathetic thanks to their three-game upswing.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for third, and the Fins prevail, 8.4 to 7.5.

    Next, let's go to the Central:

    Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5 (+1)
    Houston Oilers: 9-7 (+1)
    Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-8 (-1)
    Cincinnati Bengals: 8-8 (0)
    Baltimore Ravens: 6-10 (+2)

    The Steelers pick up a game and thus defeat the Oilers, who are leaving Houston for Memphis after the season, by two. The Jags drop a game and fall into a third-place tie with the Bengals, who put together a 7-2 finish under new coach Bruce Coslet to get to .500. In other news, the NFLL returns to Charm City, as the Ravens pick up a pair of games, but still finish last.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to determine who finishes third, and it goes to the Bengals, 8.1 to 7.7.

    Finally, let's look at the West:

    Denver Broncos: 11-5 (-2)
    Oakland Raiders: 9-7 (+2)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 8-8 (-1)
    Seattle Seahawks: 6-10 (-1)
    San Diego Chargers: 6-10 (-2)

    The Broncos shed a pair, but still take the division crown by two over the Raiders, who pick up a pair to finish over .500. The Chiefs drop a game to break even, while the Hawks and Chargers each take steps backward into a tie for fourth; the Hawks take one, while the Bolts take a pair.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for fourth, and it goes to the Hawks, 6.4 to 6.2.

    Seeds:

    1. Broncos (AFC West champs): 11-5
    2. Steelers (AFC Central champs): 11-5
    3. Patriots (AFC East champs): 11-5
    4. Bills (AFC East second place): 10-6
    5. Raiders (AFC West second place): 9-7
    6. Oilers (AFC Central second place): 9-7

    The Raiders hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the second wild card over the Oilers, 9.4 to 8.7.

    There's a three-way tie for the top seed. The Broncos take it with 11.2 expected wins, the Steelers get the two seed with 10.7, and the Pats earn the three seed with 10.6.

    Wild Card Weekend schedule (all times Eastern):

    Saturday, December 28:

    Raiders-Bills, 12:30, ABC- Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, Mark Malone (sideline reporter), Lesley Visser (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, December 29:
    .
    Oilers-Patriots, 12:30, NBC- Dick Enberg, Paul Maguire, Phil Simms. Jim Gray (sideline reporter)

    Next: We look at the NFC.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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