Divisional Playoffs – What To Look For

Divisional Playoffs - What To Look For
Divisional Playoffs - What To Look For

Three of the eight starting quarterbacks in the Divisional Playoffs, presented by Intuit TurboTax, made their postseason debuts last week in historic fashion.

New York Giants quarterback DANIEL JONES became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards (301), two touchdown passes (two) and 70 rushing yards (78) in a playoff game in New York’s victory at Minnesota. Jacksonville quarterback TREVOR LAWRENCE passed for 288 yards and four touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 27-point comeback victory over the Chargers and became the sixth quarterback ever with at least four touchdown passes in his first-career playoff start. In San Francisco’s victory over Seattle, BROCK PURDY became the first rookie quarterback ever with four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in a playoff game and had the most passing yards (332) by a player making his first career playoff start since 1937.

Lawrence and Purdy can join SCOTT BRUNNER as the only players ever with at least three touchdown passes in each of their first two career playoff games.

Additionally, Jones and Purdy can join MARC BULGER, Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN FOUTSMATT HASSELBECK and MATTHEW STAFFORD as the only players ever with at least 300 passing yards in each of their first two playoff games.

Purdy, who was selected with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, is aiming to become the fifth rookie quarterback in NFL history to start and win a Divisional Round playoff game. He can also join MARK SANCHEZ (six touchdown passes in 2009 postseason) as the only rookie quarterbacks ever with four-or-more postseason touchdown passes.

The rookie quarterbacks to start and win a Divisional Round playoff game in NFL history:

QUARTERBACKTEAMGAMEFINAL SCORE
Mark SanchezN.Y. Jets2009 AFC Divisional at San Diego ChargersNYJ 17, SD 14
Joe FlaccoBaltimore2008 AFC Divisional at TennesseeBAL 13, TEN 10
Ben RoethlisbergerPittsburgh2004 AFC Divisional vs. N.Y. JetsPIT 20, NYJ 17
Shaun KingTampa Bay1999 NFC Divisional vs. WashingtonTB 14, WAS 13

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

CHIEFS KINGDOM: The KANSAS CITY CHIEFS will be making their 2022 postseason debut this week after winning their seventh-consecutive AFC West division title and earning a first-round bye as the AFC’s No.1 seed.

With a win against Jacksonville on Saturday (4:30 PM ET, NBC/Peacock/Telemundo), Kansas City will become the third team in NFL history to appear in five consecutive Championship Games, joining the New England Patriots, who advanced to eight straight AFC Championships from 2011-18, and the Oakland Raiders, who advanced to five consecutive AFC Championships from 1973-77.

Head coach ANDY REID has led Kansas City to each of the past four AFC Championship Games, after leading Philadelphia to five NFC Championship Games earlier in his career. With a win on Saturday, he will become the third head coach in NFL history to appear in 10 Conference Championships, joining BILL BELICHICK (13) and Pro Football Hall of Famer TOM LANDRY (10).

Reid has 19 career postseason wins and can tie Landry (20) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Belichick (31) has more.

The head coaches with the most career postseason wins in NFL history:

HEAD COACHTEAM(S)POSTSEASON WINS
Bill BelichickCleveland, New England31
Tom LandryHOFDallas20
Andy ReidPhiladelphia, Kansas City19
Don ShulaHOFBaltimore Colts, Miami19
Joe GibbsHOFWashington17

In three playoff games last year, quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES totaled at least 275 passing yards and three touchdown passes in each contest. With three touchdown passes on Saturday, he will join MATT RYAN as the only players in NFL history with at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive playoff games. Buffalo’s JOSH ALLEN also has a chance to accomplish the feat this week.

Mahomes has recorded at least three touchdown passes in seven of his 11 career playoff games, fourth-most in NFL postseason history. With three touchdown passes on Saturday, he will tie AARON RODGERS (eight games) for the third-most postseason games ever with at least three touchdown passes.

The players with the most postseason games with at least three touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)GAMES
Tom BradyNew England, Tampa Bay13
Joe MontanaHOFSan Francisco, Kansas City9
Aaron RodgersGreen Bay8
Patrick MahomesKansas City7

Mahomes’ top target in his career has been tight end TRAVIS KELCE, as they have connected on 11 postseason touchdowns over the past five years. With another touchdown between the pair, they will tie the Pro Football Hall of Fame tandem of JOE MONTANA and JERRY RICE (12 touchdowns) for the second-most postseason touchdowns between a quarterback-receiver pairing in NFL history. Only TOM BRADY and ROB GRONKOWSKI (15) have more.

The quarterback-receiver pairings with the most postseason touchdowns in NFL history:

QUARTERBACKRECEIVERTOUCHDOWNS
Tom BradyRob Gronkowski15
Joe MontanaHOFJerry RiceHOF12
Patrick MahomesTravis Kelce11

Kelce enters the 2022 postseason with at least 95 receiving yards in each of his past six playoff games, the longest such streak in NFL postseason history. In 15 career playoff games, he has totaled 106 receptions for 1,291 yards and 12 touchdowns.

With 99 receiving yards on Saturday, Kelce will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL IRVIN (1,315) and ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,389) for the third-most receiving yards in NFL postseason history.

With 100 receiving yards on Saturday, Kelce will tie Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (eight games) for the most postseason games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history.

The players with the most postseason receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)RECEIVING YARDS
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco, Oakland Raiders2,245
Julian EdelmanNew England1,442
Rob GronkowskiNew England, Tampa Bay1,389
Michael IrvinHOFDallas1,315
Travis KelceKansas City1,291

With a touchdown reception, Kelce will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JOHN STALLWORTH (12 touchdown receptions) for the third-most postseason touchdown receptions in NFL history.

The players with the most postseason touchdown receptions in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)TOUCHDOWN RECEPTIONS
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco, Oakland Raiders22
Rob GronkowskiNew England, Tampa Bay15
Travis KelceKansas City12
John StallworthHOFPittsburgh12

— DIVISONAL PLAYOFFS —

DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACKS: The NEW YORK GIANTS and PHILADELPHIA EAGLES will meet for the third time this season on Saturday night (8:15 PM ET, FOX/FOX Deportes). Eagles quarterback JALEN HURTS ranked fourth among quarterbacks with 760 rushing yards in 2022, while the Giants’ DANIEL JONES ranked fifth with 708.

Saturday’s meeting will mark the first playoff matchup in NFL history in which both starting quarterbacks each had at least 600 rushing yards in the regular season and the fifth with each having at least 500 rushing yards.

The postseason games featuring two starting quarterbacks each with at least 500 rushing yards in the regular season in NFL history:

ROUNDGAMEQUARTERBACKS (RUSHING YARDS)RESULT
2022 NFC DivisionalN.Y. Giants at PhiladelphiaDaniel Jones (708) & Jalen Hurts (760)???
2015 NFC DivisionalSeattle at CarolinaRussell Wilson (553) & Cam Newton (636)CAR 31, SEA 24
2014 NFC DivisionalCarolina at SeattleCam Newton (539) & Russell Wilson (849)SEA 31, CAR 17
2013 NFC Champ.San Francisco at SeattleColin Kaepernick (524) & Russell Wilson (539)SEA 23, SF 17
2013 NFC DivisionalSan Francisco at CarolinaColin Kaepernick (524) & Cam Newton (585)SF 23, CAR 10

Philadelphia’s defense led the NFL with 70 sacks this season, tied for the third-most by a team in the regular season in NFL history. With three sacks on Saturday night, the Eagles will surpass the 1985 New York Giants (72 sacks) and 1983 Los Angeles Raiders (72) for thefourth-most sacks by a team in a single season, including playoffs, in league history.

The teams with the most sacks in a season in NFL history, including playoffs:

TEAMSEASONSACKS
Chicago Bears198482
Chicago Bears198580
Oakland Raiders196774
Los Angeles Raiders198372
New York Giants198572
   
Philadelphia Eagles202270

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

CINCINNATI STARS: The CINCINNATI BENGALS are aiming for their second-consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance and fourth overall in franchise history. 

Last year, quarterback JOE BURROW – who was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft – became the third quarterback selected in the first round to start a Super Bowl within his first two seasons in NFL history.

With a win at Buffalo on Sunday (3:00 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+), Burrow, age 26, will become the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall to win five playoff games prior to his 27th birthday. He can also join RUSSELL WILSON and BEN ROETHLISBERGER as the only quarterbacks ever to win five playoff games within their first three seasons.

Wide receiver JA’MARR CHASE led the team with nine receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown in Cincinnati’s victory over Baltimore last week, marking his fifth-consecutive playoff game with at least five receptions.

With five catches on Sunday, Chase will become the fourth player in NFL history with at least five receptions in each of his first six career playoff games, joining LARRY FITZGERALDDEANDRE HOPKINS and WES WELKER.

Chase has 452 career postseason receiving yards and with 12 receiving yards on Sunday, will surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDY MOSS (463) for the second-most postseason receiving yards ever by a player in his first two seasons. Only CHARLIE BROWN (643) has more.

The players with the most postseason receiving yards in their first two career seasons in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMRECEIVING YARDS
Charlie BrownWashington643
Randy MossHOFMinnesota463
Ja’Marr ChaseCincinnati452*
*In second season  

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

TOP BILLING: The BUFFALO BILLS are aiming for their second AFC Championship Game appearance in the past three years and can improve on their 13-1 home playoff record since 1970 when they host Cincinnati on Sunday (3:00 PM ET, CBS/Paramount+).

Last week, quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Miami, his third-straight playoff game with at least 300 passing yards and three touchdown passes. If he accomplishes the feat again on Sunday, he will become the first player ever with at least three touchdown passes and 300 passing yards in four consecutive playoff games.

In seven career playoff games, Allen has totaled 17 touchdown passes. With three touchdown passes on Sunday, he can become the first player in NFL history to reach 20 postseason touchdown passes in eight-or-fewer playoff games.

The players to reach 20 touchdown passes in the fewest postseason games in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)GAMES TO REACH 20 TD PASSES
Drew BreesSan Diego Chargers, New Orleans9
Patrick MahomesKansas City9
Dan MarinoHOFMiami9
   
Josh AllenBuffalo7*
*Has 17 career postseason touchdown passes

Over his past two playoff games, wide receiver GABE DAVIS has totaled 314 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions, with over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in each game. He can become the fourth player in NFL history with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in three-or-more consecutive postseason games.

The players with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown reception in the most consecutive postseason games in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAMCONSECUTIVE GAMES
Larry FitzgeraldArizona4 (Jan. 3, 2009 – Feb. 1, 2009)
Randy MossHOFMinnesota3 (Jan. 9, 2000 – Jan. 6, 2001)
Jerry RiceHOFSan Francisco3 (Jan. 8, 1989 – Jan. 6, 1990)
   
Gabe DavisBuffalo2* (Jan. 23, 2022 – Jan. 15, 2023)
*Active streak

Tight end DAWSON KNOX also recorded a touchdown reception last week, marking his fifth-consecutive game with a touchdown reception, going back to Week 14 of the regular season. He can become the third tight end in NFL history with a touchdown reception in six consecutive games within a single season, including playoffs, joining ROB GRONKOWSKI (2011 and 2014) and TRAVIS KELCE (2020 and 2021).

— DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS —

POSTSEASON HEAVYWEIGHTS MEET: When the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS host the DALLAS COWBOYS on Sunday night (6:30 PM ET, FOX/FOX Deportes), two of the most successful postseason teams in league history will meet.

Dallas has 36 postseason wins and with a victory on Sunday would tie the New England Patriots (37 postseason wins) for the most in NFL history. San Francisco has 35 postseason wins and with a victory, would tie Dallas, Green Bay and Pittsburgh for the second-most all-time.

The franchises with the most postseason victories in NFL history:

TEAMWINSSUPER BOWL TITLES
New England376
Dallas365
Green Bay364
Pittsburgh366
San Francisco355

Last week in their win at Tampa Bay, Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT recorded 305 passing yards and five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing). It marked his fourth-consecutive postseason game with a rushing touchdown, the longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history.

It also marked his fourth-career playoff game with both a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown, tied for the third-most such games ever. With a touchdown pass and rushing touchdown on Sunday, Prescott will tie TOM BRADY (five games) for the second-most such playoff games in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer STEVE YOUNG (seven) has more.

The players with the most postseason games with both a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown in NFL history:

PLAYERTEAM(S)GAMES
Steve YoungHOFSan Francisco7
Tom BradyNew England, Tampa Bay5
John ElwayHOFDenver4
Donovan McNabbPhiladelphia4
Patrick MahomesKansas City4*
Dak PrescottDallas4*
*Active in 2022 postseason

In last week’s victory over Seattle, San Francisco running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY totaled 136 scrimmage yards (119 rushing, 17 receiving) and a touchdown reception, marking his second-consecutive postseason game with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.

If he accomplishes the feat again on Sunday, McCaffrey will become the fourth player ever with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in each of his first three career playoff games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer TERRELL DAVISLARRY FITZGERALD and ARIAN FOSTER. He can also join RICKY WATTERS as the only running backs ever with a touchdown reception in three consecutive postseason games.

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