WHAT TO LOOK FOR – A LOOK BACK

A look back at last weekend's playoff action.

FAMILIAR FOES: Last week, Pittsburgh (Wild Card) traveled to play Denver* *(AFC West Champions) as part of Wild Card Weekend. It marked the seventh postseason meeting between these teams, tying for the third most all-time (Bears vs. Giants, 8; Cowboys vs. Rams, 8). It was the first meeting between the Steelers and Broncos on Wild Card Weekend.

With a 29-23 overtime victory, the Broncos now lead the playoff series against the Steelers, 4-3. Of the six prior meetings, the winning team reached the Super Bowl five times. Three of those five teams won the Super Bowl the same year.

The playoff games between Denver and Pittsburgh in NFL history:

DATE

ROUND

WINNING TEAM

SCORE

RESULT

1/22/06

AFC Championship

Pittsburgh

34-17

Won Super Bowl XL

1/11/98

AFC Championship

Denver

24-21

Won Super Bowl XXXII

1/7/90

Divisional

Denver

24-23

Lost Super Bowl XXIV

12/30/84

Divisional

Pittsburgh

24-17

Advanced to AFC Championship

12/30/78

Divisional

Pittsburgh

33-10

Won Super Bowl XIII

12/24/77

Divisional

Denver

34-21

Lost Super Bowl XII

1/8/12

Wild Card

Denver

29-23 (OT)

???

-- WILD CARD WEEKEND --

A RESILIENT BUNCH: The Denver Broncos won the AFC West title after starting the 2011 season with a 2-5 record. The Broncos became the fifth team in NFL history to reach the postseason after starting 2-5 or worse after seven games.

With their 29-23 overtime win over Pittsburgh, the Broncos will advance to the Divisional round of the playoffs to face the AFC East champion New England Patriots (13-3).

The teams to reach the postseason after starting a season 2-5 or worse in NFL history:

TEAM

YEAR

SEASON START

FINAL RECORD

RESULT

Cincinnati Bengals

1970

1-6

8-6

Advanced to Divisional

New Orleans Saints

1990

2-5

8-8

Advanced to Wild Card

Detroit Lions

1995

2-5

10-6

Advanced to Wild Card

New York Jets

2002

2-5

9-7

Advanced to Divisional

Denver Broncos

2011

2-5

8-8

???

-- WILD CARD WEEKEND --

PASSING FRENZY: This past Saturday, New Orleans' DREW BREES and Detroit's MATTHEW STAFFORD faced each other on Wild Card Weekend. Their combined passing yards in 2011 (10,514) were the most ever between two opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game. Brees (466) and Stafford (380) combined to throw for 846 yards on Saturday, the most combined passing yards by opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game.

The most combined passing yards between starting quarterbacks in a postseason game:

DATE

PLAYER, TEAM

PASSING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM

PASSING YARDS

COMBINED YARDS

1/7/12

Drew Brees, NO

* 466*

Matthew Stafford, Det.

380

846

1/16/00

Jeff George, Min.

423

Kurt Warner, Arz.

391

814

1/10/10

Aaron Rodgers, GB

423

Kurt Warner, Arz.

379

802

1/5/03

Kelly Holcomb, Cle.

429

Tommy Maddox, Pit.

367

796

1/9/05

Peyton Manning, Ind.

458

Jake Plummer, Den.

284

742

The most combined passing yards between opposing starting quarterbacks in a postseason game (regular-season totals):

DATE

PLAYER, TEAM

PASSING YARDS

(PLAYOFF GAME)

PLAYER, TEAM

PASSING YARDS

(PLAYOFF GAME)

COMBINED YARDS

(PLAYOFF GAME)

1/7/12

Drew Brees, NO

* 5,476* (466)*

Matthew Stafford, Det.

5,038 (380)

10,514 (846)

1/8/12

Eli Manning, NYG

4,933 (277)

Matt Ryan, Atl.

4,177 (199)

9,110 (476)

2/7/10

Peyton Manning, Ind.

4,500 (333)

Drew Brees, NO

4,388 (288)

8,888 (621)

1/9/05

Daunte Culpepper, Min.

4,717 (284)

Brett Favre, GB

4,088 (216)

8,805 (500)

12/29/84

Dan Marino, Mia.

5,084 (262)

Dave Krieg, Sea.

3,671 (234)

8,755 (496)

1/20/02

Kurt Warner, StL.

4,830 (216)

Brett Favre, GB

3,921 (281)

8,751 (497)

1/20/85

Dan Marino, Mia.

5,084 (318)

Joe Montana, SF

3,630 (331)

8,714 (649)

*NFL Record

-- WILD CARD WEEKEND --

ROOKIE-QB RECORD:Last weekend's Wild Card matchup between the Bengals and the Texans featured two rookie quarterbacks – Cincinnati's ANDY DALTON and Houston's T.J. YATES. It marked the first time in NFL history that two rookie quarterbacks started against each other in a playoff game.

Yates (Round 5, No. 152) became the first rookie quarterback drafted in the fifth round or later to start a playoff game in the era of the common draft. The Texans defeated the Bengals 31-10 and will play the AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens (12-4) in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Yates is the fifth rookie to win his first playoff game.

The 11 rookie quarterbacks to start a playoff game (since 1966):

QUARTERBACK

SEASON

TEAM

GAME RESULT

PLAYOFF RESULT

Dan Marino

1983

Miami Dolphins

Lost 27-20 vs. Seattle

Advanced to Divisional

Bernie Kosar

1985

Cleveland Browns

Lost 24-21 at Miami

Advanced to Divisional

Jim Everett

1986

L.A. Rams

Lost 19-7 at Washington

Advanced to Wild Card

Todd Marinovich

1991

L.A. Raiders

Lost 10-6 at Kansas City

Advanced to Wild Card

Shaun King

1999

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Won 14-13 vs. Washington

Advanced to NFC Championship

Ben Roethlisberger

2004

Pittsburgh Steelers

Won 20-17 vs. NY Jets (OT)

Advanced to AFC Championship

Joe Flacco

2008

Baltimore Ravens

Won 27-9 at Miami

Advanced to AFC Championship

Matt Ryan

2008

Atlanta Falcons

Lost 30-24 at Arizona

Advanced to Wild Card

Mark Sanchez

2009

New York Jets

Won 24-14 at Cincinnati

Advanced to AFC Championship

Andy Dalton

2011

Cincinnati Bengals

Lost 31-10 at Houston

Advanced to Wild Card

T.J. Yates

2011

Houston Texans

Won 31-10 vs. Cincinnati

???

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