Vincent Jackson

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Posted by r2d2 04/24/2009 @ 08:10

Tags : vincent jackson, football players, football, sports

News headlines
Bike rodeo rounds up helmets - Red Bluff Daily News
At the request of Jackson Heights staff, the RBPD also sent out officers, including Vincent Marshall, to teach children about the importance of signaling, staying on the right side of the street and wearing your helmet. Marshall also gave bikes a free...
Jackson wants evidence tossed - San Diego Union Tribune
By Brent Schrotenboer An attorney for Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson has asked the court to suppress evidence obtained as a result of Jackson's Jan. 6 arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. In a motion filed Thursday in San Diego Superior Court,...
TETON CRIBS: Protecting Jackson's past - Planet Jackson Hole
By Robyn Vincent Jackson Hole, Wyo.-As more post-mod condos and million-dollar castles pop up in the valley, Jackson's wild Western aesthetic becomes increasingly crucial to preserve. When I stepped into Cherie and Tim Hawley's house, I sensed,...
Bo Jackson will deliver Auburn's commencement; a little Tyrik ... - The Birmingham News -
Vincent Jackson (maybe you know him as Bo) will deliver the commencement address at Auburn's spring graduation ceremonies at 10 am Saturday. We kind of like that for the Heisman Trophy winner and best football player in school history who received his...
Here's Chucky: Jon Gruden To Replace Tony Kornheiser on MNF - Bleacher Report
by Vince Jackson (Scribe) Monday Night Football may finally have the winning formula after a comic, a columnist, and Cosell. ESPN announced today that former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden will replace Tony Kornheiser in...
Torrington officers injured in fight, arrest 8 - Waterbury Republican American
Sgt. Vincent Calabrese said he did not know the nature of the injuries, but they were minor enough that each of the officers has returned to work. Calabrese said he did not know what started the fight. He said the first call was for underage drinking...
Make or Break? Davis, Naanee Enter Year Three - Tiger Sports Digest
Before GM AJ Smith decides what to do with Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, Malcom Floyd and Kassim Osgood -- each of whom is scheduled for unrestricted free agency next offseason -- he must evaluate what he has in Davis and Naanee....
First OTA done - San Diego Union Tribune
Shawne Merriman, Kassim Osgood and Vincent Jackson were also absent. Antonio Cromartie and Antoine Cason both had brilliant interceptions in team drills. Jacques Cesaire worked with the first team at right defensive end; Ryon Bingham and Ian Scott...
Denver Broncos Primed For a Playoff Run: A Look at The AFC West ... - Bleacher Report
The Chargers have a tough offense to handle with freaky-sized receivers like Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd. Antonio Gates' production was down last year, but anytime an organization can get 700-plus receiving yards from your tight end,...

Vincent Jackson

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Vincent Jackson (born January 14, 1983 in Fort Polk, Louisiana) is an American football wide receiver who currently plays in the National Football League for the San Diego Chargers.

Jackson attended Widefield High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a senior, he was a Rocky Mountain News All-State Honorable Mention, a first team All-Area pick, and a first team All-Conference pick. He also was a standout in basketball. This also is when he earned the nickname frisbee because of his incredible speed. Graduated with a 4.25 GPA.

Vincent Jackson played college football at the University of Northern Colorado. It was one of the few colleges that recruited Jackson out of high school.

Vincent was the 29th player selected in the second round (61st overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft (the highest ever by a UNC graduate) by the San Diego Chargers.

Jackson got off to a slow start in 2005 due to injuries. He was inactive for the first five games of the season and finally saw his first NFL action in an October 16th game against the Oakland Raiders. He caught his first pass on November 6th against the New York Jets, but he would only catch two more passes for the rest of the season.

Jackson caught his first NFL touchdown on September 17, 2006 in a victory over the Tennessee Titans. In 2006 in a Christmas Eve game against the Seattle Seahawks, Jackson had a memorable touchdown catch that led the Chargers to victory. With 29 seconds left, quarterback Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass to Jackson and the Chargers ended up winning the game 20-17 and setting a franchise record for wins. Jackson ended the season strongly and finished second on the team with six touchdown catches.

In a 2006 game against the Oakland Raiders, Jackson nearly made one of the most bizarre turnovers in recent NFL history. After making a 13 yard catch on fourth down, Jackson immediately got up and spun the ball forward in celebration. Because Jackson had fallen on his own and was not tackled, Raiders cornerback Fabian Washington believed it to be a fumble and leapt upon the ball. Possession was originally awarded to Oakland, but the Chargers were then flagged for an illegal forward pass and allowed to keep the ball.

By virtue of the release of Keenan McCardell and an injury to Eric Parker, Jackson entered the 2007 season as a starting wide receiver for the Chargers. He started the season in an unmemorable fashion in a home game against the Chicago Bears by dropping a sure touchdown that bounced off his chest in the end zone. However, by the end of the season, Jackson had distinguished himself as a top target for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

In the 2008 season, Jackson had a career season with 59 receptions, 7 TD'S and 1,098 yards.

On January 6, 2009, Jackson was arrested for DUI. Jackson was on probation from a previous DUI arrest.

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2008 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The Steelers have won 14 consecutive Monday night games at home.[133]

The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 76th season in the National Football League (NFL). The season concluded with the team winning Super Bowl XLIII to become the first franchise in the NFL with six Super Bowl titles.

The Steelers entered the season as defending champions of the AFC North Division, coming off a 10–6 record in 2007. Based on the previous season's results, the team faced the most difficult schedule in the league, however, they were called Super Bowl contenders by ESPN. The Steelers opened their regular season on September 7, with a win over the Houston Texans en route to a 12–4 record, and a second straight AFC North Division title. In his second season as head coach Mike Tomlin was selected in fan balloting as the Motorola Coach of the Year. Linebacker James Harrison was named the NFL's defensive player of the year after leading a defense which set the standard for the league as measured by scoring as well as total yardage. The playoffs began on January 11, 2009, with a win over the San Diego Chargers. The following week saw the third victory of the season over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game and the advancement to Super Bowl XLIII where the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals on February 1, 2009.

Entering the 2008 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost ten-year lineman Alan Faneca, after his contract expired, and he signed with the New York Jets. Allen Rossum, Jerame Tuman, and Clint Kriewaldt were released on February 22. The team also lost Dan Kreider, Verron Haynes, Brian St. Pierre, and eight-year veteran Clark Haggans to free agency.

The Steelers renewed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's contract with an eight year, $102 million agreement, the largest in franchise history. The team re-signed Max Starks to the largest single-year deal in franchise history, despite him not being a starter during the 2007 season. Nate Washington, Chris Kemoeatu, and Trai Essex also agreed to one-year deals. Seven-year center Justin Hartwig and running back Mewelde Moore were signed to multi-year deals, and linebacker Keyaron Fox agreed to a one-year deal. Entering the season, 14 players were in the final year of their contracts.

The 2008 NFL Draft was held on April 26 and April 27, 2008, at Radio City Music Hall. In the first round, the Steelers selected running back Rashard Mendenhall, from the University of Illinois, with the 23rd overall pick. He was the first running back selected in the first round by the franchise since 1989. The Steelers selected Limas Sweed, from the University of Texas, in the second round. Sweed was ranked by the Steelers as one of the top three receivers in the draft. The drafting of Sweed came after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's suggestion of acquiring a tall wide receiver; Sweed is 6-feet 4-inches in height. In round three, the Steelers selected Bruce Davis, of UCLA. Davis primarily played defensive end at his alma mater, however, he is expected to switch to linebacker at the pro level. The Steelers traded their fourth-round pick (123rd overall) to the New York Giants for the Giants' fourth and sixth-round selections, 130th and 194th overall, respectively. The Steelers selected offensive tackle Tony Hills with the 130th overall selection, in the fourth round. Like second-round pick Sweed, Hills came out of the University of Texas where he had been elected a captain of the football team during his senior season. With their fifth-round selection, the Steelers chose quarterback Dennis Dixon. Prior to an injury in 2007, Dixon was a Heisman Trophy candidate. The sixth round selection was the Steelers' second linebacker of the draft, Mike Humpal out of the University of Iowa. Also in the sixth round, the final selection of the team was safety Ryan Mundy, a Pittsburgh native. The Steelers did not pick in the seventh round, due to a 2007 trade with the Atlanta Falcons. Kevin Colbert, Director of Football Operations, said of the draft, "we’re happy with the way things turned out." Also stating that the first and second-round selections were players who the team expected to have already been chosen. Coach Mike Tomlin said that the Steelers tried to select skilled offensive "weapons" over a strong offensive line, which struggled the previous season. The following day, the Steelers signed twelve free-agent rookies. All draft picks agreed to terms by July 25, two days prior to the start of training camp.

A mandatory three-day mini-camp was held in early May. Hines Ward, Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu attended the camp, but did not fully participate because of injuries. First round draft pick, Rashard Mendenhall was welcomed by Steelers current running back Willie Parker. Parker was "surprised" when he heard a running back was selected in the first round, but hoped to work with Mendenhall like Jerome Bettis worked with Parker during his rookie season. During the mini-camp, the offense experimented with formations using Parker and Mendenhall in the backfield simultaneously. Receiver Hines Ward took a similar approach to Parker's in welcoming second round draft pick Limas Sweed. As with other receivers in the past, Ward was "very hands-on with Sweed throughout the weekend". Coach Mike Tomlin called the new draft picks "humble", adding that he liked their "spirit and attitude"; however, it was too early to tell how well they will ultimately perform.

The team held two Organized Team Activities (OTAs) prior to the draft, in addition to 12 throughout May and June. The OTAs were voluntary, however, most players did attend. Many players routinely worked on their conditioning and strength together, in addition to "informal" on field training. A week prior to the end of OTAs Mike Tomlin said he was happy with the team's progress during the sessions. Also stating, “We are having a productive off-season and that is what we are here for. We are here to get better individually and collectively and I think we are doing that.” Limas Sweed experimented on special teams play for the first time ever, with a concentration in punt blocking. On the day of the final OTA, June 12, Tomlin stated that while he was pleased with the progress of the team, no positions would be gained or lost based on the voluntary camp. Tomlin added, "it's been teach-oriented, it's been skill-develop-oriented. It's different than playing the game of football." The team was given 44 days off until the beginning of training camp.

In May, ESPN The Magazine released the findings of its annual survey of over 80,000 fans entitled the "Ultimate Standings: Fan Satisfaction Ranking." The Steelers ranked as the 25th best major league sports franchise out of 122 teams from MLB, NFL, NBA, and the NHL. The franchise finished one position behind the cross-town hockey team Pittsburgh Penguins. The Steelers were sixth among all NFL teams. In August, ranked Steelers' fans as the best in the National Football League, citing their "unbelievable" sellout streak of 299 consecutive games.

During the Pittsburgh Penguins run for the Stanley Cup multiple members of the Steelers showed support for the cross-town team. Ben Roethlisberger attended games in Detroit, where he and the Steelers won Super Bowl XL three years prior. Mike Tomlin watched Game Six of the finals outside Mellon Arena, along with 3,000 other fans, on a JumboTron which had been erected for fans unable to acquire tickets to the sold-out game. Kevin Colbert, Charlie Batch, and Tomlin attended many games throughout the regular season. In September, Penguins' coach Michel Therrien attended the Steelers' first game of the season.

On February 17, Ernie Holmes, who played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1977, was killed in a car crash. Ten days later, on February 27, award-winning journalist, Steelers radio announcer of 35 years, and inventor of the Terrible Towel, Myron Cope, died at age 79. On June 6, Dwight White, a defensive end on the Steel Curtain died from a blood clot. Upon his death, Dan Rooney called White, "one of the greatest players to ever wear a Steelers uniform." A pre-game ceremony was held in their honor prior to the first game of the season.

Training camp was held at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, for the 42nd consecutive year. Players reported on July 27, practices commenced the following day and ran through August 17. Throughout the twenty three day span, seventeen included practices; making the camp one of the shortest in Steelers history. The camp was less demanding under Tomlin, who was in his second year as coach. "We are a veteran team in some areas. You have to approach it differently because of that," said Tomlin.

Pittsburgh looked to build on their defense, which was ranked first in the league throughout the 2007 season. At over thirty years in age each, all three starting linemen returned. First round draft pick, Rashard Mendenhall entered camp with expectations to make an impact on the team throughout his rookie season. Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, who returned after suffering a broken leg in the 2007 season, was expected to share the load with Mendenhall. On July 29, punter Daniel Sepulveda tore the ACL in his right leg and was placed on season-ending injured reserve. The Steelers acquired Paul Ernster later in the day as a possible replacement. After concluding practices at St. Vincent's, the Steelers began to practice at their facility on Pittsburgh's South Side. Tomlin called the camp "very productive".

Pittsburgh opened their pre-season schedule with a 16–10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers scored on their first possession, after driving 80 yards on eight plays. Ben Roethlisberger's 19-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes completed the drive. In the first quarter, Charlie Batch was removed from the game after breaking his clavicle. Jeff Reed converted three field goals from 20, 24, and 50 yards. Toronto's Rogers Centre hosted the second pre-season game; it was the first pre-season game Pittsburgh played in Toronto since 1960. Pittsburgh's starting offense played longer in the second game. Willie Parker increased his output over the first game by playing on third downs. However, the team failed run the ball consistently and struggled on defense, losing the game 24–21. "We fell short essentially in all three phases," stated coach Tomlin after the game.

Pittsburgh traveled to Minnesota to play the Vikings for their third pre-season game. The Steelers's defense held the Vikings early, led by Aaron Smith who had three tackles, including one sack, in the first quarter. The offense failed to score a touchdown, with Rashard Mendenhall fumbling twice. Quarterback Byron Leftwich, who was signed to replace the injured Batch, lead the team with 129 yards passing. Jeff Reed accounted for all of the Steelers' points, kicking four field goals—the final with 4 seconds remaining—to give Pittsburgh a 12–10 victory. Entering their final pre-season game the Steelers had selected every starting player except the punter. Carolina tied the game with 1:54 remaining in regulation, but rookie Dennis Dixon lead the Steelers on a 47-yard drive, which was capped with Reed kicking the game winning 43-yard field goal as time expired. After the three point victory, Tomlin stated, "It has been a pleasure working with this group guys, but it is that time of year where we need to make tough decisions." The Steelers cut 22 players on August 30, to bring their roster to the required 53 player total. The following day the Steelers signed nine players from their pre-season team to the practice squad.

Based on 2007 records, the Steelers boasted the NFL's most difficult schedule in 2008, with an opponent winning percentage of .598; ten games were played against teams that finished 2007 with winning records. The Steelers played each of the teams in the AFC North twice, once home and once on the road. The Steelers also faced the teams from the AFC South and NFC East divisions throughout the season. Pittsburgh's matchups included the San Diego and New England, who each won their division in the 2007 season. The Steelers played five nationally televised primetime games, the maximum allowed number by the NFL.

Entering the first week of the season, players voted Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, James Farrior, and Jeff Reed team captains. Farrior, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu were voted to represent the Steelers at the 2009 Pro Bowl. James Harrison set the Steelers' franchise single-season record for sacks, surpassing Mike Merriweather's previous record of 15 sacks in 1984. Harrison also became the first undrafted player to win the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was the fifth Steeler to win the award—the first since Rod Woodson in 1993. Harrison and Polamalu were also voted to the NFL's All-Pro team. The Steelers' defense tied the 1973 Los Angeles Rams record by holding 14 consecutive opponents under 300 yards of total offense. The defense finished ranked first in the league in total and passing yards given up and second in rushing yards. For the fifth time in his career Hines Ward received for over 1,000 yards throughout the season. The team's offense ranked 22nd in overall offense, 17th in passing, and 23rd in rushing. Rashard Mendenhall was the team's only rookie to start a game; the fewest rookie starts of any team in the league.

The 2008 season was the Steelers' seventh as members of the AFC North Division. Pittsburgh defended their division title from the 2007 season, which they obtained by tying the Cleveland Browns' 10–6 record, but holding the tie-breaker with two wins over the Browns. Through 2008, Pittsburgh is the only team to have won the AFC North four times, since its inception prior to the 2002 NFL season. Entering the 2008 season, the Steelers were chosen to win the division by sportswriter Ron Borges, as well as nine of 13 analysts interviewed by Four analysts predicted that the Steelers would finish with a 10–6 record. The Steelers finished the regular season with a record of 12–4, going undefeated against opponents in the AFC North and winning 12 games for the fourth season since 1979. The team clinched the second seed in the AFC for the playoffs and received a bye the first week of the post-season. The Baltimore Ravens finished at second place in the AFC North with an 11–5 record, clinching a playoff seed as an AFC wild card. The Cincinnati Bengals finished 4–11–1, winning their final three games of the season. The Cleveland Browns finished in the AFC North's fourth position at 4–12; the team fired head coach Romeo Crennel after the season.

The Steelers started their regular season, against the Houston Texans, in front of 64,001 spectators at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Steelers drove the ball 52 yards on their opening drive, with their biggest gain coming on a 17-yard run from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Willie Parker scored a touchdown at 5:44 of the opening quarter and added a second touchdown in the following quarter. After a LaMarr Woodley interception the Steelers extended their lead to 21 points when Roethlisberger completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Ward. With 4:34 remaining in the half, former-Steelers' kicker Kris Brown converted a 34-yard field goal. Pittsburgh led the game 21–3 as time expired on the first half.

In the second half, Parker scored his third touchdown of the game—surpassing his touchdown total for the entire 2007 season—and was named the AFC offensive player of the week for his performance. Pittsburgh's defense held Houston to six yards on their ensuing drive and the Steelers drove 80 yards to take a 35–3 lead. The Texans scored two touchdowns in the final quarter, but Pittsburgh's James Harrison led the team with three sacks—forcing a fumble on the third—and the Steelers won their first game of the season.

The Steelers entered their first matchup with the Cleveland Browns having won 15 of the last 16 games between the two teams. Ben Roethlisberger started the game despite missing practice time during the week due to a shoulder injury suffered in Week One. The Steelers' defense held the Browns to 16 yards on their first four drives, as the teams played to a scoreless tie after the first quarter. After a Bryant McFadden interception the Steelers drove 70 yards and Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward for their third touchdown combination of the season. Cleveland responded with a 14 play, 71 yard drive, but Troy Polamalu intercepted a Cleveland pass as time expired in the first half solidifying Pittsburgh's seven point halftime lead.

A 48-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes and a 48-yard field goal from Jeff Reed on the team's second drive of the second half brought the score to 10–0. The Browns' Phil Dawson converted two consecutive field goals, to pull Cleveland within four points with 3:21 remaining. After a fourth down stop, Cleveland's offense took over with 26 seconds remaining, but failed to gain yardage as time expired. With the win, the Steelers increased their win streak over the Browns to 10 consecutive games—the longest current winning streak over a single opponent in the NFL.

Pittsburgh's first inter-conference opponent of the season was the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers scored on their first drive, with a Jeff Reed field goal. The Eagles offense drove 85 yards to take the lead on a touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb to Correll Buckhalter. The Eagles defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger eight times throughout the game, two of which resulted in fumbles. Bryant McFadden intercepted his second pass of the season which allowed Reed to add his second field goal of the day—this one from 53-yards. The field goal brought the half time score to 10–6.

Donning their throwback uniforms, the Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens in their first Monday Night game of the season. Multiple Steelers starters did not play in the game, due to various injuries. After a 3–3 first quarter, Baltimore took a ten point lead into half time with a field goal and touchdown pass in the second quarter. Rashard Mendenhall—in his first NFL start—left the game in the third quarter with a season-ending shoulder injury. On Pittsburgh's third drive of the half, Roethlisberger connected with Santonio Holmes for a 38-yard touchdown pass. On the first play of Baltimore's ensuing drive, James Harrison's forced fumble was picked up by LaMarr Woodley and returned 7 yards for a touchdown. The two touchdowns within 15 seconds took the Steelers from ten points behind to four points ahead. In the final quarter, the Steelers' offense was stopped on the one yard line and Reed kicked his second field goal of the night. Baltimore drove 76 yards and tied the game with a touchdown. Neither team was able to score on their final drive as the regulation clock expired.

Baltimore won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. The Ravens started the drive at their own 15 yard line. The Steelers held them for no gain on the first two plays and Lawrence Timmons sacked Flacco on third down. The Steelers took over after a punt and Mewelde Moore caught a 24 yard reception to bring the Steelers to Baltimore's 31-yard line. Jeff Reed converted a 46-yard field goal to win the game for the Steelers. Reed was named the NFL's special teams player of the week. With the win the Steelers passed the Ravens for first place in the AFC North at 3–1, as well as extending their all-time record of 14 consecutive home wins on Monday Night Football.

The Steelers' matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars—their first since the Jaguars knocked the Steelers out of the 2007 playoffs—was featured as the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Throwback Game of the Week. On the Steelers opening drive, Roethlisberger—who missed practice time during the week due to injections for his shoulder—was intercepted by Rashean Mathis who returned the ball 72 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh responded by driving 71 yards, with Heath Miller receiving a 1-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Jacksonville re-gained the lead on the next drive when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a touchdown. Pittsburgh took the lead in the second quarter with two field goals and a 48 yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Nate Washington.

Jacksonville scored first in the final quarter with a touchdown pass from David Garrard to Marcedes Lewis. The Steelers drove from their 20 yard line in the fourth quarter, Ward received an 8-yard touchdown pass to put the Steelers up by 5 points with 1:53 remaining in regulation, however, the 2-pt conversion failed. Roethlisberger received the AFC offensive player of the week award for his 309 yard, 3 touchdown pass performance, despite having an injured throwing shoulder. The NFL selected the game as the league's Week Five Game of the Week.

Willie Parker was expected to return after missing two games, but aggravated his knee injury during a weekday practice and missed the game. Pittsburgh received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards to open the scoring up with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Mewelde Moore to put the Steelers up 7–0. The Steelers' defense forced the Bengals offense into five consecutive three-and-outs, before the Bengals scored on their final possession of the opening half. The 5 yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Chad Johnson brought the Bengals within three points of the Steelers who added a field goal from Jeff Reed.

Pittsburgh added their second touchdown of the game on their opening drive of the second half when Moore rushed to the left side for 13 yards. Cincinnati retaliated on their ensuing drive adding a field goal from Dave Rayner. The Steelers scored three consecutive touchdowns in the final quarter, while holding the Bengals scoreless. At 8:26 of the fourth quarter Roethilisberger connected with Nate Washington for a 50 yard touchdown pass. Pittsburgh's Moore scored his second touchdown of the day—his second rushing—and Hines Ward's 16 yard touchdown reception gave the Steelers 31 points to the Bengal's ten. Moore finished the game with 120 yards rushing, while Santonio Holmes lead the Steelers with 89 receiving yards.

Willie Parker missed his fourth game due to a knee injury. Santonio Holmes also missed the game after a "small quantity of marijuana" was found in his car and the team placed him on the inactive list. Mewelde Moore opened up the game's scoring with a 32-yard touchdown run on the Steelers opening drive. The 5–1 New York Giants responded with a field goal on the ensuing drive. Pittsburgh stopped the Giants on four consecutive plays from inside the Steelers 2-yard line to force a turnover on downs. But were unable to score when two Ben Roethlisberger interceptions and a punt lead to two more field goals in the second quarter for the Giants.

At 10:10 of the third quarter Roethlisberger completed a 65-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington to give the Steelers a 14–9 lead. Later in the quarter, a Steelers 53-yard touchdown pass was negated due to a holding penalty and Pittsburgh was forced to punt. In the final quarter Pittsburgh kept New York out of the end zone on three plays inside the 10-yard line, however, the Giants connected on a field goal to bring the Giants to within two points. On the next drive, James Harrison—who was called in to replace injured long snapper Greg Warren—snapped the ball out of the end zone to give the Giants a safety and tie the game. The Giants drove after receiving the safety's kickoff to score a touchdown—taking a 21–14 lead with 3:07 remaining. Pittsburgh was unable to convert on their final two drives, as Roethlisberger threw his fourth interception of the day.

The night before the United States presidential election, the Steelers played in the nation's capitol, Washington, D.C.; both major party candidates were interviewed at half-time. The Washington Redskins took a 6–0 lead in the first quarter with two field goals. The Steelers defense shut out the Redskins in the second quarter while the Steelers scored on a field goal to cut the lead in half. A blocked punt with 2:21 remaining in the half led to a Steelers 1-yard touchdown run from Ben Roethlisberger.

Due to an injury to Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich took over as quarterback in the second half. Leftwich completed a 50 yard pass to Nate Washington on the opening drive of the third quarter; the Steelers capped the drive with a Willie Parker touchdown run. Pittsburgh extended their lead in the final quarter with a touchdown pass from Leftwich to Santonio Holmes. The Redskins gained 124 yards in the final quarter, but were unable to score. The Steelers' 17 point win took their record to 6–2 on the season.

Both the Steelers and Indianapolis Colts drove more than 60 yards on their opening offensive drives, each scored a touchdown to bring the score to 7–7 after the first quarter. A Steelers 42-yard flea flicker advanced the ball to the 2 yard line. On the following play Mewelde Moore scored his second touchdown of the game. The Steelers extended their lead to ten, but an interception with 1:30 remaining in the half led to a Colts touchdown—bringing the halftime score to 17–14.

The Colts kicked a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 17. A Steelers field goal in the final quarter gave them a three point lead. The Colts scored on Peyton Manning's third touchdown pass of the game to take the lead with 3:10 remaining in regulation. The Steelers drove from their own 27 yard line, but were unable to score.

Pittsburgh entered week eleven with starters having missed 31 games due to injuries. The San Diego Chargers scored first, and led 7–0 after the first quarter of play. On the second play of the second quarter, the Steelers' James Harrison forced a fumble in the endzone, then forced a safety by tackling the Marcus McNeill after he had recovered the fumble. Jeff Reed converted on a field goal as time expired on the first half, pulling the Steelers within two points.

Reed kicked his second field goal of the game from 41-yards to give the Steelers the lead going into the final quarter. The Chargers drove 74 yards on 17 plays, converting on a field goal to give them the lead again, with 6:45 remaining. On the Steelers' ensuing drive, the offense drove 73 yards and Reed converted on his third field goal of the day, giving the Steelers an 11–10 lead with 15 seconds remaining in regulation. The Chargers attempted to score on their final play, but Troy Polamalu forced and recovered a fumble, returning it for a touchdown. The call was reversed when the officials ruled that San Diego had made an illegal forward pass. After the game, head referee Scott Green admitted that the touchdown should have been counted. With the touchdown not counted the final score kept Pittsburgh under the 5 point spread by which they were favored, and resulted in over $32 million being lost in bets. The game was the first game in NFL history to end with a final score of 11–10.

The Steelers concluded their primetime schedule with their only Thursday night game of the season. The Cincinnati Bengals took a 7–0 lead in the first quarter after a 62 yard drive. In the second quarter the Steelers tied the game on a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller. Jeff Reed converted a field goal with 1:56 remaining in the first half to give the Steelers a 10–7 halftime lead.

Pittsburgh added another ten points in the third quarter when Gary Russell ran for his first rushing touchdown of the season, after Reed's second field goal. In the final quarter, Roethlisberger rushed for a touchdown to put the Steelers up by a score of 27–10. Roethlisberger passed for 243 yards and one touchdown, while Santonio Holmes led the game with 84 receiving yards. James Farrior led the Steelers with 8 tackles.

The Steelers fell behind the New England Patriots less than three minutes into the first quarter, after an interception of Ben Roethlisberger was driven to the endzone. The Steelers came back with 2:55 remaining in the initial quarter to convert on a 20 yard Jeff Reed field goal. The Patriots extended their lead to seven points with a 29 yard field goal in the second quarter. Pittsburgh drove 63 yards on nine plays, capping their drive with a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to tie the game at ten points at the halfway point.

Pittsburgh took their first lead of the game on their first drive of the second half, after Reed's second field goal put them up by three points. On the ensuing kickoff the Steelers recovered a Patriots' fumble and Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward for an 11-yard touchdown pass. James Harrison forced his first of two fumbles on the Patriots' next drive and the Steelers recovered as Reed added his third field goal of the game—putting the Steelers up 23–10. Gary Russell scored a touchdown after Lawrence Timmons returned an interception 89 yards to the Patriots' one-yard line.

The Dallas Cowboys and the Steelers held each other scoreless in the first quarter. Troy Polamalu intercepted a pass in his fourth consecutive game, overall he led the league with seven interceptions. The Steelers scored first on a 24-yard field goal from Jeff Reed with 2:44 remaining in the second quarter. The Cowboys converted a 44-yard field goal as time expired on the first half to tie the game at 3–3.

A Tony Romo touchdown pass in the third quarter gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game. The lead was extended when Nick Folk converted his second field goal of the day, putting the Cowboys up 13–3 as the game entered the final quarter. Reed converted his second field goal of the game, bringing the Steelers within seven points with 7:20 remaining in regulation. On the Steelers next drive, Ben Roethelisberger threw a touchdown pass to Heath Miller—tying the game with 2:10 remaining. Deshea Townsend intercepted Romo's next pass and returned the ball 25 yards, scoring a touchdown to give the Steelers a seven point lead, which they held to the end of the game.

Entering their second game of the season against Baltimore, the Steelers' defense ranked first in the league, while the Ravens' defense ranked second. "We're going to win by any means necessary. If the defense has to score, if the special teams have to kick in a score, or if the offense has to score 50 points -- whatever it takes to win," stated James Harrison prior to the game.

Both teams were held scoreless before a record crowd at M&T Bank Stadium until a Baltimore field goal gave the Ravens a 3–0 lead at 12:34 of the second quarter. Pittsburgh tied the game on a Jeff Reed field goal; Matt Stover converted a second time to give the Ravens a three point lead at halftime. Stover kicked his third field goal of the game in the third quarter, extending their lead to six points. In the final quarter, Reed kicked his second field goal of the game to put the Steelers within three points. On the Steelers final drive of the game, the offense drove 92 yards over 2:53, with Ben Roethlisberger completing a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 50 seconds remaining. The Ravens embarked on one more drive, but the Steelers second interception of the game prevented them from scoring. With the victory the Steelers won their second consecutive AFC North title and clinched a first round bye and became the first AFC franchise to amass 550 wins.

Pittsburgh entered their final road game of the regular season with a chance to surpass the Tennessee Titans for the top seed in the AFC. The Steelers and the Titans were scoreless after the first quarter, when Tennessee took a 3–0 lead on the second play of the second quarter. Justin Gage's 34-yard reception later in the quarter extended the lead to 10–0. Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes also received a touchdown pass in the second quarter, bringing the halftime score to 10–7.

In the second half, Ben Roethlisberger threw his second touchdown pass of the game—to Hines Ward—to give the Steelers their only lead of the game. After a 21-yard touchdown run on Tennessee's ensuing drive, the Titans entered the final quarter with a three point lead. The Titans scored two touchdowns in the final quarter, and the Steelers were unable overcome two Roethelisberger fumbles and two interceptions throughout the game.

Although guaranteed the second seed in the AFC Tomlin stated, "It is a big week for us." Willie Parker's 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the Steelers longest run of the season. With less than two minutes left in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger was hit by D'Qwell Jackson and Willie McGinist and had to be immobilized and carried off the field after suffering from a concussion. Byron Leftwich replaced Roethlisberger and scored the Steelers second touchdown of the game to give the Steelers a 14–0 lead at halftime.

Pittsburgh scored the only points of the third quarter when Jeff Reed converted his sole field goal attempt of the game. The Steelers added two touchdowns in the final quarter—on a Gary Russell rush and Tyrone Carter's return of his second interception of the game. "We were so upset we had to practice on Christmas, we had to take it out on the Browns," said Larry Foote after the victory.

Their 12–4 regular season record gave the Steelers a second place finish in the AFC. Along with the Tennessee Titans, who finished with the best record in the AFC, the Steelers received a bye during the opening week of the post-season. The 2008 season was the seventh of the past 16 that the Steelers were the first or second seed in the AFC entering the playoffs—never winning the Super Bowl during those seasons. Pittsburgh defeated the San Diego Chargers in the Divisional round, giving up a franchise post-season low of 15 rushing yards. The victory was head coach Mike Tomlin's first in the post-season. The Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. The Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII over the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals on February 1.

Pittsburgh hosted the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field due to the Chargers' overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts during the Wild Card round. The Chargers scored on the game's first drive with a 41-yard pass from Philip Rivers to Vincent Jackson for a touchdown. After the Steelers defense stopped the Chargers on their next drive, Pittsburgh's Santonio Holmes returned a punt 67 yards to tie the game at seven. With two minutes remaining in the first half Nate Kaeding converted a 42-yard field goal to reclaim the lead for the Chargers. Pittsburgh's offense responded with a 7 play, 66 yard drive in 1:33 to take their first lead of the game after a 3-yard touchdown run from Willie Parker.

The Steelers opened the second half with a 7:56, 13 play drive which concluded with Ben Roethlisberger's sole touchdown pass to Heath Miller. San Diego had one offensive play in the third quarter, which resulted in an interception. The Steelers entered the final quarter with a 21–10 lead. Gary Russell scored on a 1-yard touchdown rush to extend the Steelers lead. The Chargers scored on their next possession, when Legedu Naanee received Rivers' second touchdown pass of the game to conclude a 73 yard drive. With 4:17 remaining Willie Parker scored his second touchdown of the game—with a 16-yard run. The Chargers' Darren Sproles concluded the game's scoring with a 62-yard touchdown reception, bringing the final score to 35–24.

Pittsburgh scored the game's first points, with Jeff Reed converting on field goals from 34 and 42 yards in the first quarter. Santonio Holmes received a pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter and ran for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 13–0 lead. Baltimore's Willis McGahee ran into the endzone for a touchdown with 2:44 remaining in the second quarter—bringing the halftime score to 13–7. Reed converted his third field goal of the game from 46 yards in the third quarter. McGahee scored his second touchdown of the game with 9:32 remaining in the final quarter bringing the Ravens within two points. Troy Polamalu intercepted a pass from Joe Flacco and returned it 40 yards to score the final touchdown of the game, giving Pittsburgh a 23–14 victory.

Jeff Reed concluded the first drive of Super Bowl XLIII with a field goal—giving the Steelers a 3–0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals. Gary Russell scored on a 1 yard touchdown rush on the Steelers' second drive and the Cardinals responded by scoring a touchdown on the ensuing drive. On the final play of the first half James Harrison intercepted a pass from Kurt Warner and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. As he did in the first quarter, Reed scored the sole points of the third quarter giving the Steelers a 20–7 lead entering the final quarter. The Cardinals scored three consecutive times in the fourth quarter—with two Larry Fitzgerald touchdown receptions and a Steelers' holding call in the endzone that resulted in a safety—to give them a 23–20 lead with 2:37 remaining in regulation. Pittsburgh drove 78 yards in 2:02 and scored on a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes. The Steelers four point lead held as time expired and the Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win six Super Bowl titles.

Santonio Holmes was voted the game's Most Valuable Player. Mike Tomlin became the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl. Harrison's interception return was the longest play in Super Bowl history. On February 3 a parade was held in Pittsburgh to celebrate the victory, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette an estimated 400,000 people attended. The city's name was ceremonially changed to "the City of Sixburgh" for the duration of 2009.

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2006 Seattle Seahawks season

The 2006 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's 31st season in the National Football League. The season began with the team attempting to improve on their 13-3 record from 2005, repeat as National Football Conference (NFC) champions, and return to the Super Bowl. The team, while winning their NFC West division, only advanced as far as the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, losing to eventual 2006 NFC Champions Chicago Bears.

The team ended the preseason with a record of 2-2-0.

The Seahawks won their regular season opener against the Detroit Lions on September 10. Despite the Seahawks' offense failing to score a single point, Josh Brown had a big day, as he provided all of the Seahawks' points. He kicked a 20-yarder, a 50-yarder, and a 42-yard field goal as time expired to win the game. Meanwhile, the defense limited the Lions to just two field goals.

On September 11, the Seahawks announced they had acquired wide receiver Deion Branch in a trade with the New England Patriots. In return, they gave their first-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft to the Patriots.

After a low-scoring victory in Detroit, the Seahawks played their Week 2 home-opener against their fellow NFC West rival, the Arizona Cardinals. Unlike Game 1, Seattle's offense got off to a strong start, as RB Shaun Alexander got a 2-yard TD run, while QB Matt Hasselbeck completed a 49-yard TD pass to WR Darrell Jackson. That's how the rest of the first half would end up. In the third quarter, the score of the period was Arizona kicker Neil Rackers completed a 43-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks got a 1-yard TD run by FB Mack Strong. The Cardinals would get a touchdown, which would come in the form of a 40-yard TD pass from QB Kurt Warner to WR Bryant Johnson, but fortunately, Seattle would maintain the lead for the win. The Seahawks would extend their home winning streak to 11 straight games.

The Seahawks held on to defeat the New York Giants 42-30 after leading 42-3 going into the 4th quarter. Prior to the game the Giants had complained to the NFL about the level of crowd noise at Qwest Field and suggested that some of the noise was artificial. Last year the Giants were called for 11 false start penalties in a 24-21 overtime loss at Seattle. The complaint became public and the predictable result was a boisterous Seattle crowd and inspired play from the team.

One day after the game, the Seahawks reported that MVP Running Back Shaun Alexander had a cracked bone in his foot that would sideline him for a few weeks.

The Seahawks met the 3-0 Chicago Bears in a primetime matchup of NFC powerhouses at Soldier Field. The Seahawks took the lead on an early field goal, but momentum quickly shifted to the hometown Bears. Two Matt Hasselbeck interceptions midway through the 2nd quarter led to 10 Chicago points and a 20-6 halftime lead. Any hopes for a comeback were erased after the Bears scored a touchdown on their first possession of the second half for a 27-6 lead.

The Seahawks running attack was diminished without the injured Shaun Alexander. Near constant pressure on Hasselbeck, including 5 sacks, thwarted the effectiveness of the 4 receiver offense that had confused the Giants the week before.

The team flight back to Seattle was diverted to South Dakota for a "medical emergency", which turned out to be Defensive Consultant Ray Rhodes feeling ill after the game. Rhodes has a history of stroke symptoms. He was checked out at a Rapid City, SD hospital and released.

Still recovering from the loss to the Bears and without Shaun Alexander and WR Bobby Engram, the Hawks were ineffective for much of the first half. Trailing 21-7, Mike Holmgren blistered the paint in the locker room and a different Hawks team took the field in the second half. Seattle scored 20 unanswered points to lead 27-21 and looked to have put the game away after a Lofa Tatupu interception late in the game. However, RB Maurice Morris fumbled on the Ram 7 yard line with 2:48 left. A few plays later Ram QB Marc Bulger hit Torry Holt with a 67-yard TD pass to give the Rams a 28-27 lead with 1:38 remaining.

Matt Hasselbeck engineered a final drive from the Seahawks' 17-yard line and led the team to the Rams' 31-yard line. A premature celebration erupted on the Rams' sideline as the Seahawks were called for an illegal formation after Hasselbeck spiked the ball to stop the clock with four seconds left in the game. The Rams believed the Seahawks had committed a false start which would have resulted in a ten-second runoff of the clocks that would have ended the game. Instead, the Seahawks were penalized five yards, pushing them back to the 36-yard line. Despite the setback, Josh Brown still kicked a 54-yard field goal to win the game, 30-28.

Brown's kick was tied for the second longest game-winning field goal in NFL history, behind Tom Dempsey's 63 yard effort in 1970. (It would be supplanted a week later by Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant's 62-yard field goal in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles.) Brown also became the first player in NFL history to make 3 field goals of 49 yards or longer in the same quarter. In the third quarter, Brown achieved the equally rare feat of hitting both uprights on an unsuccessful 34 yard field goal attempt.

The return of Steve Hutchinson had the 12th man at Qwest Field in a frenzy. A knee injury to Matt Hasselbeck early in the second half silenced them. An early 72 yard TD reception by Darrell Jackson staked the Seahawks to a 7-3 lead, but the Vikings scored a TD of their own in the second quarter and the teams went to the half tied at 10. On the Hawks first possession of the 3rd quarter, Vikings LB E.J. Henderson rolled onto Hasselbeck's right leg and sent the QB to the turf well after he had released the ball. Hasselbeck left the field with the assistance of trainers, and did not return. Seneca Wallace took over at QB, completing 14 of 25 passes with two interceptions and a fumble in his own endzone. The Hawks gave up a 15 yard TD pass from RB Mewelde Moore to TE Jermaine Wiggins to trail 17-10 as Hasselbeck was walking to the locker room. They looked to have weathered the storm and recaptured momentum when punter Ryan Plackemeier pinned the Vikings on their own 5 yard line. The next play resulted in the Vikings' longest ever TD play, a 95 yard romp by Chester Taylor that brought back memories of Bo and the Boz. Suddenly the deficit was 14 points. The Hawks drove for an FG to cut the lead to 11, but a failure to convert a 4th and 1 play on the next drive ended any hope of pulling out the game. The loss ended the Seahawks' 12 game winning streak at home.

An MRI scan on Hasselbeck's knee revealed a second degree sprain and he missed 4 games.

The Seahawks ventured to Arrowhead Stadium without stars Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander. Seneca Wallace made his first career start in a stadium where the Seahawks have won only twice in their last 20 visits. The story of the game was not the Seahawks wounded offence, but rather the failure of the supposedly healthy defence.

The Chiefs controlled the ball for over 42 minutes of the contest, piled up 499 total net yards, and were able to sustain drives all afternoon. The Seahawks defence was only able to force one Chiefs punt, early in the fourth quarter. Despite being dominated in time of possession and yardage, the Seahawks found themselves leading the game 28-27 after a Kelly Herndon 61 yard TD return of a fumbled field goal attempt and a 49 yard TD grab by Darrell Jackson with just over 6 minutes remaining. The Chiefs responded as they had all game, with an 8 play 80 yard drive capped off by Larry Johnson's 4th TD of the game. A successful 2 point conversion made the score 35-28. A last drive by the Seahawks ended when Seneca Wallace completed a short sideline pass to FB Mack Strong for 8 yards on 4th down and 15 from the Chiefs 46 yard line.

Hoping to rebound from their road loss to the Chiefs, the Seahawks returned home for a Monday Night match-up with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders won the coin toss. It would be the last time fortune smiled on them on a windy and wet night at Qwest Field. In the first quarter, QB Seneca Wallace completed a 22-yard TD pass to WR Deion Branch. Later in the first quarter, kicker Josh Brown nailed a 20-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Brown would get a 25-yard field goal for the only score of the quarter. After a scoreless third quarter, Brown would put the game away with another 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

While the offense did their job, Seattle's defense had a huge night, sacking Raiders QB Andrew Walter nine times, including three consecutive times on the same set of downs.

With their 16-0 victory over the Raiders, and a 42-0 appearance at the Eagles in 2005, dubbed the Monday Night Massacre by NFL Films, the Seahawks became the first team to post consecutive shutouts on Monday Night Football. Poetically, the Raiders became the first team to lose in back-to-back MNF shutouts, having lost 27-0 to the San Diego Chargers earlier in 2006.

On a windy, rainy Sunday the Seahawks hosted the Rams looking to take an effective 3 game lead in the division with a win. The Seahawks drove the ball easily on their first possession, moving to the Ram 1 yard line. After a false start penalty, Seneca Wallace was sacked and fumbled, and the Rams returned the ball 89 yards for a touchdown. The Seahawks drove down the field again, this time maintaining possession to the endzone as Darrell Jackson caught a 3 yard TD pass. The lead would change hands 6 more times in the game. With the Rams holding a 16-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Rams coach Scott Linehan chose to challenge a call, nullifying a field goal. The challenge was upheld, but the Rams still faced a fourth down play. Instead of kicking another field goal to increase the lead, Linehan chose to go for a first down. The raucous Qwest Field rose to the occasion, and Rams FB Paul Smith could not hear the play call. Rather than run a pass route he stayed in the backfield to block, and Ram QB Marc Bulger's pass to double covered TE Klopfenstein fell incomplete.

Nate Burleson returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and a 21-16 lead. After a Rams TD with 2:37 remaining, a series of penalties against St. Louis changed momentum. A holding penalty nullified a successful 2 point convert. The second attempt failed. A 15 yard personal foul was assessed on the subsequent kickoff, and Josh Scobey returned the ball to the Ram 49 yard line. With a short field and time on the clock, Seneca Wallace and Maurice Morris drove the Seahawks to the Ram 20 yard line, where Josh Brown kicked a game winning field goal with 9 seconds remaining.

Brown kicked game winning field goals in both games against the Rams that year.

The Seahawks travelled to Monster Park to face division rival San Francisco. Buoyed by the return of Shaun Alexander to the starting line-up, and having Matt Hasselbeck dressed as the 3rd quarterback, the Seahawks expected to take a stranglehold on the NFC West. Instead, they played a flat first half and fell behind by 20 points - 13 of those coming after 3 turnovers. The Seahawks also allowed the 49ers to gain 163 rushing yards in the first half, whereas Alexander had only 9 yards on 7 carries. He would finish with 37 yards on 17 carries.

A different Hawks team appeared in the second half, scoring quickly on a 38 yard TD reception by Deion Branch. The Seahawks added another long TD reception by Darrell Jackson with 6:40 remaining in the game, but could not get any closer. A key sequence in the last 2 minutes of the game saw Alexander stopped for a loss on 4th and 1. Following the change of possession, 49ers RB Frank Gore fumbled, recovered by Grant Wistrom. Given a second life, the Seahawks allowed a 9 yard loss on a sack before Seneca Wallace threw an interception. Instead of owning a 3 game lead in the division, the Seahawks only lead the surprising 49ers by a game. The teams meet again December 14 at Qwest Field.

Snow fell on a Seahawks home game for the first time ever. In a setting that looked more like Green Bay's home field, the Seahawks started poorly on Monday Night Football. Matt Hasselbeck returned after missing 4 games and promptly turned the ball over four times in the first half. Shaun Alexander picked up the slack for the rusty Hasselbeck, rushing a team record 40 times for 201 yards on the evening. It was a return to MVP form for Alexander, who is still running on a cracked foot injured in the first week of the season.

Josh Brown kicked four field goals in the first half to keep Seattle in the game, and they trailed only 14-12 at the half. All of Green Bay's points came off turnovers, the last 7 when a Hasselbeck fumble was returned for a TD. The snow stopped falling at halftime.

Green Bay drove for a TD on their first possession of the second half to go up 21-12. After both teams had drives stall and were forced to punt, Hasselbeck led the Seahawks on a nine-play, 62-yard drive capped by a 23-yard pass to D.J. Hackett. Seattle drove again late in the third quarter, led by Alexander. On the second play of the 4th quarter, Hasselbeck found Darrell Jackson for a 4 yard TD toss. A 2 point convert gave the Seahawks a 27-21 lead. After a Green Bay field goal cut the Seahawks lead to 3 points, Hasselbeck threw his third TD to Jerramy Stevens to cap an 11 play, 51 yard drive. The Seahawks defense crushed the final three Green Bay drives with two interceptions and a fumble recovery to finish with 4 takeaways on the night.

The Seahawks travelled to Denver to face their old foe from the AFC West. On a frigid Sunday Night game, these Seahawks were able to accomplish what few of their predecessors managed - to come out of Denver with a win. Carrying on their recent troubling tendency of weak first half performances, the Seahawks fell behind 13-7 to the Broncos, who were led by first-time starter Jay Cutler. The Seahawks managed only 2 first downs and 67 yards of total offense in the first half, but remained in the game thanks to Darryl Tapp's 25 yard return of an intercepted Cutler pass for a TD.

In the second half, the teams traded punts and one turnover apiece until Seattle got the ball on its own 39 yard line with 9:42 left in the game. Two long pass completions from Matt Hasselbeck to Darrell Jackson put the Seahawks on the Broncos one yard line. Shaun Alexander quickly took the ball into the endzone for a 14-13 Seahawks lead. The Broncos fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Joe Tafoya recovered. Assisted by a holding penalty on third down, the Seahawks moved the ball into range for Josh Brown to kick a 44 yard field goal. The Broncos held onto the following kickoff, but on their first play Cutler threw an interception to Jordan Babineaux for Seattle's 9th takeaway in the past two games. The Seahawks again had to settle for a Brown 23 yard field goal for a 20-13 lead with 3:01 remaining, keeping Denver in the game. The failure to score a TD proved costly, as Cutler connected with WR Brandon Marshall on a 71 yard pass and run play for a game tying TD, assisted by some poor tackling by Seattle.

The Seahawks started the last drive at their own 14 yard line with 2:31 remaining. A key third down reception by Nate Burleson kept the drive alive, and Hasselbeck led the team down to the Broncos 32 yard line with 10 seconds remaining. Josh Brown came on to kick a game winning 50 yard FG, his fourth such kick of the season to tie an NFL record.

With the win the Seahawks' lead in the NFC West increased to three games over the 49ers and Rams.

Coming off their Sunday night victory over the Broncos, the Seahawks flew to the University of Phoenix Stadium for an NFC West rematch with the Arizona Cardinals. In the first quarter, Seattle trailed early as Cardinals QB Matt Leinart completed a 56-yard TD pass to WR Bryant Johnson, while RB Edgerrin James got a 7-yard TD run. The Seahawks would respond with QB Matt Hasselbeck completing a 23-yard TD pass to WR D.J. Hackett. In the second quarter, Arizona increased its lead with kicker Neil Rackers nailing a 32-yard field goal. Seattle would draw closer with Hasselbeck completing a 5-yard TD pass to WR Nate Burleson. In the third quarter, the Seahawks took the lead with Hasselbeck's 2-yard TD pass to WR Darrell Jackson for the only score of the period. However, in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals got the win with Leinart's 5-yard TD pass to WR Larry Fitzgerald and Rackers' 40-yard field goal. With the loss, Seattle fell to 8-5.

Despite the loss to the Cardinals, the Seahawks could still clinch the NFC West at home in a Thursday night game against the San Francisco 49ers with the Seahawks hoping to avenge the earlier loss to the 49ers. On a rainy, windy night, Seattle started off strong with RB Shaun Alexander getting a three-yard TD run for the only score of the first quarter. The 49ers offense was almost nonexistent in the first half, as seven of San Francisco's first eight drives ended in three-and-outs. However, the Seahawks still allowed a 39-yard field goal by Niners kicker Joe Nedney near the end of the half.

After a scoreless third quarter, Seattle's defense started giving way. 49ers QB Alex Smith completed an 8-yard TD pass to TE Vernon Davis. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Davis combined with an excellent kickoff return by Nate Burleson gave Seattle prime field position at the San Francisco 33-yard line. However, the Seahawks failed to convert on a fourth down play on the first series from scrimmage, and turned the ball over on downs. Smith would take advantage by driving his team downfield and completing a 20-yard TD pass to RB Frank Gore. San Francisco delivered the final blow with Smith running for an 18-yard TD on a naked bootleg with no defenders near him. The Seahawks got a 22-yard touchdown from QB Matt Hasselbeck to TE Jerramy Stevens with under two minutes left, but it wouldn't be enough as Seattle would get swept by the 49ers. With the loss, the Seahawks fell to 8-6.

Trying to end a two-game skid, the Seahawks went home for a Week 16 fight with the San Diego Chargers. After a scoreless first quarter, the Chargers struck in the second quarter with QB Philip Rivers completing a 9-yard TD pass to WR Vincent Jackson for the only score of the period. In the third quarter, San Diego increased its lead with kicker Nate Kaeding nailing a 46-yard field goal. Fortunately, Seattle started to strike back with RB Shaun Alexander getting a 33-yard TD run. However, the Chargers answered back with Kaeding kicking a 40-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks finally took the lead with Alexander getting a 9-yard TD run, along with kicker Josh Brown's 33-yard field goal. However, the Chargers wrapped up the game with Rivers and Jackson hooking up again on a 37-yard TD pass. With the loss, Seattle fell to 8-7.

Trying the end a three-game skid, the Seahawks flew to Raymond James Stadium for their last game of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the first quarter, Seattle drew first blood with kicker Josh Brown nailing a 35-yard field goal, while RB Shaun Alexander got a 1-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Buccaneers would get their only score of the game as QB Tim Rattay completed a 4-yard TD pass to WR Joey Galloway. Afterwards, Seattle took over for the rest of the game as QB Matt Hasselbeck completed a 5-yard TD pass to WR D.J. Hackett. In the second half, Brown wrapped up the game with a 30-yard field goal in the third goal, along with a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. With the win, the Seahawks wrapped up the regular season at 9-7 and acquired the NFC's #4 seed.

However, CB'S Kelly Jennings, and Jimmy Williams were injured during the match. They would join Kelly Herndon and Marcus Trufant on the injured list.

Entering the NFC playoffs as the fourth-seed, the Seahawks began their playoff run at home against the fifth-seeded Dallas Cowboys. In the first quarter, Seattle struck first blood with a 23-yard field goal, while Cowboys kicker Martín Gramática nailed a 50-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Seattle went back into the lead with Brown kicking a 30-yard field goal. However, Dallas took the lead with QB Tony Romo completing a 13-yard TD pass to WR Patrick Crayton before halftime. In the third quarter, the Seahawks regained the lead with QB Matt Hasselbeck completing a 15-yard TD pass to TE Jerramy Stevens. However, following the touchdown drive, the Cowboys marched right back into the lead as WR Miles Austin returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Dallas increased its lead with Gramática kicking a 29-yard field goal. Later, Seattle retook the lead with a safety off a Terry Glenn fumble from a hit by rookie CB Kelly Jennings, along with Hasselbeck hooking up with Stevens again on a 37-yard TD pass (followed up with a failed a two-point conversion). Afterwards, the Cowboys got into position to score late in the game, but Romo botched the hold of a field-goal attempt. He then ran to try for the first down or the touchdown, but was tackled by strong safety Jordan Babineaux. The Seahawks then ran out as much of the clock as they could. With two seconds left, Dallas had one final shot as Romo threw up a Hail Mary pass, but Seattle batted the ball down for the win. With the victory, the Seahawks improved their overall record to 10-7 and advanced to the Divisional Round to take on the Chicago Bears.

Coming off the win over the Cowboys, the Seahawks traveled to Soldier Field to face the top-seeded Chicago Bears in the Divisional round. In the first quarter, Seattle trailed early with Bears RB Thomas Jones getting a 9-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the second quarter, the Seahawks got on the board with QB Matt Hasselbeck completing a 16-yard TD pass to WR Nate Burleson. However, immediately following Seattle's score, Chicago responded with QB Rex Grossman completing a 68-yard TD pass to WR Bernard Berrian. The Seahawks struck back with RB Shaun Alexander getting a 4-yard TD run, yet Jones helped the Bears out with a 7-yard TD run. In the third quarter, Seattle took the lead with kicker Josh Brown kicking a 40-yard field goal, while Alexander got a 13-yard TD run. However, in the fourth quarter, Chicago tied the game with kicker Robbie Gould getting a 41-yard field goal. In overtime, the Seahawks won the coin toss and received the ball first. Hasselback led the team to around midfield, but on their last third down of the game, he threw the ball out of bounds. On fourth down the Seahawks punted to the Bears who were able to get the ball close enough for Gould to kick a 49-yard field goal.

With the loss, Seattle ended its season with an overall record of 10-8.

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NFL playoffs, 2008–09

The National Football League playoffs for the 2008 season led up to Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Playing in their first playoff game at home since 1947, Arizona outgained the Falcons in total yards 357-250 and forced three turnovers. Atlanta running back Michael Turner, who rushed for 1,699 yards during the season, was held to 42 yards on 18 carries.

One minute into the game, Atlanta receiver Harry Douglas gave his team a scoring opportunity by returning a punt 21 yards to the Cardinals 48-yard line. But two plays later, rookie quarterback Matt Ryan's pass was intercepted by Ralph Brown. The Cardinals offense started off their ensuing drive with three runs for 21 yards by Edgerrin James, and then took the lead over the Falcons with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald on a flea flicker play.

In the second quarter, Ryan led Atlanta 80 yards to the Cardinals 12-yard line where Jason Elam finished the drive with a 30-yard field goal to cut the score, 7-3. But three plays after the kickoff, Warner threw a short pass to receiver Anquan Boldin, who caught the ball without breaking stride and took off down the left sideline for a 71-yard touchdown reception to give his team a 14-3 lead.

Atlanta responded with touchdowns on their next two drives to take the lead before halftime. First, Ryan threw for 67 yards on a 77-yard drive that ended with Turner's 7-yard touchdown run. Then, Falcons defensive back Chevis Jackson intercepted a pass from Warner on the Cardinals 23-yard line. Five plays later, Ryan threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Justin Peelle, giving Atlanta a 17-14 lead with 23 seconds left in the second quarter.

However, Arizona would score 16 unanswered points in the second half. Three plays after the second half kickoff, Antrel Rolle recovered a fumble from Ryan and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. Then following two Atlanta punts and a missed 51-yard field goal by Neil Rackers, Arizona running back Tim Hightower finished a 76-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, making the score 28-17. Early in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals increased their lead to 30-17 when defensive end Antonio Smith sacked Ryan in the end zone for a safety.

With 4:14 left in the game, Atlanta managed to get back within one touchdown with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Roddy White. But with the aid of a key 24-yard reception by reserve tight end Stephen Spach (who caught only two passes for 15 yards during the season) on third down and 16, the Cardinals managed to run out the rest of the clock with their ensuing drive.

Chargers running back Darren Sproles had 328 all-purpose yards (105 rushing, 45 receiving, 106 kickoff return yards, 72 yards on three punt returns), the third highest total in playoff history, and two touchdowns, including the game winning score in overtime.

Late in the first quarter, three receptions by Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez for 59 yards set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Joseph Addai, putting Indianapolis on the board. In the second quarter, an 18-yard punt return by Sproles gave the Chargers good field position on the Colts 44-yard line. A few plays later, Philip Rivers' 30-yard completion to tight end Antonio Gates set up a 1-yard touchdown run by LaDanian Tomlinson to tie the game. But two more receptions by Gonzalez, for gains of 20 and 11 yards, led to an Adam Vinatieri field goal.

After an exchange of punts, Hunter Smith's 34-yard punt from his own 11-yard line gave San Diego the ball on the Colts 45. Five plays later, Sproles scored on a 9-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 14-10 halftime lead.

Midway into the third quarter, Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning managed to hurry his offense onto the line of scrimmage for a play while San Diego's defense was making substitutions. As a result, receiver Reggie Wayne ran past defensive back Antonio Cromartie (who didn't even realize the play had started), caught a pass from Manning, and took off for a 72-yard touchdown catch, retaking the lead for the Colts at 17-14. This would be the last score from both teams until late in fourth quarter. San Diego responded on their ensuing drive by moving the ball to the Colts 9-yard line. But Sproles fumbled the ball into the end zone while being tackled by Tim Jennings and defensive tackle Raheem Brock recovered it for a touchback.

With under three minutes left in the game, Mike Scifres's 52-yard punt pinned the Colts back at their own 1-yard line. The Colts managed to get away from their own end zone with their first two plays, but on third down and two, linebacker Tim Dobbins drove them back to the 1 by sacking Manning for an 8-yard loss. Sproles then returned the ensuing punt 26 yards to the Colts 38-yard line. Following two receptions by Gates for 22 yards and an 8-yard run by Sproles, Nate Kaeding's field goal tied the game with 31 seconds left, sending it into sudden death.

In overtime, the Chargers won the coin toss and drove for the winning score, aided by two key penalties against the Colts defense. First Sproles returned the kickoff 31 yards to his own 25-yard line, and two plays later he caught a 13-yard pass on third down and 11. Six plays later from the Indianapolis 40-yard line, Jennings was called for defensive holding while trying to cover Chris Chambers on a third down play, giving the Chargers a first down. On the next play, a 15-yard facemask penalty on Clint Session moved the ball to the 20. Sproles was tackled for a 2-yard loss on the next play, but after that he ran 22 yards for a walk-off touchdown to win the game for San Diego.

The game featured a Dolphins offense which had an NFL-low 13 giveaways against a Ravens defense that led the league in takeaways with 34. The Ravens defense ended up triumphant, forcing five turnovers en route to victory.

On the game's opening drive, Baltimore running back Le'Ron McClain lost a fumble which linebacker Joey Porter recovered and returned to midfield. Several plays later, Miami advanced to the Ravens 1-yard line, but was unable to get into the end zone with two consecutive plays and ended up settling for a Dan Carpenter field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Baltimore responded with a drive to the Dolphins 5-yard line, featuring a 31-yard reception by tight end Todd Heap and scored with Matt Stover's 23-yard field goal to tie the game.

Midway through the second quarter, Ravens safety Ed Reed intercepted a pass from Chad Pennington and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. Then after forcing a punt, Joe Flacco's 31-yard completion to Derrick Mason set up Stover's second field goal to give the Ravens a 13-3 halftime lead.

Miami's misfortunes continued in the second half. On their first drive of the second half, Pennington threw his third interception of the game. Then after a punt, Dolphins running back Patrick Cobbs lost a fumble while being tackled by Marques Douglas and linebacker Terrell Suggs recovered it on Miami's 19-yard line. Three plays later, McClain scored on an 8-yard touchdown run, making the score 20-3. The Dolphins responded with a drive to the Ravens 13-yard line, only to lose the ball on Pennington's fourth interception of the game, and his second to Reed.

Early in the fourth quarter, Pennington's 45-yard completion to Davone Bess set up his 2-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Brown, cutting the score to 20-9 after Frank Walker blocked the extra point attempt. But the Ravens defense shut out Miami for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, a 48-yard run by Willis McGahee set up a 5-yard touchdown by Flacco, making the final score 27-9.

Brian Westbrook's 71-yard touchdown reception in the second half gave the Eagles a two-score lead they never relinquished. Philadelphia's special teams unit also played a key role in their victory, as David Akers kicked four field goals, while DeSean Jackson returned 5 punts for a franchise playoff record 106 yards.

Early in the first quarter, Jackson's 62-yard punt return set up a field goal from Akers. Then after a punt, Donovan McNabb's 27-yard completion to Correll Buckhalter set up a 51-yard field goal by Akers on the last play of the quarter, making the score 6-0. But Minnesota took the lead on their next drive with a 40-yard touchdown run from Adrian Peterson.

However, this turned out to be the only lead the Vikings would have for the entire game, and it would be short-lived. First, a 34-yard reception by Jackson set up Akers' third field goal. Then on Minnesota's next drive, defensive back Asante Samuel intercepted a pass from Tarvaris Jackson and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 16-7 lead.

With less than two minutes left in the first half, Peterson scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run to cut deficit to 16-14. But after a scoreless third quarter, Westbrook's 71-yard touchdown reception put the Eagles back up by nine points. Then with less than 3 minutes left in the game, a low snap by center Matt Birk in shotgun formation bounced off the Tarvaris Jackson's foot and was recovered by Eagles lineman Juqua Parker. Five plays later, Akers kicked his fourth field goal, this one from 45 yards, to put the game away.

Matt Stover kicked a 43-yard field goal with 57 seconds remaining to send the Ravens into the AFC Championship Game at the expense of the Titans, as quarterback Joe Flacco became the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games in a single postseason. Tennessee turned the ball over three times, which proved to be the difference between the two teams, as Baltimore never gave the ball away.

The Titans took the lead on their second drive of the game with Kerry Collins completing a 28-yard pass to rookie running back Chris Johnson and a 20-yarder to Justin Gage before Johnson finished the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run. But the Ravens answered back with a 48-yard touchdown Flacco pass to former Titan Derrick Mason.

Early in the second quarter, Tennessee drove to the Ravens 25-yard line, only to turn the ball over on downs due to a fumbled snap on a fourth down conversion attempt. Then after forcing a punt, their drive to the Ravens 32-yard line also ended with no points when a pass from Collins was picked off by Samari Rolle. Following another punt, the Titans moved the ball into scoring range for the third time in a row, this time driving to the Baltimore 22. But once again they came up empty after LenDale White's fumble was recovered by Ravens safety Jim Leonhard with 25 seconds left in the half.

In the second half, a 29-yard punt return by Leonard and a 37-yard reception by Mark Clayton set up a Stover field goal to take a 10-7 lead. Meanwhile the Titans failed to score again, as Rob Bironas missed a 51-yard field goal and after Stover's field goal, and Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington forced and recovered a fumble from tight end Alge Crumpler on Baltimore's 1-yard line.

However, the Ravens were unable to gain any yards with their ensuing drive and Tennessee got the ball back with great field position at the Ravens 42-yard line. This time, they managed to drive to the 10-yard line and score with a Bironas field goal to tie the game at 10.

Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Baltimore faced 3rd down and 2. On the next play, the play clock appeared to expire before the snap, but no penalty flag was thrown and Flacco ended up completing a 23-yard pass to Todd Heap. Five plays later, Stover's 43-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 13-10 lead with 53 seconds left. Baltimore's defense then sealed the victory by forcing Tennessee to turn the ball over on downs on their own 40-yard line.

Jake Delhomme was intercepted five times and lost a fumble as the Cardinals reached the NFC Championship Game for the first time in their history, winning for the first time in the Eastern time zone this season, and handing the Panthers their first home defeat of the season. Delhomme, playing on his 34th birthday, became the first player to have five picks in the playoffs since Rich Gannon in Super Bowl XXXVII, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Gerald Hayes, Antrel Rolle, Ralph Brown, and Roderick Hood all hauling the ball in. Meanwhile, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald set a franchise postseason record with 8 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown.

Panthers receiver Mark Jones gave his team good field position on their first drive, returning the opening kickoff 39 yards to the Arizona 48-yard line. A few plays later a 31-yard burst from DeAngelo Williams set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Stewart giving Carolina a 7-0 lead. But this would be short lived as the Cardinals would respond with 33 unanswered points.

After an exchange of punts, Kurt Warner's 48-yard completion to Fitzgerald set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower. Then on the first play of the Panthers next drive, Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith knocked the ball out of Delhomme's hand as he was about to throw and recovered it on the Carolina 13-yard line. One play later, Edgerrin James' 4-yard touchdown run gave Arizona a 14-7 lead.

Later on, a 45-yard pass interference penalty on Rolle gave the Panthers the ball on the Arizona 13-yard line. But on the first play of the second quarter, Delhomme's pass was intercepted by Rogers-Cromartie, who returned the ball 20 yards to the 20-yard line. Arizona then drove to the Panthers 31-yard line where Neil Rackers made a 49-yard field goal. Following a Carolina punt, two receptions by Fitzgerald for 42 yards set up another Rackers field goal. Then Hayes intercepted a pass from Delhomme, which led to another Arizona score, this one a 29-yard touchdown pass from Warner to Fitzgerald, making the score 27-7 by halftime.

The situation didn't get any better for the Panthers in the second half. Six minutes into the third quarter, Rolle's 46-yard interception return led to Rackers' third field goal. Then in the fourth quarter, Delhomme was intercepted on two consecutive drives. After the second one, The Cardinals executed 12 consecutive running plays with Hightower, gaining 48 yards and setting up Rackers' fourth field goal.

Carolina managed to respond with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Delhomme to Steve Smith, but by then there were only 53 seconds left in the game.

The Eagles defense forced three turnovers and only allowed the Giants to score three field goals despite five drives inside the Philadelphia 20-yard line. Meanwhile, Eagles kicker David Akers' three field goals gave him an NFL record 18 consecutive field goals in the postseason without a miss.

New York running back Ahmad Bradshaw returned the opening kickoff 65 yards, giving his team the ball on the Eagles 35-yard line. The Giants eventually drove to the 4-yard line, but ended up settling for a John Carney field goal to take a 3-0 lead. The Giants subsequently forced a punt, but on the first play of their next drive, Eli Manning's pass was intercepted by defensive back Asante Samuel and returned 25 yards to the Giants 2-yard line. A few plays later, quarterback Donovan McNabb gave his team a 7-3 lead with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Early in the second quarter, Jeff Feagles' 45-yard punt pinned the Eagles back at their own 5-yard line. One play later, McNabb committed an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, giving New York a safety. Following the free kick, the Giants drove to the Philadelphia 28-yard line, but came up empty when Carney's 46-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

With just under four minutes left in the second quarter, Giants defensive back Kevin Dockery intercepted a pass from McNabb on his own 20-yard line. Following a 25-yard run by Brandon Jacobs and Manning's 25-yard completion to tight end Kevin Boss, Carney kicked a 34-yard field goal to give New York a 1-point lead. But the Eagles responded with a 25-yard field goal from Akers as time expired in the half, making the score 10-8.

Early in the second half, New York defensive tackle Fred Robbins intercepted a pass from McNabb and returned it 17 yards to the Eagles 33-yard line, setting up Carney's third field goal to take a 11-10 lead. But McNabb led the Eagles back with four completions for 57 yards on their ensuing drive en route to a 35-yard field goal from Akers. Then after forcing a punt, McNabb led the Eagles 63 yards in 10 plays and finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to reserve tight end Brent Celek on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving the Eagles a 20-11 lead.

The Eagles defense then went on to dominate the fourth quarter, forcing two turnovers on downs and an interception. Meanwhile, DeSean Jackson's 48-yard reception set up Akers' third field goal, making the final score 23-11, the first time in NFL history a game has ever ended with that score.

For the second straight year, the No. 1 seed in the NFC lost in the divisional round as the Cowboys lost to the Giants in the 2007 playoffs. The top seed in the NFC had advanced to the championship game every year from 1988 to 2006. The Eagles also became the third No. 6 seed to advance to the conference championship game and first in the NFC.

Pittsburgh gained 342 yards, did not commit any turnovers, held the ball for 36:30, and scored a touchdown in every quarter to defeat the Chargers. Willie Parker led the Steelers offense with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

However, the Chargers took the opening kickoff and scored with Philip Rivers' 48-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson just two minutes into the game. Pittsburgh responded with a drive to the San Diego 34-yard line. On fourth down, rather then risk a long field goal attempt, they faked attempting to gain a first down and ran a surprise pooch punt with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who kicked the ball 25 yards to the San Diego 9-yard line. Following a three-and-out, Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes returned Mike Scifres' punt 65 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

Late in the second quarter, Pittsburgh tried to fool the Chargers with another trick play, this one a fake punt with a direct snap to safety Ryan Clark. But the Chargers tackled Clark for a 4-yard loss on the Steelers 44-yard line. Several plays later, Nate Kaeding's 42-yard field goal gave San Diego a 10-7 lead on the first play after the two-minute warning. But with less than one minute left, Roethlisberger's 41-yard completion to Hines Ward moved the ball to the Chargers 3-yard line. On the next play, Parker's 3-yard touchdown run gave the Steelers a 14-10 halftime lead.

Pittsburgh dominated the third quarter, starting it out with a 77-yard drive that ended with Roethlisberger's 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller. Meanwhile, their defense limited San Diego to just one play in entire quarter, an interception by linebacker Larry Foote that negated a 63-yard kickoff return by Darren Sproles.

In the fourth quarter, San Diego managed to make a goal line stand, tackling fullback Carey Davis for no gain on fourth down and 1 on the Chargers 1-yard line. But a 10-yard sack by LaMarr Woodley forced San Diego to punt from their own 2, and Holmes returned the ball 6 yards to the 49-yard line. One play later, a 44-yard pass interference penalty on Eric Weddle in the end zone moved the ball to the 1-yard line, and running back Gary Russell scored a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play, increasing Pittsburgh's lead to 28-10.

Rivers then led the Chargers 73 yards in 10 plays and finished the drive with an 4-yard touchdown pass to Legedu Naanee. But the Steelers stormed right back, with Parker rushing five times for 53 yards and finishing the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run. Following an exchange of punts, Rivers threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Sproles, cutting the score to 35-24, but by then there was less than two minutes left in the game.

Arizona built up an 18-point halftime lead, but had to fight off an Eagles comeback attempt to earn their first ever Super Bowl appearance and their first trip to a championship game since 1947. Arizona also became the second team ever to make it to the Super Bowl with a 9-7 record, joining the 1979 Los Angeles Rams.

Arizona took the opening kickoff and stormed down the field with a 9-play, 80-yard drive. Edgerrin James rushed four times for 33 yards on the drive, while Kurt Warner completed 4 of 4 passes for 44 yards, the last one a 9-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Philadelphia responded on their ensuing possession, starting it off with a 21-yard scramble by Donovan McNabb to the Arizona 39-yard line and finishing it with a 45-yard field goal by David Akers.

Following a punt, McNabb threw an interception to Aaron Francisco, but DeSean Jackson forced Francisco to fumble the ball during the return and Eagles lineman Jon Runyan recovered it. After the fumble, Philadelphia drove into scoring range, but they ended the drive with no points when Akers missed a 47-yard field goal attempt, ending his postseason record streak of consecutive field goals at 19. On the next play, Warner threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald, turning what could have been a 7-6 score into a 14-3 Cardinals lead.

Two plays into the Eagles next drive, McNabb completed a 47-yard pass to Kevin Curtis on the Arizona 19-yard line. But Arizona halted the drive at the 15, forcing Philadelphia to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Akers. Then the Cardinals took the ensuing kickoff and stormed down the field for another score. First James rushed for 22 yards, then Tim Hightower ran for 5, and then Warner completed a 16-yard pass to J. J. Arrington at the Eagles 30-yard line. Following two more Warner completions for 22 yards, he finished with drive with his third touchdown pass to Fitzgerald, making the score 21-6.

After a Philadelphia punt, Warner led the Cardinals down the field again for more points. Starting with 1:31 left in the half, an unecessary roughness penalty on Quintin Demps moved the ball to the Arizona 36. Then Warner completed a pair of passes to Jerheme Urban and Firzgerald for 32 yards. A sack by linebacker Trent Cole pushed them out of field goal range, but on the next play, Warner's 13-yard completion to Anquan Boldin set up a 49-yard field goal by Neil Rackers, making the score 24-6 at halftime.

Philadelphia's defense made a major improvement in the third quarter, limiting Arizona to 9 rushing yards, one completion, and no first downs. Meanwhile the Eagles cut the score to 24-13 with a 90-yard scoring drive. The Eagles converted three third downs on the drive, including McNabb's 50-yard completion to Curtis on 3rd and 19, and finished it off with a 6-yard touchdown reception by tight end Brent Celek. The Eagles quickly forced a punt on Arizona's ensuing possession, and Jackson returned it 13 yards to the Philadelphia 39-yard line. Five plays later, McNabb's threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Celek. Rather than try to cut their deficit to three points, Philadelphia decided to kick the extra point, but Akers' kick was no good, keeping the score at 24-19. It was the first time Akers had missed an extra point all season.

Early in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia took their first lead of the game with McNabb's 62-yard touchdown pass to Jackson, giving his team a 1-point lead after the two-point conversion attempt failed. But the Cardinals responded with a 14-play, 74-yard drive to retake the lead for good, featuring a 6-yard run by Hightower on fourth down and 1 on the Eagles 49-yard line. Warner completed all five of his passes for 56 yards on the drive and finished it off with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hightower with less than three minutes left. Then his 2-point conversion pass to Ben Patrick made the score 32-25. Finally, the Cardinals defense sealed the victory by forcing four consecutive incomplete passes from McNabb, causing a turnover on downs on the Arizona 47-yard line. By the time Philadelphia got the ball back, only 10 seconds remained. In a desperate lateral play, Darnell Dockett intercepted DeSean Jackson's lateral, ending the game.

Fitzgerald finished the game with 9 receptions for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. This gave him an NFL postseason record 419 total receiving yards in his three playoff games. Both teams combined for an NFL postseason record 823 yards, breaking the previous record of 809 set in the 1981 Epic in Miami.

For the second time in five years, an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl was denied. The Steelers lost the 2004 AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots, who went on to win Super Bowl XXXIX over the Eagles 24-21.

Pittsburgh held the Ravens to 184 yards and forced five turnovers, including three in the last 3:13 of the game, en route to their seventh Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

On the first drive of the game, Ben Roethlisberger's 45-yard completion to Hines Ward set up a 34-yard field goal by Jeff Reed. Later in the first quarter, Steelers defensive back Deshea Townsend intercepted a pass from Joe Flacco and returned it to the Ravens 35-yard line. A few plays later, Santonio Holmes appeared to catch a 23-yard pass on the 1, but it was overruled by a Baltimore replay challenge and they ended up settling for a 42-yard field goal to make the score 6-0. Later on, the Ravens got a scoring opportunity when linebacker Ray Lewis forced a fumble from Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker and safety Jim Leonhard recovered it on the Steelers 43-yard line. But Baltimore turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert a first down on third and fourth down and 1.

Pittsburgh increased their lead to 13-0 on the second play of the second quarter with Roethlisberger's 65-yard touchdown pass to Holmes. But after several punts, a 45-yard punt return from Leonard gave the Ravens a first down on the Pittsburgh 17-yard line. Two plays later, Willis McGahee scored a 3-yard touchdown run. Following an exchange of punts, Holmes returned a punt 25 yards to midfield. But the Steelers blew two chances to score before halftime. First, receiver Limas Sweed dropped a wide open pass near the end zone and the team ended up punting. However, a roughing the punter penalty allowed the Steelers to retain possession.Heath Miller's 14-yard reception on the next play moved the ball to the Ravens 21-yard line with 23 second left in the half and no timeouts left. Pittsburgh decided to run a few more plays before attempting a field goal, but Mewelde Moore's 8-yard reception in the middle of the field took too much time off the clock, and Pittsburgh could not spike the ball before time in the half expired.

Midway through the third quarter, Pittsburgh drove 51 yards and scored with Reed's third field goal of the game, making the score 16-7. But in the fourth quarter, the Ravens took advantage of another key special teams play when Mitch Berger's punt went just 21 yards to the Baltimore 42-yard line. Flacco then led the Ravens 58 yards, completing 4 of 4 passes for 44 yards on the way to a 1-yard touchdown run by McGahee, cutting their deficit to 16-14. Baltimore's defense subsequently forced a punt and got the ball back on their own 14-yard line with just over six minutes left in the game. But four plays later, safety Troy Polamalu intercepted a pass from Flacco, ran all the way across the field, and took off for a 40-yard touchdown return, making the score 23-14. Pittsburgh then put the game away by forcing two more turnovers of the Ravens next two drives. First, a hit by Ryan Clark on McGahee forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Lawrence Timmons; McGahee suffered a concussion and was removed from the field on a stretcher. Then after a punt, Tyrone Carter intercepted a pass from Flacco with less than a minute left in the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC) 27, Arizona Cardinals (NFC) 23 at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida.

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NFL playoffs, 2007–08

The National Football League playoffs for the 2007 season led up to Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Redskins rallied back from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but Seattle responded by intercepting two passes from Todd Collins, who hadn't thrown an interception in any of his games since replacing injured starter Jason Campbell, and scoring 22 points during the last 6 minutes of the game.

Midway through the first quarter, Seattle receiver Nate Burleson returned a punt 20 yards to the Washington 45-yard line, setting up Leonard Weaver's 17-yard touchdown run. In the second quarter, Burleson returned a punt 19 yards and a caught a 25-yard pass to set up a 50-yard field goal by Josh Brown, giving the Seahawks a 10-0 lead by halftime. Meanwhile, Seattle's defense forced the Redskins to punt on all of their possessions and did not allow them to move the ball more than 30 yards.

In the third quarter, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed four consecutive passes for 47 yards, including a 35-yard completion to D. J. Hackett, setting up Brown's second field goal to increase their lead to 13-0. Collins led the Redskins 84 yards in 12 plays and finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Antwaan Randle El on the first play of the fourth quarter. Then shortly after the ensuing kickoff, Redskins safety LaRon Landry intercepted a pass from Hasselbeck and returned it to the Seattle 42-yard line. Two plays later, Collins threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss, giving them their first lead of the game at 14-13.

The ensuing kickoff took an odd bounce away from Seattle and was recovered by Washington at the Seahawks 14-yard line. But the Redskins failed to gain a first down after three plays and came up empty when Shaun Suisham missed a 30-yard field goal attempt, the shortest miss of his career. A few plays after the missed field goal, Landry recorded his second interception on the game, picking off a deep pass from Hasselbeck on his own 9-yard line. But Washington was forced to punt again, and Derrick Frost's punt went just 33 yards to the Seattle 42. Four plays later, Hasselbeck threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Hackett, and then followed it up with a 2-point conversion pass to Marcus Pollard, giving the Seahawks a 21-14 lead. Then on the first play after the ensuing kickoff, Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant intercepted a pass from Collins and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown. The Redskins responded with a drive to Seattle's 31-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs. Then after a punt, Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux intercepted Collins and returned the ball 57 yards for a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the game, making the final score 35-14.

Burleson finished the game with 167 total yards, including 6 punt returns for a franchise playoff record 84 yards.

Jacksonville gained only 239 yards of offense, but still managed to win on Josh Scobee's 25-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the game. The Jaguars defense sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger six times, intercepted three of his passes, and forced him to lose a fumble on the final drive of the game.

Pittsburgh opened up the scoring by marching 80 yards in 10 plays on their first drive and finishing it off with Najeh Davenport's 1-yard touchdown run. But Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the 1-yard line, and Fred Taylor scored a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play.

Early in the second quarter, Jacksonville defensive back Rashean Mathis intercepted a pass from Roethlisberger and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. Then shortly after the kickoff, Mathis intercepted another pass at the Steelers 46-yard line, setting up David Garrard's 43-yard touchdown pass to Jones-Drew and making the score 21-7. Later in the second quarter, the Steelers took advantage of a missed Scobee field goal by driving all the way to the Jaguars 21-yard line. But defensive tackle Derek Landri intercepted a short pass from Roethlisberger, and the score remained 21-7 at halftime.

In the second half, the Steelers scored on their first four drives. Three plays after the opening kickoff, linebacker James Farrior's interception of a Garrard pass set up Jeff Reed's 28-yard field goal. Jacksonville responded by driving 82 yards in 8 plays, with Garrard rushing for 15 yards and completing two passes to Ernest Wilford for 39, while Jones-Drew capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run, increasing their lead to 28-10. But the Steelers drove right back, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, facing fourth down and 12 on the Jags 37-yard line, Roethlisberger threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes. Then after a punt, Roethlisberger completed six passes for 65 yards on a 69-yard drive that ended with his 14-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller. The Steelers attempted a two-point conversion to cut the lead to three points, and Roethlisberger initially completed a pass to Hines Ward, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty and Pittsburgh's second attempt was incomplete, keeping the score at 28-23.

Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor intercepted a pass from Garrard and returned it 31 yards to the Jacksonville 16-yard line. Following a pass interference penalty against the Jaguars in the end zone on a fourth down play, Davenport scored his second 1-yard touchdown run of the day. The two point conversion failed again, but the Steelers took the lead, 29-28.

Jacksonville was unable to score on their next drive, but they forced the Steelers to punt after three plays and Dennis Northcutt returned the punt 16 yards, giving the Jaguars the ball at their own 49-yard line with 1 timeout remaining and 2:38 left to play. Three plays later on fourth down and 2, Garrard dropped back to pass, but then ran back to the line and took off for a 32-yard burst to the Steelers 11-yard line. After a few more running plays, Scobee kicked a 25-yard field goal, giving his team a 31-29 lead. The Steelers got the ball back with 37 seconds left, but Jaguars defensive end Bobby McCray sealed the victory by forcing a fumble from Roethlisberger which was recovered by defensive tackle Derek Landri.

Eli Manning completed 20 of 27 passes for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns, while the Giants' defense forced three turnovers and held the Buccaneers to 271 total yards for a Giants victory. The Giants won their first playoff game since the 2000 NFC Championship Game and extended their road winning streak to eight games, while the Buccaneers lost in the opening round at home for the second time in three seasons.

Tampa Bay scored first with Earnest Graham's 1-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Early in the second period, a 14-yard punt return by Giants cornerback R. W. McQuarters gave New York the ball on their own 47-yard line. Following three receptions by Amani Toomer for 40 yards, Manning threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jacobs to tie the game. Then after a punt, Manning completed four consecutive passes for 50 yards on a 65-yard drive that ended with Jacobs' second touchdown on an 8-yard run.

Micheal Spurlock fumbled the second half kickoff, and it was recovered by New York defensive back Corey Webster, setting up a 25-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes to make the score 17-7. Tampa Bay responded with a drive to the Giants 25-yard line, but Webster ended it by intercepting a pass from Jeff Garcia in the end zone. Following an exchange of punts, the Giants drove 92 yards and increased their lead to 24-7 with Manning's 4-yard touchdown pass to Toomer.

With 3:25 left in the game, Garcia's 6-yard touchdown pass to Alex Smith cut the score to 24-14. The Buccaneers then managed to force a punt, but McQuarters picked off a pass from Garcia with less than two minutes left to put the game away.

San Diego held the Titans to 248 yards and two field goals, while also forcing two turnovers, en route to their first playoff win since the 1994 AFC Championship Game.

The Titans started off the scoring with a field goal from Rob Bironas on their opening drive. Early in the second quarter, Tennessee drove all the way to the Chargers' 13-yard line, but running back Chris Brown fumbled the ball while being tackled by Shawne Merriman and linebacker Shaun Phillips recovered it. Meanwhile, the Chargers offense was limited to three punts and a missed field goal, while Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan also intercepted a pass from Phillip Rivers in the end zone. And on the last play of the half, Bironas kicked another field goal to give Tennessee a 6-0 lead.

However, the Chargers scored 17 points on three consecutive possessions in the second half. First, two 19-yard receptions by Chris Chambers and a 34-yard catch by Vincent Jackson set up Nate Kaeding's 20-yard field goal to put San Diego on the board. Then seven plays after forcing the Titans to punt, Rivers threw a 20-yard scoring strike to Jackson, giving the Chargers their first lead of the game. Tennessee responded with a drive to the San Diego 20-yard line, only to have Bironas miss a 38-yard field goal attempt. On San Diego's ensuing drive, Rivers completed a 39-yard pass to Chambers at the Titans 8-yard line. Three plays later, faced with fourth down and goal on the 1-yard line, San Diego decided to go for the score. Running back LaDanian Tomlinson took a handoff, dove over a pile of players and stretched the ball over the goal line for the touchdown, which was upheld after a Titans challenge, increasing the Chargers' lead to 17-6. The San Diego defense then took over the rest of the game, forcing a punt and an interception on the last two Tennessee drives.

Despite falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, Green Bay gained 400 yards of offense and scored touchdowns on six consecutive drives to defeat the Seahawks and advance to their first NFC Championship Game in 10 years. Meanwhile the Packers' defense limited Seattle to just 200 total yards, with only 28 yards on the ground. Packers running back Ryan Grant, who fumbled twice in the first quarter, ended up with a franchise playoff record 201 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

Both of Grant's fumbles in the first quarter were converted into Seattle touchdowns. On the first play of the game, Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu recovered Grant's fumble and returned it 12 yards to the Green Bay 1-yard line, setting up Shaun Alexander's 1-yard touchdown run on the next play. Then shortly after the ensuing kickoff, Grant, who only fumbled once during the regular season, lost another fumble which was recovered by Jordan Babineaux at the Packers 49-yard line. Five plays later, Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Engram, giving the Seahawks a 14-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

However, the Packers responded with a touchdown on all of their ensuing possessions until early in the fourth quarter. First, quarterback Brett Favre completed four consecutive passes for 65 yards and finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. Then after a punt, the Packers drove 64 yards in 9 plays, with Grant rushing the ball four times for 43 yards and finishing it off with a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

On the first play of the second quarter, with heavy snow falling, Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman recovered a fumble from Marcus Pollard on the Seahawks 18-yard line. Following two carries for 16 yards by Grant, Favre threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jennings. Aided by a 16-yard roughing the punter penalty against Green Bay on fourth down, Seattle responded by driving to the Packers 10-yard line where Josh Brown kicked a field goal to cut the score to 21-17. But Green Bay then moved the ball 70 yards in 14 plays and scoring with Grant's 3-yard touchdown run to give them a 28-17 lead at halftime.

After a Seahawks punt began the second half, Favre completed a 24-yard pass to Jennings and Grant broke off a 24-yard run to the Seahawks 12-yard line, setting up Favre's 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jackson. Hasselbeck responded by completing 6 of 7 passes for 68 yards en route to another Brown field goal, but Grant's 43-yard run on the Packers next drive set up his third touchdown of the day, making the final score 42-20.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady set the NFL record for completion percentage in a single game (92.9%) with 26 of 28 completions for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, while running back Laurence Maroney added 162 total yards (122 on the ground). Overall, New England gained 401 yards and didn't punt the ball until 31 seconds remained in the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 9 plays, featuring two receptions by Marcedes Lewis for 57 yards, on the way to David Garrard's 9-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones. The Patriots then went on a 74-yard drive and scored with Tom Brady's 3-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Watson. On Jacksonville's next possession, New England lineman Ty Warren forced a fumble while sacking Garrard, and linebacker Mike Vrabel recovered it at the Jaguars 29-yard line. Several plays later, Maroney scored a 1-yard touchdown run to give New England a 14-7 lead.

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew muffed the ensuing kickoff and was downed at his own 5-yard line. The Jaguars then moved the ball 95 yards in 11 plays without even facing a third down and scoring with Garrard's 6-yard touchdown pass to Ernest Wilford. For the third time in a row, New England drove deep into Jacksonville territory. But this time the drive stalled at the 17-yard line and ended with no points when Stephen Gostkowski missed a 35-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the first half.

On the opening drive of the second half, Brady completed 7 of 8 passes for 54 yards on an 82-yard drive. On the last play, he took a snap in shotgun formation with Kevin Faulk to his right, Brady jumped in the air with his arms raised to make it look like a play used by the Patriots before where Faulk took the direct snap. The Jaguars defense followed Faulk, leaving Wes Welker open in the end zone, and Brady threw him the ball for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 21-14 lead. Jacksonville responded with a drive to the New England 21-yard line, but receiver Dennis Northcutt dropped a pass on third down, forcing them to settle for a Josh Scobee 39-yard field goal, cutting the score to 21-17. On New England's next drive, Jacksonville's Derek Landri was assessed a roughing-the-passer penalty, turning Welker's 6-yard catch into a 21-yard gain. Maroney gained 40 yards with his next two carries, and following two more Welker receptions, Brady threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Watson giving New England a 28-17 lead.

An unnecessary roughness penalty and a 25-yard reception by Reggie Williams on the Jacksonville's next drive set up a 25-yard field goal by Scobee, which cut the Jaguars deficit to one touchdown, 28-20. On the second play after the kickoff, Brady completed a 52-yard strike to Donté Stallworth, setting up Gostkowski's second field goal attempt to put New England back up by two scores, 31-20.

Then, with 3:46 left in the game, Pats safety Rodney Harrison, intercepted a pass from Garrard at the Patriots' 31-yard line, ending any hope of a Jacksonville comeback. Harrison's interception was his 7th career postseason pick, a Patriots record. This was also his fourth consecutive postseason game with an interception, tying an NFL record held by Aeneas Williams.

With this win, the Patriots advanced to the AFC title game for the second year in a row and extended their perfect record to 17-0, matching the final record of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Despite the loss of starting quarterback Phillip Rivers and running back LaDanian Tomlinson (the NFL's leading rusher during the season), San Diego still managed to defeat the defending Super Bowl champion Colts, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs twice in San Diego territory in the final minutes of the game.

The Colts started out the game on a 76-yard drive and scored on a Peyton Manning 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Clark. Then defensive back Kelvin Hayden intercepted a pass from Rivers on the Colts 24-yard line and the Colts moved the ball to the San Diego 40-yard line. However, Indianapolis receiver Marvin Harrison, playing in his first game back from an injury in nearly 3 months, fumbled the ball while being tackled by Antonio Cromartie, and defensive back Marlon McCree recovered it. Following the turnover, San Diego drove 78 yards and tied the game with Rivers' 14-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson. Manning responded by completing 3 passes for 42 yards on a 44-yard drive that ended with an Adam Vinatieri field goal to give the Colts a 10-7 lead. Both teams blew scoring opportunities on their next drives. First the Chargers drove to the Indianapolis 31-yard line, only to have Nate Kaeding miss a 48-yard field goal. Then the Colts advanced to the Chargers 35-yard line, but on their last play of the half, Manning's pass was intercepted by Cromartie. Cromartie's 89-yard touchdown return was called back by a holding penalty, but he managed to prevent the Colts from scoring and it remained 10-7 at halftime.

The Chargers took the second half kickoff and quickly took the lead with a 30-yard touchdown catch from Chris Chambers. Once again the Colts drove into Chargers territory, moving the ball all the way to the San Diego 4-yard line. But on third down and 3, Manning's pass was intercepted by Eric Weddle. However, the Chargers could only move the ball to their own 6-yard line and T. J. Rushing returned their punt 12-yards to midfield. This time the Colts drove 50 yards and scored with Manning's 9-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. Wayne was initially ruled out of bounds at the 7, but a Colts challenge showed he remained in bounds on the way to the touchdown, and the Colts took the lead, 17-14. On the Chargers ensuing drive, Rivers threw a 22-yard completion to Chambers and followed it up with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles, a special teams returner who was brought in on offense as an extra receiver.

With 10:50 left in the fourth quarter, Indianapolis retook the lead with Manning's 55-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Gonzalez, who caught the ball along the left sideline and narrowly managed to keep his feet in bounds en route to a score, which was upheld after a Chargers challenge. But San Diego, now led by second-string quarterback Billy Volek, drove 78 yards in 8 plays and scored with Volek's 1-yard touchdown run, giving them a 28-24 lead with 4:50 left in regulation. Manning led the Colts down the field, moving the ball 70 yards and converting a 4th down and 5 with a 16-yard completion to Clark. But he threw three consecutive incompletions from the Chargers 7-yard line, turning the ball over on downs. Indianapolis' defense managed to force a punt, but the Colts turned the ball over on downs again with 53 seconds left and San Diego ran out the rest of the clock to close the RCA Dome for good.

With :09 left in the game, Giants defensive back R. W. McQuarters intercepted a Tony Romo pass in the end zone to preserve a victory over the Cowboys, who had defeated New York twice during the season. The win marked the first time in 20 years that the NFC's #1 seeded team had been eliminated in the divisional round, the first time it had happened since the current playoff format was instituted in 1990, and sent the Cowboys home with their sixth consecutive playoff loss since 1996. The Giants advanced to their first NFC Championship game since 2000 with the win and won their ninth consecutive game away from Giants Stadium.

The Giants scored on their opening drive when Eli Manning threw a pass to Amani Toomer, who caught the pass on a curl route at the Dallas 39 before spinning away from the defense and running down left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown reception. Following an exchange of punts, Dallas running back Marion Barber rushed twice for 56 yards on a 9-play, 95-yard drive that ended with Romo's 5-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens. Then after a punt, Dallas scored on one of the longest drives in playoff history, moving the ball 90 yards in 20 plays and taking 10:28 off the clock. Barber capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give Dallas a 14-7 lead with 53 seconds left in the second quarter. But New York managed to tie the game before halftime. First, Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 13 yards and then Manning completed two passes to Steve Smith for 34 yards, with a facemask penalty adding another 15 yards. Following a 19-yard reception by tight end Kevin Boss, Manning threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Toomer with just 7 seconds left in the half.

Dallas took the second half kickoff and retook the lead with a 62-yard drive that ended with a field goal by Nick Folk. The rest of the quarter was scoreless, but with 53 seconds left, McQuarters' 25-yard punt return gave New York the ball on the Cowboys 37-yard line. Five plays later, Brandon Jacobs scored a 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Giants a 21-17 lead. After an exchange of punts, Dallas got the ball on their own 44-yard line with 7 minutes left in the game. But following several penalties, could only move the ball to the 49 and had to punt. Their defense managed to force New York to punt again after only three plays, and Patrick Crayton returned it 8 yards to the Giants 48-yard line, giving them a first down with 1:50 left to play and 1 timeout, Romo threw a 9-yard pass to Barber and an 18-yard completion to Jason Witten at the 27-yard line. But on fourth down from the 23, his pass was intercepted in the end zone by McQuarters and New York was able to run out the clock.

The Cowboys became the first No. 1 seed in the NFC to lose in the divisional round since the 1987 San Francisco 49ers who lost to the Minnesota Vikings.

Despite 3 interceptions from Tom Brady, the Patriots still managed to defeat San Diego, holding them to four field goals while Laurence Maroney rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown for the second game in a row. With this win, the Patriots became the first NFL team to start with a 18-0 record and advanced to their fourth Super Bowl appearance in seven years.

With just over 5 minutes left in the first quarter, Chargers defensive back Quentin Jammer intercepted a pass from Brady on the Patriots 40-yard line, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding. New England responded by driving 65 yards and scoring with a 1-yard Maroney touchdown run to take a 7-3 lead.

Kaeding kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter to cut the score to 7-6, but after a punt, Patriots defensive back Asante Samuel intercepted a pass from Philip Rivers and returned it 10 yards to the Chargers 24-yard line. One play later, Brady's 12-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney increased their lead to 14-6. Later on, a 26-yard run by Darren Sproles moved the ball to the New England 34-yard line. But once again, the Patriots defense kept San Diego out of the end zone, stopping them on 3rd and 1 and forcing them to settle for another Kaeding field goal, making the score 14-9 at halftime.

On the opening drive of the second half, Brady threw his second interception of the game, this one to Drayton Florence at the New England 49-yard line. San Diego then moved the ball to the 4-yard line, but on 3rd and 1, linebacker Junior Seau tackled Michael Turner for a 2-yard loss and the Chargers had to settle for Kaeding's fourth field goal. New England responded with a drive to the San Diego 2-yard line, with Maroney gaining 39 yards on four running plays, but Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie ended the drive by intercepting Brady in the end zone.

On their first drive of the fourth quarter, New England moved the ball 67 yards and scored with Brady's 6-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, making the score 21-12. Following a Chargers punt, the Patriots ended the game with a 15-play drive that took the final 9:13 off the game clock.

Seventeen years to the day after their win over the 49ers in the 1990 NFC Championship game, the Giants won the 2008 NFC Championship Game. And seventeen years to the day that Matt Bahr kicked the winning field goal to send the Giants to the Super Bowl, Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes did the exact same thing.

In winning, New York set an NFL record with their 10th consecutive win on the road. For the third playoff game in a row, Giants quarterback Eli Manning didn't throw a single interception, finishing the game with 254 yards. His top target was Plaxico Burress, who set a franchise postseason record with 11 receptions for 154 yards. Donald Driver was the Packers top receiver with 5 catches for 141 yards.

The Giants drove twice into Packers territory early. However, they were unable to score a touchdown and had to settle for two Tynes field goals. On the kickoff following the second field goal, Packers return man Koren Robinson muffed the return, forcing the Packers to start at their own ten-yard line. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Brett Favre responded by hitting Donald Driver on a 90-yard touchdown pass (the longest play in Packers postseson history) to give the Packers their first lead. They would add a Mason Crosby field goal toward the end of the first half, and took a 10-6 lead into the half.

The Giants got the ball to start the second half and drove the ball 69 yards for a score, a one-yard run into the end zone by Brandon Jacobs. On the play prior to the touchdown Jacobs fumbled the ball at the one yard line but tight end Kevin Boss of the Giants recovered the ball. The Giants benefited from four Packer penalties on the drive, including one that negated an Al Harris interception and a roughing the passer penalty on a failed third down conversion. Green Bay responded, starting in New York territory after Tramon Williams' 49-yard kickoff return. The Packers took it into the end zone in 6 plays, with Favre hitting Donald Lee on a short touchdown pass set up by a Sam Madison personal foul on a failed third-down conversion. Trailing 17-13, the Giants went on a 7-play drive which was capped off by an Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown run.

On the next Green Bay drive, Favre again led the Packers into the New York end of the field. Then, on a 1st down play from the Giants 31, Favre threw towards the end zone but was intercepted by R.W. McQuarters. However, Ryan Grant stripped the ball from McQuarters on the return and the ball went into the arms of Mark Tauscher at the 19, netting the Packers 12 yards and a fresh set of downs. However, the Packers were unable to move the ball any further and Crosby was called on to kick a field goal, which he converted to tie the game at 20. The Giants attempted to drive down the field and score on their third consecutive drive and got into position for a go-ahead field goal, but Tynes missed from 43 yards.

The next three drives (two for Green Bay and one for New York) resulted in punts. On the third punt McQuarters fumbled again, but this time Giant Domenik Hixon recovered after a scrum to give his team the ball at the Packer 48 yard line with 2:15 left in regulation. On the first play from scrimmage Bradshaw took a hand-off from Manning and ran all the way for the apparent go-ahead touchdown, but a holding penalty on Chris Snee nullified it. Despite the penalty the Giants continued to drive, and with the ball at the Green Bay 18 yard line Tynes was called on again for a field goal with four seconds remaining. Once again, however, he did not make the kick, instead hooking it wide left and forcing overtime.

Green Bay won the coin toss to start the extra period, but on the second play of overtime Favre's pass, which would be his last as a Packer, was intercepted by Giants defensive back Corey Webster, who returned the ball 9 yards to the Green Bay 34-yard line. The Giants gained five yards on three plays and then sent Tynes out to try his fifth field goal of the game, and his longest attempt of the day (47 yards). Just as Matt Bahr had done seventeen years prior to the day, Tynes connected on the game-winning field goal, clinching a fourth NFC Championship for the Giants and their first since 2000. The Giants, the NFC's #5 seed, became just the second NFC wild card team ever to win a conference championship (the 1975 Dallas Cowboys being the other) and the third team ever (and first NFC team) to reach the Super Bowl with three road playoff wins (joining the 1985 New England Patriots and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers).

The game was the third ever conference championship game to be decided in overtime since the AFL/NFL merger, joining the 1986 AFC Championship Game and the 1998 NFC Championship Game. Tynes joined Rich Karlis and Morten Andersen as the only players to score the decisive points in an overtime conference championship game (coincidentally, all three players were members of the respective visiting teams in those years). Tynes also set a record for longest field goal by an opposing player in Lambeau Field playoff history with his game-winning kick.

The Packers' loss was their third in the last five Lambeau Field playoff games and marked the first time that they had ever lost an NFL/NFC championship game at home (losing three previous games at the Polo Grounds, Franklin Field, and Texas Stadium).

New York Giants (NFC) 17, New England Patriots (AFC) 14 at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona.

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2006 San Diego Chargers season

The 2006 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 9-7 record in 2005. They finished the campaign as the #1 seed in the AFC ending the season at 14-2. The team would experience a home field playoff loss for the second time in the past three seasons losing in the final minutes to the New England Patriots 24 -21.

The Chargers were unable to re-sign All - Pro quarterback Drew Brees to a contract, Brees had suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder in the final game of the season, and turned instead to 2004 1st round selection Philip Rivers. Brees would later sign a contract with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent and make a complete recovery.

Chargers ownership announced in January that the team would no longer attempt to place a proposal for a new stadium on the November ballot as they were not able to locate private partners to facilitate financing of the project. The team had begun talks with city officials in 2002 stating that Qualcomm Stadium was inadequate to meet the financial needs of the franchise, and that they needed the city's help in building a new stadium to remain competitive. San Diego is no longer in the Super Bowl rotation due to the NFL objections concerning the stadium. As of December 2006, two cities in San Diego County are discussing a stadium for the Chargers: the City of Chula Vista and the City of National City.

In the NFL Draft, the Chargers used their first pick on Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie. They used their second pick on Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeill. The remainder of their draft picks were Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, Iowa State linebacker Tim Dobbins, Kansas State offensive tackle Jeromey Clary, Virginia kicker Kurt Smith, North Carolina defensive end Chase Page, and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Jimmy Martin.

Expectations varied for the Chargers' 2006 season. Questions centered on the play of the untested QB Rivers in his first season starting, and with the offensive line, especially at the crucial left tackle position. OLT Roman Oben injury in 2005 had a negative impact on all aspects of the offense and his replacement Lender Jordan ability to protect QB Rivers blindside was unproven. Jordan was injured in training camp and 2nd round draft pick OT Marcus McNeill landed the starting job and went on to have a Pro Bowl season. Defensively, the front seven remained talented and solid. LB depth was tested with Steve Foley's off-the-field injury however his replacement OLB Shaun Phillips 42 Tac 23 ass 11.5 sac came through with a major quality performance. The unit returned numerous key players, including nose tackle Jamal Williams , DE Luis Castillo , DE Igor Olshansky and 2005 Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne Merriman, that made the Chargers the best team in the NFL against the run in 2005 season. Another area of concern was in the secondary, Cromartie, who sat out his last season at Florida State with a knee injury, is talented but inexperience was not expected to contribute right away . Cromartie filled the 3rd CB role for the team and pressed starting CB Drayton Florence for playing time. Safety play became more of a concern particularly with the arrest of DB Terrence Kiel by federal law enforcement officials on drug charges during the regular season and the re-injury to DB Bhawoh Jue knee.

The Chargers opened the season on September 11, 2006 with a 27-0 victory over the division rival Oakland Raiders. This second game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader marked the first time the Chargers had shut out the Raiders since a 44-0 win in 1961.

LaDainian Tomlinson led the Chargers with 31 carries for 131 yards, while Philip Rivers, in his debut as an NFL starting quarterback, completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for 108 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. The Chargers' defense stifled the Raiders running game, holding Raiders RB Lamont Jordan to 20 yards on 10 carries, and recorded 9 quarterback sacks against Raiders QBs Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter. Three of those sacks belonged to second-year LB Shawne Merriman.

With the win, the Chargers extended their winning streak against Oakland to six games, while head coach Marty Schottenheimer improved his head coaching record against the Raiders to 26-7. Schottenheimer also earned his 187th career victory, passing Chuck Knox to become the seventh-winning-est head coach in NFL history.

That shutout also marked the second time ever that Oakland has been shutout in their own stadium, the 2nd being the Denver Broncos and the 3rd being the St. Louis Rams.

The Chargers hosted the Tennessee Titans in their Week 2 home-opener, winning 40-7. Tomlinson rushed for two touchdowns and tied Lance Alworth for the Chargers record for most career touchdowns with 83. Vince Young spoiled the Chargers bid for a second straight shutout by throwing a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, though the 7 straight quarters of holding the opponent scoreless were the most to open a season since the 1977 Raiders.

Philip Rivers completed 25 passes out of 35 attempts, racking up 235 yards and a touchdown.

Coming off of their Bye, the Chargers traveled to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Chargers drew first blood as QB Philip Rivers completed a 31-yard TD pass to WR Malcom Floyd. However, the Ravens would tie the game up with QB Steve McNair completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Daniel Wilcox. In the second quarter, kicker Nate Kaeding would give the Chargers some comfort, as he kicked a 34-yard and a 54-yard field goal (a then career long) to give San Diego the lead at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, the Ravens slowly started to climb back. Late in the fourth quarter, after giving Baltimore an intentional safety (instead of punting deep from their own end zone), the Chargers hoped that their defense could hold up and prevent any chance of a comeback. Unfortunately, McNair led the offense throughout the closing minutes and scored the game-winning touchdown with a 10-yard TD pass to TE Todd Heap. With their loss, the Chargers fell to 2-1.

Hoping to rebound from their last-second loss to the Ravens, the Chargers flew back home and donned their throwback uniforms for a Sunday Night match-up with the defending Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chargers struggled early as their offense actually had -2 total yards, while the defense gave up a 9-yard TD run by RB Willie Parker in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Chargers continued to trail, as Steelers kicker Jeff Reed completed a 39-yard field goal. San Diego would start to get back into the game, as QB Philip Rivers completed a 9-yard TD pass to WR Malcom Floyd. In the third quarter, the Chargers charged right into the lead, as kicker Nate Kaeding kicked a 28-yard field goal, while Rivers hooked up with TE Antonio Gates for a 22-yard TD strike. In the fourth quarter, Kaeding put the game away with a 33-yard and a 22-yard field goal, while the defense squashed any hope of a Steeler comeback.

The Chargers flew to Arrowhead Stadium for a Week 7 fight with their AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first quarter, San Diego fell behind early with KC QB Damon Huard completing an 11-yard TD pass to TE Kris Wilson and a 21-yard TD pass to WR Eddie Kennison. In the second quarter, the Chargers got on the board with kicker Nate Kaeding making a 39-yard field goal, yet Kansas City would respond with an 11-yard run by RB Larry Johnson. Kaeding made a 31-yard field goal for San Diego to end the half. In the third quarter, both teams swapped touchdowns, as QB Philip Rivers threw a 1-yard TD pass to TE Antonio Gates, while Johnson got a 1-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, RB LaDainian Tomlinson caught a 37-yard TD pass and then threw a 1-yard TD pass to TE Brandon Manumaleuna.Kansas City Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes's was good on a 53-yard field goal to seal the win for Kansas City, dropping San Diego to 4-2.

The Charger's needing to rebound from their divisional road loss to the Chiefs, returned home for a Week 8 fight with the St. Louis Rams. In the first quarter, the Chargers got off to a fast start, with RB LaDainian Tomlinson completing a 2-yard TD run and a 38-yard TD run. In the second quarter, the Rams climbed into the contest with RB Steven Jackson completing a 3-yard TD run for the Ram's only score of the period. In the third quarter, San Diego gained some distance in their lead, as Free Safety Marlon McCree returned a fumble 79 yards for a touchdown. St. Louis would get a field goal, as kicker Jeff Wilkins hit from 34 yards out. The Chargers would also get a field goal, as kicker Nate Kaeding was good from 31 yards out. In the fourth quarter, San Diego RB Michael Turner would score on a 14-yard TD run, while Rams QB Marc Bulger completed a 7-yard TD pass to WR Shaun McDonald. The Chargers would respond with QB Philip Rivers completing a 25-yard TD pass to Tomlinson, while Bulger completed a 6-yard TD pass to WR Kevin Curtis, in favor of St. Louis. In the end, the Chargers ended up with the last spark and would improve to 5-2.

The Chargers at home, donned their throwback jerseys and played a Week 9 fight against the Cleveland Browns. In the first quarter, both sides would limit each other to a field goal. Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding would complete a 29-yard field goal, while Browns kicker Phil Dawson completed a 37-yard field goal. In the second quarter, Dawson would help Cleveland take the lead on a 20-yard field goal. San Diego a defensive touchdown as back as LB Marques Harris recovered a fumble in the Browns end zone. The Brown's would retake the lead with Dawson nailing a 42-yard and a 30-yard field goal. In the third quarter, the Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson got a 41-yard TD run for the only score of the period. In the fourth quarter, Dawson helped the Browns by converting a 36-yard field goal, San Diego continued to add to their total with Tomlinson getting a 7-yard TD run. Dawson would get one more field goal (from 35 yards out), the Chargers continued to score touchdowns as Tomlinson ran one in from 8-yard out. QB Philip Rivers completed a 2-point conversion pass to WR Vincent Jackson. Afterwards, Cleveland would get its only touchdown of the game, as QB Charlie Frye hooked up with WR Braylon Edwards on a 4-yard pass. In the end, San Diego came out on top and improved to 6-2.

In a high scoring contest the San Diego Chargers overcame two 21-point deficits to take down the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. The game started off with Carson Palmer completing 7 of his first 10 passes and with two short runs by Jeremi Johnson and Rudi Johnson plus a long pass to Chad Johnson of 51 yards the Bengals were dominating the Chargers going up 21-0 after the first quarter. The Chargers were able to get things working a little bit in the second quarter with LaDainian Tomlinson running a TD in from 9-yds out to shrink the deficit to 21-7, but a 7-yd pass to Chris Henry finished the first half with the Bengals up 28-7. The Chargers came out for the third quarter and rebounded with a 4-yd run by LT and a 46-yd pass from Philip Rivers to WR Malcom Floyd to make it a 28-21 game. Cincinnati responded by driving down field again however this time they had to settle for a field Goal to make the score 31-21 . Philip Rivers lead the Chargers down field with a 9-play 80-yd drive capped off with a 9-yd strike to TE Brandon Manumaleuna to get within 3 making it 31-28. But the Chargers defense lapsed again with no one covering Johnson when Palmer passed him the ball for a 74-yd reception to make it 38-28. The Chargers drove down field again and ended the third quarter in position to shrink the lead allowing the team to start off the final quarter of play with a 2-yd run to make the score 38-35. Then after the kickoff Chargers Linebacker Shaun Phillips sacked Carson Palmer on first down forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Chargers. A 9-yd run by LaDainian Tomlinson gave the Chargers their first lead by the score of 42-38. The Bengals came within one with a 44-yd kick making it 42-41, but the Bolts were not to be denied as Rivers led yet another drive down field ending with a shovel pass to Manumaleuna who wasn't covered to make the score 49-41 and the Chargers officially tied their biggest comeback in team history with LaDainian Tomlinson getting 108-yds rushing and 4 rushing TDs and Philip Rivers passing for 24 of 36 and 337 yds with 3 TDs.

LaDainian Tomlinson made history by becoming the fastest running back to reach 100 career TDs by doing it in only 89 games, eclipsing the mark set by legends Emmitt Smith & Jim Brown of 93 games. He also continued his march toward beating Shaun Alexander's single season TD record by scoring 4 TD's to bring his total to 22, just 5 short of tying Alexander's mark. Philip Rivers had a good day as well throwing 19 of 26 for 222-yds and 2 TD's, although he did throw 2 picks including a 31-yd Interception return for a TD by Denver cornerback Darrent Williams. The game started out with LT running it in from 3-yds out to make it 7-0 San Diego. Denver's Mike Bell would run 2 TD's in during the 2nd quarter to make it a 14-7 Denver lead at halftime. After the break Denver continued the scoring with an Jason Elam 42-yd field goal and Williams INT return to make it a 24-7 lead for Denver. But just like last week against the Bengals the Chargers wouldn't say die putting together 2 scoring drives including a 3-yd run by LT, his 100th TD, and a 51-yd pass to LT by Rivers to cut the lead to 24-21 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Elam helped the Broncos cause by hitting a 38-yd kick to extend the Broncos lead to 27-21 but that only lasted until Rivers found Vincent Jackson open at the back of the endzone to put the Bolts up 28-27. On the ensuing Broncos drive, Drayton Florence would then intercept Jake Plummer's 4th and 4 pass to give the Bolts terrific field position that setup a 1-yd run by LT to make it 35-27, it was his 4th TD of the night and 102nd of his career. That left Denver 1:14 to try and tie the game. They started that drive from their 3 and made it all the way to the Chargers 32 in part to a personal foul on Chargers defensive end Igor Olshansky, who was ejected for punching Broncos center Tom Nalen. The Broncos' hopes for overtime ended when Plummer was sacked by Shaun Phillips and time ran out giving San Diego their first win in Denver in 7 years as well as sole position of 1st place in the AFC West.

LaDainian Tomlinson ran in 2 TDs and threw for one to give San Diego its third straight comeback win. He now has 21 rushing touchdowns on the year and brought his career QB record to 7 completions out of 10 attempts with 6 touchdowns. Philip Rivers on the other hand struggled completing 14 of 31 passes and throwing for only a 133 yds with no TDs and 1 interception. The Chargers swept the Raiders and have now won 7 straight from Oakland. The scoring started with the Raiders making it 7-0 after a 1-yd pass from Aaron Brooks to Reshard Lee. The Chargers answered back when Antonio Cromartie returned the ensueing kick 91-yds which setup a 2-yd run by LT to tie the score at 7-7 going into the half. The Raiders took the lead again on a catch and run by rookie John Madsen that setup a 2-yd pass from Brooks to Madsen to make it 14-7 Oakland. On 4th and 2 Rivers passed to Vincent Jackson for a first down, but Jackson proceeded to getup and throw the ball forward in celebration, the problem was that he hadn't been touched down. The initially ruling was that it was a fumble and Oakland's ball, however after the officials got together for a conference they declared that since it was an illegal forward fumble that it was technically an illegal forward pass and San Diego was then given back the ball and penalizied 5-yds which was still enough for the first down. The game continued and on the next play, Rivers pitched the ball to Tomlinson as if it were a run play but then threw the ball to an open Antonio Gates to tie the score 14-14. After forcing Oakland to punt the Chargers drove down field and LT ran it in from 10-yds out to give the Chargers the 21-14 win.

Coming off a season-sweep over the Raiders, the Chargers flew to Ralph Wilson Stadium for a cold Week 13 fight against the throwback-clad Buffalo Bills. This game would also mark the return of San Diego's star linebacker Shawne Merriman after his four-game suspension for failing a test for performance enhancing drugs. In the first quarter, the Chargers drew first blood with kicker Nate Kaeding's 42-yard field goal and RB LaDainian Tomlinson's 51-yard TD run. In the second quarter, San Diego got the only score of the period with QB Philip Rivers completing an 11-yard TD pass to TE Antonio Gates. In the third quarter, the Bills started to come back with QB J.P. Losman completing a 5-yard TD pass to TE Robert Royal, while RB Willis McGahee got a 2-yard TD run. In the fourth quarter, the Chargers distanced themselves from Buffalo with Tomlinson's 2-yard TD run. The Bills would get another touchdown, with Losman completing a 6-yard pass to WR Peerless Price. San Diego would emerge as the victor. With their sixth-staight win, the Chargers improved to 10-2.

The game featured newly appointed rookie Denver QB Jay Cutler. In a stark contrast to the come-from-behind victory against Denver earlier in the season, San Diego scored early and often in this game, leading the game 28-3 at halftime. It was all Denver in the 3rd quarter, the Broncos closing the gap to 28-20, but San Diego bounced back in the fourth quarter with 20 unanswered points, winning the game 48-20. The win, as well as a Kansas City Chiefs loss earlier in the day, clinched the AFC West Division for San Diego. With the Indianapolis Colts also losing earlier in the day, San Diego gained the best record in the AFC (11-2). In addition, with his 7-yard rushing touchdown toward the end of the 4th quarter (his third of the game), RB LaDainian Tomlinson broke the NFL single-season touchdown record (29) (26 Rushing, 3 receiving), set by the Seattle Seahawks' RB Shaun Alexander (28) in the previous season.

After a 3-point loss earlier in the year the Chargers were set to split the season series with the Chiefs. Kansas City meanwhile was reeling from a loss against Baltimore, and the death of the team's owner, Lamar Hunt. In this game the Charger's were again led to victory by LaDainian Tomlinson who scored twice, breaking the NFL single-season scoring record held by Paul Hornung for the last 46 years. The latter was an 85 yard touchdown rush which is the longest of his career . He also broke Shaun Alexander and Priest Holmes's shared Single Season Rushing TD record by getting 28 rushing touchdowns and added to the record he set last week for total touchdowns with 31 (28 rushing, 3 receiving). Moreover, he set the record for most consecutive Multi-Touchdown Games with 8.

San Diego took the lead late in the second quarter when Philip Rivers threw a TD to WR Vincent Jackson, giving San Diego a 7-0 lead going into halftime. Rivers had a bad first half completing only 1 of 10 passes, the only completion being a touchdown. The 3rd quarter saw San Diego add to their lead making it 10-0. But Seattle RB Shaun Alexander narrowed the gap with a rushing TD making it 10-7, San Diego would answer back with a field goal to make it 13-7, but on Seattle's ensuing drive they allowed another Alexander TD to make the score 14-13 and they would allow a field goal to give Seattle a 17-13 lead. With time running out San Diego drove down the field and Rivers would connect with a 37-yd pass to Jackson to give the Chargers a 20-17 lead with only :29 seconds remaining. The defense would hold and the Chargers continued their winning ways setting a team record 13th win. The win also clinched a first round bye and setup the Chargers to control their own destiny the next week against Arizona, as a win would clinch them homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

With the San Diego Chargers on their way to owning the AFC's top seed in the playoffs, Rivers threw two touchdown passes after injuring his right foot, and LaDainian Tomlinson also limped off after wrapping up his first NFL rushing title in leading the Chargers to a 27-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. The Chargers clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They'd already earned a first-round bye, which will give Rivers and Tomlinson time to heal. Their exact injuries weren't disclosed. Tomlinson ran for 66 yards, giving him 1,815 and the league rushing title. He beat Larry Johnson of the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, who had 1,789. Tomlinson did not score for the second straight game, but he is already was the league's most prolific scorer in a single season, with 31 touchdowns and 186 points.

The Chargers had a first-round bye as a result of being the number one seed in the AFC.

In the divisional playoffs, the New England Patriots faced San Diego Chargers team, who were unbeaten at home in the regular season. The favored Chargers boasted a roster that included league MVP running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who shattered several league records, nine Pro Bowlers, and five All-Pro players. However four turnovers, three of which were converted into Patriots scoring drives, eventually led to the demise of the Chargers. San Diego ended up losing despite outgaining the Patriots in rushing yards, 148-51 and total yards, 352-327, while also intercepting three passes from Tom Brady.

In the first quarter, after San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer opted to go for it on 4th-and-11 instead of attempting a 47-yard field goal, quarterback Philip Rivers lost a fumble while being sacked by Mike Vrabel, setting up Stephen Gostkowski's 51-yard field goal with 40 seconds left in the period. In the second quarter, Chargers receiver Eric Parker's 13-yard punt return set up a 48-yard scoring drive that ended with LaDainian Tomlinson's 2-yard touchdown run, giving his team a 7-3 lead. Then, on the Patriots' next drive, linebacker Donnie Edwards intercepted a pass from Brady and returned it to the 41-yard line. But the Chargers ended up punting after Rivers was sacked on third down by defensive back Artrell Hawkins. Later in the quarter, Tomlinson rushed twice for 13 yards and took a screen pass 58 yards to the Patriots' 6-yard line, setting up a 6-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner with 2:04 left in the half. New England responded with a 72-yard scoring drive, with receiver Jabar Gaffney catching four passes for 46 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown reception with six seconds left in the half, cutting their deficit to 14-10.

In the third quarter, Brady threw his second interception of the game. But once again, the Chargers were forced to punt after Rivers was sacked on third down. Mike Scifres' 36-yard punt pinned New England back at their own 2-yard line, and San Diego subsequently forced a punt, but Parker muffed the kick and New England's David Thomas recovered the fumble at the Chargers' 31-yard line. New England's drive seemed to stall after Brady fumbled on 3rd and 13. Patriots' tackle Matt Light recovered it and Chargers defensive back Drayton Florence drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for personal foul. The drive continued and Gostkowski eventually kicked a 34-yard field goal to cut their deficit to 14-13. Then, on San Diego's next drive, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin made an interception of a Rivers pass at the New England 36-yard line. The Patriots then drove to the Chargers 41-yard line, but were halted there and had to punt. After the punt, Rivers completed two passes to tight end Antonio Gates for 31 yards and a 31-yard pass to Vincent Jackson, setting up Tomlinson's second rushing touchdown to give the Chargers an 8-point lead, 21-13.

New England responded by driving to San Diego's 41-yard line. On a fourth-down conversion attempt, Brady's pass was intercepted by Marlon McCree, but Troy Brown stripped the ball, and receiver Reche Caldwell recovered it. Schottenheimer then called a timeout challenging the officials call of interception and fumble by McCree. The Chargers forfeited the time out when the official ruling of the play was upheld. Four plays later, Brady threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Caldwell. On the next play, running back Kevin Faulk took a direct snap and scored the two-point conversion, tying the game. Then, after forcing a punt, Brady completed a 19-yard pass to Daniel Graham. Two plays later, Caldwell caught a 49-yard pass down the right sideline to set up Gostkowski's third field goal to give them a 24-21 lead with only 1:10 left in the fourth quarter. With no timeouts left, San Diego drove to the Patriots 36-yard line on their final possession, but Nate Kaeding's 54-yard field goal attempt fell short with three seconds remaining in the game.

After the game, the Patriots erupted in a controversial celebration, mocking the "Lights Out" dance of LB Shawne Merriman and stomping on the Chargers mid-field logo which made Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson confront Patriots players.

Gaffney finished with ten catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Tomlinson rushed for 123 yards, caught two passes for 64 yards, and scored two touchdowns.

The Chargers had more Pro Bowlers for the 2006 season than any other team, with a total of 10. This included QB Philip Rivers (who did not play due to a foot injury), RB LaDainian Tomlinson, K Nate Kaeding, OLB Shawn Merriman, T Jamal Williams, OC Nick Hardwick, FB Lorenzo Neal, ST Kassim Osgood, TE Antonio Gates, LT Marcus McNeil, and LS David Binn.

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Source : Wikipedia