Home NFC Divisional Matchup Memories: History Runs Deep

NFC Divisional Matchup Memories: History Runs Deep

by Mike Ferguson

Photo courtesy of San Francisco 49ers

The matchups for the NFL’s Divisional round of the playoffs are set.

All four matchups this week will be between teams that have met before in the postseason. This weekend’s slate will feature one rematch from last season’s playoffs.

That comes in the AFC, but in the NFC, there is plenty of playoff history. We look back on that history in this piece:

Niners-Packers: Postseason Episode 9

On Saturday night, the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers will meet for the ninth time in the playoffs. All nine meetings have come since 1995.

The most recent meeting came in the 2019 NFC Championship as the 49ers won convincingly, 37-20. San Francisco needed to attempt just eight passes while rushing for 285 yards. Raheem Mostert led the way with 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

Defensively, the 49ers intercepted Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers twice and forced him to fumble three times, losing one.

From 1995 to 1998, the teams met in the playoffs every season. In the 1995 Divisional round, the Packers ended San Francisco’s bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions with a 27-17 win at Candlestick Park.

Brett Favre passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns while Craig Newsome returned a fumble for a touchdown in the win. Newsome also had one of Green Bay’s two interceptions off San Francisco’s Steve Young. Young passed for 328 yards on 65 pass attempts.

The following year, the Packers again raced to a big lead in the Divisional round in a 35-14 victory at Lambeau Field. The teams combined for just 406 yards of offense, but San Francisco turned it over five times. Desmond Howard, the eventual Super Bowl MVP, got the scoring started with a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown.

In 1997, Green Bay ended the 49ers’ season for a third straight year. The Packers had another stellar defensive effort in a 23-10 NFC Championship victory at 3Com Park. Dorsey Levens rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown in the win. Chuck Levy’s 95-yard kickoff return gave the 49ers their only touchdown.

Perhaps the most memorable moment in the series came in the 1998 Wild Card game. With the game on the line and San Francisco trailing by four, Steve Young found Terrell Owens in heavy traffic for the winning 25-yard touchdown with just eight seconds remaining as the 49ers prevailed, 30-27.

Green Bay had taken the lead less than two minutes earlier on a touchdown pass from Favre to Antonio Freeman. Favre passed for 292 yards and two touchdown passes to Freeman. Young threw three touchdowns in the win.

In 2001, the Packers scored the final 10 points at Lambeau Field to top San Francisco in the Wild Card round, 25-15. Favre threw for 269 yards and two scores in the win. After Ryan Longwell’s field goal put Green Bay ahead for good, Ahman Green put the contest away with less than two minutes to go.

That remains the last postseason win for the Packers in the series. San Francisco ended Green Bay’s seasons in consecutive seasons in 2012 and 2013.

In the 2012 Divisional round at Candlestick Park, 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick accounted for 444 yards and four total touchdowns. Kapernick rushed for 181 yards and threw two touchdowns to Michael Crabtree. Frank Gore added 119 yards rushing while Crabtree finished with 119 yards receiving in the 45-31 win.

Phil Dawson’s field goal as time expired lifted San Francisco to a 23-20 victory in the 2013 Wild Card round at Lambeau Field. Kaepernick passed for 227 yards while rushing for 98 yards on just seven carries.

Saturday’s contest begins at 8:15 p.m. ET and will air on FOX.

The Game of NFC Championships Past

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be meeting in the postseason for the third time. Each of the previous two meetings were in the NFC Championship and each was won by the Rams.

The previous two meetings featured just 26 combined points and just one total touchdown. Sunday’s contest begins a 3 p.m. ET and airs on NBC.

The 1979 NFC Championship at Tampa Stadium featured just three Frank Corral field goals as the Los Angeles Rams blanked Tampa Bay, 9-0. Cullen Bryant rushed for 106 yards while defensively, the Rams held the Buccaneers to just 177 total yards and 5-for-27 passing.

The 1999 NFC Championship didn’t feature a touchdown until the game’s final five minutes. Kurt Warner’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl with 4:44 put the St. Louis Rams ahead for good in an 11-6 victory.

Warner passed for 258 yards, but was intercepted three times as the Rams went on to win their first and only Super Bowl title.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.