By JERRY TAPP
Here’s a quick trivia question: The New England Patriots on Sunday will appear in their seventh consecutive AFC Championship Game. That means they have appeared in seven championship games since 2011. Which NFL team has appeared in the second most championship games since 2011? (Answer at the end of this column.)
Following are a few “leftover” stats from last week’s NFL playoff games.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers last week became seventh team to lose two playoff games in their history when they scored 30 or more points (the Steelers lost to Jacksonville 45-42 last Sunday). The other teams on this list: Cleveland, Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, Miami and New Orleans.
- The Steelers also have now lost 10 home playoff games in their history (since the start of the Super Bowl era in 1966), most in the NFL. Dallas is second with nine home playoff losses followed by Minnesota and San Francisco with eight.
- Teams that are scoreless at halftime in a playoff game have not had much success. Teams that are scoreless at half in a playoff game are 17-88 (.162 winning percentage) since 1966.
- Turnovers are another important part of the NFL’s post-season. Since the 2010 post-season, NFL teams that do not commit a turnover in a playoff game are 29-12 (.707 winning percentage). Teams that have turned the ball over three or more times in a playoff game since 2010 are 5-28 (.152).
- Tom Brady had another playoff game (in the Pats win over Tennessee) where he had three or more TD passes and more than 300 yards passing. That was the seventh time Brady reached those stats in a playoff game in his career, most in league history. Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have had three or more TD passes and 300 or more yards passing in five different playoff games, tied for second on this list.
- Jacksonville rookie running back Leonard Fournette had three TDs in his team’s big win over Pittsburgh, making him only the fourth rookie in history to score three or more TDs in a playoff game. The others: Craig Baynham (Dallas, 12-24-1967), William Floyd (San Francisco, 1-7-1995) and Ryan Grant (Green Bay, 1-12-2008).
- Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski had a TD reception in New England’s win last week over the Titans. That was his 10th playoff TD in his career. Those 10 playoff TDs since 2010 are the most of any player; Gronkowski also became the 18th player in NFL history to score 10 or more TDs in the post-season. Jerry Rice tops the list with 22 playoff TDs.
- With their 10-3 win over Buffalo in the Wild Card Game and their 45-42 win over Pittsburgh in the divisional round, the Jacksonville Jaguars became the first team in NFL history to win two playoff games in one season … one with 10 or fewer points scored and one with 40 or more points scored.
- With their game tomorrow against Jacksonville, the Patriots will have appeared in seven championship games since 2011. They are followed by the San Francisco 49ers with three title game appearances since 2011. The Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks have each appeared in two conference title games since 2011.
- Eight teams will have appeared in one conference championship game from 2011-17 (Arizona, Carolina, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New York Giants, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh). Did you get the San Francisco 49ers right in the answer to the trivia question?