NFL's Most Memorable Drives
1958 NFL Championship Game
Baltimore's Steve Myhra booted a game-tying field goal with seven seconds left, sending into overtime the game credited with catalyzing the NFL's popularity surge. After a Giants punt, Johnny Unitas engineered a 13-play, 80-yard drive, culminating with Alan Ameche's famous one-yard touchdown plunge that sealed the NFL championship for the Colts and helped pro football achieve cultural permanence in the U.S.
1967 NFL Championship Game
Lambeau Field played host the coldest NFL game on record when the Packers and Cowboys met on New Year's Eve for a trip to Super Bowl II. The Cowboys took a 17-14 lead with five minutes remaining on a trick halfback pass. After the Packers took over on their own 32, aging signal-caller Bart Starr completed 5-of-5 passes while driving the hosts to the Dallas 1. With 16 seconds left, Starr dove into the end zone on a quarterback sneak -- on a play known as "31 Wedge" -- to lock down Green Bay's fifth championship in seven years.
1981 NFC Championship Game
In the final reel of a back-and-forth affair, the 49ers began their drive facing a 27-21 deficit. Montana dinked and dunked his West Coast offense down to the Dallas 6 with just 58 seconds remaining. On third down, Bill Walsh dialed up "Sprint Right Option" -- a designed pass to wideout Freddie Solomon. But when the Cowboys flushed the pocket, Montana rolled to his right and threw a high ball toward the back of the end zone -- where a leaping Dwight Clark somehow came down with it.
1986 AFC Championship Game
With just over five minutes remaining in the AFC title game, Denver's chances of advancing to Super Bowl XXI appeared as bleak as the frigid weather conditions. After a muffed kickoff return placed the Broncos on their own 2, those prospects seemed impossible. But John Elway guided the visitors on a 15-play, 98-yard drive for a game-tying touchdown with 31 seconds left -- elevating his reputation as a come-from-behind wizard to near-mythic proportions. Elway's lesser-known 60-yard touchdown drive in overtime set up a game-winning field goal that vaulted the Broncos into the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXIII
Perhaps the defining moment of the Joe Montana legend came after Cincinnati took a 16-13 lead. With the 49ers needing to march 92 yards in just 3:20, the San Fran quarterback sensed tension in the huddle. "Isn't that John Candy?" asked Montana, pointing into the crowd. The moment of levity famously loosened the Niners as the team embarked on an 11-play, game-winning drive, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left.
Super Bowl XXV
New York's strategy in Super Bowl XXV boiled down to one principle: Keep Buffalo's high-powered offense off the field. The approach worked to perfection in the team's first possession after halftime. Facing a slim 12-10 deficit, Jeff Hostetler directed Big Blue on a masterful 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive culminating with Ottis Anderson's one-yard touchdown run. The sequence consumed 9:29 of game clock (a Super Bowl record) as New York overcame four third-down situations. The Giants would defeat the Bills, 20-19, establishing another Super Bowl record for time of possession: 40 minutes and 33 seconds.
2003 NFC Divisional Playoff
With 2:20 remaining and the Eagles trailing 17-14 on their own 20, Donovan McNabb engineered a dramatic drive downfield -- including a miraculous first down completion to Freddie Mitchell on 4th-and-26 -- to set up the game-tying field goal. After David Akers won the game in overtime, Mitchell's emphatic press conference opener induced chills throughout title-starved Philadelphia: "We don't need fate. We have [No.] 5."
Super Bowl XXXVI
Entering the fourth quarter with a 17-3 lead, two-touchdown underdog New England watched their lead fritter away thanks to a pair of St. Louis touchdowns. The Patriots took over possession with 90 seconds remaining and no timeouts, prompting John Madden to suggest New England run out the clock and play for overtime. But Tom Brady completed three short passes to J.R. Redmond and two more to Troy Brown. One last connection with Jermaine Wiggins brought New England within field goal range as Brady spiked the ball with seven seconds left. The Pats hung on for the improbable upset when Adam Vinatieri split the uprights just moments later -- giving birth to a dynasty.
Super Bowl XXXVIII
When Ricky Proehl's touchdown reception pulled underdog Carolina even with the Patriots with just 1:08 remaining in regulation, it appeared the Super Bowl would be headed to overtime for the first time in the game's history. But Tom Brady coolly led New England down the field with completions to Troy Brown, Daniel Graham and Deion Branch into position for Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining.
2007 AFC Championship Game
With a dramatic career-altering victory in the AFC title game, Peyton Manning conquered his New England demons once and for all. After a Stephen Gostkowski field goal gave the Patriots a 34-31 lead with 3:49 remaining, Manning orchestrated an 80-yard touchdown drive ending with Joseph Addai's game-winning score. "I watched the drive with Elway, you never get tired of seeing that," Manning told reporters after the game. "I'm not comparing what we just did to that, but it sounds pretty good."