Special to ESPN.com
PATRIOTS-CHARGERS MEET IN A BATTLE OF TEAMS ON LONG WINNING STREAKS
Sunday's AFC title game was only the fifth playoff game in NFL history between teams that both had a current winning streak of at least eight games (regular- and postseason combined). The Patriots had won 17 in a row coming into the game, the Chargers had won eight straight. The other such games:
* Super Bowl XXXVI (Feb. 3, 2002): Patriots 20, Rams 17. Both teams had won eight consecutive games.
* 1998 NFC Championship Game: Falcons 30, Vikings 27. Atlanta had won 10 consecutive games; Minnesota had won nine in a row.
* 1976 AFC Championship Game: Raiders 24, Steelers 7. Oakland had won 11 consecutive games; Pittsburgh had won 10 in a row.
* 1942 NFL Championship Game: Redskins 14, Bears 6. Bears had won 18 consecutive games; Redskins had won nine in a row.
DEJA VU FOR BRADY AND THE CHARGERS
Tom Brady threw three interceptions in New England's victory, just as he did in the Patriots' win over the Chargers in the 2006 postseason. Only two other players have won two playoff games in which they threw three or more INTs: Terry Bradshaw (including Super Bowl XIV) and Joe Montana.
BRADY SETS HIS SIGHTS CLOSER TO HOME
Tom Brady attempted 69 passes to targets more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage this season, the most in the NFL. He had a 97.4 rating on these throws. But in two playoffs games, Brady has attempted only three passes to targets more than 20 yards beyond the line of scrimmageone for a 53-yard completion against the Jaguars and two incomplete passes against the Chargers.
BRADY AND BELICHICK TIE RECORD FOR POSTSEASON WINS
Sunday's win was the 14th by Tom Brady starting for Bill Belichick in the postseason. That tied the highest total in NFL history, recorded by Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll of the Steelers (19721979 seasons).
MARONEY GAINS 106 YARDS RUSHING IN SECOND HALF
Laurence Maroney gained 106 yards rushing in the second half the Patriots' win. The only other player to gain 100 rushing yards in one half of an AFC title game was Thurman Thomas, who did it twice (January 1991 and January 1994). Three players did it in the AFL Championship Game in the 1960s: Paul Lowe (1960 season), Keith Lincoln (1963 season), and Hewritt Dixon (1967 season).
FAULK TOPS PATRIOTS IN RECEPTIONS AND YARDS
Kevin Faulk led the Patriots in receptions (8) and receiving yards (82) on Sunday. Faulk led the Pats in both categories in only four of his 122 regular-season games and none of his 15 previous postseason games.
EX-CHARGERS SCORE FOR PATS AGAINST THEIR FORMER TEAM
For the second consecutive postseason, a Patriots player who made his NFL debut for the Chargers scored a TD against San Diego. Last season, it was Reche Caldwell; yesterday, Wes Welker, who played one game for the Chargershis NFL debut in 2004.
GIANTS-PACKERS IS OLD SCHOOL NFL
If you like Old School NFL, it didn't get much better than Giants-Packers at Lambeau Field. Sunday's game was the 54th between those teams, with more than half of them 28 to be exact having been played before 1950.
PACKERS AND GIANTS PLAY THREE ERRORLESS QUARTERS IN FRIGID WEATHER
So how many so-called experts pontificated that the NFC Championship Game would be decided by turnovers, on account of the frigid playing conditions? As it turned out, this was only the second conference title game during the Super Bowl eraAFC or NFCin which no turnovers were committed in the first three quarters. The other was Giants' 1513 win over the 49ers in January 1991.
FAVRE TO DRIVER FOR 90 YARDS IS 4TH LONGEST IN POSTSEASON HISTORY
Brett Favre's 90-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver was the fourth-longest TD pass in a postseason game and the longest since Trent Dilfer and Shannon Sharpe combined on a 96-yarderthe NFL playoff recordin the Ravens' victory over the Raiders in the AFC title game seven years ago.
FAVRE THROWS OVERTIME INT TO SET UP GIANTS WIN
Brett Favre's interception, setting up the Giants' game-winning drive, was the second that he has thrown in overtime of a playoff game. The first was in the Packers' loss to the Eagles in a Divisional Playoff Game four years ago. No player had thrown a postseason OT INT since then, and the only other player to throw more than one in his career was George Blanda. Blanda threw two overtime INTs in the Houston Oilers' double-overtime loss to the Dallas Texans in the 1962 AFL title game.
McQUARTERS EXTENDS INTERCEPTION STREAK TO THREE GAMES
R.W. McQuarters has intercepted a pass in each of the Giants' three playoff games this season. Over the last 10 years, the only other player with a three-game interception streak in the same postseason was Rodney Harrison for the Patriots three years ago.
ELI EQUALS PEYTONS LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK WITH AN INT
Eli Manning recorded a third consecutive postseason start without throwing an interception. Manning's streak of 101 playoff passes without an INT, dating back to last January, equals the longest such streak of his brother Peyton's postseason career.
GIANT KICKER REDEEMS HIMSELF AFTER MISSING POTENTIAL WALKOFF FIELD GOAL
Lawrence Tynes was the fifth player to miss a field-goal attempt on the last play of the fourth quarter of a playoff game, and the third of those five to earn redemption by kicking a game-winner in overtime. The other two were Ryan Longwell of the 2003 Packers (Wild Card vs. Seahawks) and Joe Nedney of the 2002 Titans (Divisional Playoff vs. Steelers).
Incidentally, Tynes, who missed field-goal attempts of 43 and 36 yards in the fourth quarter on Sunday, was 8-for-8 during the 2007 regular season on kicks of 40 yards or longer.
TYNES KICKS HISTORIC GAME-WINNER FOR GIANTS
Lawrence Tynes kicked a 47-yard field goal to give the Giants a 2320 overtime win at Green Bay. It was by far the longest field goal ever made by a visiting player in a playoff game at Lambeau Field. In 15 previous postseason games at Lambeau Field, there were only four field goalsall by Packers kickerson 19 attempts of 40 yards or longer.
CARTER & KIDD BOTH HELD IN CHECK...AGAIN
Vince Carter scored 10 points and Jason Kidd scored nine in the Nets' 11692 loss at Phoenix. It was the second time in seven days and the third time this season that neither Carter nor Kidd scored more than 10 points in the same game. Over their first three seasons as teammates, either Carter or Kidd (or both) exceeded 10 points in all 215 games they played together.