The highest scoring games in NFL Conference Championship history

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

January 25th, 2022

The 2022 NFL Conference Championships are upon us. Just four teams are left standing, and they’ll compete for the right to play in Super Bowl LVI.

NFL Championship 2021/2022

Sun, February 13 2022, 11:28 PM

Kansas City Chiefs


Los Angeles Rams


San Francisco 49ers


Cincinnati Bengals


Over the years, conference championship games have produced plenty of shootouts and offensive explosions. Let's take a look at the five highest-scoring such contests below, and if you’re a defensive purist, you may want to prepare yourself.

4. (TIE): New England 41, Pittsburgh 27 (Jan. 23, 2005), and New England 37, Kansas City 31 (Jan. 20, 2019)

We’ll start off with a fun quirk and two games won by Tom Brady while he was in a Patriots uniform. The 2005 game wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate, as the Patriots led 24-3 at the half and were never seriously threatened. The 2019 contest, however, is an all-time classic.

New England led 17-7 going into the fourth quarter, but Kansas City running back Damien Williams found the end zone three times in the final 15 minutes of regulation and a Harrison Butker field goal sent the game to overtime. The Patriots, though, won the coin toss and drove down the field to score. Hmm. Funny how things shake out, isn’t it?

3. Denver 38, Cleveland 33 (Jan. 17, 1988)

It looked like the Broncos were firmly in control when they took a 21-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. However, the visiting Browns came out swinging in the second half, and a connection between Bernie Kosar and Webster Slaughter tied the game at 31 in the fourth quarter. Legendary quarterback John Elway responded by marshaling a go-ahead touchdown drive of his own, which led to the play known as "The Fumble" when Browns running back Earnest Byner coughed up the ball deep in Denver territory.

The Broncos then intentionally conceded a safety and survived a Kosar Hail Mary attempt.

2. Indianapolis 38, New England 34 (Jan. 21, 2007)

It felt like we had seen this movie before when the Patriots took a 21-3 second-quarter lead over Peyton Manning and the Colts. However, Manning led an inspired comeback that tied the game at 21 in the third stanza. The Colts only led for a short time, but it was when it mattered, as Joseph Addai’s three-yard run proved to be the game-winner. Just a few weeks later, Manning would win his first Super Bowl when the Colts topped the Chicago Bears.

1. Miami 45, Pittsburgh 28 (Jan. 6, 1985)

Young quarterback Dan Marino eviscerated one of the teams that passed on drafting him just a few years earlier when he threw three touchdown passes as part of this rout.

The Steelers actually led 14-10 in the second quarter, but the Dolphins scored 35 of the game’s next 42 points to punch their ticket to the Super Bowl, where they ultimately lost to the San Francisco 49ers.