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NFL Playoffs: Greatest NFC Championship Game Performances of All Time

With an NFL Championship berth on the line, it's no surprise that the NFC Championship Game has seen some all-time performances from clutch players.

Here, we break down the five best performances in NFC Championship Games.

Roger Staubach (1975)

The Dallas Cowboys won the first two editions of the NFC Championship following the NFL-AFL merger but weren’t expected to complete the hat-trick when they got back to the showpiece game in the 1975 season.

Dallas were sent on the road to Los Angeles to face a Rams team widely considered the best in football at the time. The Rams had won their previous seven games with success built around a stingy defence that gave up just 135 points in the regular season.

On Championship Sunday, ‘Boys quarterback Roger Staubach proceeded to take LA’s vaunted defence apart, throwing for four touchdowns on the day, three of them to Preston Pearson as Dallas raced into an early lead and never looked back.

Three of Staubach's TD passes were in the first half, and he extended his team's lead just after halftime with his fourth and final TD pass of the day. Dallas won the game 37-7, and Staubach completed 16/26 passes for 220 yards and four TDs, while also rushing seven times for 54 yards.

Joe Montana (1989)

The San Francisco 49ers won their fourth NFL Championship of the previous decade in the 1989 season, and QB Joe Montana's performance in the NFC Championship Game was crucial to build their confidence ahead of the big game.

Montana's statline from that game can be described as "clean." He completed 26/30 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-3 blowout win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Those stats are solid, especially the completion rate, but the most impressive stat is the 49ers' 39:48 time of possession. Keeping the ball out of the opponents' hands is a key to victory football, and Montana's precise passing and composure on the big stage drove the Niners to victory.

Kerry Collins (2000)

Dubbed “the worst team to ever host an NFC Championship” at the time, the New York Giants were viewed as little more than a stop on the road to the championship for a high-powered Minnesota Vikings team in the 2000 season.

An offense featuring Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss had put up close to 400 points during the regular season for Minnesota and the Vikings were expected to dish out a beatdown at Giants’ Stadium. And while there was a beatdown delivered that day, it didn’t go the way many had predicted with the Giants winning 41-0.

The Giants got a near-flawless game from quarterback Kerry Collins as he threw for a franchise-record five touchdowns and 381 yards. He and wide receiver Ike Hilliard connected 10 times on the day for 155 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Collins finished the game having completed 28 of 39 pass attempts.

New York led 34-0 at half-time thanks in part to Collins’ performance and an excellent defensive game plan from coordinator John Fox that saw the Giants erase the threats of Moss and Cris Carter.

It was the second time the Giants had shut out an opponent in the NFC Championship game having blanked Washington in 1986 and even though they eased off the Vikings after the interval, the final score still represents the largest winning margin in the conference decider.

Cam Newton (2015)

Cam Newton was at the very peak of his powers during the Panthers’ run to the NFL Championship game in the 2015 season. Newton was named league MVP after a regular season that saw him throw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns, while he added another 636 yards and 10 scores on the ground.

Super Cam’s crowning glory in Carolina came when orchestrating a 49-15 win over the Cardinals in the 2015 NFC Championship game.

The Panthers were to prove unstoppable on the night, breaking the record for most points scored in an NFC Championship contest as Newton threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another two scores.

Nick Foles (2017)

When Carson Wentz - who was playing at an MVP level at the time - went down in mid-December of the 2017 regular season with a campaign-ending knee injury, the Eagles' chances at a ring looked over. Enter Nick Foles to rescue Philly, the back-up proving all the doubters wrong as he guided his team to glory.

Foles faced some tough tests along the way, none more so than an NFC Championship game against a Minnesota Vikings team boasting the number one defence in the league. In the first round of the playoffs, Foles played it safe in a 15-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, completing 23/30 passes for 246 yards, no TDs, and no INTs.

The Vikings had allowed the fewest yards and points per game during the regular season, so the Eagles needed more from their QB. They got it and more, as Foles threw for three touchdowns and 352 yards in the Eagles' 38-7 win on a memorable night at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Philly defence gave up a touchdown on the opening drive before otherwise slamming the door shut on a Case Keenum-led Vikings offense. The Eagles would go on to upset the New England Patriots in the NFL Championship but their dismantling of the Vikings is arguably the better all-round performance of the two.

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