Rams Buccaneers Football

Los Angeles Rams' Matt Gay kicks the game-wining field goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

The San Francisco 49ers are hoping their recent regular-season dominance over the Los Angeles Rams extends to the playoffs.

The Niners have swept the season series against the Rams the past three seasons and take a six-game winning streak in the series into the NFC title game on Sunday.

A look at past history suggests that it's no sure thing regular-season dominance carries over into the playoffs.

This will be the 24th time in the Super Bowl era that division rivals will meet in the postseason following a regular-season sweep. The team that won the two regular-season games is 14-9 in the playoff rematch — though just last year, Tampa Bay won a divisional-round game at New Orleans on the way to a Super Bowl title.

The Rams-49ers matchup is the fourth time a team came into the playoff matchup on a winning streak of at least six games in the series. The streaking team won one of those previous three matchups: The Giants extended an eight-game winning streak over Philadelphia by beating the Eagles in the 2000 playoffs.

The Bears overcame a six-game losing streak to Minnesota when they beat the Vikings in the 1994 playoffs, and the Chargers did the same to the Chiefs in the 1992 season.

Sunday's game is also the seventh time division rivals will vie for a spot in the Super Bowl following a regular-season sweep; four of the previous six sweeping teams won again to reach the Super Bowl.

CLOSE CALLS

There had never been a playoff weekend quite like the the divisional round, when all four games were decided by a game-winning score on the final play for the first time ever.

The three walk-off field goals in regulation and Kansas City's overtime TD pass from Patrick Mahomes to Travis Kelce led to a combined margin of victory of just 15 points — the closest divisional round since the merger, beating out the 18 points that decided the four games in the 2006 season.

It comes in the heels of one of the most lopsided wild-card weekends, when the 17.2 point-per-game average scoring margin the fourth biggest for wild-card weekend since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990.

ROAD WARRIORS

One week after home teams won five of six playoff games, road teams dominated.

Cincinnati, San Francisco and the Rams all were the visitors win in the divisional round, marking the third time ever that three road teams won in that round in the same season (1971 and 2008).

Last weekend was the fourth time that both No. 1 seeds — Titans and Packers — lost in the divisional round since seeding began in 1975. It also happened in 1975, 2008 and 2010.

YOUNG GUNS

The matchup between Mahomes and the Chiefs against Josh Allen and the Bills was an instant classic. The teams combined for 78 points, 974 yards, no turnovers and just four penalties in the game that Kansas City won 42-36 in overtime.

It marked the fourth time in the Super Bowl era that both teams scored at least 35 points, gained at least 400 yards and committed no turnovers — and the first time it happened in the playoffs.

The teams combined for 31 points after the two-minute warning, with the Bills getting 15 and the Chiefs 16. That's the most in a game since at least 2000.

It was the second game in NFL history when both quarterbacks threw for at least 300 yards and ran for at least 50: Mahomes threw for 378 yards and three TDs, while running for 69 yards and a score and Allen threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns to go with 68 yards rushing.

The first time that happened was Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson in Arizona's 37-34 overtime win over Seattle in 2020.

Mahomes has now posted back-to-back playoff games with at least 400 yards and four TDs combined running and passing. Before the last two weeks, only five QBs had done that: Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino.

The loss sent Allen home after one of the best postseason runs for a quarterback. He completed 48 of 62 passes for 637 yards (10.3 yards per attempt), with nine TD passes, no interceptions 134 yards rushing and a 149 passer rating. The Bills scored TDs on 12 of 16 drives with Allen on the field.

Buffalo's Gabriel Davis had eight catches for 201 yards and became the first player ever to catch four TD passes in a playoff game.

ARCHNEMESIS

When the San Francisco 49ers picked Alex Smith instead of Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 draft, Rodgers famously vowed that the Niners would be more disappointed than he was.

While that has mostly held true, with Rodgers winning three MVP awards and one Super Bowl, it hasn't held up in the playoffs.

The Niners have won all four matchups in the postseason after Saturday's 13-10 win. That follows playoff victories in the the 2012, 2013 and 2019 seasons. Rodgers is the first quarterback to lose to the same team four times in the playoffs.

San Francisco held Rodgers and the Packers to 10 points on Saturday, the first time Green Bay scored less than 20 in a playoff game with Rodgers at the helm.

FOUR-PEAT

The Chiefs have made it to the AFC title game for the fourth straight season, marking the seventh time since the merger that a franchise made four straight trips to the conference championship.

Andy Reid has been the coach of two of those teams, getting there with Philadelphia in the 2001-04 seasons and now again with Kansas City.

The others teams to do it are the Patriots (2011-18), the Raiders (1973-77), the Bills (1990-93) and the Cowboys (1970-73, 1992-95).

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