The 1994 San Diego Chargers season was the team's 35th, its 25th in the National Football League (NFL), and its 34th in San Diego. The 1994 season began with the team trying to improve on their 8–8 record in 1993. They finished the season with an 11–5 record and were crowned AFC West Champions. Their success peaked with a 17–13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. They would advance to Super Bowl XXIX, only to lose to the San Francisco 49ers 49–26, which was played at Joe Robbie Stadium, now known as Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
In the AFC Championship Game, Miami quarterback Dan Marino completed 14 of 18 passes in the first half for 151 yards as he led the team to three consecutive touchdowns. On their first touchdown drive, he completed 4/7 passes for 65 yards, the last an 8-yard scoring pass to tight end Keith Jackson. San Diego responded by driving 72 yards in 15 plays to score on a John Carney field goal. Receiver O. J. McDuffie returned the following kickoff 42 yards to the Miami 48-yard line, and the Dolphins ended up scoring another touchdown on Marino's 9-yard pass to Jackson, giving them a 14-3 lead with 7:21 left in the second quarter. The Chargers then drove 60 yards, including three carries by Natrone Means for 38, to score on Carney's second field goal. But this was countered again, with the Dolphins moving the ball 70 yards on a drive that featured a 24-yard reception by Irving Fryar. Marino finished it off with a 16-yard touchdown pass to receiver Mike Williams with 27 seconds left on the clock, giving the Dolphins a 21-6 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, San Diego drove all the way to the Dolphins 1-yard line on a 15-play drive that consumed over 8 minutes, only to lose the ball on downs when Means was shoved out of bounds by defensive end Marco Coleman on a 4th down conversion attempt. However, Chargers defensive lineman Reuben Davis tackled Dolphins running back Bernie Parmalee in the end zone for a safety on the next play, sending Miami's tired defense back onto the field. San Diego then took the ensuing free kick and marched 54 yards to score on running back Means' 24-yard touchdown, cutting the score to 21-15.
Early in the fourth quarter, San Deigo drove to the Dolphins 37-yard line, only to lose the ball when Stan Humphries threw an interception to defensive back Michael Stewart. But after forcing a punt with 3:39 left in the fourth quarter, the Chargers started a 61-yard drive that ended with Humphries' 8-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mark Seay, giving them a 22-21 lead with 35 seconds left in the game.
The Dolphins still had one last chance to win, as Carney's botched squib kick gave them the ball at their own 38. On the next play, a 32-yard pass interference penalty against Chargers safety Eric Castle gave the Dolphins a first down on the San Diego 30. But after two incomplete passes, Miami kicker Pete Stoyanovich was wide right on a 48-yard field goal attempt.
This game featured several questionable calls by officials. On one play, Jackson batted the ball forward along the ground after making a reception, and San Diego recovered it, but officials ruled Jackson's action to be an illegal forward pass rather than a botched lateral, allowing Miami to keep the ball. Later on, Chargers receiver Shawn Jefferson caught a 37-yard touchdown pass, but the referees ruled him out of bounds even though replays showed he was in. And on Means' 24-yard touchdown run, replays showed he had stepped out of bounds at the 2.
Miami gained just 282 yards, with only 26 yards on the ground, both season lows, while San Diego racked up 466 yards of offense. Means rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown, while Jackson caught 8 passes for 109 yards and two scores. Marino completed 24 of 38 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns.
1994 San Diego Chargers AFC Championship Ring
- Product Code: AFC 1994
- Availability: In Stock