Tuesday’s Den: 13 of the biggest comebacks in NFL history

13) 9-23-79— Oilers 30, Bengals 27 (OT)— 0-3 Cincinnati led 24-0 at home in 2nd quarter, behind two rushing TD’s by Pete Johnson, but needed a 55-yard FG by Chris Bahr to send game to OT, after Oilers outscored them 17-0 in 3rd quarter. Earl Campbell ran ball for 158 yards for the Oilers, who wound up losing AFC title game at Pittsburgh that year.

12) 9-23-79— Broncos 37, Seahawks 34— September 23 was a big day for comebacks that year. Seattle led 34-10 early in 3rd quarter, behind a Jim Zorn-led offense, but Denver stormed back and scored game’s last 27 points, with Craig Morton throwing three TD passes. Broncos wound up losing Wild Card game 13-7 to the afore-mentioned Oilers in the Astrodome.

11) 12-4-77— Vikings 28, 49ers 27— Niners led 24-0 in 3rd quarter, running 2nd half kickoff back for a TD, but Tommy Kramer came off bench for Minnesota and was 9-13/188 with three TD passes, leading Vikings to the comeback win. 49ers threw ball for only 57 yards in this game, with Jim Plunkett under center.

10) 12-15-74— Dolphins 34, Patriots 27— Another loss for Jim Plunkett, who led New England to a 21-0 first quarter lead, but Earl Morrall (15-23/288, two TD passes) rallied Miami back for its 11th win of the year- they lost to the Raiders 28-26 in their first playoff game. Melvin Baker caught four balls for 121 yards, two TD’s for the Dolphins.

9) 10-23-60— Broncos 31, Patriots 24— Boston, playing on road for 3rd week in row, stormed out to a 24-0 lead, with Butch Songin throwing three TD passes, but Frank Tripucka rallied the Broncos back, throwing four TD passes, two to Al Carmichael. Denver outscored the Patriots 17-0 in the 4th quarter, and improved to 4-2- it was their last win of the season (4-9-1).

8) 10-25-59— Eagles 28, Cardinals 24— Philly improved from 2-9-1 to 7-5 in ‘59; they trailed 24-0 in 3rd quarter of this game after Night Train Lane had a pick-6 off Norm Van Brocklin, but the Eagles scored the last 28 points of the game, with the Dutchman throwing two TD passes, and Billy Ray Barnes running for two more. Philly won the NFL title the next season.

7) 10-20-57— Lions 31, Colts 27— Week 1 of NFL season in ’57 was September 29; times have changed. Colts led this game 27-3 early in 3rd quarter after a Lenny Moore TD, but Bobby Layne threw two TD passes in relief of Tobin Rote and Detroit won, despite completing only 12 of 34 passes for the game. Both teams were 3-1 after this game; Lions won the NFL title that year- they haven’t won one since.

6) 10-5-14— Browns 29, Titans 28— Tennessee led 28-3 in 2nd quarter after Charlie Whitehurst threw a 75-yard TD pass, but Cleveland blanked the Titans in 2nd half, and Brian Hoyer rallied the Browns to the win, which evened their record at 2-2. Taylor Gabriel caught four passes for 95 yards for Cleveland.

5) 12-6-92— Rams 31, Buccaneers 28— Rams had lost four of previous five games, trailed 27-3 at halftime of this one, but Jim Everett threw for 342 yards and three 2nd half TD’s. Both teams turned ball over three times in a primetime game that drew only 38.387 fans in Tampa. Vinny Testaverde threw two TD’s for the Bucs, who also scored a special teams TD.

4) 2-5-17— Patriots 31, Falcons 28— Atlanta led 28-3 early in 3rd quarter, but frittered away lead and lost a chance to win their first Super Bowl. Brady was 43-62/466 passing, completing 14 of them to RB James White, who scored three TD’s, two of them on ground. Patriots had 37 first downs, outgunned Atlanta by 202 yards (546-344).

3) 9-21-97— Bills 37, Colts 35— Indy led 26-0 in 2nd quarter, behind a Jim Harbaugh TD pass and four FG’s, but Todd Collins (23-38/275) railed Buffalo back for the win. Antowain Smith carried the ball 12 times for 129 yards, three TD’s. Marshall Faulk ran ball 16 times for 77 yards for Indy, two years before he won a Super Bowl with the Rams.

2) 12-7-80– 49ers 38, Saints 35 (OT)— New Orleans was 0-13 coming into this game, but they led 35-7 at halftime behind Archie Manning, who was 24-38/377, with three TD passes. 49ers rallied back for the win behind Joe Montana; they would win their first Super Bowl the next year. Saints avoided a winless season when they beat the Jets the next week.

1) 1-3-93— Bills 41, Oilers 38 (OT)— Houston led 35-3 early in 3rd quarter of this playoff game, after Bubba McDowell’s pick-6, but backup QB Frank Reich threw four TD passes, three of them to Andre Reed, as Buffalo stunned the Oilers, won two more playoff games and wound up winning the AFC title. Reed caught eight passes for 136 yards in this game. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.