The Biggest Comeback in the History of Each NFL Franchise
In the history of the NFL, there have been many amazing comeback victories. Some of them now go by a nickname, because they are so famous that is all you have to say, and you immediately know the game everyone is talking about.
For some NFL teams, the comebacks may not be dynamic or the leads that insurmountable, but the research staff is working hard to uncover the best comeback win in the history of every NFL franchise.
Some fans will have a hard time distinguishing what the best comeback truly means, so you should know that it does not mean the best last-second drive, best punt or kick return as time is running out, or the "Fumblerooski." We are looking for games where teams were trailing by 20 or 30 points and found a way to comeback and win the game. "The Drive" doesn't qualify, nor does the Music City Miracle, etc.
For what it is worth, we will be looking at the modern era, as sourcing scores from the 1940s and before can be hard to find. On with the presentation.
In the history of the Cardinals organization, looking at both time spent in St. Louis as well as in Arizona, I was surprised to have so much trouble finding big comeback wins in the franchise.
All the years and prolific passing numbers of Kurt Warner, he really didn't have any major comeback wins where he brought the team back from a 20-point hole to win the game.
So, we have to go all the way back to October 8, 1967, when the Minnesota Vikings were leading the St. Louis Cardinals 24-13 in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals rallied with 21 straight points to pull out the win 34-24. The Cardinals were led by Jim Hart at quarterback and Johnny Roland at running back.
The Atlanta Falcons have their share of comeback wins, but the research didn't find any comeback wins that were in the 20-25-point variety in the second half.
The biggest comeback win for Atlanta appears to be the NFC Championship game where they beat the Minnesota Vikings to advance to their first Super Bowl appearance.The date was January 25, 1999.
The Vikings took an early lead of 20-7, but the Falcons came back, only to see the Vikings extend the lead by going up 27-17 in the fourth quarter.
Terance Mathis caught a touchdown pass from Chris Chandler with 49 seconds left to send the game into overtime, where the Falcons eventually won it with a field goal by Morten Anderson.
Don't know how many Baltimore Ravens fans remember him, but the Ravens had a quarterback by the name of Anthony Wright, who led a monster comeback win against the Seattle Seahawks. The game was played on November 23, 2003. Baltimore won 44-41 in overtime on a 42-yard field goal by Matt Stover.
How good was this comeback? The Ravens were down 17 points down in the fourth quarter. Ed Reed blocked a punt for a score and Wright hit Marcus Robinson for his fourth touchdown of the game. Matt Stover kicked a 40-yard field goal late in regulation to send the game to overtime.
Anthony Wright completed 20-of-37 passes for 319 yards and four touchdown passes. Jamal Lewis rushed for 117 yards and wide receiver Robinson had seven catches for 131 yards and caught four touchdown passes in the game. Seattle was led by Matt Hasselbeck, who threw for 333 yards and also threw five touchdown passes in the game.
The Ravens also had a memorable comeback win in Week 8 this year, when they rallied from a deficit of 24-3 against the Arizona Cardinals, to beat the Cardinals 30-27. Joe Flacco led that comeback and Ray Rice scored three touchdowns in the dramatic win.
Even though the Bills started out the 2011 season with some remarkable comeback wins against the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, the Bills' best franchise comeback win is an easy choice. It is the January 3, 1993 wild-card playoff win against the Houston Oilers, which is still ranked at NFL Network as the No. 1 comeback win in the history of the NFL. This game is the biggest comeback in NFL playoff history.
The NFL Hall of Fame also calls this game as the NFL greatest comeback in history. It is hard to imagine a team coming back from 35-3 in a playoff game in Buffalo in January when it is freezing cold and you are getting your butt handed to you. For a video clip of the game, here is a link from NFL Network.
The Bills weren't playing with Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas or Cornelius Bennett. It didn't matter. The Bills had Frank Reich, who had also mastered one of the greatest comeback wins in the history of college football for Maryland. The Oilers were led by quarterback Warren Moon and his talented quartet of wide receivers. Moon threw for four touchdowns in the first half and the Bills went in to the half losing 28-3.
On the opening drive of the second half, Frank Reich threw a pick six, and just like that the Bills trailed 35-3. The Bills proceeded to reel off 35 straight points, as the Bills overwhelmed the Oilers. Reich threw touchdowns to Don Beebe and Andre Reed, and the Bills had a 38-35 lead. To the Oilers' credit, they came in the final seconds of regulation and Al Del Greco kicked a field goal to send the game to overtime.
Once in overtime, defensive back Nate Odomes intercepted a Moon pass and the Bills quickly set up kicker Steve Christie to kick a 32-yard field goal to cap off the dramatic comeback win. The win propelled the Bills to their fourth straight Super Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers opened up the 2003 season playing at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The date was September 7, 2003.
Starting quarterback Rodney Peete was having a rocky start to the season, and with the Jaguars up 17-0 in the second half, Carolina decided to go with backup quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Delhomme threw three touchdown passes in the second half and let the Panthers to an impressive 24-23 comeback victory. Delhomme's final touchdown pass came with just 16 seconds left in regulation.
The date was October 16, 2006. The Chicago Bears were trailing the Arizona Cardinals 20-0 at halftime, and 23-3 mid-way through the third quarter. The Bears offense was pretty anemic all day, so the Bears defense and special teams decided it was time to take over the game. How in the world are you supposed to win a game when Rex Grossman, the Bears starting quarterback, went 14-for-37 for 144 yards, no touchdown passes and four interceptions? Yet somehow, the Bears won the game.
In the second half, the Bears forced a fumble from Edgerrin James and Matt Leinart, and returned both of the fumbles for touchdowns. The Bears capped off their scoring outburst with an 83-yard punt return by Devin Hester that proved to be the winning margin. The Bears won the game 24-23, when Neil Rackers missed a 40-yard field goal try in the final minute of the game. Here is a link for game highlights.
For the Cardinals, Matt Leinart played quarterback, while Kurt Warner watched from the sidelines. Leinart played pretty well, as he went 24-of-42 for 232 yards and two touchdown passes. This game is also memorable for the Cardinals' head coach Dennis Green, who had his infamous melt down in the press conference following the game, saying, "The Bears are who we thought they were."
We also want to add for Bears fans, the two games in 2001 where Mike Brown won consecutive games via a pick six in overtime. The Bears rallied from 19 points back to beat the San Francisco 49ers and then the following week they came back from 14 points down in the final minute of regulation to beat the Cleveland Browns. Both games ended when Brown picked off a pass and scored on the return.
On October 21, 2007, the Cincinnati Bengals were trailing the New York Jets 23-10 with about 4:00 left in the third quarter. From that point on, it was all Bengals.
Carson Palmer and Kenny Watson led the Bengals to 28 unanswered points against the Jets, with three of the touchdowns coming in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals' furious comeback allowed them to pull out a 38-31 win.
The Cleveland Browns are one of those franchises where big comebacks usually mean that the Browns lost a lead as opposed to coming back to win a game. You only have to reflect on the Browns' classic games with the Denver Broncos to know what I am talking about.
This was another team that was difficult to find big comeback wins for, so I will have to go with a game on September 22, 2002, when the Browns were trailing the Tennessee Titans 21-7 in the second half.
Tim Couch passed the ball 50 times for a total of 326 yards, and Dennis Northcutt chipped in with a 74-yard punt return touchdown. The Browns rallied to send the game into overtime, which they eventually won 31-28.
The Dallas Cowboys were trailing in a 1972 playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers by 15 points in the third quarter. The date was December 23, 1972.
The Cowboys' head coach Tom Landry decided to pull starting quarterback Craig Morton and put in Roger Staubach to see if he could spark the Cowboys.
In the final minutes of the game, Staubach hit two touchdown passes, sandwiched around a recovered on-side kick, that led the Cowboys to a dramatic 30-28 victory. This comeback by Staubach led to his new nickname of Captain Comeback in Dallas. Here is a link to the highlights of the game.
I also painfully recall a Monday Night Football game when the Cowboys made a frantic comeback to defeat the Buffalo Bills 25-24.You can watch highlights of that game via the link here.
We are all familiar with "The Drive," but was that the greatest comeback win in Denver Broncos history? No, it wasn't. In fact, the greatest comeback in Broncos history wasn't even orchestrated by John Elway.
The game in question was on September 23, 1979. The Broncos were playing against the Seattle Seahawks. At halftime, the Broncos were trailing 20-10, which was a manageable game, but then the Seahawks came out in the third quarter and quarterback Jim Zorn led them on two drives that added 14 points to their lead.
So, trailing 34-10, Broncos quarterback Craig Morton started spreading the ball around and clicked on touchdown passes to Haven Moses and Rick Upchurch. The Broncos scored the final 27 straight points to win the game 37-34 on a 1-yard run by Rob Lytle to seal the comeback victory.
In the 1957 NFL Western Conference playoffs, the San Francisco 49ers were playing the Detroit Lions. The 49ers were led by quarterback Y.A. Tittle, and he led them in the first half to a big lead of 24-7. Tittle threw three touchdowns in the first half and things were looking bleak for the Lions. Their best running backs, Howard "Hopalong" Cassady and John Henry Johnson, were injured, so the Lions turned to seldom-used Tom Tracy.
Tracy and quarterback Tobin Rote led the Lions on a second-half comeback. Tracy scored two touchdowns, one of which was from 58 yards out, and then Rote threw a touchdown pass to put the Lions up 28-27. Click here to see video highlights from this game.
After that, the Lions defense took over, and created four turnovers in the fourth quarter to protect the lead. The Lions added a field goal to win 31-27, and then proceeded to defeat the Cleveland Browns 59-14 to win the NFL Championship.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers' biggest comeback victory came on opening day of the 1982 season. The Packers were hosting the Los Angeles Rams and quickly found themselves in a dog fight.
The Rams jumped out to a quick lead and didn't let up, as they went in to the locker room at halftime with a lead of 23-0. The Packers' halftime adjustments must have worked because Lynn Dickey threw a pair of touchdown passes to James Lofton and Paul Coffman.
The Packers intercepted Rams quarterback Bert Jones two times in the fourth quarter to get the ball back for the offense. The Packers wound up scoring 35 unanswered points in the second half to pull away with a 35-23 win. Brett Favre never led the Packers back from more than 23 points down, as hard as that may be to believe.
The Houston Texans were on the road against the Washington Redskins on September 19, 2010. Things didn't start out so good for the Texans, as Washington pulled out to an early lead and continued to hold an upper hand as they led 27-10 with only 3:51 left in the third quarter.
Matt Schaub then led the Texans on a big comeback as he proceeded to throw touchdown passes to Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson. The pass to Johnson late in the fourth quarter tied the game at 27, sending it into overtime.
In overtime, Schaub again led the Texans to a scoring drive, and the winning field goal from Neil Rackers gave the Texans a 30-27 overtime win. For the day, Schaub threw three touchdown passes and threw for 497 yards.
On a Monday Night Football contest, October 6th, 2003, the Indianapolis Colts were trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-14, with five minutes left in the game. The Colts were able to use a long kickoff return, the arm of Peyton Manning and a recovered on-side kick to score three dramatic touchdowns in that five minute period to tie the game and send it into overtime.
The remarkable thing about the comeback was that this was against the famed Tampa Bay Bucs defense that had just won the Super Bowl the year before. In overtime, Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt missed a 39-yard field goal. However, the Bucs were penalized for "leaping" because a player ran up and leaped at the kick, coming down and grazed the back of a teammate. The leaping penalty allowed Vanderjagt a second chance and he barely kicked it through for the overtime win, 38-35.
For the video highlights of the game, click on this link here. The Colts scored four touchdowns in total in the fourth quarter, while the Bucs defense had one in the quarter as well, when Ronde Barber had a pick six off of Peyton Manning.
We would be remiss if we didn't also mention at least the Colts' comeback win in the 2006 AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. The Colts were down by 18 points and rallied against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to go to the Super Bowl. That was a classic comeback, but in my opinion the bigger comeback was the game against Tampa Bay.
The Colts win over the Patriots was obviously a bigger setting, but the deficit wasn't as large. It is debatable which game ranks as the best comeback win.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were traveling to face the Baltimore Ravens on November 24, 1996. The Ravens had built up a commanding lead of 25-10 as the game entered the fourth quarter.
During the fourth quarter, Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell threw two touchdown passes to bring the Jaguars back to only trailing 25-23. Brunell then converted on the two-point conversion play to tie the score at 25-25 and send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Brunell led the Jaguars on a scoring drive, which was capped by a 34-yard Mike Hollis field goal to give the Jaguars a 28-25 overtime win.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs won a wild comeback win against the Cleveland Browns on September 8, 2002. The Chiefs were losing 30-17 coming into the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs were led by Trent Green, and Green led them on three different touchdown scoring drives in the fourth quarter. Every scoring drive was capped by a Priest Holmes touchdown run.
The Chiefs were still trailing late in the game, when Morten Anderson kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the Chiefs a narrow victory, 40-39.
The Miami Dolphins were locked into a 1985 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Cleveland Browns in Miami. The date was January 4, 1986. The Browns were led by Bernie Kozar, and they opened up a 14-3 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Browns increased their lead to 21-3 after an Ernest Byner touchdown run of 66 yards. The Dolphins came storming back in the second half to outscore Cleveland 21-0, and come away with the 24-21 playoff win.
During the comeback, Dan Marino threw one touchdown pass, and the Dolphins got two touchdown runs from Ron Davenport.
On December 4, 2005, the Dolphins also had a big comeback win when they went into the fourth quarter trailing the Buffalo Bills 23-3 and out-scored the Bills 21-0 in the fourth quarter to win 24-23. The Dolphins threw 63 passes in the game, and were led in the comeback by backup QB Sage Rosenfels, who replaced the ineffective Gus Frerotte.
The Minnesota Vikings staged a frantic comeback victory against the Arizona Cardinals on November 7, 2010. The Vikings were down 24-10 with 4:00 left in the game.
Brett Favre led the Vikings to two touchdown drives in the final four minutes to tie the game at 24 and send it into overtime. In overtime, Favre again led the Vikings on a scoring drive, and their dramatic 27-24 comeback win was completed.
Favre threw for 446 yards in the comeback win. It was the first time in team history that Minnesota won a game after trailing by 14 or more points with less than four minutes to play.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady has led the New England Patriots on many fourth-quarter comeback wins, but how often does a team come back from 21 points down to defeat the Chicago Bears? Patriots fans need to remember that the key in selecting this game was that the Patriots were down 21 points.
The date was November 10, 2002, and the Bears were beating the Patriots 27-6 in the third quarter. Brady led the Patriots on three different scoring drives, throwing two touchdown passes to Kevin Faulk and one to David Patten.
Brady led the Patriots to outscore the Bears 27-3 in the second half to come away with a 33-30 victory at Chicago.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints staged a huge comeback victory on October 25, 2009. They were on the road against the Miami Dolphins and were trailing in the second quarter, 24-3.
From there, it was mostly New Orleans that took control of the game. The Saints defense chipped in with two interception returns for touchdowns (one from Darren Sharper and one from Tracy Porter). Drew Brees rushed for two touchdowns and Reggie Bush rushed for one touchdown.
Brees hit Marques Colston and the comeback was complete. The Saints outscored Miami 43-10 over the final three quarters to wind up with a 46-34 victory.
New York Giants
I realize that the New York Giants have made some great drives in the fourth quarter to win Super Bowls, but in those situations they were in the game throughout, and didn't have to wage a huge comeback, which is the mission of this project.
The comeback by the New York Giants that I wanted to recall happened on the road, September 17, 2006 when they went to visit the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles started out strong as they opened up a 24-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
From there, the Giants went to work. The Giants defense started the comeback by recovering a fumble in the end zone. Then the offense finally got going. Eli Manning threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer that cut the lead to 24-21. Then, with seven seconds left in regulation, Jay Feeley hit a 35-yard field goal to force the game into overtime.
Once in overtime, Manning hit Plaxico Burress for a 31-yard touchdown and the Giants finished off the comeback win, 30-24.
New York Jets
The New York Jets were hosting the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. The date was October 23, 2000. The game has been referred to as the Monday Night Miracle. This was a key game because both teams were fighting for first place in the AFC East at the time.
The Jets were getting beat up 30-7, as they entered the fourth quarter. The Jets then staged a furious rally, as they outscored the Dolphins 30-7 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 37 and force overtime. One of the key plays late in the game was a touchdown pass to an eligible receiver, lineman Jumbo Elliott.
The Jets proceeded to win the game in overtime with a field goal to cap off their remarkable comeback win. Vinny Testaverde led the Jets by throwing for 378 yards in passing, while Curtis Martin led the Jets in rushing with 65 yards.
The Raiders franchise (Oakland and Los Angeles) has had a number of memorable comeback wins over their history. Some Raiders fans will recall a pair of 24-point comeback wins the Raiders had on Monday Night Football. One game was against the San Diego Chargers in 1982 and the other was against the Denver Broncos in 1988. To be sure, both of them were great comebacks and could easily have been selected.
But for my money, the best comeback was the game known for a girl's name and it changed the way that football would be watched on television forever. The "Heidi" game was played in Oakland on November 17, 1968. The New York Jets had been leading, and the Raiders were trying to claw back into the game.
Due to upcoming programming, NBC decided to pull the game off of the air on the East Coast so that they could show the movie Heidi at 7:00. While the rest of the country watched the Raiders come back with two touchdowns in the final minute to win the game 43-32, the East Coast fans went to bed thinking that the Jets had won.
There was such an outrage over how NBC handled the game, that the networks decided that they would show games until they were concluded and then return to their regularly scheduled broadcasts after that. If you ever wonder why 60 Minutes starts at weird times every week, you have Heidi to thank for that.
The game itself (remember that?), featured Joe Namath against Daryle Lamonica. In the final minute, Lamonica hit Charlie Smith for a 43-yard touchdown pass. The Jets then fumbled the kickoff, and the Raiders returned the fumble for a touchdown and that was it. The comebacks I mentioned up top qualify as the true comeback wins, but this gave me a chance to talk about the Heidi game, which has its place in NFL history.
The Philadelphia Eagles were trailing the New York Giants 31-10 in their Week 10 contest of the 2010 season, when the tide began to turn.
Michael Vick hit Brent Celek for a 65-yard touchdown pass, and then Vick ran it in for a four-yard touchdown run that trimmed the lead to 31-24. The Eagles scored again on a Vick 13-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin that tied the game at 31-31 with just 1:16 left in regulation.
The Giants couldn't move the ball, and on the final play of regulation, all they had to do was punt the ball out of bounds to force overtime. Instead, Matt Dodge punted the ball to DeSean Jackson, who then returned the kick 65 yards for the winning score as the clock ticked down to 0:00.
The Giants were beside themselves at how they had lost, and the Eagles fans were amazed at the startling turn of events. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was seen screaming at Dodge after the play, and rightfully so.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were hosting the Cleveland Browns in an AFC Playoff game on January 5, 2003. The Browns were able to maintain a reasonably strong lead on the Steelers throughout the first three quarters of the game.
Cleveland opened up with a 17-7 lead at halftime, and then extended that to 24-7 in the third quarter. The Steelers were just hanging around at 33-21 with 10 minutes left in the game. The hero for the Steelers was quarterback Tommy Maddox, who threw for three touchdowns over the final 19 minutes to pull out the comeback win 36-33.
In case Steelers fans were wondering where Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception game was, we talked about what kinds of things we were going to exclude from the presentation, and that is one more example of something that didn't work for our purposes now.
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers were trying to mount a late-season charge in December of 2008. They had another slow start and were trying to end the season on a winning streak to have any shot at the AFC West division. The Chargers were 5-8 and were going in to Kansas City needing to win their final three games.
The Chiefs, however, came out stronger than the Chargers. The Chiefs led 21-3 in the third quarter and things were looking pretty bleak for the Chargers season. LaDainian Tomlinson scored on a run in the third quarter to cut it to 21-10. Then Phillip Rivers threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and the Chargers attempted two-point conversions after each touchdown, but they failed.
In between the touchdown passes there was an on-side kick that Dwayne Bowe botched and the Chargers pounced on the loose ball. The Chargers made their breaks in the fourth quarter and prevailed 22-21. They went on to win their last four games that season and finished the year at 8-8.
The Seattle Seahawks were playing the St. Louis Rams on October 15, 2006, and were trailing at halftime, 21-7. The Seahawks were playing without Shaun Alexander and it was clear that they were missing him.
The Seahawks staged a second-half comeback on the arm of Matt Hasselbeck, as he led the team, passing for 268 yards. Maurice Morris rushed for 74 yards and Darrell Jackson caught 94 yards in passes.
Hasselbeck threw a touchdown pass to Jackson and also threw a touchdown to Deion Branch to cut into the lead. Josh Brown nailed a pair of 49-yard field goals and the Seahawks actually took the lead 27-21 with 1:44 left in the game. The Rams came storming right back and scored on a long pass to Torry Holt with 1:04 left to take a 28-27 lead.
Hasselbeck led the team to the game-winning drive, and Josh Brown hit a 54-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to give the Seahawks a 30-28 win.
San Francisco 49ers
Is there any franchise in the NFL that has more storied comeback wins than the San Francisco 49ers? NFL Network came out with a piece that named the 10 greatest comeback wins of all time, and the 49ers laid claim to three of the top-10 wins. So, right away you can see how difficult it will be to pick one.
I will detail the three wins in question, and let 49ers fans make their own selection in the comments section. By giving 49ers fans all three to pick from, I think I have done justice to the 49ers' team history.
1. During his career, Joe Montana led his teams to 31 fourth-quarter come-from-behind wins. One comeback that was noteworthy was in 1980 when Montana brought the 49ers back from 28 points down against the New Orleans. Here is a link for the video highlights of this game.
2. At the Philadelphia Eagles in 1989, Montana throws four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, three of them in the final six minutes of the game to rally the 49ers to a big comeback win. Montana played the second half with bruised ribs.
3. This time it was Jeff Garcia at the helm. The 49ers were playing the New York Giants in a 2002 wild-card playoff game. The Giants were up big, 38-14, when the 49ers stormed back and proceeded to score 25 unanswered points to win 39-38. The Giants had a chance to win it at the end, but it wasn't meant to be. Here is a link to video highlights from this game.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams organization (Los Angeles and St. Louis) has seen memorable comebacks over the years, but the largest comeback victory that I am aware of happened on November 8, 1987, when the Rams were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs were only winning 14-3 at the half, but when the second half started, the Bucs proceeded to score 14 points to open up a commanding lead. Entering the fourth quarter, the Rams were losing 28-3, and yet they found a way to rally for 28 points to pull out a 31-28 victory.
Neil Lomax threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter and the Rams ran a recovered fumble for another touchdown to come up with the 28 points they needed in the fourth quarter for the improbable win.
Interestingly enough, the Rams also rallied from 24 points down to beat the Bucs in another game, this time on December 6, 1992 at Tampa Bay. The Bucs opened up with a big 27-3 lead at halftime, only to watch the Rams storm back and scored the final 28 unanswered points to win 31-27. The Rams were led by quarterback Jim Everett, who threw three touchdown passes in the second half to lead the comeback win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Bucs were losing 24-3 at the Kansas City Chiefs on November 2, 2008. Things were not looking particularly good for the Bucs, who had watched as Kansas City quarterback Tyler Thigpen threw a touchdown pass and caught a touchdown pass from wide receiver Mark Bradley.
The comeback started when Jeff Garcia got on a roll and started hitting his passes. He threw for 339 yards in the game and threw a touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant. There also was a kickoff return by Clifton Smith for a 97-yard touchdown, which breathed some life into the Bucs.
Matt Bryant connected on a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give the Bucs their largest comeback victory in team history, 30-27.
We will discuss three games that are comeback highlights for the franchise that began as the Houston Oilers and then relocated to become the Tennessee Titans. For starters, while we acknowledge that the Music City Miracle was a thrilling conclusion to the game, it was not an epic comeback because the Buffalo Bills did not take the lead until late in the fourth quarter.
The Houston Oilers have the distinction of the best comeback win due to their strong second-half finish against the Cincinnati Bengals. The date was September 23, 1979. The Bengals had jumped out to a 24-0 lead on the Oilers. The Oilers were led by quarterback Dan Pastorini, who led the Oilers to outscore the Bengals 27-3 to force the game into overtime. In fact, the Oilers were poised to win the game in regulation, but the Bengals tied it on a desperation field goal from 55 yards out to force overtime.
Once in overtime, the Oilers won it on a 29-yard field goal by Toni Fritsch.
As for the Titans, they had a memorable comeback against the New York Giants when Vince Young took the game over in the fourth quarter. The Giants were up 21-0, but Young led a furious comeback to lead them to a 24-21 win.
The Washington Redskins have a special rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. On a Monday Night Football game, that rivalry got a little more heated after the Redskins staged an improbable fourth-quarter comeback. The game was played on September 19, 2005.
Drew Bledsoe was running the Cowboys offense and he had staked them to a 13-0 lead with 3:46 left to play in the game. The Cowboys defense was rolling along in a shutout, when things took a drastic turn.
Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell hit Santana Moss for a 39-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-7. Then, a little over a minute later, Brunell hit Moss on a 70-yard pass to cap off the comeback win, 14-13. Brunell passed for 291 yards and Moss caught passes for 159 yards on the night.
Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs called the game one of his favorite moments in all of sports. Just what any rivalry needs—a memorable comeback to spice things up.