As the popular saying in sports goes, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” Here’s a look at some of the biggest deficits teams had to overcome en route to NFL glory.
6. Patrick Mahomes has arrived
The usually loud Arrowhead Stadium was somewhat subdued when the Houston Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead in their Divisional Round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs in early 2020.
Patrick Mahomes rose to the occasion and later showed the Texans why he is one of the most exciting young players in the league. The third-year phenom rallied the Chiefs by orchestrating an enormous 51-7 scoring run, including 41 unanswered points.
The game was never in question by the second half as a stunned Texans squad bowed out of the playoffs by a score of 51-31.
5. Joe Plays It Cool
The Archie Manning-led New Orleans Saints were raring to finally have their first win of the 1980 season when they came marching in at Candlestick Park on December 7th. By halftime, it looked like the Saints were about to have their prayers answered by virtue of a 35-7 lead.
Second-year quarterback Joe Montana put a wrench on those plans and went absolutely berserk in the second half. “Joe Cool” began his onslaught by catching the Saints defense by surprise and scoring on a 1-yard run. Montana’s two touchdown passes later in the game would aid the game-winning field goal by Ray Wersching in overtime.
It would be the first of many fantastic turnarounds that “The Comeback Kid” would muster throughout his legendary career.
4. As Luck Would Have It
After a stellar collegiate career, then third-year starter Andrew Luck has yet to have his shining moment in NFL postseason play. By the third quarter of their Wild Card Game on January 2014 against the Kansas City Chiefs, it appeared that Luck would have to wait for another opportunity as the Colts found themselves trailing big at home, 38-10.
“[Luck] kept telling us, even at 38-10, ‘We’re going to win this game,’” said offensive lineman Anthony Castonzo. Luck’s leadership proved to be vital as the Colts slowly chipped away the lead. His excellent presence of mind was put on display with a five-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown to draw within three.
Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri’s point after touchdown with less than five minutes in regulation proved to be the deciding difference as the Colts escaped with a 45-44 win.
3. Patriots Stun Falcons (Super Bowl LI)
This was the score midway through the third quarter as the Atlanta Falcons were having their way against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Falcons fans inside the NRG Stadium were all smiles and posting selfies in anticipation of the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl victory.
As he has done throughout his stellar career, Brady refused to go away lightly and racked up big play after big play, punctuated by a crucial two-point conversion with Danny Amendola to tie the game at 28 apiece with less than a minute to play in regulation.
The Patriots would not let up in overtime and in less than four minutes, James White rushed towards the end zone to cap off the amazing comeback.
2. The NFL Comeback
On a cool January morning in upstate New York, Frank Reich and the Buffalo Bills were staring at a 32-point deficit during the third quarter of their Wild Card Game against the Houston Oilers. Fans also seemingly were ready to call it a season as Reich, in his own words, witnessed a big wave of people leaving.
This lit up a fire inside Reich as the backup quarterback began to find his groove and threw four touchdown passes to claw their way back in regulation. A Steve Christie 32-yard field goal finally iced it to complete the biggest comeback in NFL history.
It was almost a clear carbon copy of what Reich accomplished nearly a decade prior when he led the Maryland Terrapins to the biggest comeback in college football at the time when they erased a 31-point lead against the powerhouse Miami Hurricanes.
1. Vikings Magic
History was made on Saturday, December 17th in Minnesota. The Vikings came out and were absolutely atrocious against the Indianapolis Colts, going into the half down 33-0. But, what happened in the final two quarters and in OT was truly remarkable. Kirk Cousins propelled the offense to score 36 points and because of a Colts FG, they went into an extra period. Cousins got Minny into field goal position with literally seconds left in overtime, where kicker Greg Joseph nailed a 40-yarder and helped the Vikings clinch the NFC North in the process. It’ll likely be a long time until any team can come back from such a large deficit again.