The Nine Biggest Comebacks in NFL History

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(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

So you're wondering what the biggest comebacks in NFL history are?! Let's get in to it!

There's nothing like rooting for an underdogs. We've all heard of the David vs. Goliath reference, but there are genuine instances in sports where a significant underdog overcomes extreme adversity to pull off an unfathomable win. Whether they are facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit or are simply outmanned, who doesn't love a good underdog?

Related: The 20 Best NFL Games of All Time

Typically, in order to pull off an epic comeback, you need to have a great coach so it wouldn't hurt to have one of these from our list of the best NFL coaches of all-time on your side!

In the NFL, completing a huge upset is more difficult than most other professional sports. For instance, in basketball comebacks like these took place with possessions that changed quickly, with the game defined by scoring runs. In football, teams are required to kick the ball back to the other team after scoring and have to stop them for four downs or cause a turnover. This makes it difficult for a team down by multiple scores to generate momentum and complete a comeback.

Here are the nine biggest comebacks in NFL history:

1. 2022 Minnesota Vikings vs Indianapolis Colts

2022 Minnesota Vikings vs Indianapolis Colts

Comeback: 33 Points

  • Final Score: Minnesota 39 - Indianapolis 36
  • Location: U.S. Bank Stadium

No team in the NFL's 100+ year history has completed a larger comeback than the 2022 Minnesota Vikings. During week 15 of the 2022 season, the Vikings were rolling and looked to be a top-seeded team in the playoffs. They hosted the Indianapolis Colts on a Saturday game near the end of the season. The Colts absolutely dominated the first half, shooting out to an early 33-0 lead.

The Vikings began their comeback by getting their first points on the board with 8:22 left in the third quarter. The Colts answered with a field goal, but didn't score again. The Vikings scored one more touchdown in the third before scoring four more unanswered in the fourth quarter to force overtime. There they kicked the game winning 40-yard field goal to complete their epic rally.

2. 1992 Buffalo Bills vs Houston Oilers

1992 Buffalo Bills vs Houston Oilers

Comeback: 32 Points

  • Final Score: Buffalo 41- Houston 38
  • Location: Rich Stadium

It's incredible to think that with the rich and robust history the Buffalo Bills have, they remain one of the NFL's only franchises to never win a Super Bowl. However, they do claim the largest comeback in NFL postseason history. The feat came during a Wild Card game against the Houston Oilers.

What's extraordinary about this comeback is that the Bills were down to their backup quarterback in Frank Reich. He helped spur the Bills to four touchdowns in the third quarter to kickstart their comeback. After taking a three point lead, the Oilers tied the game to force OT. They won the coin toss and took the ball, but Warren Moon threw an early interception that led to a Bills game winning field goal.

3. 2013 Indianapolis Colts vs Kansas City Chiefs

2013 Indianapolis Colts vs Kansas City Chiefs

Comeback: 28 points

  • Final Score: Indianapolis 45- Kansas City 44
  • Location: Lucas Oil Stadium

The NFL world was shocked when Andrew Luck retired in 2019, and that was due to the fact that he was so young (29). Just six years earlier, Luck was leading the Colts to the second largest comeback in NFL postseason history in a 2013 Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

This is actually the largest comeback in NFL history that did not require overtime to complete. The Colts began dismantling the Chiefs with 11:47 left in the third quarter. They scored five touchdowns while only giving up six points in the process. With a lead and only 4:21 left in the game, the Colts forced a turnover on downs to secure the victory.

4. 1980 San Francisco 49ers vs New Orleans Saints

1980 San Francisco 49ers vs New Orleans Saints

Comeback: 28 points

  • Final Score: San Francisco 38- New Orleans 35
  • Location: Candlestick Park

Joe Montana is undoubtedly one of the games greatest, having won four Super Bowls as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. One of the key moments in his career came during week 14 of the 1980 season, two full years before he won his first Super Bowl. After trailing 35-7, Montana led the 49ers to the fourth largest comeback in NFL history.

The 49ers were extremely quiet in the first half, with the Saints leading by 28 points. With a new energy in the second half, the 49ers rallied off four unanswered touchdowns and tied the game with 1:50 left in the game to force overtime. With their first possession (following a Saints punt) the 49ers drove down the field for a game-winning field goal.

5. 2022 Jacksonville Jaguars vs Los Angeles Chargers

2022 Jacksonville Jaguars vs Los Angeles Chargers

Comeback: 27 points

  • Final Score: Jacksonville 31- Los Angeles Chargers 30
  • Location: TIAA Bank

We could very well look back on the career of Trevor Lawrence and call this game similar to Montana's comeback in 1980. Both players had yet to win a Super Bowl, but had shown signs of greatness. The only difference? Lawrence completed his comeback in his first ever playoff game. It's way too early to say that Lawrence will have as much success as Montana did, but it's a pretty good start!

This game didn't start exactly how Trevor Lawrence had envisioned. He came out and throw four interceptions and dug a 27-0 hole. The Jags first got on the board scoring a touchdown with just 28 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Jacksonville went on to outscore the Chargers 31-3 in the second half, including a late two-point conversion that cut the lead to two points. The Jags then forced a Chargers punt before driving down the field to hit the game winning field goal.

6. 1997 Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts

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Comeback: 26 points

  • Final Score: Buffalo Bills 37-Indianapolis Colts 35
  • Location: Rich Stadium

The Buffalo Bills fell behind quickly to the Colts, trailing by 26 with two minutes left in the first half. The Bills got their first points on the board before the half, and then came out hot in the start of the third quarter, outscoring the Colts 37-3 after hitting the their largest 26-point deficit of the game.

The Colts attempted a comeback drive that resulted in a touchdown, but missed the two-point conversion that would have sent the game to overtime. Instead, the Bills successfully pulled off their 26-point come from behind victory.

T-7. 2016 New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

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Comeback: 25 points

  • Final Score: New England Patriots 34-Atlanta Falcons 28 (OT)
  • Location: NRG Stadium

This comeback victory for the Patriots is not the biggest comeback ever, but possibly the most well known because it happened in the Super Bowl, of all games. The Patriots iconic comeback led by Tom Brady did not really get started until the end of the third quarter. In four back to back drives, the Pats ran down the field and scored 25 unanswered points that got the game tied up. In the first drive of overtime, New England marched down the field one last time and scored a game winning, Super Bowl winning touchdown.

T-7. 2014 Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans

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Comeback: 25 points

  • Final Score: Cleveland Browns 29-Tennessee Titans 28
  • Location: LP Field

The Titans dominated the first half of this 2014 games against the Browns, but failed to enter Browns territory at all in the second half. This allowed Cleveland to score 26 unanswered points right in front of the Tennessee home crowd, making the Browns victory the biggest comeback victory as an away team of all time.

T-7. 1987 St. Louis Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Comeback: 25 points

  • Final Score: St. Louis Cardinals 31-Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28
  • Location: Busch Stadium

The wildest part about the Cardinals 25-point comeback victory is that the run started a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter. St. Louis outscored Tampa Bay 28-0 in the fourth quarter so put them ahead with two minutes remaining. The Buccaneers got themselves into field goal range with time remaining, but the 53-yard attempt hit the crossbar as time expired.

How many of the games on our list of the biggest comebacks in NFL history did you watch live? Let us know on Twitter @137pm!

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