Largest comebacks in NFL history: Vikings’ stunner over Colts stands as biggest rally league has ever seen

The Minnesota Vikings staged the greatest comeback in NFL history, erasing a 33-point halftime deficit to beat the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 in overtime. Kirk Cousins ​​threw for 417 yards in the second half and overtime, the most by any player in NFL history, marking the greatest comeback in league history.

With the Vikings determined to rewrite the NFL record books, let’s take a look at the five greatest comebacks in NFL history, including Minnesota’s record.

1. Minnesota Vikings 39, Indianapolis Colts 36 (OT) — 33 points (Week 15, 2022)

The greatest comeback in NFL history was by the Vikings, who overcame a 33-0 halftime deficit to capture the NFC North title. Cousins ​​had four assists as the Vikings scored the final 32 points of a 36-7 deficit with 4:53 left in the second quarter.

Minnesota scored 22 points in the fourth quarter and got a 64-yard touchdown reception from Cousins ​​to Dalvin Cook to tie the game with 2:15 to play in regulation. After the Vikings took the ball in overtime and the first possession of the overtime period — with 1:41 to play — Cousins ​​led the Vikings 60 yards on a 40-yard field goal by Greg Joseph to make it a three-and-out win. seconds left in overtime.

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Cousins ​​threw for 460 yards, two interceptions and four touchdowns in the win. Colts quarterback Matt Ryan became the only quarterback in league history to record two 25-point starts.

2. Buffalo Bills 41, Houston Oilers 38 (OT) — 32 points (1992 AFC Wild Card Playoffs)

The greatest comeback in NFL history remains one of the most improbable victories the league has ever seen. As Buffalo erased a 35-3 deficit in the third quarter, Bills backup quarterback Frank Reich engineered what became known as “The Comeback.”

With the Bills leading 38-35 with 3:08 left in the second half, Reich had 4 touchdowns, Andre Reed 3 and Don Beebe 1 (Reich threw a 17-yard pass to Reid). Warren Moon led them 63 yards and an Al Del Greco field goal to send the Gamers into overtime.

Houston got the ball first in overtime, but Moon’s interception of Nate Odomes gave the Bills the ball at the Oilers’ 20-yard line. Replay shows Darryl Talley holding the target intended for Ernest Givins, but no flag is thrown. A few weeks later, Steve Christie hit a 32-yard field goal to complete an improbable comeback as the Bills headed to their third straight Super Bowl.

3. Indianapolis Colts 45, Kansas City Chiefs 44 — 28 points (2013 AFC Wild Card Playoffs)

In his first season with the Chiefs, Andy Reid appeared to be on his way to a 38-10 playoff victory after Knile Davis caught a 10-yard pass from Alex Smith early in the third quarter. The Colts outscored the Chiefs 21-3 the rest of the season before losing 41-31 in the fourth quarter.

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Indianapolis tried to cut the turnover down to three when Andrew Luck fumbled the ball in one of the strangest plays in NFL history. A 64-yard field goal with 4:21 left by TY Hilton gave Indianapolis a 45-44 lead, and the Colts held the Chiefs on their next possession to complete the comeback.

Luck threw for 443 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions in the process. Hilton caught 13 passes for 224 yards and both teams finished with over 500 yards of offense.

The legend of Joe Montana in San Francisco began with this game. San Francisco was outgained 324-21 in the first half and trailed 35-7 at halftime, with the 49ers’ only touchdown coming on a 57-yard run by Freddie Solomon.

Montana completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to Dwight Clarke and then a 14-yarder to Solomon to make it 35-28 in the second half. Lenvil Elliott tied the game with a 7-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

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Montana staged a comeback in overtime, with the 49ers winning on a 36-yard field goal by Ray Wersching. Montana threw two touchdown passes and one run in the second half and finished 24 of 36 for 285 yards. The Saints fell to 0-14 with the loss, the worst loss for the famous Ainz.

5. Buffalo Bills 37, Indianapolis Colts 35 — 26 points (Week 4, 1997)

Trailing by 26 points, Todd Collins scored 10 unanswered points before halftime to make the deficit manageable. Antwaine Smith rushed for a 54-yard touchdown with 5:21 left in the second half to give Buffalo a 37-29 lead and 3 touchdowns.

With 14 seconds left, Colts quarterback Paul Justin hit Marvin Harrison with a 14-yard touchdown pass with the game still incomplete. The Colts rallied from within two points to tie it in overtime, but Kurt Schultz broke up Justin’s pass to Harrison for a 37-35 lead.

Indianapolis recovered the onside kick and attempted two desperation passes, but Ken Irvin picked up the last kick toward the end zone. Despite five turnovers and two fumbles, the Buffaloes won.


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