26th September 2011
The most famous comeback in history happened in Buffalo. The second largest comeback in regular season history occurred inside of Rich Stadium. The largest comeback in the NFL last season came via the right arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick. And now, Orchard Park was the site of another record, as the Bills became the first team to ever come back from 18+ deficits to win in consecutive weeks.
From 2002 to 2010, 22 teams overcame a deficit of 18 points or more to win a game. So far this season, the Bills have come from 18 and 21 points back to win in consecutive weeks. At the same time, the Vikings lost 17 and 20 point leads to Tampa Bay and Detroit. Jason Lisk thinks the craziness might continue, thanks to the ridiculous passing numbers so far this season (more to come on this in a future post).
From 1945 to 2010, there were 126 games where the winning team was trailing by more than 17 points at some point in the game. While the Bills became the first team to win consecutive games after trailing by 18+ points, six other teams did that feat twice over the course of a season. In '96, Bill Parcells' Patriots did the trick against his former and future employer, and in the same stadium: New England trailed the Jets 21-0 in week 11 and the Giants 22-0 in week 17, but ended up winning both games. The '95 Colts came up one play shy of the Super Bowl, but began their never-say-die ways earlier in the season. Indianapolis won two divisions games 27-24, after trailing 24-3 in both games against the Jets and Dolphins. In 1983, the Falcons trailed the (you guessed it) Jets and Packers 21-0 over the course of five weeks, but won both games by six points.
On the other side of things, it's hard to envision a more anxiety-inducing three weeks than weeks six through eight of the 1987 season for Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay scored three first quarter touchdowns against the Chicago Bears, although failed to convert the PAT following the third touchdown. Tampa extended the lead to 26-14 in the third quarter, but ultimately fell 27-26. The next week, the Tampa defense held the Packers off the scoreboard in the first half. The Bucs extended the lead to 23-3 in the 4th quarter, before Green Bay scored two more touchdowns. Tampa held on for the victory. Then, against the Cardinals, the Buccaneers took a 28-3 lead into the fourth quarter. But the Cardinals scored four fourth quarter touchdowns to win the game, 31-28. Remember, folks: for every great comeback, there's an equal and opposite stomach punch.
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