Top 5 NFL Playoff Matches Of All Time: “The Comeback” Tops Our List

the comeback nfl
the comeback nfl

The NFL playoffs are fast approaching and ahead of the Wildcard Weekend which commences on Friday with the 49ers taking on the Seahawks, we have taken a look back at just a few of the best ever playoff games, with some crazy matches featured in our top five.

5. San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Giants (2002/03)

Our first game on the list came during the 2002/03 season, as the 49ers pulled off what was seemingly an impossible comeback against the New York Giants in San Fransisco.

The Giants took complete control of the game during the first three quarters and enjoyed a healthy 38-14 lead as the game entered the late stages of the third quarter, the 24 point gap was not enough to stop the 49ers however, who mounted a comeback that nobody would have seen coming.

Jeff Garcia threw for the game of his life in the final minutes of the third and throughout the final quarter, as the 49ers QB helped his side to 25 unanswered points against the Giants to give San Fransisco a 39-38 point lead late in the final quarter.

49ers vs giants 02/03

Despite the Giants bottling a 24 point lead in the space of just over a quarter, they still had a chance to win the game late on, as they attempted to set up a 41-yard field goal with the seconds ticking down. Unfortunately for the Giants the snap was fumbled and the game ended, with the 49ers advancing after an insurmountable comeback.

4. Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers (2009/10)

The most recent game on our list came in the 2009/10 season, as the Green Bay Packers took on the Arizona Cardinals in what is still the highest scoring game in playoff history.

Throughout the match there was 13 touchdowns scored, as well as over 1,000 yards gained from both sides in what was one of the best NFL games of all time.

Despite a 31-10 lead for the Cardinals in the final quarter, the Packers were able to bring the game back to level pegging to send the game to overtime with an Aaron Rodgers masterclass spearheading the Packers attack.

Rodgers threw for an interception early in the game however more than made up for his error as the game continued, with the QB throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns in a vintage performance.

The Rodgers masterclass wasn’t quite enough to seal the victory for the Packers however as Karlos Dansby’s snapped up a fumble from the QB deep into overtime, scoring a TD to hand the game to the Cardinals who won 51-45.

3. Tennessee Titans vs. Buffalo Bills – (1999/00)

The game between the Titans and the bills in 2000 later went down to be named as the “Music City Miracle”, as Tennessee pulled a miracle out of the bag with just seconds left on the clock to win the game.

With the score set at 16-15 to Buffalo and the seconds ticking down in the final quarter, the Titans were all but out of the playoffs with all hope lost. With only a miracle enough to save the Titans, up stepped Kevin Dyson.

Dyson ran the ball all the way from kick off to score one of the most unlikely touchdowns of all time and seal the victory for the Titans and although many believe the play should have been reviewed, the refs determined that the lateral pass to Dyson was not forward and the play was legal.

Kevin Dyson TD

The play would later be dubbed by Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher as the “Home Run Throwback”, in a move that he said was a training ground routine which was pulled off to perfection.

2. San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers – (1998/99)

Just missing out on top spot in our list is the 49ers game against the Packers in 1999, with San Fransisco edging the game out with a crazy finish.

The Packers had eliminated San Fransisco from the playoffs three seasons in a row before 99′ and so it was certainly time for the 49ers to get their revenge over Green Bay.

The game was a display of QB greatness throughout, with Steve Young and Brett Favre displaying a masterclass in throwing throughout the game which was set up at 27-23 to the Packers with just two minutes to play in the final quarter.

Facing defeat to Green Bay yet again was not an option for the 49ers this time however, as on the last play of the drive Young managed to thread the eye of a needle to find Terrell Owens for a 25-yard TD, sealing a 30-27 win for the 49ers in their revenge season over the Packers.

1. Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers – (1993/94)

The earliest game on our list is also number one, as the Bills took on the Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) in 1993 in a game that would later be dramatically named as “The Comeback.”

Going into the third quarter all seemed to be lost for the Bills, who had a 32 point deficit to cut down as they trailed 35-3 in what was looking to be an embarrassing performance from Buffalo.

Frank Reich was backup QB for the Bills at the time and was fortunate enough to earn a start after Jim Kelly picked up an injury the week prior. Reich played a vital part in one of the greatest comeback stories of all time, as the Bills scored 28 unanswered points in the third quarter to bring the game back to 35-31.

The comeback

Buffalo were able to score first in the fourth quarter and carried a lead of 38-35 into the last minutes of the game, but their hearts were temporarily broken when The Oilers sent the game to overtime with the score at 38 each.

The comeback story was not over however, as Oilers quarterback Warren Moon threw an interception in overtime with Steve Christie managing a field goal two plays later to complete one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time.

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