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5 greatest comebacks in NFL history, including the New York Jets and ‘Monday Night Miracle’

Many football fans wonder about what are the greatest comebacks in NFL history, especially after two of the all-time best occurred during this most recent season. Well ponder no more, here you can find a rundown of the five greatest comebacks of all time, including the two shockers that went down during the 2022-2023 NFL season.

Not only are these historically stunning moments in the NFL, but they are also incidents five franchises wish they could forget. The list runs the gamut from the biggest points deficits overcome during the course of a game to a shocking 28-point fourth-quarter blitz.

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With all of that in mind, let’s get on to the list.

5. New York Jets’ ‘Monday Night Miracle’ versus Miami Dolphins – 2000

There are few things better than beating a division rival, but doing so in spectacular fashion with the whole nation watching takes it to a whole other level. And this is exactly what the New York Jets did in Week 8 of the 2000 season against the Miami Dolphins.

Entering the fourth quarter, Vinny Testaverde and Gang Green were down 30-7 and headed to an embarrassing defeat at home. However, the New York native and his teammates did not relent and instead created one of the great moments in “Monday Night Football,” and Jets history as he threw four touchdowns during a 30-point quarter that had the game even heading into overtime.

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In extra time, the Jets got the ball and converted on a game-winning 40-yard field goal that put the finishing touches on one of the greatest moments in MNF lore.

4. St. Louis Cardinals score 28 fourth to defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1987

The history of the Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been filled with many low periods, and when the two teams met in Week 9 of the 1987 season, it was a battle of squads headed to losing seasons. However, in the end, the Bucs would walk away as the biggest losers in blowing one of the biggest leads a team has ever had going into the fourth quarter of an NFL game.

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Heading into the last period, Tampa Bay led 28-3 and seemed en route to an easy win. That is until one of the most one-sided 15 minutes in league history would happen. The then-St. Louis Cardinals would be led by QB Neil Lomax as they scored a shocking 28 points in the quarter, while also shutting down the Tampa offense and winning the battle of also-ran teams 31-28.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars roar back from 27-0 deficit to beat Los Angeles Chargers in playoffs – 2023

greatest comebacks in nfl history
Credit: USA Today Network

If you didn’t stay for the entirety of the Jacksonville Jaguars Wild Card playoff clash with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2022, then you missed one of the postseason editions of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. The game was built around a battle between young star QB Trevor Lawrence and Justin Herbert but instead turned into the worst quarter and half in Jags history.

Lawrence shockingly threw four first-half interceptions and the team was down 27-0 before the Jacksonville fans were really settled in. However, showing the guts and poise trained into them by coach Doug Pederson, the Jaguars roared back. Outscoring Los Angeles 24-3 in the second half to pull off an absolutely stunning 31-30 win.

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While it may not have been a wild fourth like the Jets and Cardinals had, those teams didn’t do so against a playoff-level opponent, and as a young and inexperienced team with most players making their postseason debut.

2. Minnesota Vikings come back from 33-points down to beat Colts – 2022

greatest comebacks in nfl history
Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings were a top team in the 2022-2023 season, and that’s why being down 33-0 to the lowly Colts at halftime of a Week 15 game was absolutely shocking. Yet, instead of taking a shameful loss at home as they closed in on a division title, the Minnesota offense showed how dangerous it was by exploding in the second half.

In the third quarter, the unit dropped 14, then followed that up with another 22 in the fourth. Their defense built momentum and held Indianapolis scoreless in the half as quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for a total of 460 yards in the team’s shocking 39-36 overtime win.

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In overcoming a 33-point deficit, the Vikings stunned the sports world with one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.

1. San Francisco 49ers beat New Orleans Saints after being down 28 at halftime – 1980

There are many moments that are pointed to as the early signs Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers were going to do some special things over the next decade. But few are more clear than their wild come-from-behind victory against a winless New Orleans Saints team in Week 14 of the 1980 season.

It was only the NFL legend’s second year in the league and they would have a losing season, but after being shockingly down 35-7 at half-time to the Saints, the young icon manufactured a crazy second-half comeback over Archie Manning and New Orleans that saw Dwight Clark rack up 155 yards threw the air.

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The win came the season before the eventual dynasty would win their first Super Bowl and is an easy selection for one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.