Lists

NFL Playoff Meltdowns Fans Can Never Forget

Darren - January 15, 2020
Lists

NFL Playoff Meltdowns Fans Can Never Forget

Darren - January 15, 2020

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

16. Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos

In January 2013, the Broncos were serious favorites over the Ravens. They had already beaten the struggling side during the normal season on an 11-game winning streak. In short, nobody really gave Baltimore much of a chance. Instead, we got the ‘Mile High Miracle.’

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos were led by Peyton Manning and just could not get free of the Ravens. They were ahead by a touchdown late when Joe Flacco uncorked a deep pass. This set Jacoby Jones free to score a 70-yard touchdown and tie the game. Finally, the Ravens kicked a field goal in overtime to win the game in their Super Bowl-winning year.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

15. Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks

Blair Walsh definitely won’t want to look back at this game. He received a lot of hate after this career-defining moment. This was an incredibly close game in 2016 with Vikings trailing 10-9. With just 26 seconds left to play, Walsh had the chance to be a hero in Minnesota. Instead, he’d suffer agony.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

A 26-yard kick should be easy money for a player of his quality. Typically he didn’t melt under pressure, but this time it got to him. He miskicked and sent the ball wide left. The speechless crowd didn’t know how to react. But the Seahawks had won the game.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

14. Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans

Sure, it’s not the biggest meltdown on this list but this was a terribly costly choke by the Bills. An innocuous moment turned into a brutal moment for Buffalo. With only 15 seconds left in the 2000 Wild Card round, they were 16-15 ahead. But then they kicked off with fatal consequences as the Titans came pulled off one of the most infamous plays in NFL history.

Mandatory Credit: Youtube

Frank Wycheck threw an arcing pass to Kevin Dyson. Many still argue it was an illegal forward pass, but it was allowed. From there, Dyson ran 75 yards down the field to get the game-winning touchdown. In sum, this was just another traumatic moment in Buffalo’s catalog of horrors. It became known as the ‘Music City Miracle.’

Mandatory Credit: Fanbuzz.com

13. Dallas Cowboys vs. Seattle Seahawks

Tony Romo is notorious for costing his team in the playoffs. This moment from the 2007 NFC wildcard game is definitely his most memorable because it cost his team. In short, the Cowboys were a field kick away from the next round of the playoffs. Then the incredible happened.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Romo was the holder for the kick when he inconceivably fumbled the snap. He got tackled from behind and that was it. The Seahawks managed to hold out for a miracle win. It just goes to show that a team can play well but an individual meltdown can cost you everything.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts

In 1997, the Chiefs had the best record in the AFC with 13-3. Naturally, they were heavy favorites in the playoffs against the Colts and their inconsistent 9-7. But things don’t always work out the way you expect. The Chiefs found this out the hard way as they suffered a significant meltdown.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Lin Elliot is the main man who caused their suffering. Yes, that’s right, the Chief’s own kicker missed three field goals. But their quarterback Steve Bono also had a nightmare, throwing three interceptions. In short, they were the makers of their own destruction as the Colts ran out 10-7 winners.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

11. Buffalo Bills vs. New York Giants

The Bills take pride of place further down this list because of their remarkable comeback in 1992. But they are also capable of breaking under pressure themselves. Unfortunately, their Super Bowl XXV clash with the Giants didn’t go so well. In fact, one of their star players broke under the pressure. The Giants came back from 12-3 down to lead the game.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Step forward, Scott Norwood, who had the opportunity to win the game for the Bills with just eight seconds left. Trailing 19-20, they chose to kick a 47-yard field goal, but it fell agonizingly short. Even worse was the fact that this set in motion the first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses. That’s brutal.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Seattle Seahawks vs. Miami Dolphins

In 1982, the Dolphins were the AFC Champions. Everybody expected them to replicate their form the following year. When they made the playoffs as number one seeds against the Seahawks, it looked like a total mismatch. But as they found out to their cost, that wasn’t the case.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins just melted down in this game. Somehow they managed to turn the ball over a ridiculous five times. This was suicidal because Seahawks star running back Curt Warner scored two touchdowns. In sum, it was a monumental collapse for the Dolphins, who lost 27-20.

Mandatory Credit: Big Cat Country

9. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Denver Broncos

The Jaguars were only in existence for two years when they met the Broncos in the 1996 AFC Divisional Playoff. It had been a strong year for the Denver franchise, who went 13-3 in the normal season. From there, it looked like they were going to cruise past the Jaguars, but football doesn’t always play by the rules.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

First of all, the Broncos came straight out of the breaks scoring two touchdowns but missed both conversions. It looked like it was going to be a long day for the Jaguars. However, they weren’t out of this. In fact, they came back to dominate the game and left the Broncos shellshocked. Finally, the game finished 30-27 to hand Jacksonville’s new heroes the win.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings

Gary Anderson’s missed kick sums up this game. The Vikings were the dominant team in the NFC in 1998 and looked like Super Bowl certainties. First of all, they managed a 15-1 regular season before the playoffs. They had to get past the Falcons, who were also in form, but things ended miserably for Minnesota.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

After leading 20-14 at the half, the Vikings looked on their way to victory. But then the Falcons fought back to tie the game at 27 all in regular time. Anderson had the chance to win the game for the Vikings but somehow kicked his only errant attempt of the entire season. Then, Morten Anderson snatched the win in for the Falcons in overtime. A remarkable collapse.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers

The Falcons were on the lucky side of another meltdown, this time courtesy of the Packers’ Brett Favre. As everybody knows, Favre is a legendary figure in Wisconsin but he also had some terrible playoff moments. This one ranks up there among the worst as he threw three interceptions and seriously cost his team.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Not only did the Falcons win, but they tore the Packers apart. After turning the ball over five times the Packers lost 27-7 in Lambeau. For a player of Favre’s status, it’s incomprehensible for him to have played the way he did. As individual collapses go, this one is up there with the worst.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

6. Chicago Bears vs. Washington Redskins

The Bears were dominant in 1986 with a record of 14-2. As defending champions, they looked odds-on for another NFC win. But they didn’t count on the mental fortitude and determination of the Redskins. However, nobody could have expected the type of comeback that Washington produced.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Things were going well for the bears in the first half as they built a 13-7 lead. But then they crumbled and allowed the Redskins back into the game. Finally, a Walter Payton fumble helped the Redskins in again. To sum up, the Bears lost 27-20. It was a terrible day for Chicago.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants

Yet another Brett Favre meltdown. This one was a real shocker because he couldn’t hide from it. On a bitterly cold night in Green Bay, all eyes were on the legendary quarterback. A place in the Super Bowl was at stake and it was Favre’s final chance to guide his team to glory. But it didn’t end that way.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Favre faded very badly in the second half of the NFC Championship game. Then his Packers career ended earlier than he hoped after an overtime interception to Corey Webster. The Giants converted that into the winning field goal and that was all she wrote for Favre in Green Bay. It was a wretched way for their hero to depart.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Chiefs had a massive comeback in 2020, but they’re perfectly capable of a ridiculous meltdown too. In early 2014, the two sides met in the AFC Wild Card game. The Chiefs took a surprisingly huge lead early on and it looked like they were out of sight. They were up 31-10 at halftime, a massive deficit for the Colts to try and overcome.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

When the Chiefs stretched their lead to 28 points, the game seemed done and dusted. But then, their defense melted and they suffered key injuries. Insanely, the Colts came storming back to win the game 45-44. It was one of the worst moments in the history of the Chiefs.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

In the 2017 Super Bowl, it looked like the Falcons were on course for a shock victory over the Patriots. After a scoreless first quarter, Atlanta racked up 21 points with the Patriots putting just three on the scoreboard before the break. Then the Falcons came back out after halftime and extended their lead to 28-3. A humiliation looked on the cards.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

That’s exactly what ended up happening, only not the way you expected. The Patriots came back with 25 unanswered points as the Falcons went into total meltdown. While the whole team was at fault, Falcons coach Dan Quinn took most of the blame. Finally, the Patriots won in overtime.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs

What a remarkable comeback this was in Kansas City in 2020. The Chiefs had lost to the Texans in the regular season but came into the AFC playoffs with a better record. Nobody expected their revenge to look like this, though. The Texans built a 24-0 lead before the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes finally shifted into gear.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Mahomes produced one of the performances of the season and even overall, with seven straight offensive possessions producing seven touchdowns. The Texans were hapless in trying to stop him and totally melted down as the Chiefs built up an unassailable lead. When you’ve got a generational talent like Mahomes, then anything is possible.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

1. Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Oilers

Literally nicknamed ‘The Comeback,’ this iconic game went down in 1993. It’s the perfect combination of both brilliant perseverance and a massive meltdown. The Oilers were out in front 28-3 by halftime. In short, they were coasting towards victory. Then they scored another touchdown after the break.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, the Bills weren’t out of this. In the space of just seven minutes of game time, they reduced the deficit to four points.  After the severely rattled Oilers turned the ball over again, Al Del Greco tied the game from a field kick. Then in overtime, they secured the most miraculous of wins from a 32-yard field kick. The game somehow ended 41-38.

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