Today in History: Buffalo Bills Pull Off Greatest Ever NFL Comeback

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Kicker Steve Christie of the Buffalo Bills makes a winning field goal against the Houston Oilers on 01-03-1993

John H. Reid/Getty Images

If you’re a fan of the Buffalo Bills, no doubt recovering from another losing season and Sunday’s shellacking at the hands of the New York Jets, today is the day to look back.

On this day in 1993, the Bills took part and won a game known simply as “The Comeback.” And Buffalo’s 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an AFC wild card playoff game instantly put the wild in wild card.

(See the top 10 Super Bowl moments.)

The game appeared done and dusted by half time as the Oilers had jumped to a 28-3 lead thanks to four touchdown passes by future Hall of Famer Warren Moon. It got even worse: The start of the third quarter found safety Bubba McDowell intercepting a pass from backup quarterback Frank Reich, who was only playing because Jim Kelly was injured, and running it back for a 35-3 advantage. Plenty of Bills fans decided to cut their losses and get out of the cold, beat the traffic and head home.

Bad move. Reich then went to work: The Bills went down the field and instantly got seven points back before recovering an onside kick which led to another TD, halving the deficit to 35-17. Stellar defense then resulted in Houston either punting or turning the ball over: sure enough, two more TD’s ensued and, in a space of six minutes and 52 seconds, the Oilers’ lead had become a slippery four points.

By now, there only looked to be one winner as the Oilers missed a field goal and turned the ball over yet again, which resulted in the Bills taking a fourth quarter 38-35 lead with only a few minutes left to play. But the Oilers did rally and a successful field goal took the game into overtime.

(See the top 10 sports comebacks.)

Moon’s eventual game to forget was soon complete, however, as Nate Odomes intercepted a pass, which led to Steve Christie nailing a 32-yard field goal to win the game 41-38 and seal the biggest comeback victory (32 points) in NFL history. The Bills took that momentum and made it all the way to the Super Bowl but lost to the Dallas Cowboys. If any of this year’s play off games are half as good as “The Comeback,” fans will be ecstatic. (via History.com)

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