When the NFL playoffs arrive, fans always have high expectations for the quality of the games. Obviously, we’ve seen plenty of lopsided blowouts over the years. But the opening weekend of the playoffs usually delivers some compelling action. After all, that’s why it’s called Wild Card Weekend. With that in mind, we put together a list of the craziest Wild Card games in NFL playoff history.
Broncos 29, Steelers 23 (2012)
In retrospect, nothing sounds crazier than Tim Tebow throwing a game-winning touchdown pass in the playoffs. The Broncos backed into the playoffs by losing their last three games, only to jump all over Pittsburgh, leading 20-6 at halftime. Of course, the Steelers came back in the second half, scoring the final 10 points to tie the game and have all of the momentum heading into overtime.
But on the first play of overtime in what turned out to be his final NFL touchdown pass, Tebow hit Demaryius Thomas over the middle who took it to the house for an 80-yard touchdown. Tebow finished the game with 316 passing yards despite completing just 10 of 21 passes in the finest moment of his NFL career.
Titans 22, Bills 16 (1999)
Sorry, Bills fans, we’ll make it up to you later. People forget that Buffalo fought back from a 12-0 halftime deficit and then thought they had the game won after a Steve Christie field goal with 16 seconds left to put them ahead 16-15.
But we all know what happened on the ensuing kickoff. Frank Wycheck chucked the ball across the field to Kevin Dyson, who had acres of open space in front of him and ran 75 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The ending broke Buffalo’s hearts, as the Bills didn’t return to the playoffs for 18 years.
Colts 45, Chiefs 44 (2014)
The score to this game says it all, but it also doesn’t do justice to Indy’s incredible comeback. Alex Smith and the Chiefs led 31-10 at halftime and then made it 38-10 early in the third quarter. But it was all Andrew Luck and company after that. By the end of the third quarter, the Colts had made it a 41-31 game.
The comeback was completed with 4:21 left when Luck threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton to put the Colts up 45-44. Despite throwing three picks, Luck threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns with Hilton being responsible for 224 of those passing yards.
Cardinals 51, Packers 45 (2010)
What could be better than a couple of quarterbacks with multiple MVP awards engaging in a shootout? The Cardinals jumped out to a 17-0 lead and extended it to 31-10 early in the third quarter. Kurt Warner finished with 379 yards and five touchdown passes. However, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers slowly chipped away.
He finished the game with 422 yards and four touchdowns and his pass to Spencer Havner tied the game at 45 with less than two minutes left. Unfortunately for Rodgers, he was the victim of a sack-fumble in overtime, allowing Karlos Dansby to end the game with a defensive touchdown.
Bills 41, Oilers 38 (1993)
We told you we’d make it up to you, Bills fans. The game was all but over at halftime with Houston leading 28-3 and the Bills relying on backup quarterback Frank Reich. The Bills also lost Thurman Thomas to a hip injury in the second half while a pick-six in the third quarter made it 35-3.
But then Reich caught fire and couldn’t be stopped, throwing three touchdown passes to Andre Reed and a fourth to Don Beebe. The Oilers actually needed a late field goal to force overtime. However, Buffalo’s Nate Odomes picked up Warren Moon three plays into overtime to set up the game-winning field goal and giving the Bills the wildest comeback win in Wild Card history.