The 10 biggest comebacks in Eagles history include a game they trailed by 24 points in the third quarter, a game they trailed by 21 points midway through the fourth quarter, and a game they trailed by 17 points entering the fourth quarter.
These types of plays are why you never turn off the TV or leave the stadium early, no matter how bad things look for the Eagles.
The Eagles have won seven games in franchise history in which they trailed by at least 20 at some point in the game and another 10 in which they trailed by at least 17. In all, they have won 38 games when trailing by 14 points or more – and 11 of them have been since 2004.
Here’s a look at the biggest comebacks in Eagles history.
10. Eagles at Jets, Dec. 14, 1996: The Eagles weren’t just in danger of losing to the Jets. They were in danger of losing their hapless former head coach Rich Kotite, fired by Jeff Lurie a year earlier and quickly hired by Jets owner Leon Hess. The Eagles entered their late-season game against the Jets 8-6 and battling the Cowboys for the NFC East lead, and the Jets were 1-13 and coming off three straight games of at least 24 points. But the Jets led 10-0 at halftime and took a 20-7 lead into the fourth quarter. But when Kotite is your coach, no track is safe. Ty Detmer’s 3-yard TD pass to Chris T. Jones made it 20-14, and after former Jet Mike Zordich picked off Glenn Foley with 6:10 left, the Eagles got the ball back at the Jets’ 18. It was Zordich’s other. INT in the game, his only career game with two interceptions. Two plays later, Detmer’s 14-yard TD pass gave the Eagles a 21-20 lead. William Thomas then picked off Foley and, with the help of a 46-yard run by Charlie Garner, the Eagles ran out the clock. Entering the game, the Eagles were 2-105 as they trailed by 13 heading into the fourth quarter. They are now 3-145.
9. Packers at Eagles, Jan. 11, 2004: Teams trailing 14–0 after the first quarter of a postseason game had lost 36 straight games dating back to 1957, when the Lions overcame a 14–0 deficit against the 49ers at Kezar Stadium to win 31–27. So when the Packers led 14-0 on the Eagles after a pair of long Brett Favre TD passes to Robert Ferguson at the Linc in their 2003 semifinal, things looked bleak. But the Eagles fought back in historic fashion. Donovan McNabb threw TD passes to Duce Staley and Todd Pinkston to make it 17-14 Packers, before McNabb’s 4th-and-26 strike to Freddie Mitchell set up David Akers’ game-tying field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter. Brian Dawkins’ legendary interception of Favre and 35-yard return in overtime set up Akers’ game-winner, the Eagles won 20-17, and the Eagles were off to the NFC Championship Game. Since 1985, the Packers are 41-1 when leading by 14 points after the first quarter.
8. Eagles in Washington, October 27, 1946: In the first 60 years of the NFL’s existence, there was only one instance of a team trailing by 24 points at halftime coming back to win. It was the 1946 Eagles who trailed Washington at Griffith Stadium 24-0. Ernie Steele got the comeback started with a 1-yard TD run early in the third quarter, and Tommy Thompson did the rest, throwing TDs of 45 yards to Bosh Pritchard, 7 yards to Gil Steinke and 30 yards to Jack Ferrante to give Eagles a 28-24 win. The Eagles played without injured Steve Van Buren. To this day, it remains one of only three games in NFL history in which a team trailed by 24 points at halftime and won in regulation.
7. Cowboys at Eagles, Oct. 23, 1988: The Eagles trailed Tom Landry’s Cowboys 17-0 in the first quarter and trailed 20-0 early in the second quarter before finally getting going. Randall Cunningham’s TD pass to Keith Byars and a Luis Zendejas field goal got the Eagles on the scoreboard, but they still trailed 23-10 heading into the fourth quarter. But Anthony Toney — who scored just five TDs all year — scored twice in the final 6½ minutes of the game, on a 7-yard run and a 2-yard pass from Cunningham — and the Eagles held on for a 24-23 win over their biggest rival. The comeback from 20 points down is the Eagles’ biggest ever at home and biggest ever against the Cowboys. It remains the Cowboys’ fourth-largest blown lead of all time. It is also the only time since 1960 that the Eagles have won a game after trailing by 17 or more points after the first quarter. It’s also one of six games the Eagles have won when trailing by 13 in the fourth quarter (out of 236 games)
6. Eagles at Browns, Nov. 10, 1991: Not only were the Eagles down 23-0 early in the second quarter, Randall Cunningham was long gone, Bernie Kosar was tearing the Eagles apart, and the Eagles couldn’t get anything going with Jim McMahon at quarterback. The Eagles finally got on the scoreboard on a McMahon TD pass to Keith Jackson and got within six points on Fred Barnett’s 70-yard TD catch and a field goal. Kosar’s third TD pass of the game extended the lead back to 13 before three field goals cut it to four. With seven minutes left, the Browns forced a Jeff Feagles punt, but Robert Drummond stripped the returning Webster Slaughter, Britt Hager recovered and the Eagles recovered the ball at the Browns’ 2-yard line. After a pair of running plays lost three yards, McMahon capped the comeback with a 5-yard TD pass to Calvin Williams and a 32-30 Eagles victory. The 23-point comeback remains the third-largest in Eagles history, and it’s also the only road game in franchise history that the Eagles have won after trailing by 16 points after the first quarter. It is also the last game they won after trailing by 16 points after the first quarter.
5. Eagles at Cards, October 25, 1959: Nothing went right for the Eagles in the first half of their 1959 road game against the Cards (played at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis for some reason). John Roach threw a 10-yard TD pass to John David Crow. Jimmy Hill ran 77 yards for a touchdown after the Cards blocked an Eagles field goal attempt. Night Train Lane returned an interception by fellow future Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin 37 yards for a touchdown. That added up to a 24-0 Cards lead in the third quarter before the Eagles woke up and scored the game’s final 28 points on two short TD runs by Billy Barnes and Van Brocklin TD passes of 29 and 22 yards to Tommy McDonald to give the Eagles a 28-24 victory. It remains one of only two games in franchise history that the Eagles have won after trailing by 24 or more points.
4. Eagles at Bills, October 27, 1985: Entering the fourth quarter, the Bills led the Eagles 17-0 at the vet, and considering teams trailing by 17 points at the time after three quarters were 4-664 in NFL history, their chances didn’t look look good. But the Eagles outscored the Bills 21-0 in the fourth quarter and posted an improbable 21-17 victory in Marion Campbell’s final year as head coach. Ron Jaworski got the Eagles going with a 3-yard TD run, then Wes Hopkins picked off Vince Ferragamo and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. After the two-minute warning, Jaworski capped the comeback with a 32-yard TD pass to Mike Quick. The Eagles — outscored 290-126 through three quarters — outscored the Bills 149-49 in the final quarter. It remains the only game the Eagles have ever won after trailing by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
3. Eagles at Washington Football Team, September 17, 1989: Randall Cunningham had signed a contract extension the night before at the team’s hotel in Arlington, Va., and he showed his worth with a remarkable performance at RFK Stadium. He threw for 447 yards and five touchdowns – three in the fourth quarter, two in the final two minutes – as the Eagles won 42-37 after trailing by 20 in the second quarter. Mark Rypien’s TD pass to Art Monk (both would later become Eagles) with 3:06 left gave Washington a 37-28 lead, but Cunningham’s TD to Mike Quick made it 37-35 with 1:48 left. Three plays later, with Washington deep in Eagles territory, Gerald Riggs — who ran for 221 yards — fumbled after a big hit by Seth Joyner. Al Harris recovered at the Eagles’ 19-yard line and either lateraled or passed the ball to Wes Hopkins, who ran 77 yards down to the Washington 4-yard line. Washington believed that Harris illegally stepped forward to Hopkins, but a replay review ruled that he gave the ball to Hopkins, making the play legal. Cunningham’s TD to Keith Jackson one play later gave the Eagles a 42-37 lead, and Jerome Brown capped the comeback on the next play when he sacked Rypien and forced a fumble that Reggie White recovered. Ball game.
2. Eagles at Saints, January 3, 1993: The Saints led the Eagles 20-7 late in the third quarter of their 1992 wild-card game at the Superdome, and it looked like the Eagles’ streak without a postseason victory would stretch to 12 years. But the Eagles outscored the Saints 29-0 the rest of the way, including a historic 26-0 fourth quarter — the lopsided NFL postseason fourth quarter since 1934. A Roger Ruzek field goal late in the third quarter started the comeback and Randall Cunningham’s 35 -yard TD to Fred Barnett early in the fourth made it 20-17 Saints. After Seth Joyner intercepted a Bobby Hebert pass intended for Eric Martin, Heath Sherman’s six-yard TD run gave the Eagles a 24-20 lead, and then Gang Green took over. Reggie White sacked Hebert in the end zone for a safety and a 26-20 lead, and after another Ruzek field goal, Eric Allen picked off a pass intended for Wesley Carroll and returned it 18 yards for another TD and a 36-20 win. To this day, the 10-point deficit after the third quarter remains the 4th largest a team has ever overcome to win a playoff game.
1. Eagles at Giants, Dec. 19, 2010: The Eagles weren’t just down by 21 points. They were down by 21 points with 7 ½ minutes left in the fourth quarter, and the Giants were on the verge of taking over the NFC East lead with two weeks left. Eli Manning’s fourth TD pass of the game gave the Giants a 31-10 lead with 8:23 left, but the Eagles were right on it. Michael Vick’s 65-yard TD to Brent Celek made it 31-17 with 7:28 left, David Akers completed a successful onside kick that Riley Cooper recovered, then Vick’s 35-yard scramble set up a four-yard keeper to make it 31-24 with 5:28 left. The Eagles forced a Giants punt at 3:08, and after Vick scrambled for 33 more yards, his 13-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin tied the game at 31-all with 1:16 left. The Eagles forced another Giants punt at 0:14, and after muffing Matt Dodge’s short punt, DeSean Jackson scooped it up and weaved 65 yards through traffic for a 38-31 Eagles victory. This one had to be seen to be believed. Over the final 7:28, the Eagles outscored the Giants 215-23 and outscored them 28-0. Vick threw for 121 yards and two TDs and ran for 94 yards and a TD … in the game’s final 7 ½ minutes.