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Vikings Win NFC North, Complete Largest Comeback in NFL History

The Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North on Saturday by completing the largest comeback in NFL history. Down 33-0 at halftime, the Vikings went on a scoring splurge in the second half to stun the Indianapolis Colts, 39-36, in overtime.

The previous NFL record for the largest comeback was held by the Buffalo Bills, who came back from a 32-point deficit to beat the Colts in an AFC Wild Card game in 1993. Like Saturday, that game, too, was decided in overtime.

Largest Comebacks in NFL History

Deficit Result Date
33 Vikings 39, Colts 36 (OT) Dec. 17, 2022
32 Bills 41, Colts 38 (OT)  Jan 3, 1993 (AFC WC)
28 49ers 38, Saints 35 (OT) Dec. 7, 1980
28 Colts 45, Chiefs 44 Jan. 4, 2014 (AFC WC)
26 Bills 37, Colts 35 Sept. 21, 1997
25 Cardinals 31, Bucs 28  Nov 8, 1987
25 Browns 29, Titans 28 Oct. 5, 2014
25 Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (OT) Feb. 5, 2017 (SB LI)

The Vikings captured their first NFC North title in five years and now hold a one-game lead on the San Francisco 49ers for the conference’s No. 2 seed. The Philadelphia Eagles (12-1) are a game and a half up on the Vikings going into their matchup Sunday with Chicago.

The Colts had a 99.6% win probability when they held a 33-0 lead with 13:22 remaining in the third quarter, according to Next Gen Stats. It was cornerback Patrick Peterson who lit a fire under his teammates at halftime.

“I’ll never forget it as long as I live,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said after the game. “I walked out to address the team before we went back out there, and I just overheard him walk over to the offense and say, ‘We’re gonna get stops. You just need five touchdowns. That’s nothing.’ It was a nice little moment to lead in off of, and I said, ‘Pat, you’re exactly right.’ That’s what we needed at the time.”

QB Matt Ryan is now on the opposing side of the largest blown lead in NFL history (33-0) and the largest blown lead in Super Bowl history (28-3). The Colts have now given up a combined 55 fourth-quarter points in their last two games.

The Vikings scored 22 points within a span 0f 10 minutes in the fourth quarter to tie the game on a Dalvin Cook 65-yard touchdown on a screen pass and a two-point conversion. Kicker Greg Joseph made a 40-yard field in the closing seconds of overtime to seal the improbable victory.

Kirk Cousins played a major role in the comeback by passing for 417 of his 460 yards and four touchdowns in the second half. He also led the game-winning drive in overtime with the Vikings having just one timeout and 1:39 left.

“Obviously, there’s some yelling, there’s some frustration,” Cousins said about what the Vikings were feeling in the locker room at halftime. “But that just doesn’t happen. Basic people don’t do that, what we just did.”

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