Biggest Upsets in NFL Playoff History

The playoffs are when the real action in the NFL begins. It’s all to play for when even the smallest mistake could result in your team’s elimination. With so much on the line, the playoffs have traditionally thrown up some pretty exciting results. Here are some of the most surprising.

Washington beats the Bears 1986

The Chicago Bears of 1985 were, without a doubt, one of the greatest defensive units of all time, and the 1986 squad tried their best to live up to their billing. Going into the game, the Bears were the heavy favorites, as up until that point, they had only allowed their opponents to score on average 11.7 points per game.

Unfortunately for them, the Redskins were on a song that day. In the second half, they outscored the Bears 20-0 to mark a remarkable comeback from 7-13 down. It was a stunning victory and one that bears fans hate to be reminded of.

Titans stun the Ravens – 2024

We don’t have to go back too far, the next one on our list. In January of this year (2020), the Titans pulled off the shock of the playoffs when the comprehensively beat the Ravens and their superstar Lamar Jackson.

According to Oddschecker, Ravens were unfancied against the Patriots back in November, but since vanquishing the current champions, they were many fans’ favorites to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy. The Titans, of course, had other plans.

An incredibly disciplined display saw the defense push, Lamar Jackson, Laterally forcing him to run from sideline to sideline. It didn’t quite nullify Jackson’s threat, but it certainly helped. Three turnovers and a one-handed touchdown saw the Titans race into the lead, and they never looked back. They might not win the Super Bowl, but on this evidence, they will certainly give it their best shot.

Jaguars beat the Broncos – 1996

In just their second year of existence, the Jaguars made the playoffs. That in itself was an incredible achievement, with the team surpassing the goals set by the owners and the coaching staff. They faced Buffalo in the wild-card round and again surprised everyone by beating the Bills and making it into the playoffs proper.

The Broncos were the top seeds that year, and no one, not even the most avid of Jaguars fans, expected anything other than a Broncos wins. Fate and Mark Brunell had other ideas. Despite trailing 12-0 in the first quarter, the Jaguars rallied to win the game 30-27. Epic stuff.

Atlanta Falcons upset Green Bay Packers in 2003

In the 2002 NFL regular season, the Green Bay Packers were the NFC North Division champions with a massive record on 12-4. They were tied for the best record in NFC, along with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Atalanta Falcons were just a wild card team, who only made the playoffs with a poor record of 9-6-1 record, who were also playing a dome, which made the Packers heavily favored.

Atalanta Falcons 27, Green Bay Packers 7. The young Micheal Vick (22 years old) upstarts Falcons that came into swarming out of the gate of hell, as they opened up a 24-0 lead at the half time. The Falcons forced turnovers in the game, with three of those coming at the expense of Bret Favre, the Green Bay Packers legend. The Packers won the second half 7-3, but that was a little consolation. The Falcons blocked punt for a touchdown, and the Packers also muffed a punt, leading to another turnover. The Atlanta Falcons knocked out the Donald Denver led team.

Seattle 41, Upset The New Orleans 36 in 2011

With less than seconds left on the clock, The world champion cruising into 10-0 lea, The Seahawk came back to go into 34-20 lead, making the Seahawk the first team with 7-9 losing record to make the playoff in full season, which actually makes it ironic. It was nothing but a miracle for The Saint to have closed down the gap to 34-30 in less than five minutes remaining. For Seahawk to maintain their late resurgence in the game, they handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch, who already broke nine tackles on a 67  yards touch down run. The play was named “Beast Quake” all because the man behind their comeback, Lynch, and also the way Seatle fans reacted was registered on seismograph sealed the victory. That play really cemented Lynch’s position as a legend with Seahawk who went from the first losing team to win a playoff game and also did the unthinkable by winning the Super Bowl three years after

Oilers at Chargers 1979

The Oilers came into the game missing their three best offensive players as quarterback Dan Pastorini, wide receiver Ken Burrough, and All-Pro running back Earl Campbell all were injured prior to the contest, almost ensuring that they would have a hard time keeping up with Dan Fouts and the rest of San Diego’s offense. Fortunately for Houston, their defense stepped up, big time. The Oilers held the Chargers to just 14 points on the strength of five interceptions, including a playoff record four by rookie safety Vernon Perry. It was later revealed that the Oilers’ coaches had figured out the Chargers’ play-calling signals, which helped their defensive backs know where to be on each play.

Washinton Redskins upset the Chicago Bears 1942

The is no doubt that the Chicago Bears were the dynasty team in the 1940s They had already won two back to back titles in 1940 and 1941. Going to the game against Redskins clearly shows the Chicago was the overwhelming favorite, also with 25-1 in 26 games played to show how powerful they were going to the game. Washinton Redskin 14, Chicago Bears 6. The redskin was led by quarterback Sammy Baugh. Baugh threw 38yards touchdown pass to Wilbur Moore and Andy Fakars capper the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run. The Bears clearly outgain the Redskin 188 to 170, but they committed four turnovers.