Tom Brady is a man of many records, but his latest is one of his most incredible – he’s now the all-time leader in fourth-quarter comebacks. He recently passed Peyton Manning by securing his 44th fourth-quarter comeback on December 5th in a crucial Week 13 home game against the New Orleans Saints.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were down 16-3 halfway through the fourth quarter, but that has never deterred Brady before and he wasn’t about to let it deter him in this one. He threw a 1-yard touchdown to Cade Otton with three minutes left and a 6-yard TD pass to Rachaad White with three seconds left.
Not only does Brady have 44 fourth-quarter comebacks, but he has 56 game-winning drives – as well as 9 fourth-quarter comebacks and 14 game-winning drives in the playoffs. He put together 5 fourth-quarter comebacks in three different seasons and has had 11 fourth-quarter comebacks since joining Tampa Bay.
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Which Quarterbacks Have the Most Fourth Quarter Comebacks?
Tom Brady has done some incredible things during his 23 seasons in the NFL, but his fourth-quarter comebacks have been some of the most enjoyable moments of his career. It shows how difficult it is to beat the greatest quarterback of all-time because you have to play great for all four quarters of the game.
Of his 44 fourth quarter comebacks, 9 have come against the Buffalo Bills and 6 of them were won by at least two scores. One of his most incredible fourth quarter comebacks came against the Bills in 2012 – his Patriots were tied 21-21, but outscored Buffalo 31-7 in the fourth quarter to win the game by 24 points.
With that said, Tom Brady isn’t the only quarterback getting the job done in the final quarter. There are now 3 NFL quarterbacks with at least 40 fourth quarter comebacks, 9 quarterbacks with at least 30 comebacks, and 20 with at least 25 comebacks – but the real question is how many can you name?
20. Ryan Tannehill – 25 comebacks
Ryan Tannehill has 25 fourth quarter comebacks and 26 game-winning drives. He finished with four comebacks on three separate occasions (2013, 2016, 2021), but it was his 2020 campaign that left us with our jaws dropped – he had six comebacks that season, including the first three games of the year.
Tannehill has been in the league for 10 seasons and has a 78-64-0 record in 142 games as a starting quarterback. He has thrown for 33,100 yards, 212 touchdowns, and 107 interceptions in his career, as well as 2,028 rushing yards and 25 rushing TDs. He was Comeback Player of the Year in 2019.
19. Warren Moon – 25 comebacks
Warren Moon had 25 fourth quarter comebacks and 35 game-winning drives during his 17-year career in the NFL. He had at least one comeback every season between 1987 and 1997, including five comebacks in each of the 1991 and 1994 seasons. Three of Moon’s comebacks ended in a double-digit victory.
Moon spent most of his career with the Houston Oilers, but also played for the Vikings, Seahawks, and Chiefs. He had a 102-101-0 record as a starter, throwing for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns, and 233 interceptions. He was an Offensive Player of the Year and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
18. Andy Dalton – 25 comebacks
Andy Dalton has 25 fourth quarter comebacks and 29 game-winning drives – including at least four comebacks on four occasions. Three of his comebacks ended in a double-digit victory, with his most impressive one ending in a 17-point win. It should also be noted that one of his comebacks ended in a tie.
Dalton is currently playing in his 12th season in the NFL and has an 80-76-2 career record in 158 games started. He has thrown for 37,531 yards, 241 touchdowns, and 142 interceptions – he also has 22 rushing touchdowns. The three-time Pro Bowler is more of a backup now, but he can still sling it on occasion.
17. Joe Montana – 26 comebacks
Joe Montana had 26 fourth quarter comebacks and 29 game-winning drives during his 15-year career in the NFL. He had at least one comeback each season between 1980 and 1990, including an impressive five comebacks during the 1990 season. Let’s not forget about his five comebacks in the postseason.
Montana spent 13 years with the 49ers before playing two years with the Chiefs. He had a 117-47-0 record as a starter, throwing for 40,551 yards, 273 touchdowns, and 139 interceptions – and rushing for 1,676 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Hall of Famer won four Super Bowls and two MVP awards.
16. Russell Wilson – 27 comebacks
Russell Wilson has 27 fourth quarter comebacks and 35 game-winning drives since entering the NFL in 2012 – including at least one comeback in each season since 2012. He had a career-high five comebacks in 2019 and had four comebacks on five occasions – including the first three seasons of his career.
Wilson is currently playing in his 11th season in the league and has a 107-62-1 career record as a starting quarterback. He has thrown for 39,864 yards, 303 touchdowns, and 93 interceptions – adding another 4,904 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a nine-time Pro Bowl QB and won a Super Bowl.
15. Eli Manning – 27 comebacks
Eli Manning had 27 fourth quarter comebacks and 37 game-winning drives during his 16-year career in the NFL. He had at least one comeback every year between 2004 and 2018, including six comebacks on two occasions – he did so in 2011 and 2016. That 2016 campaign included three comebacks in a row.
Manning spent his entire career with the New York Giants after going No. 1 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He had a 117-117-0 record as a starting quarterback, throwing for 57,023 yards, 366 touchdowns, and 244 interceptions in 236 career games. He was a four-time Pro Bowl QB who won two Super Bowl titles.
14. Derek Carr – 27 comebacks
Derek Carr has 27 fourth quarter comebacks and 33 game-winning drives since entering the league in 2014 – he has at least one comeback every single year since, including three this season. Not only did he put together six comeback wins a year ago, but he had a whopping seven comebacks in 2016.
Carr is currently playing in his ninth season in the league – all of which with the Las Vegas Raiders. He has a 62-78-0 record as a starter, throwing for 34,817 yards, 213 touchdowns, and 95 interceptions – adding another 831 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He’s a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
13. Brett Favre – 28 comebacks
Brett Favre had 28 fourth quarter comebacks and 43 game-winning drives during his 20-year career in the NFL between 1991 and 2010 – he also had two in the playoffs. He was known to come alive in the heat of the moment and had at least one game-winning drive every year between 1998 and 2010.
Favre spent a majority of his career with the Packers, but also played for the Jets and Vikings. He retired with a 186-112-0 record in 298 starts, throwing for 71,838 yards, 508 touchdowns, and 336 interceptions. The Hall of Famer won three MVP awards, one Super Bowl, and made 11 Pro Bowl appearances.
12. Vinny Testeverde – 29 comebacks
Vinny Teseverde had 29 comebacks and 33 game-winning drives during his 21-year career in the NFL between 1987 and 2007. He completed four game-winning drives in 2000 with the Jets and followed that up with five game-winning drives in 2001 – that’s compared to five such drives over the next three years.
Testeverde played for seven different teams during his career and had a 90-123-1 record as a starter. He threw for 46,223 yards, 275 touchdowns, and 267 interceptions – adding another 1,661 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. He was named a Pro Bowl QB twice – once in 1996 and again in 1998.
11. Fran Tarkenton – 29 comebacks
Fran Tarkenton had 29 comebacks and 33 game-winning drives during his 18-year Hall of Fame career in the NFL between 1961 and 1978. He completed at least one game-winning drive every year between 1963 and 1972, including a career-high five game-winning drives in 1970 with the New York Giants.
Tarketon spent 13 seasons with the Vikings and five with the Giants. He had a 124-109-6 record as a starter, throwing for 47,003 yards, 342 touchdowns, and 266 interceptions – adding another 3,674 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl QB and won the MVP award in 1975.
10. Philip Rivers – 29 comebacks
Philip Rivers had 29 comebacks and 35 game-winning drives during his 17-year career in the NFL between 2004 and 2020. He had at least one game-winning drive every year between 2006 and 2001, and then again between 2013 and 2020. His career high was four such drives in a single season.
Rivers played 16 of his 17 seasons with the Chargers before a ‘farewell tour’ with the Colts. He retired with a 134-106-0 record as a starter, throwing for 63,440 yards, 421 touchdowns, and 209 interceptions in 244 games played. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl QB and won Comeback Player of the Year in 2013.
9. John Elway – 31 comebacks
John Elway had 31 comebacks and 40 game-winning drives during his 16-year Hall of Fame career between 1983 and 1998 – he surprisingly had at least one game-winning drive in every season that he played. Perhaps most impressive was his seven game-winning drives in 1985 at just 25 years old.
Elway spent his entire career with the Denver Broncos and had a 148-82-1 career record as a starting quarterback. He threw for 51,475 yards, 300 touchdowns, and 226 interceptions – adding another 3,407 yards and 33 touchdowns on the ground. He was a two-time Super Bowl winner and the 1975 MVP.
8. Dan Marino – 33 comebacks
Dan Marino had 33 fourth quarter comebacks and 47 game-winning drives during his 17-year Hall of Fame career between 1983 and 1999 – like Elway, he had at least one game-winning drive in every single season. He completed a career-high six game-winning drives during the 1992 season.
Marino spent his entire career with the Miami Dolphins and retired with a 147-93-0 record as a starter. He threw for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns, and 252 interceptions – adding another nine touchdowns on the ground. He was a nine-time Pro Bowl QB that won MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1984.
7. Johnny Unitas – 34 comebacks
Johnny Unitas had 34 fourth quarter comebacks and 38 game-winning drives during his 18-year Hall of Fame career between 1956 and 1973. He recorded at least one game-winning drive every year between 1956 and 1970, including a career-high four game-winning drives in the 1961 and 1967 seasons.
Unitas spent a strong majority of his career with the Baltimore Colts – all but one season, to be exact. He retired with a 118-63-4 record as a starter, throwing for 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns, and 253 interceptions – adding another 1,777 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He was a three-time MVP.
6. Matthew Stafford – 34 comebacks
Matthew Stafford has 34 fourth quarter comebacks and 42 game-winning drives since 2009 – as well as two comebacks and three GW drives in last year’s playoffs. He has at least one game-winning drive every year he played, except for this season (yet). He impressively had eight GW drives in 2016 with the Lions.
Stafford is currently playing in his 14th season in the NFL and second with the Los Angeles Rams. He has an 89-101-1 record as starting quarterback, throwing for 52,082 yards, 333 touchdowns, and 169 interceptions – adding another 15 touchdowns on the ground. He won Super Bowl LVI with the Rams.
5. Drew Brees – 36 comebacks
Drew Brees had 36 fourth quarter comebacks and 53 game-winning drives during his 20-year career in the NFL between 2001 and 2020 – he had at least one game-winning drive every year, except his rookie season. He had an impressive seven GW drives in 2018 and had nine between 2010 and 2011.
Brees spent 15 years with the Saints and five years with the Chargers before announcing his retirement. He had a 172-114-0 record as a starting quarterback, throwing for 80,358 yards, 571 touchdowns, and 243 interceptions – adding another 25 TDs on the ground. He was Offensive Player of the Year twice.
4. Matt Ryan – 38 comebacks
Matt Ryan has 38 fourth quarter comebacks and 46 game-winning drives since 2008 – recording at least one game-winning drive every year between 2008 and 2019. He famously had 15 game-winning drives in a three-year span between 2010 and 2012, including six GW drives in the 2010 and 2012 seasons.
Ryan is currently playing in his 15th season in the NFL and first season with the Indianapolis Colts – he spent the past 14 years in Atlanta. He has a career 124-108-1 record as a starting quarterback, throwing for 62,610 yards, 380 touchdowns, and 183 interceptions – adding another 13 touchdowns on the ground.
3. Ben Roethlisberger – 41 comebacks
Ben Roethlisberger had 41 fourth quarter comebacks and 53 game-winning drives during his 18-year career in the NFL between 2004 and 2021 – he had at least one GW drive every year between 2004 and 2018. In his farewell tour in 2021, Big Ben helped lead his team to a career-high seven GW drives.
Roethlisberger spent his entire career with the Pittsburgh Steelers and had a 165-81-1 record as a starter. He retired with 64,088 yards, 418 touchdowns, and 211 interceptions – adding another 20 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a former Offensive Rookie of the Year and won two Super Bowl championships.
2. Peyton Manning – 43 comebacks
Peyton Manning had 43 fourth quarter comebacks and 54 game-winning drives during his 17-year Hall of Fame career between 1998 and 2015. He recorded seven game-winning drives on three separate occasions, including in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009 – 14 total GW drives in two seasons.
Manning spent 13 years with the Colts before ending his career with the Broncos for four years. He retired with a 186-79-0 record as starting quarterback, throwing for 71,940 yards, 539 touchdowns, and 251 interceptions. He was a five-time MVP, two-time Super Bowl winner, and 14-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
1. Tom Brady – 44 comebacks
Tom Brady has 44 fourth quarter comebacks and 56 game-winning drives – both of which are all-time highs. He has completed at least one game-winning drive every year since 2009, including three GW drives this season with the Buccaneers. He also has nine comebacks and 14 GW drives in the playoffs.
Brady is currently playing in his 23rd season in the NFL and third season with the Bucs. He has a 249-80-0 record as a starting QB, throwing for 88,105 yards, 641 touchdowns, and 208 interceptions – adding another 27 touchdowns on the ground. He’s a seven-time Super Bowl winner and three-time MVP.
Other Active Quarterbacks With the Most Fourth Quarter Comebacks
Of the 20 quarterbacks with at least 25 fourth quarter comebacks, 7 of them are currently active – Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, and Ryan Tannehill. Those QBs will continue to climb the ranks, but there are some other active QBs to keep an eye on.
For example, Aaron Rodgers has 21 fourth quarter comebacks, Kirk Cousins has 20 comebacks, and Joe Flacco has 19 comebacks. Younger QBs that are climbing the ranks include Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott with 11 comebacks, while Josh Allen and Justin Herbert each have 10 comebacks.
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There’s nothing better than witnessing a quarterback lead their team to a victory, despite being down or tied at the start of the final quarter. The QBs listed above are known for giving fans those moments often and we can expect much of the same in the future, especially as the league gets more competitive.
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