When the Atlanta Falcons took a 56-0 lead in the third quarter of their matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014, it got us wondering two things. One: Is the Georgia Dome scoreboard equipped with a third digit in case the Falcons break the century mark? And, two: If things really got out of hand, where might Falcons-Bucs rank among the worst blowouts in NFL history? (So much for a league of parity, right?)
The Falcons avoided running up the score, coasting to a 56-14 win and keeping that game off of this list. Here, for your perusal, are the top seven blowouts in modern professional football (since the first Super Bowl was played). For the purposes of this project, we looked for winning teams that scored at least 60 points in a lopsided victory (margin of 35 points or more). Games are listed in chronological order .
1. Giants 62, Eagles 10: November 26, 1972
The Eagles only won two games in the entire 1972 season, and their level of talent (or lack thereof) was painfully obvious in an embarrassing 52-point loss to the Giants at old Yankee Stadium. New York’s Norm Snead and Randy Johnson both threw multiple touchdown passes in the game, as the Giants rolled up more than 500 yards of total offense and scored the final 31 points of the afternoon.
2. Bengals 61, Oilers 17: December 17, 1972
In a game that was just 3-3 after the first quarter, Cincinnati exploded for a 44-point win in the Astrodome. The Bengals forced five Houston turnovers in the contest and got three fourth-quarter interception returns for touchdowns (two from Lemar Parrish), even though the outcome had long since decided.
3. Falcons 62, Saints 7: September 16, 1973
There were no points scored in this game until the second quarter…but once they started, they didn’t stop. The Saints were dominated at home, due in no small part to quarterback Archie Manning’s five interceptions. In all, New Orleans committed eight turnovers in the game. Atlanta finished with 32 first downs on the day, compared to just 11 for the home team.
4. Bears 61, Packers 7: December 7, 1980
Walter Payton rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns as the 1980 Chicago Bears dominated NFC Central opponent Green Bay. The Bears outscored the visitors 33-0 after halftime and finished with 594 yards of offense, overcoming 10 penalties to blow out the Packers in a cakewalk even though Chicago would finish the season under .500.
5. Bengals 61, Oilers 7: December 17, 1989
Apparently, something about when Cincinnati and Houston got together just seemed to be a recipe for a blowout. Seventeen years to the day after the aforementioned 44-point Bengals win, the Oilers found themselves on the wrong end of a even more lopsided loss to Cincinnati. Only one of these two teams entered the day with a winning record, and surprisingly, it was Houston (then 9-5 and ultimately bound for the postseason). The Bengals led 52-0 after three quarters, thanks to four Boomer Esiason touchdown passes.
6. Jaguars 62, Dolphins 7: January 15, 2000
Perhaps the worst blowout on this list came in the playoffs (!) following the 1999 NFL season. The last game of Dan Marino’s career was one to forget, as Miami fell behind 41-0 before getting on the scoreboard against its in-state foe. Jaguars backup quarterback Jay Fiedler threw two touchdowns in the second half, and would eventually succeed Marino as the Dolphins’ starting quarterback for the upcoming 2000 season. Seven Miami turnovers didn’t help the Dolphins’ cause at all in one of the worst postseason losses ever.
7. Saints 62, Colts 7: October 23, 2011
The Saints had Drew Brees. The Colts didn’t have Peyton Manning. That was pretty much the story of the final game on our list. Brees went 31-35 for five touchdowns in a 62-7 romp over visiting Indianapolis during the fall of 2011. The Saints played a nearly perfect game, scoring at least 13 points in each quarter, only committing one penalty all night, and not turning the ball over.
All scores and stats are taken from Pro-Football-Reference.com