Football was fun again on Sunday. There was a slew of high scoring (the OVER went 10-4) back and forth games that finished in unpredictable ways. For all the excitement, only one game featured a team overcoming a halftime deficit to win.
Trailing the Bengals 21-7 after two quarters, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers comeback throwing for 313 yards and three touchdowns. The two-time MVP setup the game winning field goal in overtime by finding Geronimo Allison for a 72-yard gain on Green Bay’s first possession of the extra period. For Rodgers, it was his 14th win after trailing at halftime.
Surprisingly, few teams can overcome a halftime deficit. In our database, going back to 2004, teams that are losing at halftime have gone 716-2396 (23.0%) straight-up. If your favorite team is down heading into the locker room, they aren’t likely to rally. Unless you got a great quarterback.
Here is each active starting quarterback’s record when trailing and winning at halftime (regular season games only).
|Quarterback||Team||Straight-up (Losing)||Straight-up (Winning)|
Only one quarterback in our entire database has a winning record when trailing at halftime. Guess who? Tom Brady, of course! The GOAT has gone 23-22 after trailing in the first half. Russell Wilson (11-15) is the only other active starter, minimum ten games, with a winning percentage over 40%.
The least likely quarterbacks to rally when down at halftime: Sam Bradford has won just six of 41 games when trailing, Josh McCown is 5-31 and Mike Glennon has rallied just once in 11 tries. Dree Brees is great but if his team starts slow he has gone 16-64 (20.0%). Two other QBs from the NFC South have struggled when down at halftime. The last two MVPs, Matt Ryan and Cam Newton, are a combined 21-69 (23.3%).
Rodgers is ok when down at the half but he is lights out when leading. The Packers have gone 76-7 (91.6%) with a lead after two quarters, the best in football. Brady is pretty good too with a lead (113-13, 89.7%). A couple young guns are right behind the veterans; Andrew Luck is 32-4 (88.9%) and Derek Carr is 14-2 (87.5%)
Get excited if your team is trailing Blake Bortles at the half. The Jags starter is 7-6 with a lead. That 53.8% win rate is well below average for all teams with a lead (77.0%).
Two quarters of action isn’t much but in the NFL the team winning at half usually wins the game. We like to talk about epic comebacks, like the Patriots win over Falcons in Super Bowl 51, but those are few and far between.
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