What’s with Frank Reich and Epic Comebacks?

After the San Diego Chargers’ semi-epic NFL comeback last night from 21 points down, several times, on the road against the San Francisco 49ers, Frank Reich once again became associated with a monumental comeback! It was only semi-epic because in Reich’s past, he had orchestrated 31 and 32 point comebacks, victimizing his latest success. 🙂

First there was the Maryland Terrapins’ 31-0 comeback to win 42-40 in 1984 over the then unbeaten Miami Hurricanes on Nov 10, 1984… as a back up quarterback, no less!

Then at the pro level, Frank topped that with a 32 point deficit comeback, also as a back-up quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, against the Houston Oilers in the AFC wildcard game of Jan 3, 1993. The Bills did it all in the second half as well, without star Thurman Thomas, even! Everything put together, that game deserved to be known as The Comeback in NFL history!

Now, at the coaching level, Frank Reich was the architect behind the Chargers’ comeback from 21 down last night against the 49ers. Sure, he didn’t play, but as offensive coordinator, he was more than close enough to have played a significant part in the role. Don’t even think he didn’t have much to do with it. Sure, it required the Chargers defense to make lots of key plays to keep them in the game, but that’s a requirement of comebacks cause if you’re down big and the other team keeps scoring, you can’t catch up on a points trading basis. Your defense has to make stops for you to gain points to close the gap. But that spirit Frank Reich has, with his past, had to be in the back of the players’ minds, at least on the offense. And the play calling, well, the offense wouldn’t be what it was without it. They converted on big third and fourth downs en route to the big win.

In a way, Frank Reich’s successful past comebacks of 31 and 32 points down were the only things that diminished how epic a comeback this was. That said, this was on the road in hostile territory, against a good team that had been in a slump, but sure looked good like they were no longer in it for most of the game! But that was their problem. They looked good for most of the game, not all of it. Same could be said for the Chargers, but they looked good when it counted, and in the latter half.

Regardless, well done, Frank Reich! When do we get to see another one?

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