Eagles

Ranking the NFL’s 10 best London games of all time

Eagles

The NFL has hardly given the people of Great Britain the best of what the league has to offer.

Dating back to 2007, there have been 28 games in London and not a single one has featured two winning teams (h/t ProFootballTalk). With the New York Jets set to face the Atlanta Falcons at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sunday and the Jacksonville Jaguars scheduled to play the Miami Dolphins there on Oct. 17, that streak will reach 30 games.

While the NFL has never pinned two winning teams against one another in England, British fans of American football have still been treated to some good games. Here’s a look at 10 of the best NFL contests that were played across the pond.

 

10. New York Giants 13, Miami Dolphins 10 (2007)

This list begins with the first NFL game held outside of North America.

The NFL kicked off its International Series with a game between the Dolphins and the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium. It was an ugly, rainy game with the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants emerging with a 13-10 victory. New York scored all of its points in the first half and held Cleo Lemon and the Dolphins to 245 total yards.

The game featured two historic teams for completely different reasons. The defeat dropped the Dolphins to 0-8, and they wound up winning just one game all season. The Giants, on the other hand, went on to upset the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. 

9. New England Patriots 45, St. Louis Rams 7 (2012)

The team that lost Super Bowl XLII has dominated overseas.

First, Tom Brady and the New England offense rolled past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009. Three years later, Brady and Co. were even better against the St. Louis Rams.

After the Rams scored a touchdown less than three minutes into the game, the Patriots scored touchdowns on their first five drives. Rob Gronkowski even showed love to the Queen’s Guard (or, as Gronk called it, “that little nutcracker dude that's guarding the house”) with a touchdown celebration in the second quarter.

8. Carolina Panthers 37, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 (2019)

This game features a head-scratching box score.

Christian McCaffrey scored two total touchdowns, but he only averaged 1.4 yards per carry on 22 attempts. Jameis Winston, meanwhile, threw for 400 yards, but he also threw five passes to the opposing team.

The Tampa Bay QB wasted no time turning the ball over, as he tossed an interception to Panthers cornerback James Bradberry on the first play from scrimmage. He then capped his day off in similar fashion, throwing two interceptions in the final three minutes as the Bucs tried to claw back into the game.

 

Curtis Samuel joined McCaffrey with a two-touchdown day for Carolina as the team left London with a divisional win.

7. Oakland Raiders 24, Chicago Bears 21 (2019)

One of the final "home" games for the Oakland Raiders before moving to Las Vegas came in London, and it was an entertaining win.

The team jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but the Chicago Bears went on a 21-0 run to take the lead. Khalil Mack, facing his former squad, pounced on a fumble recovery and the Bears’ offense put together several productive touchdown drives to give the Bears a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

Running back Josh Jacobs dove into the end zone with 1:57 left in the game to retake the lead. Gareon Conley picked off Chase Daniel late to cement a 24-21 win.

6. Cincinnati Bengals 27, Washington 27 (2016)

Football fans are accustomed to seeing draws at Wembley Stadium, but not with American football.

A back-and-forth game was sent to overtime as Washington's Dustin Hopkins nailed a 40-yarder with just over a minute left in the fourth.

Washington couldn't capitalize on two huge opportunities in OT. Hopkins missed a 34-yard field goal and was unable to score after recovering a Cincinnati fumble. Kirk Cousins, who threw for 458 yards on the day, could not get his Hail Mary attempt to reach the end zone as the game ended in a 27-27 tie.

5. Los Angeles Chargers 20, Tennessee Titans 19 (2018)

Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans went for the win and didn't get it.

It was not a notable game until the final stretch. Down seven points, Marcus Mariota and the Titans marched down the field and got a touchdown from Luke Stocker with 31 seconds left in regulation.

 

Instead of attempting the PAT and playing for overtime, Tennessee opted to go for a 2-point conversion. The Titans were unsuccessful in their first attempt but got a second chance thanks to a defensive penalty. The Los Angeles Chargers forced an incompletion on the second try to hold onto their 20-19 lead. 

4. Detroit Lions 22, Atlanta Falcons 21 (2014)

The Atlanta Falcons' propensity for blowing significant leads isn't limited to the United States.

Matt Ryan and Co. jumped out to a 21-0 lead that they took into the halftime break before the game completely shifted over the final 30 minutes.

The Detroit Lions’ comeback began with a 10-point third quarter. They had a chance to tie the game after scoring a touchdown with 3:56 left in the fourth, but the Falcons made a stop on the ensuing two-point conversion to keep the score at 21-19.

Detroit got the ball back with 1:38 remaining and Matthew Stafford led a drive from Lions' 7-yard line to get into field goal position. Matt Prater drilled a 48-yard field goal as time expired to give Detroit the comeback victory.

3. Minnesota Vikings 34, Pittsburgh Steelers 27 (2013)

Adrian Peterson went off for 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns at Wembley Stadium in 2013. Greg Jennings was another star for the Vikings' offense, hauling in two receiving touchdowns.

Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh's offense came to play, too. Big Ben (the quarterback, not the tower) threw for 383 yards and a touchdown, while Le'Veon Bell punched in two scores on the ground.

While both offenses had strong outputs, the Minnesota defense stepped up in the end. Defensive end Everson Griffen knocked the ball loose from Roethlisberger and Kevin Williams recovered to give Minnesota its first win of the season.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars 34, Buffalo Bills 31 (2015)

London has become the Jaguars’ home away from home. The team will play its eighth game in Great Britain on Oct. 17 and holds a 3-4 record in London games.

One of their more thrilling regular season wins in recent memory came at Wembley Stadium in 2015. The Jags took a 27-3 lead thanks to a four-touchdown outburst in the first 6:35 of the second quarter. The Bills had a run of their own, though, as Corey Graham's pick-six off Blake Bortles capped off a 28-0 run for the Bills, giving them a 31-27 lead with just over five minutes to play in regulation.

 

Bortles and the Jags recovered, though. Wideout Allen Hurns made a diving, 31-yard touchdown grab to retake the lead with 2:16 left in the game as Jacksonville hung on.

1. New Orleans Saints 37, San Diego Chargers 32 (2008)

The NFL’s second game in London was its best, and it featured a changing of the guard.

After joining the Saints in 2006, he finally got to face the Chargers on the road, though it was a “home” game in London.

Brees and his San Diego successor, Philip Rivers, put on a show at Wembley Stadium. The two QBs combined for 680 passing yards and six passing touchdowns in what remains the highest-scoring NFL game played in London

The Saints held a 37-20 lead early in the fourth quarter before the Chargers began mounting a comeback. Rivers threw a costly interception to Jonathan Vilma with 1:18 remaining and Brees took an intentional safety in the final minute to help seal a 37-32 win for New Orleans.