With Rally, Memories Come Back

Orioles' Victory Evokes Nostalgia Of Past Come-from-behind Wins By Baltimore Teams

July 02, 2009|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

Comebacks. Rallies. Climb out of the abyss, and you're turning heads, whether it's the stock market or sporting events. When the Orioles rebounded from a nine-run deficit to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 11-10, on Tuesday night, it triggered memories of similar heroics in Baltimore sports lore, to wit:

Nov. 12, 2006 - Ravens 27, Tennessee Titans 26:

Quarterback Steve McNair sparked the biggest comeback in Ravens history. With his team down by 19 points late in the second quarter, McNair threw for three touchdowns to erase a 26-7 deficit. His 373 passing yards that day rank second all time by a Raven.

With 3 1/2 minutes left, McNair found wide receiver Derrick Mason, a fellow former Titan, for the tying touchdown. Matt Stover's extra point gave Baltimore the lead, setting the stage for a game-saving blocked field-goal attempt by Trevor Pryce with less than one minute remaining.

"We didn't match their emotion at the beginning of the game," linebacker Bart Scott said afterward. Tennessee "hit us in the mouth, and we took a standing eight-count. But we came back and got the job done."

Nov. 24, 2003 - Ravens 44, Seattle Seahawks 41:

Trailing 41-24 in the fourth quarter, the Ravens rallied behind quarterback Anthony Wright to win in overtime. Matt Stover's 42-yard field goal won it, but Wright's passing - 20-for-37 for 319 yards and four touchdowns - brought Baltimore back.

"This is something that you dream of," said Wright, once a third-string quarterback. "This is something that you write in books. For us to come back and win this game was unimaginable."

After the game, Wright rushed to the hospital to be with his wife, Nicole, as she delivered their second child. The Ravens voted to give her the game ball.

Aug. 2, 2002 - Orioles 9, Toronto Blue Jays 8:

Down 8-1 in the sixth inning, the Orioles thundered back to defeat Toronto for the first time all season. Gary Matthews Jr.'s three-run homer in the ninth won it against the Blue Jays, who had been 178-1 at home when leading by seven runs. Melvin Mora and Chris Singleton also homered for the Orioles, and reliever Jorge Julio got the save.

"We don't give up, no matter what the score is," infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. said. "In this game, anything can happen."

Note: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Orioles have rallied from seven down to win on five other occasions: July 2, 1995 (9-7, over Toronto); Sept. 18, 1983 (10-9, over Milwaukee); June 15, 1983 (11-8, over Milwaukee); Sept. 21, 1976 (11-8, over New York); and June 25, 1970 (13-8, over Boston).

Nov. 9, 1975 - Colts 42, Buffalo Bills 35:

O.J. Simpson scored the first three touchdowns but none thereafter as the Colts wiped out Buffalo's 21-0 lead to stage the biggest turnaround in the annals of Baltimore football.

Two second-quarter plays sparked the Colts: a fake field-goal attempt on which holder Marty Domres passed for a touchdown, and an 89-yard scoring pass to Roger Carr from Bert Jones, who threw for 306 yards. Lydell Mitchell rushed for three touchdowns.

The victory evened the Colts' record at 4-4. They wouldn't lose again until the playoffs, falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round.

Nov. 30, 1958 - Colts 35, San Francisco 49ers 27:

This was perhaps the greatest game played by the Colts that championship season. At halftime, the 49ers led 27-7, quieting the crowd of an announced 57,557 who had packed Memorial Stadium to see their 8-1 team clinch a conference title. Then quarterback John Unitas began chipping away, marching his team on two long scoring drives. With 11 1/2 minutes left, Lenny Moore raced 73 yards over frozen turf for the go-ahead touchdown. The Colts were Western Conference titlists.

Characteristically, Unitas shrugged off the heroics.

"There had been some mistakes made that I guess you could say worried me," he said. "I just wanted to ... straighten them out.

"I guess we did."

Sept. 2, 1956 - Orioles 11, Boston Red Sox 10:

The sixth-place Orioles were a dreadful lot and showed it by spotting Boston an early 8-0 lead. Then they began to hit, whittling into that lead against Ted Williams & Co. and finally pulling even in the ninth inning. Light-hitting Grady Hatton smacked a two-run homer, his first of the year, to forge a 10-10 tie. Then Billy Gardner tripled and outfielder Bob Nieman - a .334 hitter and the Birds' only legitimate threat - stroked an RBI single to win it.

Bob "The Rope" Boyd also homered for the Orioles, who had 16 hits. Billy Loes, the fifth Baltimore pitcher, threw two perfect innings to get the win in a game that was, until Tuesday, the club's biggest comeback victory.

April 13, 1948 - Bullets 66, :

Philadelphia Warriors 63:

In an era of low-scoring games, the Bullets stormed back from a 21-point halftime deficit to defeat Philly en route to winning the championship of the Basketball Association of America (the precursor of the NBA). Connie Simmons, a 6-foot-8 center, scored 25 for the Bullets, who also got 13 points from Paul Hoffman, a 6-2 forward and the league's Rookie of the Year, and a strong floor game from guard Buddy Jeannette.

In 1964, Jeannette would coach a later incarnation of the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards).

Baltimore Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

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