A dream season for the Rams spun rapidly into a nightmare following the team's first loss against the Vikings. L.A. dropped its final three regular-season decisions by a combined 61-20 margin -- including a 28-0 stinker in Detroit -- to back into a division title. But the downward spiral wouldn't bottom out until their playoff opener, when a devastating come-from-ahead defeat in a rematch with Minnesota ended their year.
2 of 11Neil Leifer/SI
1972 Dolphins (14-0), defeated Redskins in Super Bowl
History's most famous champagne-poppers almost didn't get through Week 3 unblemished. Trailing 14-6 with four-and-a-half minutes remaining against the Vikings, Garo Yepremian's 51-yard field goal and Bob Griese's touchdown pass to Jim Mandich helped Miami escape Metropolitan Stadium with a narrow 16-14 victory. Fun lost factoid: Vegas would actually install the undefeated Fins as two-point underdogs in Super Bowl VII.
3 of 11Neil Leifer/SI, Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1975 Vikings (10-0), lost 31-30 to Redskins
The Redskins stunned the unbeaten Vikings with three straight touchdowns to stake a 21-0 halftime advantage. Minnesota rallied to take a 30-24 lead but Billy Kilmer engineered a 77-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes to nudge the `Skins ahead. The Vikings hurried down the field for a last-ditch field goal attempt -- but Ron McDole blocked Fred Cox's try from 28 yards to end the threat. Minnesota lost three of its last five games including a first-round playoff exit against Dallas.
4 of 11Tony Duffy/Getty Images
1984 Dolphins (11-0), lost 34-28 to Chargers
Facing perhaps the most fearsome aerial attack in NFL history -- Dan Marino would end up passing for 5,084 yards on the year -- the Chargers fought fire with fire. Dan Fouts established franchise records with completions (37) and pass attempts (56) as the Chargers snapped their opponent's 16-game winning streak in regular-season games. Miami lost just once more before their Super Bowl XIX whipping at the hands of the 49ers.
5 of 11Al Messerschmidt/WireImage.com
1985 Bears (12-0), lost 38-24 to Dolphins
The showdown between Miami's historically prolific offense and Chicago's famously stingy defense set a Monday Night Football ratings record which still stands. With members of the '72 team watching intently from the Miami sideline, Dan Marino solved Buddy Ryan's notorious "46" defense and fired three touchdowns to end Chicago's bid for perfection. The Bears bounced back to run the regular-season table before shuffling through the Giants (21-0), Rams (24-0) and Patriots (46-10) to their first and only Super Bowl title.
6 of 11Al Messerschmidt/WireImage.com
1990 49ers (10-0), lost 28-17 to Rams
Over one year had passed since San Francisco's last defeat -- a span of 18 games which included a 30-3 drubbing of the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. But Los Angeles defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur unveiled a novel defensive package for the rematch called the Big Nickel -- featuring four linemen, one linebacker and six defensive backs -- which befuddled Joe Montana into three interceptions and a lost fumble. San Francisco's season would end on the same field eight weeks later with an NFC title game loss to the Giants
7 of 11Rick Stewart/Getty Images
1990 Giants (10-0), lost 31-13 to Eagles
Perhaps the Giants and 49ers got caught looking ahead to their Week 13 showdown. After all, the impending Monday Night Football clash -- famously billed "Super Bowl XXIV 1/2" -- would have been the latest-ever meeting between undefeated teams. But while San Fran was suffering its first setback across the country, the Eagles used a Randall Cunningham touchdown pass and a Byron Evans pick six -- two scores within a 22-second span -- to blow open a tenuous 17-13 lead. The Giants would survive to edge the Bills in a Super Bowl for the ages.
8 of 11Heinz Kluetmeier/SI, Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
1991 Redskins (11-0), lost 24-21 to Cowboys
The Cowboys started the game with a modest 6-5 record and finished with back-up quarterback Steve Beuerlein under center, a consequence of Troy Aikman's right knee sprain just minutes into the third quarter. But that didn't stop Dallas from collecting its third victory in four seasons at D.C. Stadium thanks to Michael Irvin's headlining performance: nine catches for 130 yards and a score against future Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green. Eventual Super Bowl champ Washington didn't lose another meaningful game the rest of the season.
9 of 11Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1998 Broncos (13-0), lost 20-16 to Giants
With just 48 seconds remaining in regulation, Amani Toomer wrestled a Kent Graham pass from Denver cornerback Tito Paul in the back of the end zone. Officials ruled the pass incomplete but reversed the call after a conference. Any lingering controversy was forgotten after the Broncos lost their second straight game in Miami the following week -- but Denver would win out through the Super Bowl to bring home their second consecutive league championship.
10 of 11John Biever/SI
2005 Colts (13-0), lost 26-17 to Chargers
Peyton Manning rescued the Colts from a 16-0 hole with two touchdowns and a field goal during a six-minute span in the third quarter. But Nate Kaeding's field goal from 49 yards and Michael Turner's devastating 83-yard touchdown rumble closed the scoring. Indy's dream season would end in the first round of the playoffs after sixth-seeded Pittsburgh survived a Jerome Bettis goal-line fumble in a miraculous 21-18 upset.
11 of 11Michael O'Neill/SI
2007 Patriots (10-0)
Asterisk be damned. New England averages an eye-popping 41.1 points while surrendering a meager 15.7 to its opponents. Eight of the team's 10 victories have come by 20 points or more. The mounting pile of embarrassments -- a 52-7 dismantling of the Redskins here, a 56-10 lambasting of the Bills there -- have approached historical proportions. And if the Eagles (5-5), Ravens (4-6), Steelers (7-3), Jets (2-8), Dolphins (0-10) or Giants (7-3) don't bottle up the New England nor'easter over the next six weeks, the elite Perfect Season club will double in size after a 36-year wait.
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