5. Saquon Barkley’s Clinic vs Eagles
Eli Manning set up a brief screen to Saquon Barkley on an average 2nd and 10 play in the middle of the second quarter. Obviously, you hope for the best on each play and here it was expected Barkley would get some good yardage and maybe even the first down. However, Barkley got far more than that when he showcased his raw talent on this explosive run. His blockers did a good job paving his way to the first down mark, but after that Barkley took off on his own. He bulldozed his way through multiple defenders and broke 3 tackles, and dodged and weaved his way around multiple more defenders. The run also showcased Barkley’s tremendous speed as he outran a large portion of the Eagles’ defense and covered 55-yards like it was nothing, zooming across the turf.
4. Patrick Mahomes Cross-Body Pass
The Chiefs were in a do or die situation down 24-17 to the Baltimore Ravens and facing 4th and 9 on their own 40 with only 1:29 left on the clock. The snap came and Baltimore ripped through Kansas City’s offensive line forcing Mahomes to the right side of the field. Mahomes needed to get the ball off before being sacked and turning it over within field goal range. In a desperate attempt to save the Chiefs Mahomes launched it across his body to middle of field at the Ravens 28-yard line. His crazy throw somehow managed to find Tyreek Hill, who had ran back to retrieve the pass. Hill even had room to run after catching the ball turning a near sack into a massive 48-yard gain. The Chiefs were now in a 1st and 10 situation with 3 timeouts, 1:17 left on the clock, and positioned on the Ravens 12 -yard line. The insane play not only saved the Chiefs’ drive, but set up a touchdown to tie the game. After the tying touchdown, the Chiefs forced a fumble, but missed a field goal. Then on their next possession hit a field goal which would win them the game. Mahomes and Hill’s connection kept the Chiefs hopes alive and even led them to a victory.
3. The Miami Miracle
The Miami Dolphins were facing their long-time divisional rivals the New England Patriots in Miami during week 14. The game hadn’t been favoring any one team with the lead constantly bouncing back and forth between the two. Late in the fourth the quarter the Patriots kicked a field goal, held the dolphins, and kicked another bringing the score to 33-28 with the Patriots in the lead once again. The Patriots kicked the ball back to the Dolphins with 16 seconds left on the clock and the Dolphins returned it to their own 31. Now the Dolphins had 7 seconds, no timeouts, 69 yards between them and the Patriots’ end zone, and were facing a 99.9% likelihood they would lose the game. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill took the snap and threw it 15 yards to Kenny Stills who gave it to Devante Parker, and he tossed it back to Kenyan Drake who had been trailing behind. Drake then broke a tackle and was about to dump it off to another Dolphin when he saw an opening. Drake turned on the jets and sprinted for the opening finding it, he went down the sideline, and caught Rob Gronkowski, who had been positioned at safety, on a bad angle. Gronkowski stumbled, unable to adjust his angle quick enough, and that stumble was all the edge Drake needed to edge him out and find his way into the end zone. A well-planned, well-executed play filled with blocks and laterals had turned the Dolphins 99.9% chance of a loss into a 100% chance of a victory. Former Dolphins coach Adam Gase called “Boise”, a hook-and-lateral play named after the play Boise State ran when they defeated Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in 2007. The concluding seconds sent everyone in the stadium, fans, players, and staff alike, into a frenzy as the Dolphins had pulled off the unthinkable and just barely snatched a win from the jaws a defeat.
2. The Minneapolis Miracle
Traveling back to last season’s playoffs William Lutz hit a 43-yard field goal and propelled the New Orleans Saints to a 24-23 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints took that lead with 29 seconds left and it seemed like that field goal would be sending the Saints to the NFC championship. Case Keenum and the Vikings offense took the field at the 25, got called for a false start and started on their own 20, 1st and 15. Keenum then hit Diggs for a 14 yards and called a timeout. It was then 1st and 10 on their own 39-yard line. The next two plays were an incomplete pass with the Saints calling one timeout. The Vikings now faced 3rd and 10 on their own 39 with only 10 seconds left in the game. What happened next can only be described with one word, which is the title: miracle. Keenum stepped up and heaved a bomb to the Saints 34. The pass is caught by Diggs, two Saints defenders tripped over each other, Diggs stumbles, regained his balance, and took it to the end zone with no time on the clock. The 61-yard miracle play demonstrated the perseverance of the Vikings and Diggs’ ability as a receiver to make the catch and keep himself on his feet. While both Miami and Minneapolis had their respective miracles the stakes of the Vikings-Saints game, with the winner going to the NFC Championship, pushes the Minneapolis Miracle to the number 2 spot.
1. Derrick Henry’s Record TD Run
Stuck on their own 1 yard line the Tennessee Titans handed the ball to Derrick Henry for some breathing room. Henry ran into a pile of players, and for a split second it appeared he would only get to the line of scrimmage and maybe gain a few yards. However, Henry had something else to say about that and gave the Titans much more than they were expecting. He broke through and took off toward the sideline passing the first down marker and gaining some extra yards. Henry kept going and threw the first of what would become a trio vicious stiff arms to three Jaguars defenders as he streaked down the sideline. Then, he broke a poor attempt at a tackle from another. All the while he was still running down the sideline and instead of getting the Titans some room to work with he took the ball end zone to end zone going 99 yards to the house. Henry’s insane run tied the NFL record for the longest touchdown run in history. Additionally, it showcased Henry’s speed, strength, and skill while he stiff armed, sped down the sideline, and stayed in bounds to get his touchdown. Piling onto a record run for Derrick Henry it was the second touchdown of the night, and soon he would pile on a couple more and many more yards as he went on to have a huge night amassing 238 yards and 4 touchdowns!