The NFL was filled with breathtaking and exciting plays this season. Here is our list of the top ten plays of 2018. Honorable mentions include Kirk Cousins’ hail mary to Kyle Rudolph, Larry Fitzgerald’s TD throw, and a left-handed toss by Patrick Mahomes.
10. Baker’s Special
The team that hadn’t won a game in ages was finally ready to break the streak against Sam Darnold and the Jets. Down two points late in the third quarter, the Browns elected to try to tie the game. RB Duke Johnson takes a direct snap, then gives it to WR Jarvis Landry. Instantly, QB Baker Mayfield sprints to the corner of the end zone where Landry hits him right in the numbers. Tie ballgame! Cleveland would end up winning the contest, and the legend of Mayfield was born.
9. Hopkins Spins And Wins
Backed up in their own territory with less than four minutes to go in overtime, the Houston Texans might have been thinking tie. DeAndre Hopkins was thinking win, though. Deshaun Watson hits Hopkins for a first down. The receiver then spins his way through a maze of Cowboys defenders, and gets all the way inside the Dallas 30 yard line. The play set up Houston’s 19-16 win.
8. Welcome To Chicago
While this game will be remembered for Aaron Rodgers’ injury/comeback, it was the Bears’ Khalil Mack who provided the highlight of the night. In his first game as a Bear, Mack was all over the Green Bay pocket. DeShone Kizer takes over for the injured Rodgers when Mack drops back, reading a screen pass. Kizer is pressured and tosses the ball right into Mack’s bread basket. The stud LB takes it to the house, giving Chicago a 17-0 lead.
7. Vancing With Myself
If you’re Chris Conte, it’s time to look away! Big Ben connects with TE Vance McDonald, picking up a first on the third down play. But McDonald decides a first down is not good enough here; he wants more. Bucs Safety Conte collides with McDonald at the Pittsburgh 45, and is rudely shoved to the ground with a vicious stiff-arm. McDonald goes 75 yards for the TD.
Did Odell Beckham, Jr. spark a QB controversy in New York with this pass? The play starts with New York’s other passer, Eli Manning, who slings it to Beckham three yards behind the line of scrimmage. Saquon Barkley slips out of the backfield unnoticed. Pause this video four seconds in and you’ll see three Panthers defenders with their backs turned on Barkley. Beckham fires a dart to the uncovered RB, and Barkley does the rest. It was a 57-yard score.
5. Good JuJu
This play is as much about Ben Roethlisberger as it is JuJu Smith-Schuster. Backed up in his own end zone, Big Ben waits until the very last second to fire this ball to an open Smith-Schuster. The speedy wideout does the rest, out-racing the Broncos secondary on his way to find pay dirt. The most incredible fact about this play: it was Smith-Schuster’s second 97-yard TD in the last two years.
4. History For Brees
ESPN Broadcaster Joe Tessitore wonders aloud if Drew Brees will break the NFL’s all-time passing record before halftime. Fast forward two seconds and the record belongs to Brees. The signal caller finds Tre’Quan Smith deep down the sidelines, as he completes the 62-yard play. Brees then celebrates on-field with his family in one of the most memorable moments of the season.
3. Mahomes’ Magic
4th and 9, trailing by seven points, 1:29 left in the game – it was just another day at the office for Patrick Mahomes. Facing the league’s best defense, Mahomes scrambled to his right and just casually tossed a 40-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill. Nobody was able to come back to the ball like Hill, even though the Chiefs wideout was surrounded by defenders. Kansas City would eventually win the game, 27-24.
2. Dorsett Gets Company
In what became known as the Derrick Henry Game, the Titans RB has his signature moment in the second quarter. On the very first play of the drive, Henry finds a hole and isn’t touched by a Jacksonville defender until the 20 yard line. He jukes and stiff-arms his way down the far sideline, leaving a beleaguered Jags defense in his path. Henry tied Tony Dorsett’s record on this 99-yard run. He finished the game with 238 yards and four scores.
1. Miami Miracle
Gronk at safety? Seriously, Gronk at safety? One of Bill Belichick’s more questionable coaching decisions ended up costing the Patriots a win. An injured Ryan Tannehill was not about to toss a 69-yard hail mary at the end of this game. Instead, Miami runs a simple lateral play, with the ball going from Kenny Stills to DeVante Parker to Kenyan Drake. The Dolphins RB handles the final 51 yards of this play by himself. A few key blocks are thrown in Patriots’ territory before Drake comes face-to-face with Gronkowski. Gronk stumbles at the 15 yard line, and the phrase “Miami Miracle” is born.