What an NFL season it’s been. As we wait for the playoffs to finally, mercifully arrive, we thought it would be a good time to take a look around the league and reflect on our favorite non-Packers moments of the season. What’s yours?
Rcon14: Everything that happened at the end of the Browns/Ravens game
Lamar Jackson had to run to the bathroom (I don’t care what the official story is, no one moves like that with cramps). He comes back just in the nick of time as Trace McSorley is down with an injury (thankfully only a minor one). Then on fourth down throws a touchdown pass to Hollywood Brown who had dropped key passes earlier.
While Jackson was gone, the Browns had mounted a comeback. Baker and Kareem Hunt’s catches would lead Cleveland down the field to respond to take the lead. They left Jackson too much time though, and the kicking god himself gave the Ravens the lead. This would have been all good and a great game, except Lamar spiked the ball a little too early prior to the field goal, which left Cleveland with two seconds left.
After letting the ball go out for a touchback on the kickoff, the Browns tried the lateral-it-a-bunch-and-hope-it-works play. During the play Baker Mayfield was hit multiple times and threw a few blocks. The Browns just kept moving backwards. They were down 3. The line was BAL -3. They’re back at the 10 yard line now. Then Jarvis runs up to the 24. He flings it back towards the middle of the field. It’s caught, but then quickly fumbled and Rashard Higgins ends up with the ball around the 15 yard line. Then, inexplicably he works backwards and is inside his own 5. As he works forward to the 10 he jumps to throw, but is hit. His throw works back into the end zone where Jarvis Landry has to collect it. He is tackled out of the back of the end zone, giving the Ravens a five point win and all the Ravens bettors a bunch of money.
Just absolute insanity.
Tex: DK Metcalf running down Budda Baker (and the ensuing hilarity of overtime in that game)
It was the play that launched a thousand memes, including this brilliant one from Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III about the Lamar Jackson bathroom situation.
Look: Budda Baker is fast. He ran a 4.45 at the 2017 Combine. When a guy like that picks off a (terrible) Russell Wilson pass at the two-yard line and has an entire field of green ahead of him, he should score. But DK Metcalf is an absolute freak of nature. Baker was even running in the right direction at the point of the pick, while Metcalf had to turn his body and accelerate from a dead stop. But despite Baker having about a 10-yard head start, Metcalf and his 4.33 speed track him down at the 8-yard line, an effort that ends up saving a touchdown as the Cardinals go for six points on 4th and goal from the 3 and get stopped.
The rest of this game made it the hilarious game of the year up until Monday’s Ravens-Browns game, replete with a ten-point comeback by Arizona in the final three minutes plus a missed field goal and another terrible Wilson interception in overtime before the game-winning kick with a few seconds left. It also could help provide the Packers with some tiebreaker help for postseason seeding depending on how the last three weeks shake out. But the combination of the hilarity of this game and Metcalf’s absolutely incredible play gives it the top spot in my book.
Buko: Alex Smith Thanksgiving Day Massacre
The best story of 2020 is what’s going on in D.C. No, not that, but Washington getting Alex Smith back after 493 surgeries (approximate number) the same season Ron Rivera coaches through chemotherapy treatments. They’re not leading the admittedly putrid NFC East, but the moment we knew they’d be more than just a great story came on Thanksgiving when Smith and WFT torched the Cowboys 41-16.
They went on to beat the Steelers and now genuinely look like a playoff team thanks to having an adult in the room and under center. In our house, watching Smith’s comeback be punctuated so emphatically actually caused us to boot up the outstanding E:60 mini-documentary on Smith’s comeback, which if you’ve seen, you know is not generally something smart to watch after a big meal.
Still, we were once again riveted by his perseverance, toughness, and faith. It’s incredible he can even walk, much less play football, and he very well may lead a team to the playoffs. Meanwhile his coach, fights off cancer, galvanizes his football team around him, and has them playing suffocating defense. It’s the most “You love to see it,” moment of the NFL season.
Paul Noonan - Pulling a Paul Pierce
Apologies for copying Rcon but the Browns-Ravens game was one of the greatest football games ever played, and most importantly, reintroduced “pulling a Paul Pierce” into the popular lexicon. Aside from that, Baker Mayfield threw the worst Hail Mary of all time and almost killed a guy when he ran into the goal posts, we had a bathroom emergency that involved the Browns, and Hollywood Brown, and a backdoor cover, and honestly, it’s just a beautiful thing. Combined with the worst bad beat of all time and a scoragami on a walk-off safety, what more can anyone ask for.
Shawn Wagner: Daniel Jones trips in the open field
From a pure comedy standpoint, the Giants quarterback tripping after an 80-yard run with no one around him ranks high on the list for the 2020 season. At the time, the stumble was a microcosm of New York’s 1-5 start to the year, especially against another struggling NFC East rival in 1-4-1 Philadelphia. While Jones did the hard part in making the correct read on the option play, rarely do you see a player trip over his own feet in the open field and the Giants went on to lose the ballgame.
Jon Meerdink: Robby Anderson’s mascot incredulity
Mascots are inherently weird, but everyone just kind of accepts them.
Everyone but Robby Anderson, that is.
Encountering the Panthers’ mascot for the first time, his pure, incredulous skepticism about Sir Purr is worth a few seconds of your time.