Recapping Wild Games from Sunday in the NFL

By Michael Vesci
Dec. 10, 2018

There was only one word to sum up the ending to some of Sunday's games in the NFL and that word is crazy. Four games on the Sunday slate came down to the wire and three of those down to the last play in the game which ultimately decided the outcome. To make it even more exciting, all of those games had some sort of playoff implications involved with them. In honor of such a wild occasion, MTV's Hot Takes will be recapping the wild moments from these particular games to give you the full rundown of what happened Sunday afternoon in the NFL.

The Miami Miracle

By far the most shocking finish came at the end of the Miami Dolphins game versus their division rival New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Following a Stephen Gostkowski field goal to give the Patriots a 32-27 edge with less than 20 seconds to go in the game, it looked like New England would leave Miami with a win. But the Dolphins had other plans needing just 69 yards for the game-winning touchdown with seven seconds left on the clock. The Patriots put tight end Rob Gronkowski back near the goal line as a safety in order to knock down any Hail Mary attempt Miami made on the final play of the game. There was only one problem with that, the Dolphins would not be attempting the Hail Mary and would instead try scoring via the lateral.

After Ryan Tannehill complete a pass just shy of the 50-yard line to Kenny Stills, Stills tossed the ball to DeVante Parker who ran up the sideline just past the 50-yard line. Parker then tossed the ball behind him to running back Kenyan Drake who avoided a tackle from linebacker Kyle Van Noy and cut back towards the middle of the field. It looked like Drake was about to toss the ball to Danny Amendola, but instead continue running towards the center of the field where Amendola and guard Ted Larsen delivered huge blocks that freed Drake towards the sideline. The only thing standing between the running back and the end zone was Gronkowski who slipped slightly, allowing Drake to get the edge he needed to tiptoe up the sideline for the 69-yard game-winning touchdown. The loss was all but a death blow to the New England Patriots hopes of snagging the top seed in the playoffs and from gaining a game on the Houston Texans for the two seed. As for Miami, the win kept them alive in a tight AFC Wild Card race with three weeks to go following the Miracle in Miami.

Dolphins 34, Patriots 33

Boswell's Blunder in Oakland

The Oakland Raiders came into this matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers as one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. But the Steelers were reeling coming into this one having lost two in a row and just barely hanging on to their AFC North division lead making a win all the more crucial. In typical Pittsburgh fashion, they played down to their competition and allowed the Raiders to keep the game close. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score was just 14-10 in favor of the Steelers before Derek Carr gave Oakland the lead on a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Lee Smith. The Steelers would respond right away with a quick drive to put themselves back in front after Ben Roethlisberger found wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the end zone for a one-yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh back in front by four.

Excitement for Pittsburgh would be short-lived as the defense once again collapsed in the fourth quarter and Carr drove the Raiders down the field in two minutes to regain the lead, 24-21. With just 15 seconds on the clock, Roethlisberger found James Washington for a short completion, but Washington pitched the ball to Smith-Schuster who found his way up the sidelines for 43-yard gain that set Pittsburgh up at Oakland's 22-yard line with a chance to tie the game. Out came kicker Chris Boswell to attempt the field goal and send the game to overtime, the field goal was a 40-yard try. Boswell stepped towards the ball, went to plant his foot, and then slipped as he tried kicking the football which obviously did not have any height or distance to it. The loss ended all hopes of the Steelers snagging one of the top seeds in the AFC, and they were unable to pad their AFC North lead with three weeks to go. As for Oakland, this win just drops their first-round selection for the NFL Draft in April.

Raiders 24, Steelers 21

Game-Winning Tipped Touchdown Pass

A low-scoring affair between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys suddenly got intense once the fourth quarter rolled around after Dallas scored all their points via the field goal and Philly by way of a touchdown followed by a missed point after attempt to make it 9-6 after three quarters. But then both offenses turned up as the Eagles tied the game at nine with a field goal in the early going of the fourth before Dak Prescott marched the Cowboys down the field for a touchdown via the 28-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper that put Dallas back in front by seven. Following two short drives by both teams which ended in punts, Carson Wentz took advantage of good field position after the punt and led a four-play drive to tie things back up with 3:12 remaining in the fourth.

It only took the Cowboys one play to respond as Prescott hit Cooper again, this time for a 75-yard touchdown pass that put Dallas back in front by seven. That too was no problem for Wentz and his six-play, 75-yard drive which lasted just over one minute, ended with a six-yard touchdown pass to running back Darren Sproles to tie things up once again. The game would head to overtime where the Dallas Cowboys would control the ball for the entire frame as they marched down the field and into Philly territory. On third-and-8 pass, the ball was tipped by cornerback Rasul Douglas and found its way into the hands of Cooper who made his way into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown. The win gave the Cowboys a two-game lead in the NFC East with three weeks remaining and extended their win streak to five straight games. As for the Eagles, it all but ended their chances of taking the division and unless the Minnesota Vikings lose tonight's matchup with the Seattle Seahawks it will put them in a bad spot when it comes to their chances of snagging an NFC Wild Card spot.

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23

Wild Finish in Kansas City

A back and forth game all afternoon, this one may not have been decided by points on the last play of the game, but it certainly was a wild finish to say the least. With the teams tied at 17 late in the fourth, cornerback Cyrus Jones returned a Kansas City punt for 55 yards to set Baltimore up in the red zone with just under five minutes remaining in the fourth. Quarterback Lamar Jackson took advantage of the outstanding field position and three plays later found receiver John Brown for the nine-yard touchdown pass to put the Ravens up by seven with about four minutes remaining. It was up to Patrick Mahomes to lead the Chiefs on a game-tying drive and potentially send the game to overtime. On a fourth-and-9 from the Kansas City 40-yard line, Mahomes found receiver Tyreek Hill near two Raven defenders and Hill broke free for 48 yards to set the Chiefs up inside the red zone.

On another fourth down play, this time from the five-yard line of Baltimore, Mahomes found Damien Williams with a five-yard strike to tie the game up at 24 a piece in the final minute. Now with a chance to win it, Jackson came back out for Baltimore and on second-and-10 from his own 30-yard line, he was stripped by linebacker Justin Houston which set up the Chiefs with a chance to end it in regulation. But kicker Harrison Butker missed the 43-yard field goal to the right and the game was headed for overtime. After the Chiefs scored via the 35-yard field goal by Butker to go in front by three, the Ravens had a chance to either tie things up or win it. As Baltimore continued to try moving the ball via the run with Jackson at quarterback, Jackson injured his ankle on a second down sack which put Robert Griffin III into the game. Griffin was tasked with moving the Ravens 22 yards for the first down on the next two plays, something he was unable to do with his arm and the Chiefs escaped with a win. The win kept Kansas City in the top spot for the AFC playoff picture and the loss for Baltimore prevented them from taking over the lead in the AFC North as well as put them in a four-way tie for the final AFC Wild Card spot with the tiebreaker at the moment.

Chiefs 27, Ravens 24

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