By Bo Pierce
The NFL season had some insane games, some went into overtime while others ended with no time on the clock. I’ve put these games in order of how I think they deserve to be, but others might say one game deserves to be higher than the other. Here are my top 5 games of the 2016-2017:
5. Week 7: Seattle Seahawks VS Arizona Cardinals
I can definitely understand why some NFL fans would say this game could not be one of the top 5 games. A 3-3 game that goes into overtime where both teams kick a field goal and then both teams miss a field goal doesn’t sound very entertaining. Especially since the only scores were a field goal in the second quarter, a field goal in the fourth quarter, and some field goals in overtime. To me, this game was a defensive shoot-out. Early in the second quarter, Arizona kicker Catanzaro was sent out to kick a 39 yard field goal but the kick was blocked by Bobby Wagner. However, later in the second quarter, Arizona got back into field goal range to kick a 46 yard field goal. The next score came in the fourth quarter with 4:05 left when Steven Hauschka kicked a 40 yard field goal to tie the game 3-3. Both teams were unable to get into field goal to win the game, so the game went into overtime. On Arizona’s first possession of overtime, they drove down the field and kicked a 45 yard field goal to give them a 6-3 lead. Seattle answered back with a 36 yard field goal on their first possession to tie the game 6-6. On Arizona’s second possession, they drove all the way to the Seattle 1 yard line. On a 3rd and 1, Arizona was setting up for a field goal when they had a delay of game penalty; putting them 5 yards back for a 3rd and 5. On a 24 yard field goal, Catanzaro missed the kick and gave Seattle the ball with 3:26 left. The Seahawks on their second possession drove down the field and was in range for a 28 yard field goal to win the game. Steven Hauschka then kicked the ball wide left and the game ended as a tie. Yes this game wasn’t as high scoring as some had predicted, but it was very defensive.
4. Week 9: Detroit Lions VS Minnesota Vikings
The Lions started the season 1-3, their only win being a last second field goal win against the Colts. The Lions then went on to win their next 3 games by come from behind wins. The Vikings started the season 5-0 and were expected to be the NFC #1 seed due to their dominant defense. The Vikings then lost their next two games and were at a 5-2 record going against a 4-4 Lions. In the first quarter the Lions scored on a 48 yard field goal thanks to the leg of Matt Prater, but in the second quarter Vikings Blair Walsh kicked a 33 yard field goal to tie the game. Lions were able to end the first half with a Matt Stafford 1 yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, ending the half 10-3. In the third quarter, Vikings scored on a 1 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph but the extra point missed. Later on in the game, Blair Walsh 46 yard field goal was blocked. With the score 10-9, Lions kicked a 53 yard field goal to give them a 13-9 with 12:33 left in the fourth quarter. Vikings drove down the field but were stopped on the Lions 5 yard line and decided to go for it. On 4th and Inches, Vikings running back Matt Asiata ran up the middle for no gain giving the Lions the ball with 8:14 left. Detroit Lions ran the clock down to 4:26 but had to punt the ball to Minnesota. The Vikings were able to drive from their own 21 yard line to the Lions 1 yard line and faced a 3rd and 1 with 27 seconds left. Rhett Ellison ran it in for the touchdown to give the Vikings a 16-13 lead with less than half a minute left. After taking the touchback, the Lions had 23 seconds to try to send this game into overtime. Staffords first pass was an 8 yarder to Golden Tate, his second pass was a 27 yarder to Andre Roberts which put them on the Minnesota 40. After running to the 40 to stop the clock, Matt Prater was getting ready to kick a 58 yard field goal. The kick was up and the kick was good to send the game into overtime, 16-16. On the first drive of overtime the Lions drove down to the Minnesota 28 and on a 3rd and 8, Stafford hit Golden Tate on the sideline and Tate was able to keep his footing and run it in for a touchdown to win the game 22-16. The game is best remember for Praters 58 yarder to take the game into overtime.
3. Week 12: Kansas City Chiefs VS Denver Broncos
Broncos and Chiefs, one of the most well known rivalries in NFL. This game is best remembered for the incredible overtime thriller. In the first quarter, no one scored but both teams came close. In the second quarter, the first score came on a 8 yard sack by Justin Houston in which Trevor Siemian fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Broncos in the endzone; resulting in a safety for the Chiefs. On the next play, Tyreek Hill returned a punt 86 yards to give the Chiefs a 9-0 lead. Denver was able to drive down the field and score a 33 yard field goal with less than 2 minutes left in the first half. Both the Chiefs and Broncos couldn’t capitalize on the remaining time as both teams suffered 3 and outs. In the second half, the Chiefs started the third quarter off with a 3 and out. The Broncos were able to sustain a successful drive as they went 63 yards to score a touchdown to take a 10-9 lead. On the next drive, Kansas City answered back with a 75 yard drive ending with a 3 yard run by Tyreek Hill. After the Broncos failed to end the third quarter with a score, they failed to continue the drive as they were stopped. The Chiefs also dealt with similar difficulties as they had to punt on their own four yard line. On the punt the Chiefs were able to recover the ball, but couldn’t manage to score. Denver then put together a 4 play 88 yard drive ending with a 35 yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, giving Denver the lead 17-16. Later in the fourth quarter, Denver was at their 24 facing a 3rd and 2 with 3 minutes and 12 seconds left. Trevor Siemian then threw a dart to Bennie Fowler for 76 yards to give them a 24-16 lead with about 3 minutes left in the fourth. Chiefs then drove down the field but came to a stop on a 4th and 10. On the play, Tyreek Hill caught a pass and took it 11 yards for the first. On the next play, Tyreek Hill caught a pass and was ruled down at the 1. After further review, Tyreek Hill wasn’t down by contact and had scored his 3rd touchdown of the night. The score was 24-22 and Kansas City needed a two-point conversion to send the game into overtime. On the conversion, Alex Smith found Demetrius Harris for the completion to send the game to overtime. On the first drive of OT, Denver drove down to the Chiefs 26 yard line and kicked a 44 yard field goal to give them a 27-24 lead. Chiefs had their own drive into enemy territory as they were stopped at the Broncos 19 and kicked a 37 yard field goal. On Denver’s second OT drive, they were stopped at the Chiefs 44. Brandon McManus was sent out to kick a 62 yard field goal to try to win the game but the kick was short. The Chiefs than got the ball at the Broncos 48 yard line, and they drove to the Broncos 16 yard line where they had 5 seconds left to score a field goal to win. Cairo Santos’ kick hit the goal post and ricocheted right in the goal to win the game 30-27. The field goal was unbelievable as at first look it appeared to be a miss, but then bounce in.
2. Week 16: Baltimore Ravens VS Pittsburgh Steelers
A game that would decide if the Steelers would be AFC North Champs or if the Ravens would steal a wildcard spot. Steelers were able to get on the board first with a 20 yard pass to Xavier Grimble about half way through the first quarter. The Ravens were able to bounce back with a drive resulting in a 41 yard field goal. Later on in the second quarter, the Ravens drove down the field and scored another field goal to cut the lead 7-6. At the beginning of the 3rd quarter, Steelers quarterback Big Ben threw an interception which resulted in the Ravens scoring a touchdown on an 8 yard pass to Steve Smith. Ravens then succeeded on the two point attempt to give them a 14-7 lead. Steelers were able to answer back with a drive starting from their 17 and ending around the Ravens 18 where they scored a 36 yard field goal. Baltimore drove down the field and kicked their own field goal to match Pittsburgh, putting the score at 17-10. Nearing the end of the 3rd quarter, Big Ben threw another interception resulting in a Justin Tucker 23 yard field goal; the score was 20-10 at the start of the 4th quarter. Le’Veon Bell helped out the Steelers with a 7 yard touchdown, cutting the Ravens lead 20-17. Ravens then suffered a 3 and out, which gave Pittsburgh the opportunity to score the 7 yard pass to Le’Veon Bell giving them a 24-20 lead. Baltimore then consumed up about 6 minutes and scored a 10 yard touchdown to give them a 27-24 lead with a minute and a half left. Pittsburgh beat the odds and drove down the field and with 13 seconds left, Big Ben threw a pass to Antonio Brown for 4 yards and the game winning touchdown. With less than 10 seconds left, the Ravens were looking for a miracle but after a short pass to Danny Pitta for 16; Joe Flacco threw an interception which ended the game.
1. Super Bowl 51: Atlanta Falcons VS New England Patriots
At number one, I have the Super Bowl which is probably the most unbelievable comeback ever in history. Atlanta struck gold first by scoring on a Devontae Freeman 5 yard touchdown, and after making New England go 3 and out; Atlanta scored again on a 18 yard pass to Austin Hooper. Atlanta was up 14-0 with about 8 and a half minutes left. On the New England drive, Brady threw an interception that resulted in a pick six by Robert Alford. The Falcons were up 21-0 and the Super Bowl seemed out of hand for the Patriots. With about 2 minutes left in the first half the Patriots drove down the field and scored on a Stephen Gostkowski 41 yard field goal. At the end of the first half, New England was down by 21-3 and the Lombardi Trophy seemed in the hands of Atlanta. During the 3rd Quarter, Atlanta added to their lead with a 6 yard pass to Tevin Coleman. On New England’s drive, they were able to get into the red-zone and score on a 5 yard pass to James White; but the extra point missed. On the Patriots next drive, they got into the red-zone only to be stopped to set up a 33 yard field goal. With the score being 28-12 with 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter, New England had to pull off the ultimate miracle within 10 minutes. Luckily for New England, Matt Ryan got sacked on a 3rd and 1; resulting in a fumble that was recovered by the Patriots. On the Atlanta 25, Tom Brady and Co. drove into the Atlanta 10 yard line and scored on a pass to Danny Amendola. On the two-point conversion to make it an 8 point game, James White ran up the gut for the two. Atlanta received the ball with 5 minutes left and was able to drive down to the New England 23 yard line, but New England’s defense was able to come up big and made some big stops to set up a 4th and 33 with 3:38 left. After New England received the ball, they were stopped and set up with a 3rd and 10 on the New England 9. On 3rd and 10, Tom Brady threw a 16 yard pass to Chris Hogan to give them a new set of downs. New England was already in Atlanta territory within the 2 minute warning, and with a minute left; James White ran it in for a touchdown. With the score being 28-26, New England needed the two-point conversion to send the game to overtime. On the two-point attempt, Tom Brady threw a pass to Danny Amendola to send the game into overtime. There was still less than a minute left, but the Falcons were unsuccessful in getting into field goal range. In overtime, New England won the toss and chose to receive the kickoff. The Patriots drove down the field to the Falcons 2 yard line, where James White broke the plane for the game winning touchdown. There is much controversy over this game, especially the incredible 25 point come-from behind victory. The Patriots deserved this victory, and Tom Brady can officially be considered as the Greatest of All Time.