The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Dumbest Play in NFL History

Posted on | December 19, 2022 | 1 Comment

As unexpected disasters go, Sunday’s game was for New England Patriots fans what the Hindenburg crash was for the zeppelin industry. The Patriots, at 7-6, were clear contenders for a Wild Card playoff berth coming into the game against the 5-8 Las Vegas Raiders. With a win, they would have solidified their status as contenders going into the final three games against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, AFC East rivals the Miami Dolphins and the division-leading Buffalo Bills.

New England fell behind 17-3 at halftime, but struck back in the second half, with Kyle Duggar scoring a pick-six touchdown on an interception, followed by two field goals and then finally a three-play touchdown drive that featured a 39-yard pass from Patriots QB Mac Jones to Jakobi Meyers and a 34-yard TD run by Rhamondre Stevenson. With a two-point conversion pass, New England had a 24-17 lead with less than four minutes to play. The Raiders rallied in the final two minutes, with Las Vegas QB Derek Carr hitting Keelan Cole for a 30-yard pass that was ruled a touchdown, even though Patriots fans will forever insist Cole was out of bounds. Now the game was tied 24-24 with 32 seconds remaining, and it looked like it was destined for overtime, unless New England could move the ball quickly into field-goal range. Using their two remaining timeouts, the Patriots were able to get to their own 45 with 14 seconds left. Two passes went incomplete and then, on third down with three seconds on the clock, New England ran a draw play, handing the ball to Stevenson, who rambled to the Las Vegas 32 as time ran out, but instead of just letting it go to overtime, Stevenson decided to try to keep the play alive, pitching the ball back to Meyers, who then ran around a bit before throwing a cross-field lateral in the general vicinity of Mac Jones. But the ball went directly into the hands of Las Vegas defensive end Chandler Jones at the New England 48. Mac Jones made a feeble attempt to tackle the Raider, but was stiff-armed aside as Chandler Jones romped all the way for the winning touchdown. The football world was stunned.

There is still, from a purely statistical standpoint, a hypothetical chance that New England could make the playoffs, but realistically? No, they’re done. A team that could blunder away a game in such spectacular fashion cannot be expected to beat the Bengals, the Dolphins or the Bills. The Patriots are probably heading toward a 7-10 finish, and even if they luck out and win a game or two in this final three-game stretch, they are ultimately doomed, like the Hindenburg at Lakehurst.



One Response to “The Dumbest Play in NFL History”

  1. People Never Ask Me for Advice : The Other McCain
    December 21st, 2022 @ 8:02 am

    […] My brother Kirby and I had just finished eating lunch at Primanti Brothers and were enjoying a post-prandial smoke when, for no apparent reason, he brought up the subject of the New England Patriots. But why bring it up? This is obviously a painful topic for me to think about, especially after The Dumbest Play in NFL History. […]