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Let’s Remember Some Crazy NFL Finishes That Took Less Than 13 Seconds

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When the Chiefs tied their wild card game against the Bills with a three-play, 44-yard drive to get in field goal range in the final 13 seconds of regulation, I thought to myself, has any team ever done more with less time? It can’t be possible! 

So I asked my pals at Championship Analytics if they could run the data and see how many other times this has happened. Since 2000, there have been seven other game-tying or game-winning drives in 13 seconds or less. But three of those instances came off turnovers that set the team up with field position for a field goal without needing to run an offensive play, so I took those out of consideration. That left just four other instances where a team tied things up or stole a lead with that little time on the clock. Only one of those drives went for more yards than the Chiefs did, and none of them started on their own 25-yard line, where the Chiefs began their game-tying drive. So yes, what the Chiefs did on Sunday is unique.

Source: Championship Analytics

Let’s relive some of these crazy game-endings!

Eight seconds: two plays, 66 yards, one penalty, touchdown
2010, Week 10: Texans at Jaguars

With the score tied 24-24, and sixteen seconds left in regulation, Texans QB Matt Schaub throws to tight end Joel Dreessen, who fumbles the ball at the Jaguars’ 34-yard line. Jaguars linebacker Justin Durant recovers the ball on the spot. The Jags take a timeout to preserve the remaining eight seconds. 

On first down at the 34, Jacksonville QB David Garrard hits tight end Marcedes Lewis for 11 yards. On the next play, with three seconds left, Texans defensive end Antonio Smith jumps offsides for a five-yard penalty. Jacksonville moves to the 50-yard line, and Garrard steps up in the pocket for a Hail Mary attempt. Garrard throws straight to a scrum in the endzone, and Houston safety Glover Quin bats the ball down just as he’s coached to do. But on its way to the ground, the ball finds the waiting arms of Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas at the 1-yard line. He takes it in for the score. Jaguars win, 31-24. I had never seen this Hail Mary before. How cool! I absolutely love it when the ball gets tipped or blocked down to a surprised offensive player. 

Eleven seconds: two plays, 26 yards, field goal
2003, Week 2: Cowboys at Giants

Cowboys trailing by three points, 29-32. The Giants kick off after scoring a field goal for the lead, but kicker Matt Bryant sends the kickoff out of bounds at the 2-yard line, giving the Cowboys the ball at the 40-yard line with 11 seconds left and one timeout. 

QB Quincy Carter needs only one play to get Dallas in FG range from their own 40. He throws a 26-yard dart to Antonio Bryant, Dallas calls a timeout and then kicker Billy Cundiff nails a 52-yarder for overtime. (The Cowboys ended up winning, 35-32.)

Eleven seconds: two plays, 26 yards, field goal
2008, Week 6: Bears at Falcons 

Bears quarterback Kyle Orton finds Rashied Davis in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left that gives Chicago a one-point lead, 20-19. The Falcons return the kickoff 10 yards to their own 44-yard line with 11 seconds left on the clock. On the next play, Michael Jenkins snags a 26-yard pass from Matt Ryan and immediately goes out of bounds, leaving one second on the clock for a 48-yard field goal attempt. Good! Falcons win, 22-20. 

Thirteen seconds: three plays, 19 yards, field goal

2017, Week 3: Giants at Eagles 

With the score tied 24-24, Eli Manning fails to mount a successful drive with 54 seconds left, thanks to two Giants penalties, and New York punter Brad Wing kicks back to Philadelphia. It’s short and the Eagles take over on their own 38-yard line. With 13 seconds left, Carson Wentz misses Wendell Smallwood. New York takes a timeout. Seven seconds left. Wentz finds Alshon Jeffery deep for a 19-yard gain, as Giants corners Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple run into each other on the play down the right sideline. Jeffery runs out of bounds with one second left. New York takes another timeout. Jake Elliott hits a 61-yard field goal for the win!

I will never again underestimate any amount of time on a game clock.