The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2018 and the Miami Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs. So their Dec. 9 matchup is far from one of the most memorable regular-season matchups in NFL history.
That being said, the play in which the Dolphins scored as time expired was one of the wildest NFL plays that has ever taken place. With seven seconds remaining, the Dolphins were at their 31-yard-line when they ran a common last-second desperation play that ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt has dubbed “pitchy, pitchy, woo woo.” The play is normally 12 seconds of people running in circles and ending up nowhere near the end zone, but on that day the Miami Dolphins scored a touchdown with triple zeros on the clock and won.
At least the Dolphins were down by five points when they pulled off the Miami Miracle in 2018. The Patriots and Raiders were 24-yesterday after Las Vegas scored a controversial touchdown with just over 30 seconds remaining in the game. They tried their best to quickly get into field-goal range, but on third down, with three seconds remaining, they ran a halfback draw.
The safest play for the Patriots would have been a quarterback kneel, but hey, maybe Rhamondre Stevenson runs a 50-plus yard touchdown on a draw play. He gained about 23, and then went into some pitchy, pitchy, woo, woo on the fly. Even though the Patriots had the ball this time, the end result was just as bad as it was four years and nine days ago.
Jakobi Meyers caught the pitch from Stevenson and he then launched the ball back behind midfield, and the Patriots’ old friend Chandler Jones intercepted the lateral and ran right through Mac Jones’ face on his way to the end zone and the Raiders won 30-24.
Also, unlike 2018, the Patriots are not one of the best teams in the NFL, battling for the top seed in the AFC. This team went to Las Vegas 7-6, left 7-7, and is currently out of the postseason picture. For them to get back into a wild-card spot they will likely have to win their last three games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills.
To Meyers’ credit, he took full responsibility for the result of the play. He told reporters that he was trying to be a hero. Even when one of the reporters asked him if he was surprised when Stevenson pitched him the ball, he said it didn’t matter. Once the ball was in his hands it was his responsibility to do something with it.
He obviously wasn’t the only reason that the Patriots likely pitched away their playoff hopes. Stevenson should not have lateralled the ball, and Belichick and Matt Patricia should have called a quarterback kneel. Also, from the Fox camera angles, it looked like the Raiders’ Keelan Cole didn’t catch that 30-yard touchdown pass with both feet in bounds.
This play didn’t happen on one of the NFL’s biggest stages, so it will go largely forgotten until the next time the pitchy-pitchy play finds itself going for a touchdown. But for now, the second time in less than five years that one of these plays has resulted in a Patriots loss, and it’s the lowlight of a weird 2022 season for Belichick & Co.