The 15 Most Ridiculous Touchdown Catches in NFL Playoff History
Heading into the second round of the wild 2012 NFL playoffs, we've already seen our fair share of crazy plays. The postseason is a time when offensive coordinators decide to hold nothing back, open up the playbook and throw the kitchen sink at opponents.
Throughout the many decades of NFL action, there have been numerous touchdown passes in the playoffs that have defied explanation and the laws of physics, or were just so hair-raising that they are still talked about 30 years later.
These plays are what turn good teams into great teams, playoff runs into championships and players into legends.
15. Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes
Though he may be a selfish and whiny locker-room cancer whose teammates and coaches can't stand him, nobody can deny Santonio Holmes' penchant for incredible clutch touchdowns.
This third-down play put the New York Jets up 21-11 with 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter of the 2011 AFC divisional round.
Holmes SOMEHOW got both feet in while most of his body was over the white line, and the New England Patriots never recovered from the deficit.
Mark Sanchez probably wishes he could turn back time.
14. Tebow Time Again
Somehow, Tim Tebow continues to defy the odds.
In the first ever new-rules overtime, which is meant to give teams a chance to win if the coin-toss winner scores a field goal, Tebow hooked up with a wide open Demaryius Thomas for the 80-yard game-winner.
Did I mention it was the first snap of overtime?
It's hard to tell which is more mind-blowing: that Tebow won a playoff game in overtime, or that the Pittsburgh Steelers blew a coverage so badly in an important situation.
Where is Ryan Clark when you need him?
13. The Greatest Show on Turf
Back when high-flying, pass-oriented offenses were a phenomenon rather than the norm, Kurt Warner's St. Louis Rams won their ring in Super Bowl XXXIV with exactly that.
With the game tied at 16 and just over two minutes left, Kurt Warner decided it was time to hook up with Isaac Bruce for a long bomb.
Bruce made the catch, and the rest is history.
12. Ice Bowl II
The 2007-08 NFC Championship game was one of the coldest NFL games ever on record, but that didn't stop Brett Favre and Donald Driver from hooking up on this sensational touchdown.
After tossing Corey Webster aside like a leaf, Driver dropped jaws as he ran through the snow to blow the NFC Championship wide open.
Receivers afraid of press coverage should watch this play repeatedly until they learn what to do.
11. Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks
While the last play had the New York Giants on the receiving end of an incredible touchdown, this one has them dishing it out.
Just last Sunday in the NFC Wild Card Game against the Atlanta Falcons, Hakeem Nicks blew the game open for the eventual rout, putting one of the final nails in the Falcons' coffin.
Atlanta should have had him, but he slipped right through the team's collective fingers. (Wings?)
10. The Catch II
One of the defining moments of Terrell Owens' Hall of Fame career came in the final moments of the 1998 Wild Card Game.
With the San Francisco 49ers trailing the Green Bay Packers, Steve Young and Owens hooked up for a game-winner eerily reminiscent of their predecessors Joe Montana and Dwight Clark.
The fact that Owens held on to this ball is a testament to his toughness and ability. At least back then.
9. Butch Johnson: America's Tight End
Back when the Cowboys could actually make it to a Super Bowl, there were no real great receiving tight ends.
Butch Johnson helped to change all of that.
After not recording a single reception in Dallas' postseason run in 1977, Butch Johnson made this ridiculous catch over two Denver Bronco defenders in Super Bowl XII.
8. John Stallworth Gets the Ring
Mike Wallace is surely one of the fastest receivers around, but if you want to see a blazing fast Pittsburgh Steelers wideout, look no further than John Stallworth.
This was nothing more than a simple streak route, but you don't need to get fancy when you're that fast.
Terry Bradshaw might as well have been playing catch in the park.
7. Tony Martin Is Fast Too
Many years after Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the ones to get burned by a way-too-fast-to-cover wide receiver.
In the 1994 AFC Championship, the San Diego Chargers' Tony Martin made it look easy with this lightning streak to the end zone.
6. Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald
Kurt Warner is at it again. This time over half a decade later, on a new team, to a very different receiver.
Down by four with just over two minutes to go, Warner and Fitzgerald almost brought the Cardinals their first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XLIII.
It wasn't meant to be, but that was still a catch and run for the ages.
5. The Sea of Hands
Fred Bilitnikoff's touchdown catch in the 1974 playoffs made some of the more modern "circus catches" look almost easy.
How he came down with this, we'll never know.
It's safe to label this catch as "rediculous."
4. The Original Hail Mary
Sorry for the terrible quality, folks.
This Roger Staubach play to Drew Pearson in the playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings is arguably the reason for the creation of the "prevent defense."
3. The Catch
Joe Montana's legend extends far beyond this incredible play, but Dwight Clark's amazing leap-and-reach was one of the most memorable receptions of all time. Beating the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship just made it that much better.
When told he had just beaten America's Team, Montana's response was, "You can sit at home with the rest of America and watch the Super Bowl."
2. Santonio Holmes
Here he is again, that annoying unlikable receiver—Santonio Holmes.
Still, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII is not to be undersold, and this catch represents what a monstrous game he put forth.
There are those who argue to this day that he did not get both feet in (I am not one of those). Regardless, anyone who can make this grab over three defenders AND get the toe-tap has to be something special.
Makes you wonder if Ben Roethlisberger will EVER get the Super Bowl MVP.
1. The Immaculate Reception
Do you need an explanation for this one?
The Immaculate Reception's name speaks for itself. It is arguably the most mind-boggling play of all time.
Those Pittsburgh Steelers seem to keep getting magical receivers on their roster.