We are now heading into the business end of the NFL season and it’s getting to the time of the year that wins are more important. That means that head coaches and coordinators have to come up with wins to win. One of the best plays that are unexpected and can be a huge momentum swing is when the quarterback turns into the receiver and not the passer. It’s unexpected and it catches defenses unaware and normally leads to a big play or at the very least a big conversion for a first down,
Any play like that becomes a huge momentum swing as it is so unexpected. Teams protect their quarterback at all costs so even when they decide to line up in the wildcat formation more often than not it’s a decoy. Look at Joe Flacco, every time he lined up in the wildcat he literally stood still. So when they decide to actually throw to a quarterback it is such a shock as the offense is basically allowing a team to have a free hit on the quarterback.
In Week Seven of the 2021 season, we saw a great quarterback catch from Daniel Jones. On first and ten with the score at 5-3 New York late in the third the Giants turned to the bag of tricks and Jones became a receiver. He pulled off a one-handed Odell-type catch and picked up the 17 yard gain for a first down. But, as predicted he took a big hit at the end of the play. Yes, your team picked up the first down but is it worth risking the face of the franchise?
That being said, it’s an exciting play when it is pulled from the bag of tricks so let’s take a look at three of the best quarterback catches throughout the years.
Catch 1 – Brett Favre First Pass Completion of His Career
Everyone knows the career that Brett Favre had as a Green Bay Packer and then later on as a Minnesota Viking. Brave decision going to a rival but let’s take a look at the very first pass of his career.
Favre didn’t exactly have a great start to his career after getting drafted by the Atlanta Falcons. After not completing a pass as a Falcon he was traded to the Green Bay Packers. In Week Two of the 1992 season, the Packers went up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A game that Buccaneers quarterback Vinny Testaverde dominated. But, it was the game that Favre had his first completion.
After Don Majkowski was benched Brett Favre came in and made his first appearance as a Packer. Not many quarterbacks, least of all Hall of Fame quarterbacks can say that they completed their first completion to themselves. It wasn’t for a big completion, it was actually a seven-yard loss but still, it’s a rare feat. Have a look below and let us know what you think.
Catch 2 – Philly Special
It’s a dangerous idea when you go to the bag of tricks in a regular-season game but to do it in a Super Bowl is just madness. The pressure of a Super Bowl is enough to make grown men crumble under the easiest of tasks never mind asking a quarterback to run a route and then catch a pass in the end zone. Add into that the fact that you were playing against the New England Patriots who have made the Super Bowl their home in recent years.
Philadelphia was leading 15-12 with 28 seconds to go in the second quarter. Already a lot of pressure. Then you add into the mix that it was fourth and goal. The sensible play is to kick the field goal and go into the half with a six-point lead against the Patriots. Well, it would be the sensible play if it wasn’t for Nick Foles.
Foles ran to the sideline and said to head coach Doug Pederson “You Want Philly Philly”. After a brief moment of contemplation Pederson decided to go for it. What a decision. The offense lined up and Foles started calling the play. Foles moved to the right side of the offensive line and Corey Clement took the snap directly from the center. A short pitch to Trey Burton ended with Burton throwing a completion to Nick Foles in the end zone. Now the lead is 22-12 heading into the half and the Eagles were on their way to Super Bowl glory.
What makes this catch even better is that the Patriots tried the exact same play in the same game and failed to pull it off. I’m sure everyone remembers the Philly Special but have a look below and let us know what you think.
Catch 3 – Brad Johnson First TD Pass To Himself
Everyone will remember when Marcus Mariota and the Titans went up against the Kansas City Chiefs and Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself. It was halfway through the third quarter and the Titans were trailing 21-3. Up stepped Mariota. After scrambling out to the left he threw a pass that was batted down right at the goal line. The only problem for the Chiefs was that it was batted down to Mariota himself who gladly caught it and scampered on for a touchdown. What a lot of people might not realize is that this was not the first time a quarterback caught his own pass for a touchdown.
In 1997 Brad Johnson and his Minnesota Vikings went up against the Carolina Panthers on the 12th of October. Johnson threw a pass intended for tight end Andrew Glover that was deflected down at the line by Greg Kragen straight back to Johnson.
After the deflection Johnson then made defenders miss as he ran into the end zone for a touchdown that went into the history books as a three-yard pass from Brad Johnson to Brad Johnson. The first quarterback to ever do it. Have a look and decide if you think it’s better than Mariota’s attempt.
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Thanks for reading my article on the best Quarterback Catches of all time. For more great NFL content, follow me on Twitter @Steelers_Mark and also follow @OTH_Football. Go check out the amazing work that our guys are doing on the Overtime Heroics Podcast.