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Greatest NFL games of the 2010s: Part Two

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As we continue ranking the top games from around the National Football League across the last decade, it’s now time to stop and take a deeper look at the non-consensus, underrated matchups that, while clearly not in the company of the games we mentioned in Part One, not only provided drama but shaped up the fates of teams and dynasties.

In the second part, we also revisit more regular-season clashes, with five of the eight games coming from the NFL regular season. So here’s the rest of the best.

Under the radar

2014 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

Super Bowl XLIX is rightfully regarded as one of the best Super Bowls ever but the NFC Championship was incredible in its own way. Rarely do many games provide chaos and drama in the same span of three hours – this had it all. Green Bay and Seattle lost the football a mind-blowing seven times, including 3 in the first quarter.

Packers took a 19-7 lead in the fourth quarter before Marshawn Lynch led the Seahawks to a comeback at home. Mason Crosby kicked the game-tying field goal down the middle with 0:14 remaining in regulation.

Russell Wilson didn’t have one of his best days. But despite throwing for 15 incompletions and 4 picks, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin and Jermain Kearse on consecutive plays of 35 yards through the air starting from his own 35, with the latter’s catch in overtime happening to be the score that sent the Seahawks to Glendale.


Lynch rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on the ground, cementing his legacy with Seattle exactly two weeks prior to the “One-yard debacle” at University of Phoenix Stadium.

2013 NFC Championship: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

The 2013 Seattle Seahawks were nothing short of miraculous in their last two postseason games en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. In Super Bowl XLVIII the Legion of Boom once again confirmed their place as an all-time great defensive unit, shutting down Peyton Manning‘s record-setting offence.

The group’s performance two weeks before that made the difference in a dramatic game in Seattle. The 49ers were led by Colin Kaepernick, who ended up as the team’s rushing leader in that matchup.

The game was won when the Legion made its greatest and most memorable play. With 24 seconds to go in the final quarter of regulation, with the Seahawks leading 23-17, Kaepernick threw a dime to Michael Crabtree which was tipped by Richard Sherman and picked off by Malcolm Smith.

What followed was a legendary interview by Sherman and Seattle’s first of two straight appearances in the Big Game. The Niners, meanwhile, lost their conference championship game for the second time in three years and would have to wait until the 2019 season to return to the Super Bowl.


2018: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (“Miracle in Miami”)

We round up the best of the decade with probably one of the greatest miracles of the decade. It didn’t end up having any kind of meaning as far as playoff berths go, which leaves it chasing Miracle at the New Meadowlands and the Minneapolis Miracle.

A very close game between New England and Miami came down to a 5-point lead for the Pats with 7 seconds on the clock. The Dolphins used a couple of rugby-style laterals – Ryan Tannehill completed a throw to Kenny Stills, who then passed it onto Kenyan Drake. The current Cardinals running back went all the way to the end zone to make the home side’s record 7-6 and keep their postseason aspirations alive.

What makes this game so special since it decided virtually nothing? It established the 2018 Patriots situation as one of a dynasty that’s ready to fall off a cliff at that same moment. New England was 9-4 but the losses had come against average teams such as the Titans, the Jaguars and the Lions. One of the themes of last year was the Patriots’ demise – their loss in Pittsburgh a week later only contributed to that.

However, Tom Brady and Co. weren’t ready to give up. Once the playoffs were underway they were in their element. First, they blew out the promising Los Angeles Chargers. Then they bested the Chiefs, on the road, in overtime, after being listed as underdogs for just the second time since 2009. And the 13-3 win over the Rams in Atlanta was the cherry on the top.

To sum up, the Dolphins’ miracle was, on the one hand, a dramatic victory, and created a false narrative for the Patriots that they refused to live up to after that, on the other. The latter implication was why this game was significant to the whole 2019 season, playoffs included, after Week 14.

Honorable Mentions

2014: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks

2019: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

2015 NFC Divisional Round: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals

2014: New York Giants at New Orleans Saints

2012: Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

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