Top 100 Sports Plays of 2018 (Part 4)
PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4
Well friends, here we are. It's the top 25 plays of 2018. If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. If you skipped right to this section, welcome! You've reached the top of the mountain!
Of the top 100 plays, this section of the list is a combination of both the best and the most iconic plays of 2018.
Let's get right to it.
25. 9/24- Vance McDonald stiff arms defender and takes it to the house
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There are stiff arms, and then there is complete domination of your defender. Vance McDonald shows no mercy to Bucs FS Chris Conte and takes it to the house. Iconic.
24. 6/3- Bradley Zimmer dives to make a great flying catch
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins
You'll believe a man can fly after you watch Bradley Zimmer take flight to take an extra base hit away in this game against the Twins.
23. 11/14- Tom Kuhnhackl gets tripped, slides puck in the net from his back
New York Islanders vs. Vancouver Canucks
This is absurd. This is some Alex Ovechkin-like nonsense. Somehow, SOMEhow, Kuhnhackl is able to put one in the back of the net from his dang back. You could probably try this again another hundred times and still not be able to replicate it.
22. 5/26- Gareth Bale game winning bicycle kick puts Real Madrid ahead
UEFA Champions League Final
Real Madrid vs. Liverpool
There's something beautiful about a good bicycle kick. Here, Gareth Bale puts Real Madrid ahead for good with this stunning kick that finds the top left corner of the net in the UEFA Champions League Final.
21. 3/1- LeBron dribbles through Tristan Thompson’s legs to himself
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Look at LeBron James out here nutmegging his own teammates. He's just so damn good, he owns God's username and password and will do with it what he pleases.
20. 7/13- Billy Hamilton reaches way over the fence to rob Matt Carpenter
Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The dismount is a tad silly, but the catch is absolutely absurd, as Billy Hamilton climbs the wall and reaches over the fence to take a home run away from Matt Carpenter.
19. 4/16- Frederik Andersen paddles puck away from open net
Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, Game 3
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins
On first glance it's really hard to tell just how wide open that net is for David Pastrnak to shoot at. But Freddie Andersen comes up with the save of the playoffs, sealing a much-needed win for the Leafs against their rival Boston Bruins.
18. 7/1- Kevin Pillar climbs the wall to rob Nicholas Castellanos of a home run
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers
I have said it before. I will say it again. Kevin Pillar is SUPERMAN. He's gonna climb the fence again (because what else is new) to take a home run away from Castellanos. Just a day at the office for Mr. Pillar.
17. 1/6 - Marcus Mariota throws touchdown pass to himself
AFC Wild Card Game
Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Brett Favre's first ever NFL pass was to himself. Who's to say that Marcus Mariota hasn't one-upped him here? The Titans QB scrambles and barely makes it to the line of scrimmage before his pass is batted... right back into his hands, where he dives toward the end zone to give the Titans a much-needed score.
16. 3/31- Zlatan Ibrahimovic blasts his first goal with LA Galaxy
LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles FC
Well, this one ain't fair. Zlatan is ageless, and he shows that by blasting his first goal in America from just over the mid-field stripe. He would add another header to put the Galaxy up 4-3, but this one to tie it just electrifies the crowd. LA FC got Zlatan'd on this day.
15. 3/21- Sidney Crosby bats puck to himself and scores
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens
What we've got here is your basic game of hot puck-tato. Sidney Crosby, in all his insanity, uses his excellent hand-eye coordination to tip the puck to himself, and rifle it past Carey Price for the goal.
14. 12/21- Sami Vatanen makes stop to keep it out of the net, Taylor Hall scores on breakout
New Jersey Devils vs. Ottawa Senators
Now this is one hell of a sequence. The Devils make the stop not with their goaltender, but with Sami Vatanen. On the ensuing breakout, the Devils get the odd-man rush, with Taylor Hall scoring the goal, lighting a fire under both the crowd and the team. Watch it and feel the madness.
13. 5/31- Jayson Tatum dunks on LeBron James
Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
This is your reminder that Jayson Tatum is really good at basketball. He makes a poster out of the King, slamming it home over LeBron James.
12. 6/4- Jessie Warren makes great diving snag off bunt and turns two
Women's College World Series, Game 1
Florida State Seminoles vs. Washington Huskies
A DIVING STOP FROM OUT OF NOWHERE! Jessie Warren had to have known this bunt was coming, otherwise she wouldn't have made the excellent diving play. She also has the IQ to throw it to first and double up the runner. This is awesome.
11. 5/5- LeBron goes off the window for game winner
Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 3
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Toronto Raptors
We all know that Toronto didn't have a prayer in this series. When LeBron's shot kisses the glass on the way in, you could hear all of Canada's collective hearts breaking, as the King had once again ripped them out of their collective chests.
Also, LeBron totally knew this was going in as soon as he let it fly.
10. 1/8 - Alabama wins national championship on bomb from Tua Tagovailoa
CFP National Championship
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia had Alabama on the ropes. It was 2nd and 26. Bama was out of field goal range. And yet, this guy, who came into the game midway through and started dominating, throws a 41-yard bomb to DeVonta Smith, winning the national title for the Crimson Tide. Georgia should be ashamed of themselves.
9. 2/27- Mikael Granlund bats puck in after it bounces off his chest
Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues
I see players bounce pucks on sticks all the time. It's not often you see a player full on soccer-ball it from his chest, and bat it into the net. That's exactly what Mikael Granlund does here. Electrifying and truly stunning.
8. 9/23- Tiger wins his first tournament in five years with tap in putt
TOUR Championship, Final Round
That's right, nerds. The golf shot of the year is a two-foot tap in putt from Tiger Woods, who, with this putt, claimed his first PGA Tour victory in five years. Also, come for the putt, stay for the thousands of people following Tiger around as he walks up the 18th fairway at East Lake. No one makes golf what it is like Tiger does.
7. 2/22- Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s shootout goal wins gold medal for US
2018 Winter Olympics- Women's Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game
United States vs. Canada
It came down to a shootout for the United States and Canada, and this delicious goal from Jocelyne Lamoureux dekes Shannon Szabados out of her skates, serving as the golden goal for the Americans, as goalie Maddie Rooney would stop the next Canadian shot. The U.S. women won the gold medal, four years after blowing a 2-0 lead to Canada in the gold medal match in Sochi. This one is all about redemption and finesse.
6. 2/28- James Harden crosses up Wesley Johnson, stares, drains 3
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Let me walk you through this one: James Harden crosses up Wesley Johnson so badly that Johnson falls down. Johnson fell down so hard that Harden STARED AT HIM AND WAITED FOR HIM TO GET UP BEFORE DRAINING A THREE IN HIS FACE. James Harden has ice in that beard. Cold. Blooded.
5. 12/9- The Miracle in Miami: Dolphins double-lateral touchdown to beat Pats
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
We don't have to talk about this one.
Fun fact: The Patriots radio call of this play features 35 seconds of stunned silence.
Fun fact: The Dolphins didn't make the playoffs.
4. 10/17- Benintendi robs Alex Bregman to win game 4
American League Championship Series, Game 4
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
At least Alex Bregman didn't leave us waiting, as he swung on the first pitch from Craig Kimbrel, hitting it into shallow left field. With the bases loaded, anything could have happened if the ball had gotten by the Red Sox left fielder. But it did not, and Andrew Benintendi came up with one of the best plays of the year, winning game four for the Red Sox.
3. 2/4- “The Philly Special”; Eagles pull off trick play pass to Nick Foles for TD
Super Bowl LII
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
We don't have to talk about this one either.
2. 3/31 and 4/1- Arike Ogunbowale's back-to-back buzzer-beaters win Title
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament- Semifinal and National Championship
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Connecticut Huskies and Mississippi State Bulldogs
Never had a player hit buzzer-beaters in both the semifinal and National Championship game before. Arike Ogunbowale made herself into a household name when she hit one with one-second to play against UConn... and then did it again to win a National Championship with an even crazier shot against Mississippi State. Thanks to Arike, Notre Dame are your NCAA Women's basketball champions.
1. 1/14- "The Minneapolis Miracle"; Stefon Diggs 61-yard walk-off touchdown
NFC Divisional Playoff
Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints
And finally, our number one play of 2018.
All Marcus Williams had to do was not duck. Had he not ducked, he probably would have made the play on Stefon Diggs, and we wouldn't be sitting here talking about this play.
Instead, we are. Stefon Diggs' 61-yard touchdown won the game for the Vikings, and, since it has its own nickname, etched itself forever in NFL history, and on this year's list of top plays.
And with THAT, we have reached the end of the top 100 sports plays of 2018.
Are there any that we missed? Leave a comment down below.
<<< PART 3 (49-26)
Also, be sure to check out the rest of According to Andrew's Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.
Top 100 Sports Plays of 2018 (Part 3)
PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4
Welcome back to the top 100 plays of 2018! If you're looking for parts one, two, or four, click the links above. In part three, we'll be taking a look at entries 49-26.
49. 11/25- Chris Carson does flip over defender
Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers
It's one thing to jump over a guy, it's quite another to finish the flip and land on your feet and keep going. *Cues Super Mario jump sound effect*
48. 10/20- Chris Taylor saves some runs with great running catch
National League Championship Series, Game 7
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers
With NL MVP Christian Yelich at the dish and the tying run at second, things looked pretty hairy for the Dodgers. Enter: Chris Young.
47. 10/23- Marchand and Pastrnak make mincemeat of the Senators with great passing
Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators
"In your face!" - Jack Edwards, noting the fantastic moves of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
I'd say that's pretty apt for this one.
46. 9/1- TJ Vasher’s Odell Beckham Jr.-like catch
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Ole Miss Rebels
Odell would be proud of this one, as TJ Vasher goes airborne and stays in bounds for a fantastic catch.
45. 6/3- Steph Curry hits loooooong three to beat shot clock
NBA Finals, Game 2
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
When the shot clock winds down to zero, some players fire up desperation threes. If you're Stephen Curry, you throw up J's like you're at the Y and you drain them.
44. 7/12- Mookie Betts finishes 13-pitch AB with grand slam
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Mookie Betts is the American League MVP for a reason. He takes a thirteen pitch at bat and deposits the last one over the Green Monster for an electrifying grand slam. I'm tellin' ya, it's time to party!
43. 1/2- Carter Hutton is able to recover and make save on bouncing puck
St. Louis Blues vs. New Jersey Devils
This save is absurd. Hutton is able to make one save, then bring his left leg forward in order to block a rebound and keep the puck out of the net. This is all about the yoga here.
42. 11/25- Joel Embiid shakes defender, does alley oop to himself of the glass
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets
THE DISRESPECT, JOEL EMBIID. No regard for human life on this one.
41. 2/10- Andrei Vasilevskiy makes behind the back glove save
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Los Angeles Kings
Okay, Andrei, now you're just showing off. He's already going to win the Vezina in 2019, but making saves like this, behind your back?? WE GET IT. YOU'RE A GOOD GOALIE.
40. 10/13- Reliever Brandon Woodruff homers off Clayton Kershaw
National League Championship Series, Game 1
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is a good pitcher. Relievers typically don't get to hit at all, much less get hits. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw that a RELIEVER hit a home run against Clayton Kershaw in the first game of the NLCS. Purely epic.
39. 10/27- N’Keal Harry makes one-handed catch from his back
Arizona State Sun Devils vs. USC Trojans
Homeboy is literally ON HIS BACK while he makes this one-handed grab. Eat your heart out, Odell Beckham. You have competition.
38. 8/12- David Bote’s pinch-hit, walk off grand slam lifts Cubs over Nationals
Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Aside from the obvious "home run to win the World Series," I think the "down by three, walk-off grand slam" is the most home run in baseball. Watch as David Bote comes off the bench for an epic walk-off grand slam for the Cubs.
37. 7/4- Keon Broxton robs Brian Dozier of a home run
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins
Keon Broxton goes over the fence, and I mean waaaaay over in order to make this snocone grab. Also, fun fact, this game happened on the Fourth of July. Hooray, America!
36. 12/12- Niven Glover throws down crazy dunk
Oak Ridge vs. Edgewater
My high school only ever had one guy who was just tall enough to dunk. This high schooler from Texas, Niven Glover, goes between his legs for a rim-rattling dunk.
35. 5/16- Marc-Andre Fleury denies Mark Scheifele twice to preserve lead
Western Conference Finals, Game 3
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Winnipeg Jets
What a year it was for Marc-Andre Fleury, carrying the Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final. Here, he stops Mark Scheifele on not one, but two shot attempts.
34. 3/3- Julian McGarvey makes the steal and hits 75-footer to win Sectional Championship
Ardsley (NY) vs. Tappan Zee (NY)
To nail a long buzzer-beater is one thing. To intercept a pass, and then quarterback a 75-foot buzzer-beater is quite another. Julian McGarvey does just that, winning the New York sectional championship for Ardsley.
33. 9/29- Davion Davis one handed catch
Central Arkansas Bears vs. Sam Houston State Bearkats
What makes this one-handed catch better than the other one-handed grabs on this list (and there are a lot of them)?
It's because Davion Davis makes what is essentially a backhanded one-handed grab.
32. 5/30- Braden Holtby lays out for paddle save to keep game close
Stanley Cup Final, Game 2
Washington Capitals vs. Vegas Golden Knights
It has become known in hockey as "The Save." In a 3-2 game, with the Caps on the verge of evening the Stanley Cup Final, Braden Holtby made this incredible save on Alex Tuch to keep the game in hand.
31. 11/24- Kendrick Rogers one-handed grab to extend game in 3OT
Texas A&M Aggies vs. LSU Tigers
This game was absolutely bonkers. Seven overtimes. But in the third overtime, Kendrick Rogers made THIS catch to extend the game. He was pretty much the MVP, and for good reason.
30. 12/13- Andrei Vasilevskiy make the crazy scorpion save
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
When the announcers think the other team has scored and they haven't, that means you've done something right. Andrei Vasilevskiy somehow gets a piece of the puck by lifting his skate up and denying a goal.
29. 7/29- Jackie Bradley, Jr. makes running grab and crashes into Green Monster
Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins
Jackie Bradley is a crazy good outfielder. And this could be a potentially scary play since he tumbles into the big wall out there in centerfield.
28. 12/1- Celtics and Marcus Smart make incredible passes for Jayson Tatum finish
Boston Celtics vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Basketball is a team sport. Basketball is a team sport. Basketball is a team sport. Also, Marcus Smart should be the highest-paid Celtic in history.
27. 10/19- Anthony DuClair falls down, still manages to finish and score
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Anthony Duclair blows a tire, and then pulls out ALL the hands to coral the puck and score on this ridiculous goal. Now you're just showing off, because this is absurd.
26. 3/11- LeBron filthy no-look pass to Kevin Love fakes out the Lakers
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Yes, in 2018 LeBron played for the Cavaliers. And he faked literally everyone on his future team out with this incredible pass to Kevin Love, who finishes for two.
Only one more part to go! Click the link to see the top 25!
<<< PREV: Part 2 (75-50) NEXT: Part 4 (25-1) >>>
Be sure to check out the rest of According to Andrew's Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.
Top 100 Sports Plays of 2018 (Part 2)
PART 1 PART 2 PART 3 PART 4
We're back with part two of our four-part best play extravaganza! You can find the rest of the parts (or part 1, if for some reason, you stumbled here first) in the links above.
Here are plays 75-51:
75. 10/11- David Pastrnak undresses Oiler defenders en route to goal
These are straight mitts of marinara for David Pastrnak. This guy's so good. Whatcha gonna do when Pastamania runs wild on you, brother?
74. 4/12- Filip Forsberg dangles through defender’s legs and scores
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1
Nashville Predators vs. Colorado Avalanche
This is nothing new for Filip Forsberg, as the guy has a deke move named after him. Here, he goes through his own legs and toys with the Colorado defenders en route to a very nifty goal in game one.
73. 12/23- Luka Doncić hits three with .6 seconds left
Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Luka-mania is upon us, and let me tell you, I am HERE for it. With .6 seconds left, Doncić sends the Mavs bench into a frenzy as he ties the game at 107 with an impossible three-pointer.
72. 7/20- Joey Wendle makes crazy glove flip for the out to nab Justin Bour
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins
"Can Eovaldi get it?" Nope, but Joey Wendle can, using his glove to make a great flip to first to nab Justin Bour for the out. I love great baseball IQ.
71. 12/8- Keldon Johnson half-court shot to tie game
Kentucky Wildcats vs. Seton Hall Pirates
Seton Hall controlled this game (and they'd win in overtime)- but Kentucky showed why they're a force to be reckoned with (and will not go away) as Keldon Johnson nails this buzzer-beater from half court to send it to OT.
70. 4/28- Odubel Herrera pulls one back from the bushes
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
I don't really know why there are brushes within reaching distance at Citizens Bank Park, but there are. They're no match for Odubel Herrera, though, as he is able to pull the ball back in play, saving a home run.
69. 1/5 - Carey Price makes one save, rolls over to make another save
Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
For all the smack I talk about the Canadiens, Carey Price is a force to be reckoned with. He makes a Dominic Hasek-like save (in overtime, no less) against two Lightning players to keep the game tied. Ridiculousness.
68. 1/26- Blake Peters nails 80-foot shot to beat the buzzer
Evanston Township (IL) vs. Maine South (IL)
The first thing to know about this play is that Blake Peters is a freshman. The other is that this play is now known as the "Peters Prayer." Please enjoy a 14-year old nailing an 80-foot game-winner.
67. 12/16- Patriots make great special teams coverage play
New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots use not one, not two, but THREE different players to pin the Steelers deep off a punt. This is some baller special teams coverage if I've ever seen some.
66. 2/6- Brian Elliott makes stick save with some help from Claude Giroux in OT
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Carolina Hurricanes
How many sticks does it take to keep the puck out of the net? Two apparently. Brian Elliott starts with a great paddle save, and Claude Giroux has great hand-eye coordination to bat the puck away from the crease. A solid tandem, no?
65. 6/13- Mitch Haniger and Jean Segura make great play on Luis Valbuena
Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels
The bat flip is legendary. The throw is mutant. The tag is even niftier. I love baseball.
64. 9/23- Josh Allen hurdles defender
Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings
Say what you want about Josh Allen and the Bills, but the guy can run. Dude has some serious ups as he leaps over the Vikings defender here.
63. 2/27- Ja’Quan Newton buries UNC with buzzer-beating 3
Miami Hurricanes vs. North Carolina Tarheels
Man, I do love a good college basketball crowd silencer. After UNC tied the game with a clutch three with only seconds to go, Miami player Ja'Quan Newton thrust the dagger into the hearts of the Tarheels, winning the game for the Hurricanes.
62. 9/19- Steven Matz behind the back snag and double play
New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Ah yes, the ol' behind the back snag. You're slick, Steven Matz.
61. 11/29- Elias Pettersson makes a great pass for the goal while falling
Vancouver Canucks vs. Vegas Golden Knights
This is some great awareness by Elias Pettersson here, to be able to keep control of the puck even though he's tripped, to finding Brock Boeser, who slaps it into the empty net.
60. 8/11- Ramon Laureano doubles up Eric Young with crazy throw from centerfield
Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Angels
The best play in baseball is the outfield assist. Watch this, as Ramon Laureano doubles up Eric Young with an out-of-this-world throw from the warning track.
59. 11/13- Pekka Rinne essentially throws his stick behind him to block shot
Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks
I'm not quite sure what this save is. Does he... throw his stick at the puck? Or does the puck actually hit him in the back? How does the stick get back there? Regardless, it's a great save. Post your comments as to how you think Rinne makes this save.
58. 10/16- Tony Kemp goes up onto the wall to rob Steve Pearce of a hit
American League Championship Series, Game 3
Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox
If this had fallen for a hit, it would have blown the game open for the Red Sox. Instead, Tony Kemp makes an outstanding catch, further emphasized by the loud bang made when the ball hits the wall from inside his glove.
57. 2/3 - Dominic Green hits game-winning 3 after layup is swatted away
Arizona Wildcats vs. Washington Huskies
I can imagine that Washington was pumped to find that the game-tying jumper was blocked. Problem was, there was still time for Dominic Green to bury a game-winning three pointer for Arizona.
56. 4/11- Sidney Crosby tips one in out of mid-air
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
What else is to be expected from Sid the Kid? And in a playoff game, no less! Crosby somehow redirects this puck into the net after a blast from the point. Crazypants.
55. 2/6- Giannis Antetokounmpo jumps over Tim Hardaway on dunk
Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks
Does it need repeating that Giannis is a freak of nature? I didn't think so. He jumps OVER a dude on his way to a dunk. You're welcome.
54. 9/16- Keelan Cole one-handed grab
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots
This was Jacksonville's version of the Super Bowl (since they shit the bed and finished 5-11 this year). As is nature in every Super Bowl against the Patriots, there's some crazy circus catch. This one by Keelan Cole is no different.
53. 2/11- Casey Cizikas one handed shovel goal
New York Islanders vs. Calgary Flames
Well this is a new way to score a goal. I'm curious to see what kind of direction this puck takes off the stick of Casey Cizikas as it goes past Mike Smith. I dig it.
52. 9/29- Juwan Johnson makes crazy one handed grab
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
This is on the first drive of the game for Penn State. Imagine what a crazy one-handed catch would do for both your team and the crowd! I can't imagine what would happen if you were to squander all of that momentum in a crucial moment in the game...
51. 10/27- Max Muncy ends 18-inning game with walk-off home run
World Series, Game 3
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Boston Red Sox
And 18 innings later.... Max Muncy ends the longest game in World Series history with a blast that will long live in Los Angeles Dodgers lore.
50. 12/9- Juju Smith-Schuster toe-tap touchdown
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders
In the pros, it's two feet down with possession. This one was called incomplete on the field, but replay showed that Juju had both feet in bounds and control of the ball, completing the absurd touchdown catch.
We are halfway done! Be sure to check out parts three and four of the best plays of 2018 by using the links above (or below), and take a look at the rest of According to Andrew's Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.
<<< PREV: Part 1 (100-76) NEXT: Part 3 (49-26) >>>
Top 100 Sports Plays of 2018 (Part 1 of 4)
Every year, the Best Plays list gets longer and longer. It started with 10, then expanded to 50, and for the last year, it's been the top 100 plays of the year.
And because this is probably my favorite list to compile (that, and it has the most research involved), I have kept the list at 100. There were so many iconic plays to cover, I even split it up into FOUR different lists, just so that it's more manageable to look at.
And with that in mind, let's get to it. No honorable mentions, just 100 of the best plays from 2018.
100. 8/16- Umpire catches bat flip from Castellanos homer
Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins
Nicholas Castellanos hits a home run here, but that isn't the story.
"No bat flipping on my field," says home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez.
99. 9/29- Fan plunks Giancarlo Stanton from the Monster as he rounds second
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
This is an impressive throw. The Green Monster is 38 feet high, and to hit a guy on one hop as he rounds the bases is probably a good 150 feet. It's also quintessentially Boston, to throw at an opposing player. Props to Stanton for tipping his hat to the guy, though.
98. 6/9- Lorenzo Cain saves Orlando Arcia’s error by making the catch
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Good for Lorenzo Cain, helping out his teammate before Orlando Arcia completely makes a fool of himself by dropping the ball.
97. 4/1- Bruins keep the puck in with an extra attacker, score with 3.8 left to tie it
Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
How the Bruins are able to keep this puck in, I have no idea. However, they do, and manage to get it to Patrice Bergeron, who ties the game just before the horn, sending it to overtime.
96. 11/1- Braden Holtby blocks an open net and sprawls for a second save
Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens
The guy isn't a Vezina Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion for nothing. One of the best plays in hockey is the cross pass and tap into the wide open net. Braden Holtby stones Brendan Gallagher, and the save spurs a goal for Lars Eller in OT down the other end.
95. 12/5- Zion Williamson goes off the backboard to R.J. Barrett
Duke Blue Devils vs. Hartford Hawks
Hartford is my alma mater. They deserve this. Watch as Zion Williamson passes one off the glass, and as R.J. Barrett slams it home in this vicious alley-oop.
94. 10/25- Kenny Stills and Devante Parker combine for bizarre catch
Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans
So, this one is caught by Kenny Stills, who is then hit by a Houston defender. The ball comes loose and is batted forward by another Houston defender, and lands in the awaiting arms of Stills' teammate, Devante Parker. This one is good for 46 yards. Unreal.
93. 9/14- J.R. Martin's behind-the-back deke, then Hail Mary touchdown
North Gwinnett (GA) vs. Walton (GA)
Watch closely: North Gwinnett HS (Suwanee, GA) quarterback evades a defender by tucking the ball behind his back, and then finding Garrison Manor for the game-winning Hail Mary touchdown pass.
92. 11/8- The weirdest flea flicker ever is good for two points
SDHSAA Class 9A Football Championship- Howard Tigers vs. Canistota/Freeman Pride
The play starts as a run, ends up as a pass, and is good for two points in what has to be the strangest point-after-touchdown attempt ever. Canistota/Freeman would win the game in a 46-14 rout.
91. 9/1- Devin Duvernay’s leaping touchdown grab
Texas Longhorns vs. Maryland Terrapins
Full extension, outstretched fingers, touchdown. This one is just sweetness.
90. 5/28- Jackie Bradley, Jr. makes over-the-shoulder grab in deep center
Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Making a basket catch over your shoulder is no easy feat. But Jackie Bradley Jr. is no ordinary outfielder. This clip is a little tough to see at first glance, but Bradley makes a nice grab going backwards toward the deepest parts of Fenway Park.
89. 4/1- Travis Konecny undresses the defense with a toe drag goal
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins
Travis Konecny makes this look easy, as he corrals a puck in mid air, then is able to deke four Bruins on his way to a pretty looking goal.
88. 10/24- Sidney Crosby goes through the defender’s legs to score
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Edmonton Oilers
Hold... hold... hold... make you look silly... score.
A day in the life of Sidney Crosby.
87. 9/8- Tee Higgins reaches over defenders and spins away for touchdown
Clemson Tigers vs. Texas A&M Aggies
The catch is Moss-like. The spin and touchdown run is beautiful. This is a great play by a very talented young receiver.
86. 7/22- Cheno Guzman does a 360 and then casually rolls it in for a goal
San Antonio FC vs. Real Monarchs
This play comes to us from the United Soccer League, and features San Antonio FC player Cheno Guzman doing a nifty spin move to get past the defender, and then casually dribbling the ball into the net. Is this the equivalent of a classy celebration in American football?
85. 8/7 & 8/8- Adam Engel robs home runs in the same place on consecutive nights
Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees
I guess the best option would be to just not hit it at White Sox CF Adam Engel, who robs Greg Bird, followed by Kyle Higashioka on consecutive nights. Pretty impressive feats of both luck and skill.
84. 11/6- Miles Bridges slams home a great dunk
Charlotte Hornets vs. Atlanta Hawks
Where's the gravity, Miles? You know I love you, but come ON! This is filthy.
83. 4/15- Khris Middleton hits three with .5 seconds left to send game to OT
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
As a Celtics fan, I thought this one was over. .5 seconds and an inbound from just over the mid-court line? Khris Middleton didn't want to go home early, as he buried the long three to tie it, shock the TD Garden crowd and send the game to overtime.
82. 9/1- Quentin Pounds reels in touchdown with one hand
Washington Huskies vs. Auburn Tigers
In college football, all you need is one foot in the end zone with possession. Quentin Pounds is able to just get both together in time for this crazy touchdown catch against Auburn.
81. 12/7- Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen scores goal
Northern Michigan Wildcats vs. Michigan Tech Huskies
GOALIE GOAL!!!! Goalie goals are like fat guy touchdowns or big guy three pointers. But sometimes, when the net is empty, and the stage is right, sometimes the goalie gets to be the first one through the high-five line. Northern Michigan goalie Atte Tolvanen finds the other net in this one.
80. 4/30- Terry Rozier goes through his legs and then alley-oops to Marcus Morris
Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 1
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
This is Scary Terry channelling his inner Kyrie Irving. What HANDLES on this kid.
79. 3/31- William Karlsson goes between-the-legs for a spectacular goal
Vegas Golden Knights vs. San Jose Sharks
This takes some balls, going between your own legs and going top shelf. But William Karlsson has no fear, and buries it past Sharks goalie Martin Jones for the shorthanded goal.
78. 5/30- Gary Sanchez throws runner out at third after wild pitch bounces back to him off the backstop
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
I had thought the backstop at Yankee Stadium was either plastic or padding. I guess I was mistaken, and that it's brick (or something). Think of all the things that have to go right for this play to work: the ball has to come right back to catcher Gary Sanchez, and has to be in the correct position for him to wind up and gun it down to third base, where the runner is waiting to be tagged by Miguel Andujar. Crazy lucky, this one.
77. 1/1- Myles Boykin makes one handed catch, jukes defenders on way to winning touchdown
Music City Bowl
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. LSU Tigers
I'm upset with Notre Dame football right now, but at least this was a good way to start the year (this is our very first play on the list). Myles Boykin makes a great one-handed grab on the way to score the winning touchdown against LSU.
76. 12/2- Flames’ Mike Smith makes a great skate save
Calgary Flames vs. Chicago Blackhawks
How much of this is luck, and how much of this is skill? Regardless, it's a fantastic skate save by Mike Smith to keep a sure goal out of the net.
And just so I can keep you guessing, that's the end of part one! You can find the other parts via the links at the top.
NEXT: Part 2 (75-50) >>>
And be sure to check out the rest of According to Andrew's Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.
Top 15 "Oh No!" Sports Moments of 2018
For all the glory that sports can bring, sometimes they make you get up from your chair and just take a second. Sometimes they throw something at you so asinine, so incredulous, that you just have to bury your face in your hands and cry a little.
Sports have the ability to make you cheer and inspire you, but they’ve also got the ability to make you laugh at other people’s pain and just give a little “oh, no!” to that effect.
This is the opposite of the best moments from the sports year. These are the worst of the worst: the top 15 “Oh NO!” sports moments of 2018.
February 20th- Fergie's rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the NBA All-Star Game
I’m less inclined to knock Fergie for this one because singing the National Anthem is very difficult. It requires incredible range, it’s stupidly over-melodic, and the pressure is on (especially if you’re a recording artist) to be different from everyone else who’s ever sung it before.
Now, I’ll be honest. This is… a poor effort. But it’s not all bad. Give her credit for trying to jazz it up a bit. Carl Lewis still did it worse… although his doesn’t have a meme made out of it.
December 23rd- Steelers convert fake punt against Saints, except they don't
The Steelers, as of writing this, are in trouble. They sit outside the AFC playoff picture after being in control of their own destiny. In their week 16 game against the Saints, they decided a fake punt would be in order near midfield… even though they were winning by four with 4:15 to go. They didn’t get it.
Roosevelt Nix, who ran the ball, thought he had it however. 7/10 on the celebration there, bud. Problem is, you’re a yard and a half short. The Saints would win the game, 31-28.
April 7th- Padres let infield fly drop, Astros score winning run from second
Hitting a baseball is hard. Having to communicate with other people is pretty hard, too. The Astros, to this point in the game, were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. But they had Derek Fisher on second with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning with Alex Bregman at the plate. Then that ^ happened. Astros win, 1-0.
Baseball is hard.
The Top 15:
15. December 2nd- Georgia's fake punt fools no one, Bulldogs lose to Alabama
GEORGIA HAD THIS GAME WON. AGAIN. Just like in the National Championship, Georgia was beating Alabama in the 4th quarter, and they completely fell apart. Tied at 28, and the ball on the Georgia side of midfield on 4th and 11 with just over three minutes left, Georgia called its freshman quarterback, Justin Fields, onto the field to participate in punt coverage, hoping to catch Alabama off guard. It did not work. Alabama would win the game, 35-28, clinching the SEC Championship and going on to be the #1 seed in the College Football Playoff. THIS GAME WAS IN ATLANTA. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE FAKE PUNTING ON 4TH AND 11???
14. August 10th, July 10th, & June 7th- Baseball's worst defenses
This is the first of a few double-whammys on this list. The first exhibit is the “walk-off strikeout” exhibit.
First, we’ll take a look at the minor league Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who walked off with a rare bases-loaded, three-run, walk-off strikeout against the Burlington Bees.
Secondly, we’ll look at the Houston Astros’ walk-off against the Oakland A’s, which features some… interesting base running techniques, and just some poor, poor defense. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TAG HIM.
Finally, this is a game between the Reds and Rockies, where both teams forget how to baseball on the SAME DAMN PLAY.
Sometimes sports make my heart hurt.
13. June 27th- Germany eliminated from World Cup by South Korea
This is Germany. They’re supposed to be really good at soccer. They just got eliminated by South Korea, who’s not supposed to be really good at soccer. And this isn’t some fluke knockout round loss, this was a dominant 2-0 loss is the group stage. The world was right to laugh at Germany. They’re supposed to be better than this. We were rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. Except not really, sucks to suck, see you at the Olympics.
12. September 22nd- Wake Forest kicker forgets to enter game, misses field goal
I think this is like a reverse Charlie Brown, where the guy actually forgets to kick the ball. I’m not really sure how you forget that your team is on the opponent’s side of the field, or how you forget that it’s fourth down. But Wake Forest freshman kicker Nick Sciba did. But even if you forget, no sweat right? You just have to take a little less time preparing and make the kick like normal. He didn’t It hit the left upright. Poor guy. Notre Dame would win the game. At least the field goal wasn't the difference, that would have sucked big time.
11. February 19th- Elizabeth Swaney at the Olympics is all of us
I’m sure we all watch athletes like Shawn White or Chloe Kim go into the Olympics and wow us both and make us want to try out skiing or snowboarding, thinking that one day, we might be able to do such things. In reality, Hungarian-American skier Elizabeth Swaney is all of us. I’m sure she’s just as petrified of that big halfpipe as we would be going up to approach our first trick. Of course, Swaney is a bona fide Olympic athlete, having gone to compete for her mother’s country of Venezuela, and then Hungary as a freestyle skier, slowly making her way up the rankings by just… skiing. Obviously she’s not a skilled Olympic athlete, but she’s got the brains to scam her way into the Olympics. She captured the dream. Not all heroes wear medals.
10. April 29th- Titus O'Neil and the Greatest Royal Tumble
Wrestling is the best. And sometimes, it goes beyond the best and makes its way onto this list. And the best wrestling moment of the year came back in April at WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble event, a promotional event broadcast from Saudi Arabia. Titus O’Neil, head of the stable Titus Worldwide, entered the arena to take part in a 50-man, over the top rope battle royal, as entrant number 39. As he was charging down the ramp, the seriousness of the match was broken as O’Neil caught the edge of the ringside mat and bit it- hard- nearly sliding underneath the ring itself. Obviously, the announcers lost it and replayed it probably 15 million times on air during the event. This is the greatest thing to ever happen.
9. October 7th- Khabib attacks Conor McGregor's camp after UFC 229 win
From comical to serious, from the squared circle to the octagon, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor was one of the highlights of the UFC calendar year. Or… lowlights, if you want to look at it that way. After weeks of hype, which included various personal attacks by each combatant- with McGregor even making comments about Khabib’s family, the fight got underway at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. The undefeated Khabib defeated McGregor by submission in the fourth round. But then things got hairy. After the match concluded, Khabib jumped the cage, and began violently whaling at any member of McGregor’s camp that got in his way- an unprovoked, idiotic act. Khabib cited the assailment as retaliation for McGregor making the bout “personal.” UFC president Dana White suspended both men in the aftermath of the event.
8. September 19th- Vontae Davis retires at halftime
Let’s face it- the Buffalo Bills are bad. They’re really terrible. They’ve got some glimmer of hope in Josh Allen, but let’s face it. When your starter during week one was Nathan Peterman, you’ve got some problems. Down 28-6 at halftime to the Los Angeles Chargers, cornerback Vontae Davis had had enough. And so the dude literally up and quit at halftime, reportedly telling his coaches that he was “done.” This is so totally disrespectful but so funny at the same time. It’s a microcosm of the Bills organization. David said he “meant no disrespect” to his teammates and coaches, and said in an interview that he came to the sudden realization that “he shouldn’t be out [there].” But I’ve never heard of this, at any level. Sounds like a sore loser to me! Only in Buffalo. #BillsMafia
7. April 6th- Sergio Garcia's Masters meltdown
laying golf is hard. Watching people play golf is painful. Watching professionals suck at the sport they get paid to be good at is soul sucking. Sergio Garcia even won the Masters Tournament a few years ago. And here he was in the first round of this year’s tournament, hitting five balls in the water on the 15th hole. He carded a 13 on the hole and would miss the cut. This one really does make you go “oh no…” Watch at your own discretion.
6. March 1st- Louisville gives up 5 in the final one second, loses to Virginia
And that’s not some kind of crazy 5-point play. This is a slow, painful, college basketball foul-shooting death we have here. Virginia, down four, with the ball, shoots a desperation three. FOUL. Two free throws later, there is a lane violation, which means it is Louisville’s ball, up by 2 with .9 seconds left. The dude TRAVELS. Virginia ball. On the inbound, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter banked home the game-winning three, sealing the 67-66 win for the Cavaliers. There are so many things that you just have to not do- SIMPLE things, and you did ALL of them. You deserve to lose by a point, Louisville. Rick Pitino ruined the Celtics.
5. November 22nd- Kewan Platt's vicious cheap shot
Yeah there’s no reason for this. Dude plays for Fitchburg State, acting like he’s taking it so seriously he’s gonna go to the NBA or UFC or something. The kid from Nichols State, Nate Tenaglia, probably shoved Platt and the ref missed it or something, so this is what Kewan Platt decides to do, throw a vicious elbow a full second after the kid has let loose a three. And the way Tenaglia’s head snaps back, you would think that one inch in the wrong direction, and we’re looking at something far more serious. It’s pretty lucky that Tenaglia’s not seriously injured. Platt was suspended and “barred indefinitely” from campus after the cheap shot.
4. May 5th- 76ers drop confetti early thinking they've won; Celtics win in OT
In a way, I can understand the confusion here. It’s close enough to being a three, emotions are running high, and you’re in front of 20,000 people at the Wells Fargo Center who vehemently hate the Celtics, I get that. But keep your hand off the button until you know the score.
With 1.7 seconds left in game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Sixers SG Marco Belinelli rattled home a long jumper to tie the game at 89 and send it to overtime. The Sixers’ confetti guy, however, thought the game was over (as did many of the Sixers), and released some confetti from the rafters. The referees ruled it a two, and the two teams would play overtime.
The Celtics would win. Awkward.
3. November 11th- Cody Parkey and the four uprights
It hasn’t been a good year for kickers in the NFL. Dane Carlson and Zane Gonzalez (who?) both lost their jobs after bad performances in week two. Mason Crosby missed four field goals and an extra point in a Packers 31-23 loss to the Lions.
And then there was Cody Parkey, who missed four field goals himself- all off the upright.
What you are about to watch are four different kicks. Oh, Danny boy; the pipes, the pipes are calling.
2. December 2017 to December 2018- Nathan Peterman and the Buffalo Bills
And then there was Nathan Petermeme.
Sorry, allow me to use his full name. Nathan “Twelve Interceptions” Peterman
This guy is bad. Like, historically bad. The guy must have had a really good tryout, because he somehow made it to the NFL level, and poor management probably allowed him to start (then again it’s the Bills, so it was definitely poor management).
In the Bills’ week nine 41-9 loss to the Chicago Bears, Peterman’s statline was as follows: 38-49, with 188 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Those three interceptions brought his total to 12 against 130 attempts, making his career interception rate 9.23%.
To put that in perspective: Aaron Rodgers had 1,000 career pass attempts before he threw his 10th interception. It took Nathan Peterman fewer than 100 to reach that mark. But on the bright side, the Oakland Raiders are undefeated since signing him. So that’s a sign of good things to come.
1. May 31st to June 8th- The 2018 NBA Finals
This one requires some serious explanation because it is an entire series…. Realistically though, we’re going to focus on just the beginning and the end.
So it’s the Warriors and Cavaliers for the FOURTH YEAR IN A ROW. It’s LeBron against Steph and KD. The Warriors have won two of the last three. We had our rubber match. The series against the Celtics would have at least been exciting. This was garbage.
Game one ended in bizarre fashion thanks to one J.R. Smith. With the Warriors leading 107-106, Cavs guard George Hill went to the free throw line, and knocked down the first, leaving it tied, 107-107. He would miss the second shot. Smith, thinking the Cavaliers had the lead, grabbed the rebound and dribbled it out to half court. LeBron James, dumbfounded, pointed to the basket as if to tell Smith that there was still time. There wasn’t, and the game would go to overtime, where the Warriors would win 124-114.
Games two and three (and four) were not close. The Warriors won game two 122-103, and took game three in Cleveland 110-102.
In game four, the Warriors took the lead at the start (coming out of the gate up 13-3) and never looked back, winning 108-85, their largest win of the series. With 4:03 remaining in the game, LeBron was taken out, his last action as a member of the Cavaliers. Kevin Durant was named MVP, and the Warriors (unsurprisingly) got better that offseason by signing DeMarcus Cousins.
This series was a stinker, and it’s our number one “oh no!” sports moment in 2018.
What moment in sports this year made you cringe? Leave a comment down below.
And be sure to check out According to Andrew’s Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.
Top 10 Sports Games of 2018
Fair warning: there’s a lot of football on this list.
But dear me, did 2018 give us some games to remember. From the Olympics to the World Cup, to the College and NFL playoffs and beyond, this year showcased the best that sports had to offer.
I also want to point out that all of these are very close. There is no drop off between one and two, nor is there a drop off between the actual list and the honorable mentions.
The games this year were spectacular. Let’s take a look at the top 10 games in sports in 2018.
September 8th- Clemson escapes College Station
Clemson Tigers 28, Texas A&M Aggies 26
Clemson should have put away Texas A&M much sooner and much more handily than they did. Fortunately, they made the play when they had to, and defeated the Aggies in a thrilling victory in week 2 of college football. Clemson led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, as sophomore QB Kelly Bryant’s pass to Diondre Overton put the Tigers up 21-6. Clemson would add another later in the third, going up 28-13 entering the fourth. But Texas A&M would not go away quietly, as Aggie QB Kellen Mond led two touchdown drives within five minutes in the fourth, the second leaving the score at 28-26 with just a two point conversion pending. With the game in the balance, the Tigers defense stepped up, and forced an interception, with K’Von Wallace making the pick in the end zone, sealing a Tiger victory. Clemson is playing in the College Football Playoff, but they might not be here if not for some great defense early in the season.
September 29th- Penn State's questionable 4th down play calling
Ohio State Buckeyes 27, Penn State Nittany Lions 26
Ah, the ol’ Ohio State-Penn State rivalry. This edition took place at Beaver Stadium, and probably shouldn’t have ended the way it did. The Nittany Lions had Ohio State on the ropes. They had the home crowd behind them, and the offense was firing on all cylinders before everything changed. Penn State struck first twice on two field goals and then a 93-yard touchdown pass from Trace McSorley to KJ Hamler to put Penn State up 13-0. But Ohio State would not go away quietly, battling back in the third to take a 14-13 lead on a J.K. Dobbins run from 4 yards out. In the fourth, McSorley and the Nittany Lions came back with a vengeance, taking two drives down the field for scores in 6 minutes to go up 26-14, the second touchdown having a two-point try get stuffed at the goal line. Binjimen Victor made it a little closer for the Buckeyes, weaving his way down the field for a 47-yard touchdown to make it 26-20 with just over six minutes to go. And on the eighth play of a 96-yard drive, four minutes later, K.J. Hill’s 24-yard pass from Dwayne Haskins put the Buckeyes up 27-26 with just over two minutes to go. All Penn State needed to do was drive down and hit a game-winning field goal. They would get to the Ohio State 43 before a stop on 3rd down set up a 4th and five. Penn State called timeout. Ohio State called timeout. You would think that, after two timeouts, and on 4th and 5, Penn State would have something ready to get that first down. Instead, it was a questionable draw play that went for a loss of two, turning the ball over to Ohio State, who knelt on it for the 27-26 win. And just like that, the faces of the Penn State players and fan base went as white as the clothing in the crowd.
January 21st- Danny "Playoff" Amendola sinks the Jaguars
AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
No one expected the Jacksonville Jaguars to be in the AFC Championship game against the Patriots. Still, with an underrated offense and one of the best defenses in football, they outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers in a shootout, and traveled to Foxboro on a cold January afternoon, with the winner being crowned AFC Champion and getting to play in the Super Bowl. This was business as usual for the New England Patriots, on the other hand, who were playing in their 8th consecutive AFC Championship game, looking to return to the Super Bowl after winning it the year before. At the start, it was all Jaguars, who used Leonard Fournette on the ground to keep the Patriots off balance, and QB Blake Bortles picked apart the secondary, and quickly had Jacksonville up 14-3. On defense, the Patriots did not have an answer, as the Jaguars continually stopped the Patriots on third down to prevent New England from gaining momentum. But with less than two minutes to play in the half (albeit thanks to a few penalties), Tom Brady led a long drive culminating with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-10 before halftime. After a long Josh Lambo field goal to put the Jags up by 7, the teams traded three-and-outs before Jacksonville went on yet another long drive, again finishing with a field goal to go up 20-10 at the start of the fourth. Even down by double digits, the Patriots could get nothing going, as a double pass from Brady to Danny Amendola to Dion Lewis was fumbled and recovered by the Jaguars. However, thanks to some great defense, the Patriots forced a three and out and got the ball back. The Patriots would convert their next drive into a score to make it 20-17, involving a crucial conversion on 3rd and 18 as Brady hit Amendola with a long strike. After another Jaguars punt, the Patriots only took five plays to go up 24-20, with Brady once again finding Amendola. On the Jaguars final possession, a Blake Bortles pass on fourth down was knocked down brilliantly by Stephon Gilmore, sealing a Patriots comeback, sending New England back to the Super Bowl.
March 31st- Los Angeles FC gets Zlatan'd
LA Galaxy 4, Los Angeles FC 3
This game was more the Zlatan Ibrahimovic “coming to America” party than anything else. Pulling a stunning comeback from down 3-0, Ibrahimovic equalized the score with a fantastic volley from just over the midline, then added a header to make it 4-3 LA Galaxy in stoppage time. The arrival of the Swedish superstar from Manchester United was anxiously awaited, and it is clear that Zlatan lived up to the billing.
March 24th- Jayhawks outlast Blue Devils in overtime
NCAA Tournament, Midwest Regional Final
Kansas Jayhawks 85, Duke Blue Devils 81 (OT)
In a tournament overshadowed by upsets, one of the more back and forth games of March Madness got lost in the shuffle of things- two college basketball giants battled it out in a contest of hardwood prowess, and the contest needed overtime to decide a winner. Kansas’ Malik Newman scored 13 points in the extra period (in fact, he was the only Jayhawk to score in overtime), and the #1 seeded Jayhawks defeated the #2 seeded Blue Devils to advance to the final four. This game featured 18 lead changes and 11 ties.
The Top 10:
10. July 2nd- Belgium comes from behind to stun Japan
FIFA World Cup, Round of 16
Belgium 3, Japan 2
As the only Asian team remaining in the 2018 World Cup, Japan was looking to keep itself in the tournament by upsetting the favored Belgian team in the round of 16 matchup. Belgium, a sleeper pick for most to win the tournament, came into the match having won their group with three decisive victories over Panama, Tunisia and England. Japan finished 1-1-1 in their group, having managed a tie with Senegal and an upset win over group winner Colombia. At the outset, though, this game was all Japan, as they scored twice early in the second half, the first by Ganki Haraguchi, and another four minutes later by Takashi Inui. The Belgians were in trouble. But in the 69th minute, Jan Bert Lieve Vertonghen managed to score on a high header, cutting the deficit in half, 2-1. In Marouane Fellaini-Bakkioui scored on a beautiful cross header to even it at 2-2 in the 74th minute, sucking the air out of the Japan team and giving Belgium some new life. Finally, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Belgium flew down the pitch on one last fast break attack, and Nacer Chadli found the back of the net, icing the win for Belgium, and sending Japan home in heartbreaking fashion. Belgium would go on to upset Brazil in the quarter final, but lost to eventual champion France, 1-0 in the semifinals.
9. February 22nd- United States women's hockey is golden
2018 Winter Olympics: Women's Ice Hockey, Gold Medal Game
United States of America 3, Canada 2 (Shootout)
The United States women’s national team blew a 2-0 lead in the gold medal game four years ago in Sochi, and lost in overtime to the Canadians. This time, they were not about to let it get away in Pyeongchang. In this edition of the gold medal game, the Americans jumped on the Canadians in the first period, with a brilliant tip-in goal by Hilary Knight. The Canadians battled back, though, scoring two in the second period to take the lead back 2-1 on goals from Haley Irwin and Marie-Philip Poulin, the latter having scored in OT four years ago to win the gold medal for Canada. In the third, though, Monique Lamoureux whistled a shot past Canada goalie Shannon Szabados to even the score at 2 with only 6:21 remaining, where the score would eventually remain until overtime. In the extra period, the Americans managed to keep pace, even outlasting a Canadian power play for the last minute and change of overtime. With the score tied after OT, the gold medal would be decided in a shootout. Tied at two goals apiece in the 6th round, it was Jocelyn Lamoureux this time, who deked Szabados out of her skates and slid in the go-ahead goal for Team USA. All US goalie Maddie Rooney had to do was stop a shot from Meghan Agosta to seal the gold medal for Team USA. She did just that, and for the first time since 1998, the United States sat at the top of the podium, champions in women’s ice hockey. A truly golden moment at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
8. January 1st- Double overtime decides the Rose Bowl
College Football Playoff Semifinal- Rose Bowl
Georgia Bulldogs 54, Oklahoma Sooners 48 (2 OT)
I never knew there had never been a Rose Bowl that needed overtime to determine a winner. Finally, in 2018, we had one. This CFB semifinal featured two teams that both could have given Alabama fits in the National Championship. The first was Oklahoma, whose quarterback Baker Mayfield was the recent Heisman Trophy winner, determined to get an Oklahoma squad to the big time after falling short the last few years. The other was Georgia, a hard-nosed team that had quietly finished the season with a 12-1 record, defeating the likes of Notre Dame and Auburn along the way. It was all Oklahoma in the first half, with the score sitting at 31-17 by halftime. Georgia fought back in the third quarter, on a pair of touchdown runs by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The Bulldogs and Sooners traded pairs of touchdowns in the fourth, with Georgia tying the game on a Nick Chubb run with only 55 seconds to play. With neither team getting it done in the first overtime, the Georgia defense prevented Oklahoma from scoring on the first possession of double overtime, as Austin Seibert’s 27-yard field goal was blocked by Lorenzo Carter. On the second play of Georgia’s possession, Sony Michel ran for 27 yards into the endzone, and sent the Bulldogs to the title game to face off against SEC rival Alabama.
7. November 19th- The Monday night offensive spectacular
Los Angeles Rams 54, Kansas City Chiefs 51
This game showed me that there might be a new era of professional football on the horizon: one filled with offensive explosions and very little defense: whoever’s offense can shine the brightest will be the winner. And so, during a Monday night game moved from Mexico City back to Los Angeles, we may have gotten our Super Bowl preview, as two 9-1 teams met for a clash of the Titans. We saw two quarterbacks throw for a combined 10 touchdown passes. We saw 7 lead changes. We saw some of the worst defense I have ever seen, and perhaps some of the most underthrown footballs I have ever seen. But what we got was one heck of a football game that kept us on the edge of our seats. Just when all seemed lost for both the Chiefs and Rams, both pulled something out of the hat to swing the momentum in the other direction. I truthfully wouldn’t be mad if we saw a Super Bowl that featured these two teams.
6. January 8th- Who is Tua Tagovailoa, anyway?
College Football Playoff National Championship Game
Alabama Crimson Tide 26, Georgia Bulldogs 23 (OT)
Leave it to Alabama to surprise literally everyone and then surprise no one at the same time. Georgia had this game WON. They knocked Jalen Hurts out of the game. Who is Tua Tagovailoa, anyways? The Bulldogs, fresh of a double overtime win in the Rose Bowl the week prior, led 23-20 in overtime, and had just sacked the backup QB Tagovailoa on first down to push the Crimson Tide out of field goal range on second down. No problem. Tua unloaded a 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith to win the game in overtime for the Tide. Typical Georgia sports teams, blowing leads all over the place. Georgia’s not allowed to play football again.
5. November 24th- LSU and Texas A&M go the distance
Texas A&M Aggies 74, LSU Tigers 72 (7 OT)
We had a 7-overtime game make the list in a prior year, but this one was far superior, based solely on the teams involved. It took Texas A&M seven overtimes to put away seventh-ranked LSU, who were fighting for a potential playoff spot. In the fourth quarter, with LSU up 31-24, A&M QB Kellen Mond threw what was thought to be a game-sealing interception. LSU poured the Gatorade on top of coach Ed Orgeron, before finding out that Mond’s knee had actually touched the ground, meaning the play should have been dead before the ball was thrown. With possession and no time left, Mond, on the very next play, threw a 19-yard strike to Quentin Davis to tie the game and send it to overtime. In the third overtime, with LSU leading 49-41, Mond hit Kendrick Rogers (who should have been this game’s MVP if he wasn’t already) for a 25-yard touchdown pass, which Rogers reeled in with one hand. The game remained tied in the fourth overtime, then the fifth, then the sixth. LSU scored in the 7th overtime on a 10-yard run from Joe Burrow to put the Tigers up 72-66. Their two-point conversion failed. On the Aggies’ possession, Mond hit Davis again for 19 yards to tie it at 72. The two-point conversion? Mond to Rogers, because of course. It took seven overtimes to decide a winner. LSU left virtually empty handed, and A&M left with their heads held high. Can you imagine if the NFL switched to a system like this? Games would be WAY more exciting.
4. February 4th- Philly Philly
Super Bowl LII
Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England Patriots 33
Some dude named Nick Foles was the MVP of this game. Tom Brady, playing in his second consecutive Super Bowl, torched the Eagles defense for 505 yards and still lost. Malcolm Butler didn’t play. The Philly Special was run. The Patriots actually led in this game and had two chances to drive down the field and take the lead in the fourth and could not. The Eagles won the goddamn Super Bowl. That’s all I have to say about that. You want my recap on the game? You can read it HERE. Get out of my face.
3. October 26th- Max Muncy ends it in the 18th
World Series, Game 3
Los Angeles Dodgers 4, Boston Red Sox 3 (18 innings)
My takeaways from this game are far and few between: a) This is both one of the best and worst games of baseball I have ever seen based on longevity and quality of play. b) Ian Kinsler should never be allowed to play baseball again. And c) The Red Sox should be paying Nathan Eovaldi all of the dollars. In game three of the World Series, with the Red Sox already ahead two games to none, they entered game three against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, starting Rick Porcello to try to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The game was pretty tame, all things considered. Joc Pederson homered in the third, and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered to tie it in the eighth. But in extras, things got wacky. Eduardo Nunez, who is probably like the #7 hero of this entire World Series for the Red Sox, put his body on the line in the inning, taking a hit by pitch, diving into first, and then eventually scoring the go-ahead run. He would put his body on the line again in the bottom of the frame by diving into the seats to make a catch. But Ian Kinsler (who was awarded a Gold Glove at the end of the season) ruined what could have been a perfectly tame 13-inning victory. After nearly botching running the bases TWICE, he fielded a ground ball to second awkwardly with two outs and a man at third, and errantly threw it away from first base, allowing Max Muncy to score. Instead of a 3-2 Red Sox win, it was 3-3. And they played on. And on. And on. This is a good time to mention Nathan Eovaldi, who threw 97 pitches in 6 full innings of relief, after entering in the 12th inning. This is also a good time to mention that Eovaldi gave up the winning home run to Max Muncy in the bottom of the 18th, sending the Dodgers home with new life, bringing the series to 2-1.
Hint: The Dodgers would drop the next two games and the Red Sox would win their fourth World Series since 2004.
2. January 14th- The Minneapolis Miracle
NFC Divisional Playoff
Minnesota Vikings 29, New Orleans Saints 24
A comeback. Four lead changes in the last three minutes. A last-ditch prayer of a throw. A miracle finish. This playoff game between the Vikings and Saints had it all. The Saints rallied from down 17 with 1:16 to go in the third quarter, and took a 24-23 lead after a 43-second drive from quarterback Drew Brees led to a Will Lutz field goal. The Vikings were out of timeouts with only ten seconds to go, stuck at his own 39 yard line. Minnesota QB Case Keenum threw one up by the sidelines to Stefon Diggs, who managed to come down with the ball, avoid the defender, stay in bounds, and high step to the end zone to win it as time expired. “The Minneapolis Miracle,” as the radio broadcasters described it. The Vikings would lose to the Eagles in the NFC Championship, missing out on their chance to become a first-time Super Bowl host. But for a franchise experienced with postseason disappointment, this game served as much needed-relief for those still ailing from Blair Walsh’s missed field goal in the cold against Seattle, or Brett Favre’s unnecessary interception against the same Saints in 2010. This moment will probably live on forever in Minnesota Vikings and NFL lore.
1. October 17th- Red Sox vs. Astros- An instant classic
American League Championship Series, Game 4
Boston Red Sox 8, Houston Astros 6
These were the two best teams in baseball slugging it out in a pivotal game 4. The Astros were down 2-1, looking to even the series and get some much-needed momentum in game five, to be played in Houston. The Red Sox were looking to go up 3-1, an almost insurmountable deficit for any team in baseball, and move one win away from going back to the World Series. The Sox struck first in the opening frame, with Rafael Devers bringing in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, putting Boston up 2-0 almost immediately.
Trouble brewed in the bottom of the frame, however, as Jose Altuve was called out on a spectator interference call, which, if Mookie Betts had not made the catch, would have either bounced off the wall, or gone over the fence, tying the game for the Astros. Crew chief Joe West made the call, and despite fans and Astros players taking issue with the call, spectator interference was upheld. Rick Porcello then got Yuli Gurriel to fly to right to end the inning.
After a Houston run in the 2nd, Xander Bogaerts doubled to score Andrew Benintendi, chasing Houston starter Charlie Morton from the game after 2.1 innings. But the Astros weren’t done. In the third, Porcello allowed a home run to George Springer and an RBI single to Josh Reddick. In the fourth, he allowed another home run, this time to Tony Kemp. Joe Kelly took over for Porcello, locking down the next inning.
Xander Bogaerts answered with an RBI single in the fifth, tying the game at 4, only to have the Astros answer right back, as Carlos Correa drove in Gurriel. 5-4 Houston after five. Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was defying expectations for the entire series, clobbered a two run home run in the sixth, driving in Christian Vazquez as well. A bases loaded walk in the seventh and a J.D. Martinez RBI in the eighth brought the score to 8-5.
And then there was Craig Kimbrel, who proceeded to give up a run in the eighth and then load the bases in the ninth.
Fortunately for Craig Kimbrel, there was Benny Biceps. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and two outs, Alex Bregman, who to this point was Houston’s probable super star for years to come, lined a ball on his first pitch into shallow left center.
Benintendi dove and made a spectacular catch. There’s no telling what would have happened if he didn’t catch it, but he did, and the Red Sox took home a victory to go up 3-1 in the series. They would go on to win game five the next night, winning the ALCS and advancing to the World Series.
In this back-and-forth, gripping game, ultimately perseverance from the 108-win team shone through, and their performance (along with their competitor) earned this game the top spot for our Best Games of 2018.
Is there a game we missed? Let us know in the comments down below.
Be sure to check out the rest of According to Andrew’s Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.
Top 18 Moments in Sports in 2018
2018 was a year of firsts, fantastic finishes, and all-around great moments. From teams winning their first championships to players inspiring us with feats of greatness, we can all learn something from the calendar year in sports.
This year’s been so long, there was an Olympics and a World Cup. And there was a lot to cover. If I’ve omitted a favorite moment of yours, I can only apologize and ask why you didn’t text me to make sure I included it in this countdown. That being said, I did my best, and I think this list accurately depicts what the year in sports was like.
And because my list was so long, I went with the top 18 moments in sports for 2018.
Off we go. Buckle up your chin straps and jockstraps.
4/28- Shaquem Griffin is drafted by the Seattle Seahawks
Back at April’s NFL Draft, the Seahawks drafted Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin with the 141st overall pick. Why is this significant? Well, it requires a look at Griffin’s backstory to truly realize its impact. Firstly, Shaquem is the brother of Shaquill Griffin, whom he played with at Central Florida, and whom was drafted by the same team the year before him. Secondly and probably more notably, Shaquem only has one hand. Someone becoming a professional athlete despite a physical impairment like this is a crazy feat. Griffin being drafted shows that anyone can capture their dreams no matter the obstacle if their heart is in it all the way.
8/24- Josef Martinez breaks MLS single season scoring record
In a game in August against Orlando City, Atlanta United Striker Josef Martinez scored his 28th goal of the MLS season, breaking a record held by three men- Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski, and Bradley-Wright Phillips- the single-season record for goals scored in a single MLS season. What’s even more extraordinary is that the Venezuelan national team member had a quarter of a season to go to add to his tally. He finished this season with 35 goals, smashing the previous mark by an astounding seven goals. Martinez’s 28th goal came in game number 26, putting his goals for average at a ridiculous 1.46 per game at the time.
2/24- United States wins its first gold medal in curling
The United States struggled mightily at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. However, their shortcomings were matched only by their surprise successes. One such came two days after the U.S. women won a thrilling gold medal game against Canada, when the U.S. men’s curling team shocked the world by upsetting Sweden, the top-ranked squad in the world, to win its first gold medal ever in the event. When the American lost to Norway to fall to a 2-4 record in round robin play, they were on the brink of elimination. Led by John Shuster, the U.S. team rattled off five consecutive victories, finally defeating Canada in the semifinals, before soundly defeating the Swedes to win the gold- so soundly, in fact, that the Swedish team conceded with several stones left remaining in the 10th and final end. Can we say now that the United States is the new home of curling?
9/24- Gritty is unveiled
Gritty represents everything that is perfect, both about the game of hockey and about the city of Philadelphia as a whole. He burst onto the world stage shortly before the start of the 2018-19 season, and, while everyone was taken back by his bizarre appearance, Gritty’s social media presence simply adds to his mystique. The googly eyes. The scraggly beard. The orange fur. He looks like a coked-out muppet. But for a city that greases its light poles when it wins a Super Bowl for the first time, for a city that is scrappy and struggling and blue color and will fight you to the death about its sports teams- Gritty is perfect. Gritty is everything. We are all Gritt-nesses.
9/30- David Wright plays final game as a New York Met
David Wright did not have a glamorous last few years to his career. He was ridden with injuries to his neck and back, including several painful rehabilitations. But on a cold night in September, the Mets longtime third baseman stepped back onto the dirt for the last time in his fourteen-year career, for one last game at Citi Field. It was business as usual as far as the game goes: Wright walked in the first, and popped to first base in the fourth. In the fifth, the Mets pulled him from the game to a rousing ovation from the crowd, and even the Miami Marlins, who all stood to applaud one of the best third basemen in baseball history. Watch the highlights, and you can see Wright constantly turning around to take in his last few moments on a baseball field. Truly an emotional moment for one of the greats.
5/11- Jonny Venters returns after three and a half Tommy John surgeries
A single Tommy John surgery is probably the most notorious medical problem a baseball player can have. It involves taking a ligament from another part of the body and using it to repair a ligament damaged in the throwing arm. It’s a season-ending procedure. Now, that’s just one. Think about having three and a half of those. That’s what journeyman pitcher Jonny Venters endured, having missed the 2006, 2013 and 2015 seasons due to the procedures. His arm troubles had allowed the Atlanta Braves to cut him. But finally, in April of this year, the Tampa Bay Rays, having signed Venters to a minor league contract the year prior, finally called him up to pitch- his first major league outing in 2,048 days. He pitched against the Orioles and got Chris Davis to ground out on four pitches. He was then traded back to his hometown Atlanta Braves, where he finished 2018 with a 5-2 record, a 3.67 ERA, and the National League Comeback Player of the Year award.
The Top 18:
18. 2/22- United States edges Sweden for cross-country gold
The Olympic Winter Games are a trap, and they’re a trap that wasn’t made for Americans- It’s a trap because it was made for the snow people of Norway, Sweden and Finland to show that everyone who lives there is half-human, half-snow leopard. This being said, it is no surprise that the United States had never won a gold medal in cross country skiing. That was, until Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins edged Norway by .19 seconds to end the Americans’ 42-year medal drought. In the team sprint, the Americans stuck with the favorite Swedes throughout the entire race, with Jessie Diggins making a final push to jump from third to first. Diggins gave it her all in the final 100 meters, stretching the boot at the end to edge Charlotte Kalla and Stina Nilsson by .19 seconds. The United States may not have won a lot of medals in Pyeongchang, but the ones they did were thrilling and emotional.
17. 10/8- Drew Brees sets NFL career passing yards record
When talking about the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Drew Brees should be in the conversation. He has had a long career that has included a Super Bowl championship and game MVP, as well as holding numerous career passing records. On a Monday night in October at the Superdome, Brees sat only 201 yards back of Peyton Manning for first all-time on the career passing yards list. During the second quarter, Brees hooked up with Tre’quan Smith for a 62-yard touchdown pass, securing Brees firmly at the top of the list. Brees removed his helmet, offered a wave to a sea of standing Saints fans, and shared a hug with his wife and children on the sidelines. What record hasn’t Drew Brees broken at this point?
16. 4/5- Daniel and Henrik Sedin go out together with tandem OT winner
Henrik and Daniel Sedin never won a Stanley Cup, but they have been members of the Vancouver Canucks core through their entire careers, having been drafted one after the other in the 1999 NHL draft. The twins effectiveness as a tandem is legendary throughout the game of hockey. But after 17-year careers, the brothers finally decided to hang up the skates. In the Canucks’ final game at Rogers Centre against the Arizona Coyotes, the score was tied 3-3 in overtime. Henrik fed Daniel with a pass into the high slot, which Daniel rifled past Darcy Kuemper, sending the Vancouver crowd into a frenzy, showering with admiration the players who had brought such excellence to the ice after such long careers. This is a moment you could not have scripted any better.
15. 9/20- The Browns beat the Steelers, 21-21
For the first time since December 2016, the Cleveland Browns did not lose a football game. Technically, they didn’t win until week three, but week one saw one of the most interesting contests we’re ever likely to see between two franchises that are night and day- the Steelers the epitome of excellence, and the Browns the hapless loser franchise. With a redesigned team featuring some good offensive talent, Cleveland fans were anxious to finally see their team win a game after going 0-16 in 2017, and 1-15 the year before. What followed in week one was the most amazing (or disgusting, depending on how you look at it) display of football I have ever seen. Down 21-7 in the third, the Browns defense made a big play forcing a James Conner fumble, and capitalizing for a touchdown a few plays later, 21-14. With only two minutes to play in the 4th, the Browns tied the game on a Tyrod Taylor pass to Cameron Sutton. Cleveland would even get close with 20 seconds left and in field goal range, but Taylor’s pass to Josh Gordon was intercepted at the Pittsburgh 5. With the score 21-21, the game headed to overtime. The new NFL overtime period is only 10 minutes long- something greatly affecting this moment. The Browns won the toss for OT but had a punt nearly blocked, giving the Steelers good field position and setting up a potential game-winning field goal for Pittsburgh. Chris Boswell yanked it left, giving all of Cleveland hope. Unfortunately, the Browns gave it right back on a three and out with 1:17 remaining. But with 45 second left, Ben Roethlisberger was hit while throwing, forcing his sixth interception of the day, and putting the Browns inside the Pittsburgh 15 with only 30 seconds to go.
And in true Cleveland Browns fashion, the game-winning field goal was blocked, and the game ended in a 21-21 tie.
The Browns would win their first game in week 3 (thanks to the emergence of someone named Baker Mayfield), but this tie was probably the most Cleveland Browns win ever.
14. 6/9- Justify wins the Triple Crown
With American Pharoah becoming the first horse to the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years back in 2015, the trifecta has lost a bit of its luster. Still, Justify’s run is notable because of his undefeated run, followed by his subsequent retirement. Justify did not race as a two-year old, making him the only of the thirteen Triple Crown winners to not do so. His win at the Santa Anita Derby made him the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby, which he did by 2.5 lengths. At the Preakness Stakes, Justify overcame tough, muddy, foggy conditions to capture the second leg of the trifecta by a half length over Bravazo. At the Belmont Stakes, Justify drew first position, meaning a poor start would trap him on the rail, making it difficult to come from behind. Fortunately, he had a great start, earning a wire-to-wire, 1 and ¾ length victory over Gronkowski becoming the thirteenth Triple Crown winner. Justify would retire only a few weeks after the Belmont, ending his career undefeated.
13. 7/1- LeBron becomes LABron
We all knew this was coming, but it’s a moment nonetheless. Coming off a huge NBA finals stinker, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar opted out of his contract, and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers on a 4-year, $153 million dollar contract. LeBron’s second departure from Cleveland was less criticized than his first one (see: The Decision), and LeBron even began plans to set up a public school for at-risk kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to soften the blow. Still, the signing was major sports news, and represented a major shift of power in the NBA, from the East to the West, now teeming with top-tier talent.
12. 2/20- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir capture hearts and strengthen thighs
This was the best figure skating routine of the Olympics, and it won Canadian pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir a gold medal. Watch the routine HERE as they skate to a selection of music from the film Moulin Rouge, culminating in a dramatic finish, with Virtue literally standing on Moir’s legs to the climax of the song “Come What May.” It’s heartrending. Get the tissues ready!
11. 10/30- Red Sox win the World Series
I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this happening. Though the Red Sox won 108 games, the most in the majors during the 2018 season, they had their struggles in August and September, and major question marks about the strength of the bullpen began to rise. And still, the Red Sox dismantled the Yankees in five games, then battled back from a 1-0 deficit at home to win in five games against the Houston Astros, one game thanks in part to a fantastic catch by Andrew Benintendi. Finally, in a thrilling series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, including one game that featured a back-and-forth, 18-inning contest, the Red Sox won their fourth World Series championship since 2004, spearheaded by help from unlikely sources: Nathan Eovaldi (who pitched lights out in just about every game he appeared in) and Steve Pearce (the World Series MVP, who had clutch home run after clutch home run, including two in the decisive game five), neither of whom were on the team when the season began. Look at it this way: teams don’t win 108 games just by being lucky.
10. 2/4- Eagles win Super Bowl LII
The Eagles won the goddamn Super Bowl. We don’t have to talk about this one. We don’t have to talk about how Nick Foles, a backup quarterback, torched a garbage Patriots defense for 373 yards and three touchdowns (even though Tom Brady lit up the Eagles for 505 yards and still lost). We don’t have to talk about the Patriots’ missed attempted trick play, and the Eagles subsequent “Philly Special” to put the Eagles up 22-12 right before halftime. We don’t have to talk about the city of Philadelphia winning their first sports championship in 10 years and their first football championship since 1960. But we won’t. No thanks.
9. 5/20- Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final
It is not uncommon for expansion teams to suck in their first season in the league. It is extremely uncommon for expansion teams to have the strongest first season in North American sports history and make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. But still, the Vegas Golden Knights defied the odds and did it. First there was their 51 wins, setting the record for most wins in an inaugural campaign. Then came the points record for a team in its first season with a division-best 109 points. Then it was the sweep of the Los Angeles kings in the first round, followed by a dispatching of the San Jose Sharks in six. Finally, in the Western Conference Finals, the Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets in a hard-fought seven game series, to advance to the Cup final, the first expansion team to do so since the St. Louis Blues in 1972. Unfortunately for the Golden Knights, they were defeated by the Washington Capitals in five games, as the Caps won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. But for a group of castoffs from 30 other NHL teams, the Golden Knights gave underdogs everywhere a chance to believe.
8. 3/29- Blackhawks play emergency backup goalie Scott Foster
On the day of the game on March 27th, Scott Foster was at his accounting job. By the end of the night, he was a Chicago hero. During the Blackhawks regular-season contest against the Winnipeg Jets, the Hawks were up 6-2 with 12 minutes to play, Chicago goaltender Collin Delia was injured. Funny enough, Delia was serving as the backup goaltender, as primary goalie Corey Crawford was sidelined with a season-ending concussion, and his initial backup, Anton Forsberg, was injured prior to the game. So, with just over half the period left to play, and a four-goal lead, the accountant and rec league goalie entered the action. Foster stopped one shot, and then another, and then another, preserving the four-goal lead and a win with seven stopped shots in the game. Think about it- it’s a pretty cool thing to happen: you start your day as an accountant, and end your day as the first star of a Chicago Blackhawks game, with a 1.000% save percentage. “I think I’m just hitting my prime,” joked Foster in a postgame interview.
7. 4/16- Mary Shertenlieb finishes the Boston Marathon
If you’re from Boston and listen to 98.5 The Sports Hub on the radio in the mornings, you are familiar with Toucher and Rich. Rich Shertenlieb’s wife, Mary, is a cancer survivor who ran the Boston Marathon this past April, raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer institute. The conditions for the marathon this past April were atrocious: rain, wind, sub-50 degree weather; torturous for any runner. For Mary, who was running her first marathon, the toll was even worse. Rich does a better job of describing what happened (if you feel like listening to the podcast link found HERE- and I promise it's well worth your time), but Shertenlieb, after stopping for a few hours to keep warm, and even wanting to quit at times, finally went out and finished the race with her husband Rich by her side. They were the last two people to finish. Take a listen. This is quite the story.
6. 9/7- Serena Williams passes the torch to Naomi Osaka
Let’s get something clear. Serena Williams was not in the wrong for displaying her aggravation with the court judgements during the U.S. Open final. She couldn’t have won the match anyways even if she hadn’t been penalized for her outburst- Osaka was playing better tennis, that much is certain. But Williams was not in the wrong for calling the double standards in tennis that benefit white, male players who are able to throw fits on the court with no repercussions. The scene itself was messy, but the aftermath was, strangely, elegant. Serena stood up for herself, her fellow players, her daughter, and for all women. The evidence is clear during the trophy ceremony. These two women left it all on the court, and they appear drained both physically and emotionally. This is one of the more dramatic moments of the year, but it is probably the most important.
5. 3/16- #16 UMBC upsets #1 Virginia
135-0. That was the all-time record of #1 seeded teams in the NCAA tournament against #16 seeds. A few #16’s got close, but it was always the #1 seeds that came out on top. That was until the UMBC Retrievers met the #1 overall Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the NCAA tournament this past April.
And the Retrievers didn’t just defeat the Cavaliers. They blew them out of the water.
In a 74-54 thrashing, #16 UMBC pulled probably the greatest upset in the history of the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers shot 39% from the floor in the first half, and entered halftime tied at 21 (something else a 16-seed had never done before). But the momentum never left UMBC’s side, as they converted three-pointer after three-pointer at a seemingly astounding rate. Virginia, which also (as the top team in the nation) lost a game to Chaminade College in Hawaii in another great NCAA upset, allowed 74 points, their worst defensive performance of the season. 99.4% of brackets had the Cavaliers winning this game.
4. 2/22- United States women's hockey team is golden
As I have said before, the United States did not fare well at the 2018 Olympics. But we did see a golden performance from the women’s hockey team, capped with a shootout win against Canada (whom they had lost to in dramatic fashion four years earlier) for the gold medal. Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, the Americans tied it up on a breakaway goal by Monique Lamoureux. After an overtime period during which the Americans were on the penalty kill, the goal medal was decided in a shootout. The Canadians went ahead 2-1 after three and a half rounds, but the American rallied with a great goal from Amanda Kessel. Finally, in the sixth round, it was Jocelyne Lamoureux who deked out Shannon Szabados and found the lower left corner of the net to put the United States up 3-2 in the shootout. On the next shot, U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney came up with the stop to seal the win for the Americans. For the first time since 1998, the United States had earned a gold medal in women’s hockey- in a game that can definitely be considered one of the best of the year.
3. 6/7- Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup
It finally happened. Alexander Ovechkin, for years being the best player in hockey to have never won the Cup, finally won the Cup. It took the Capitals three tries to finally slay their white whale in the Pittsburgh Penguins. It took a tough seven game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, during which the Caps lost three straight after winning the first two in dominating fashion. But, with a win in five games over the Vegas Golden Knights, and spoiling their Cinderella run to the Cup, the Capitals finally reigned supreme over the game of hockey, earning the city’s first sports championship since 1992. The Stanley Cup weighs 34.5 pounds. But when Gary Bettman handed the Stanley Cup to Alex Ovechkin, it probably felt lighter than air. Watch the celebration, and, pair it with the music (which is from Remember the Titans- dammit, Vegas, you know how to make the moment special), and get ready for the chills to creep up your spine.
2. 9/23- Tiger Woods walks up the 18th at East Lake
There is a reason golf is cool. Tiger Woods is the reason golf is cool. Tiger’s had a long road since his career went off the rails almost 10 years ago, and it had been five years since he last won a tournament. But 2018 was the year of the tiger, especially in the latter half of the PGA tour season. He was close at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, and was even closer at the British Open at Carnoustie, but he could not close the door on major number 15, despite getting close. Finally, in the last tournament of the year, the Tour Championship at East Lake, Tiger’s hard work came to fruition. He led by two strokes even after consecutive bogeys on 15 and 16, and walked down the 18th fairway surrounded by literally throngs of fans. Watch this highlight and name another golfer that has had THIS kind of effect on people. You cannot. Tiger Woods is the best thing that has ever happened to golf, and his winning of this tournament might just signal the start of one last great run for the king of the golf course. Who would have thunk that the shot of the year would be a two-foot tap in putt? It’s the best.
1. 3/31 and 4/1- Arike Ogunbowale's back-to-back buzzer-beaters win Notre Dame a National Championship
No player had ever hit two back-to-back buzzer-beaters in an NCAA tournament before Arike did it. But Arike did it in the national semifinal, and then again in the national championship. Arike did it first against UConn, the terrorizers of the women’s college basketball world, and then against Mississippi State, last year’s runners-up.
After blowing a five-point lead in regulation against UConn, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame managed to keep the game tied and send it to overtime. With only seconds remaining, and the score tied at 89, Arike Ogunbowale pulled up to hit a long two with only one second to go.
UConn’s inbound was intercepted, and the Irish were off to the National Championship.
In the final, the Irish once again had to come from behind, trailing by five with under two minutes to play. But they rallied to tie it at 58 with just over forty seconds left. With three seconds remaining, the Irish managed to get the ball back, and inbounded it to Ogunbowale once again. She launched an off-balance three, seemingly falling away from the play.
And she found the bottom of the basket, winning the National Championship for Notre Dame.
No team had ever won a National Title when trailing by double digits twice in two different games. But Notre Dame did that. No player had ever hit two buzzer-beaters in a tournament before. But Arike Ogunbowale did that.
Kobe Bryant tweeted at her after the first buzzer-beater. Arike responded with another.
That’s Mamba Mentality right there, and it’s our top sports moment from 2018.
What were some of your favorite sports moments from 2018? Leave a comment down below.
And be sure to check out more of According to Andrew's Best of 2018 spread by clicking HERE.