Top 100 Sports Plays of 2017, Part 1
Because 50 just wasn't enough this time.
Another of the trademark lists from According to Andrew is the "Plays of the Year" list, where I meticulously scour the year in sports in search of the most athletic, most meaningful, most ridiculous, most jaw-dropping single plays in all of sports. It is a list that I take great pride in compiling, and as I took a look at my candidates for this year, I saw that I had no clear frontrunners, and well over 100 plays to choose from.
How was I going to narrow over 100 plays down to just 50?
So here we are, counting down the 100 best plays from 2017. Let the madness begin.
This will be part one, where we look at plays 100-51. If you're looking for part two, click here.
January 14th- Andreas Anthanasiou goes coast to coast and scores
Detroit Red Wings vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Andreas Anthanasiou. Exceptional name, even more exceptional goal. Watch the gorgeous toe drag between three defenders and the flip over the pad of Marc Andre-Fleurry for the goal.
October 8th- Nelson Agholor's 71-yard catch and run
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals
Look at this catch. This is a nice ass catch. And then the utter disregard for Budda Baker's life as he makes a few moves and falls into the endzone. Pure sweetness.
June 8th- Rays throw the ball around too much but still get the out
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
Man, this thing would end up on the "oh no" moments list had it not been for Peter Bourjos. After a couple throwing errors, Bourjos still managed to get the ball to home plat in time to nab Willy Garcia. After all that, the Rays still manage to keep the game in their favor.
November 4th- Robbie Payne scores while sitting down
Northern Michigan Wildcats vs. Minnesota State Mavericks
This some dark magic right here, is what this is.
The Top 100:
100. May 21st- Avery Bradley's three to seal comeback win vs. Cavs
Eastern Conference Finals, Game 3, Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
No IT, no problem. Watch this perfectly drawn up play to get the ball to Avery Bradley, who is able to hit every part of the basket before getting the ball to fall with one tenth of a second left to stun the Cavs.
99. July 16th- Marcel Ozuna climbs the wall to rob Kike Hernandez
Miami Marlins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
A tremendous catch by Marcel Ozuna to rob Kike Hernandez, as the Marlins outfielder is able to get a footing on that short left field wall and bring the home run back.
98. April 25th- Josh Reddick takes a home run away from Jason Kipnis
Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros
This one requires all kinds of extension. That wall at Progressive Field is not exactly short.
97. October 8th- Aaron Rodgers finds Devante Adams to beat Dallas
Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys
Oh, man this one is great. Time running down against Dallas, it's a rematch of the Divisional Round from last year, and Aaron Rodgers throws this dime into the corner of the end zone to win the game for Green Bay.
96. May 18th- Kevin Kiermaier robs a homer to end the game
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Indians
So you're down by three runs in the ninth with two outs and you need to get a little something going. Maybe Alex Colomé hitting a home run will spark a comeback. Kevin Kiermaier says "nope."
95. November 18th- Joseph Woll comes from behind net, flashes leather
Boston College Eagles vs. New Hampshire Wildcats
Nice save, kid. Not really sure why you were this far out of position, but then again, nice save.
94. May 21st- Dan Norton embarrasses defense on long try
London Rugby Sevens, England vs. Scotland
At about the 0:12 second mark of the video, this guy is gone. Like, it doesn't even matter how many players are left in front of him. You know he'll either run through them or juke them out of their shoes.
93. June 17th- Nolen Arenado hits walk off home run to complete cycle
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
How do you like them apples? A single, double, triple, and a home run are special. But a walk-off??? To complete the cycle??? That's bonkers. Also listen to this crowd erupt when the ball explodes of Arenado's bat.
92. January 31st- Kawhi Leonard crosses up Victor Oladipo
San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The cross is impressive, but the layup is absurd. Kawhi Leonard is stupid good.
91. June 17th- Trey Mancini turns bad hop into double play
Baltimore Orioles vs. St. Louis Cardinals
I love me some good heads up baseball. Trey Mancini somehow keeps this ball within reach, and is able to tag both the bag and the runner for the double play.
90. January 15th- Aaron Rodgers finds Jared Cook to set up game-winning FG
NFC Division Playoff, Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys
It's 3rd and 20 with twelve seconds left. Aaron Rodgers somehow finds Jared Cook with this threading-the-needle throw, as Cook keeps both feet in with three seconds to go. Mason Crosby would connect on the subsequent field goal, and the Packers would move on to the NFC Championship.
89. September 2nd- Eddie Williamson's catch and run off the tip drill catch
John Carroll Blue Streaks vs. Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans
This here is why we practice the tip drill, folks. The pass from Anthony Moeglin ricochets off William Woods and the back of a UW-Oshkosh defender, before landing in the hands of Eddie Williamson, who takes it to the house for JCU.
88. June 28th- Nolan Arenado throws out Ty Blach from his back
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
I'm sure the Giants don't enjoy being personally victimized by Nolan Arenado. The third baseman is able to knock down the sharp grounder from Ty Blach, and then throw across the diamond from his back.
87. May 28th- Chase d'Arnaud makes diving stop to save a hit
San Diego Padres vs. Washington Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman's bat is no match for the glove of Chase d'Arnaud, who lays out and throws from his knees to gun down the runner. Man, I really love web gems, don't you?
86. February 6th- LeBron James banks home game-tying three
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washintgon Wizards
This guy makes it look too easy. John Wall hits a free throw to put the Wizards up by three, but NOPE! Kevin Love hits LeBron with the long pass, and he drills the three, banking it off the glass to tie the game with .3 seconds to go.
85. Ollie Flint knocks opponent out cold with sneaky capoeira kick
Ollie Flint vs. Aaron Gray
As good ol' JR would say: "BAH GOD, THAT KILLED HIM!"
84. March 21st- Sidney Crosby dekes, scores with one hand
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Buffalo Sabres
This is Sidney Crosby. Sidney Crosby is very good. Sidney Crosby skates through literally four Buffalo defenders. Sidney Crosby can score with one freaking hand. Be like Sidney Crosby.
83. July 8th- Dee Gordon goes horizontal to get the out at first
Miami Marlins vs. San Francisco Giants
It straight up does not look like Gordon has a full hand on this ball, it just looks like he flipped it to first, spatula or tennis racket-style. But what a damn great play to make the out. That's hustle right there.
82. August 31st- Michael Warner lays crushing hit on running back
Methodist Monarchs vs. Campbell Fighting Camels
Methodist is my little brother's school. Campbell beat Methodist in this game 70-0. SEVENTY. TO. ZERO. The hit is the game itself wrapped up into one crushing hit. Also the third angle of the clip is the absolute best thing ever. You get a real scope of how far into the past this guy got hit.
81. March 30th- Kareem Smith is faked by crowd chant, throws up prayer, makes it
CIT First Round- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders vs. UMBC Retrievers
So the crowd starts trying to fake Texas A&M-CC into thinking the shot clock is almost all the way down, when in reality it's got a fair amount of time left. Kareem Smith believes said crowd and heaves up a prayer to try to beat the clock and avoid the violation. Miraculously, he made it. In your face, crowd.
80. October 15th- Antonio Brown reels in tipped pass, scores to put away Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Just when all was lost for the Steelers and the Chiefs were poised to win their sixth straight game, AB somehow came down with this catch and run for a score. All it took was a tip from two Chiefs defenders. Pittsburgh would win the game, and the Chiefs season would pretty much unravel from here.
79. June 1st- Kyrie Irving makes three (somehow) while being fouled
NBA Finals, Game 1: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
This is cheat codes. CHEAT CODES. Also he plays in Boston now. So now we get the cheat codes. But yeah, here's your basic "be sure to draw the foul to get three free throws but actually make it because I'm Kyrie Freaking Irving" play.
78. August 23rd- Carmen Duzenack lays out to rob a hit
Minor League Baseball: Hillsboro Hops vs. Boise Hawks
Look at this full extension! Carmen Duzenack puts the "hops" in, well, "Hops."
77. July 31st- Abreu and Hanson combine for bizarre putout
Chicago White Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays
*Australian accent* Shhh... quiet... we're observing the rare 3-9 putout. Watch carefully as the ball bounces off Jose Abreu's glove and into the waiting mitt of Alen Hanson. Crikey! That's some teamwork!
76. June 16th- Trevor Story dives to snag sinking liner
Colorado Rockies vs. San Francisco Giants
Bases loaded with two outs. Giants threatening to score on a bloop pop to shallow left field. Trevor Story makes a full-extension dive to keep the Rockies in the lead and end the inning.
75. July 2nd- Aaron Altherr makes bobble catch, doubles off Jay Bruce
Cincinnati Reds vs. New York Mets
This does require a little bit of luck and hand-eye coordination, but Aaron Altherr is able to have the wherewithal to make the catch and then throw to first to double up Jay Bruce for the second out of the inning.
74. December 10th- Adam Vinatieri bends extra point in a blizzard
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
I actually had to get up and walk around a little bit the first time I watched this one. This is more impressive than the snow bowl kick, I'm sorry. Look at the Bills players celebrating before the kick bends back toward the uprights! This is nuts. Vinatieri is a legend.
73. October 15th- Connor McDavid makes crazy assist to Patrick Maroon
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Connor McDavid is really, really, really good. A little dipsy-doo, spinneroo, behind-the-defender pass to Patrick Maroon to beat Corey Crawford. Vintage McDavid.
72. October 15th- Kenny Still makes catch while falling to the ground
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
This is Kenny Stills doing his best impression of Jermaine Kearse in Super Bowl XLIX. This play may have been initially ruled incomplete, but replays showed that the ball never hit the ground.
71. September 1st- Steve Pearce dives into the stands for the catch
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles
Steve Pearce does his best Derek Jeter/Anthony Rizzo and dives into the seats to make the grab against the Orioles.
70. June 10th- LeBron dunk after passing to himself off the backboard
NBA Finals, Game 4- Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
Down 3-0 in this series, LeBron pretty much knew it was over. This ridiculous off-the-backboard pass to himself before slamming it down looks so tame, mostly because LeBron is the best player in the world in full on IDGAF mode.
69. May 25th- Pat Neshek dives to field bunt, throws to first for DP
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Colorado Rockies
What's better than a pitcher fielding his position? A pitcher full out diving to field his position. This is just what Pat Neshek does, robbing Ian Desmond as he tries to bunt his way on base.
68. November 11th- Sergei Bobrovski makes save despite 2-0 breakaway
Colombus Blue Jackets vs. Detroit Red Wings
Since the shootout has lost its luster, 3-on-3 overtime is the best thing to happen to the NHL. Watch this great save as Sergei Bobrovski is able to restrain himself from sliding too far over and get just a piece of Andreas Anthanasiou's shot to keep the game tied.
67. April 17th- Pekka Rinne makes miraculous save after puck caroms off boards
Western Conference First Round, Game 3- Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Somehow, the puck careens off the glass and ricochets toward the net. Pekka Rinne, who was ready to coral the puck initially behind the net, has to dive from below the goal line and somehow gets a paddle on the puck. Nuts.
66. July 9th- Steven Souza Jr. makes great snag in foul ground
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Diving in foul ground in ballparks like Tampa is difficult because sometimes there are bullpen mounds over there. Steven Souza Jr. plays it masterfully as he lays out to make the catch on Christian Vazquez.
65. May 4th- Dan Muller scores from midfield with one second left
UMass Minutemen vs. Hofstra Pride
Blink and you'll miss it. Dan Muller rifles a shot from about midfield that beats the Hofstra goalie and wins it for UMass.
64. October 5th- Michal Neuvirth robs Anze Kopitar
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Los Angeles Kings
The best kind of save is when everyone in the arena thinks the puck has gone in. That's what happens as Anze Kopitar has a wide open net, only to be stoned cold by Michal Neuvirth, who reaches all the way across and flashes the leather.
63. October 24th- Matt Murray makes paddle save amidst a scrum of players
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Edmonton Oilers
Incredibly, Matt Murray is able to get the paddle across the crease to make a spectacular paddle save, with players literally diving and falling all around him. The Penguins didn't win the cup last season for nothing.
62. May 24th- Michael Brdar flips behind himself for out at third
Northwestern Huskies vs. Michigan Wolverines
How. HOW? Michael Brdar makes it look like nothing as he basically backhand flips this ball without looking. If this isn't a perfect flip, this thing either falls flat or flies into the seats.
61. July 3rd- Dustin Pedroia gets the out despite throwing error
Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers
Throwing error from third? No problem. Just have Dustin Pedroia there to make a barehanded play off the wall, then gun it back to Mitch Moreland, who tags the runner for the out. This is some voodoo right here.
60. Jackie Bradley Jr. robs potential walk off home run
Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics
When Ryon Healey hit a long fly ball in the bottom of the ninth, it was pretty much over. That was, until Jackie Bradley Jr. reached up and took away the potential game-winner. And look. He doesn't showboat, doesn't hold it up, just runs back to the dugout, leaving even the announcers in doubt. Like a boss.
59. May 12th- Pablo Cuevas serves up no-look backhand to win point
Yeah, so this just isn't fair. Eat your heart out, Roger Federer.
58. March 2nd- Taj Gibson intercepts long pass, makes 3/4 length shot other way
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers
57. April 7th- Andrey Vasilevskiy sprawls out to make save
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens
This is some fancy recovery by Vasilevskiy, who makes one save, and is forced to sit up and lay out toward the other side of the net to stop the Canadiens from scoring on the power play.
56. April 5th- West Virginia pitcher barehands comebacker
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Morehead State Eagles
This is a highlight compilation video, but the play in question is the third clip, about 24 seconds into the video. Watch the West Virginia pitcher barehand a comebacker and throw to first to get the out. Casual.
55. October 5th- Devan Dubnyk sprawls out to make the save
Minnesota Wild vs. Detroit Red Wings
Devan Dubnyk is one of the most underrated goalies in hockey. Watch here as he stones Gustav Nyquist from scoring by sprawling out on the ice.
54. July 14th- Gift Ngoepe makes over the shoulder grab to rob hit
Minor League Baseball: Indianapolis Indians vs. Louisville Bats
Gift Ngoepe makes this gift of a catch, robbing Sebastian Elizade of a hit.
53. January 30th- Luke Kennard nutmegs defender, finds Grayson Allen for three
Duke Blue Devils vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
This play is a combination of many different things. First, it's the desperation of Duke to keep the ball in play. Next, it's the effort of Luke Kennard, who is able to get a hand on it. Next, he's able to nutmeg the Notre Dame defender and have it land right in Grayson Allen's hands, who knocks down the three. Because Duke.
52. August 11th- Byron Buxton twirls around to make catch on the track
Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers
This is straight up highway robbery. Miguel Cabrera lifts one in the air to dead center, and Byron Buxton not only has to whirl around and find it, but also lay out in the strangest way possible in order to make the grab.
51. November 5th- Devante Parker makes one-handed grab near sidelines
Miami Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders
Devante Parker does his best Odell Beckham Jr. impression for this nifty grab against the Raiders.
And there are still 50 plays to go. For part 2, click here!
Be sure to check out According to Andrew's Best of 2017 spread HERE.