The 2013-14 pro football season was full of excitement and emotion, hope and heartbreak. It was also brimming with teamwork, seemingly impossible comebacks and incredible football skills. The best moments of the season are too numerous to count, so here are some of the highlights.
The 24-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck may just have demonstrated what could be attributed to his name during the season, or perhaps he’s truly exceptional and on the way to an amazing career. Either way, Luck not only holds the record for the highest number of passing yards in a player’s first two seasons with 8,196, edging out Cam Newton and future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning, but he also wowed fans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 4 with an epic postseason win.
Overcoming a 28-point third-quarter deficit against the Kansas City Chiefs, Luck led his team to a 44-45 victory, and arguably the game’s most unbelievable play was his fourth-quarter touchdown save that could as easily have been an interception. After handing off the ball to running back Donald Brown, Brown couldn’t keep the ball in his hands and fumbled at the 5-yard line. Several Chiefs defensive linemen scrambled for the loose ball, but it was Luck who managed to grab it – and take a leap straight into the end zone for the touchdown.
The same weekend, the San Francisco 49ers showed off their football skills during the NFC Wild Card game, played in Green Bay, Wis., in subzero temperatures. The 2013 NFC champs didn’t let the cold slow them down, though. They scored three touchdowns, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 98 yards in seven carries to help secure a San Francisco victory. With 4 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the score was tied 20-all after Kaepernick and company managed to take the football into field goal range. Kicker Phil Dawson, in his first postseason appearance with the 49ers, nailed the ball right down the center of the goalposts, crushing the hopes of Packer fans everywhere. The final score was San Francisco over Green Bay, 23-20.
The playoff games weren’t the only bright spots of the season, however. Fans may still remember Sept. 5th’s remarkable season opener between the Denver Broncos and the Super Bowl 47 champion Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens couldn’t keep up either offensively or defensively with the Broncos, who dominated from the first quarter on. Peyton Manning threw seven touchdowns for 462 yards, tying the record for the most touchdowns thrown in a game. Only five other quarterbacks in NFL history have achieved that feat, the last one in 1969. Receivers Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas scored two touchdowns each, and the game ended with a final score of 49-27.
Some football fans may be disappointed that their team didn’t make it all the way to Super Bowl 48 in New Jersey, but they’ll find it hard to deny that the season was full of surprises and moments that were so incredible they almost seemed like magic. From thrilling comebacks to crushing victories and record-breaking plays, the 2013-14 season was one for the ages.
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