A near impossible catch turned into a nominee for catch of the year on “Monday Night Football” in a game between the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos.
Denver wide receiver Courtland Sutton had extremely impressive footwork and control of the ball on a touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson in the second quarter. The Broncos were on the Bills’ seven-yard line on fourth-and-2 and decided to go for it, listening to the analytics. Wilson was pressured on the play and tossed the ball up into the left corner of the end zone, almost looking like he was throwing it away.
The ball was placed where only Sutton, and not any defender, could catch it, though the receiver’s chances were very slim. They say football is a game of inches, but in this case it was a case of centimeters.
Here’s a look at the incredible athleticism from Sutton:
According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, the pass had only a 3.2 completion probability percentage, making it the most improbable completion of any play since Next Gen Stats was introduced in the league. The program began in 2017 and has data on every pass from 2018 on.
The scramble distance was 16.3 yards, the air distance was 37.8 yards and the sideline distance was -0.7 yards.
Wilson has a trend of throwing passes that become impossible catches, as the second-most improbable touchdown pass of the Next Gen Stats era was in Week 5 of 2019. It came in the form of a 13-yard pass from Wilson to Tyler Lockett and had a completion probability of 5.3%.
Monday night’s touchdown to Sutton was originally ruled incomplete, but was then overturned. The Bills were all signaling that the catch was no good, and it was so close that without a replay, it was tough to see whether both feet got in bounds while he had complete control of the ball. Sutton seemed to know it was a completed catch and began to make his case to the officials.
This is Sutton’s seventh touchdown of the season, a career high. He has seven receptions on nine targets so far Monday for 49 yards.