After the 90.5 degree lateral from Wycheck
In 2000: An otherwise nondescript AFC Wild Card game suddenly found itself joining the Immaculate Reception, the Hail Mary and The Drive in pantheon of unbelievable playoff finishes. The Tennessee Titans were locked in a defensive struggle with the visiting Buffalo Bills in the first playoff game of the new millennium. The Bills rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half and took their first lead of the game at 16-15 with only 16 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, Tennessee’s Lorenzo Neal fielded the ball and handed it to H-Back Frank Wycheck. Wycheck threw the ball across the field to Kevin Dyson, who ran 75 yards for the touchdown. The Titans had to wait out a lengthy review by referee Phil Luckett (who was the Forrest Gump of the NFL in the late 90’s–he seemed to be involved in every major event), but the play stood and the Music City Miracle was on the list. The Bills protested that it was a forward pass by Wycheck and the play shouldn’t have stood, but replays show that the play was a lateral.
In 2003: Two Wild Card games played back-to-back provided NFL fans with one of the most exciting days of football ever. First, in Pittsburgh, the Steelers trailed 24-7 and 33-21 before rallying to beat the Cleveland Browns 36-33, despite 433 yards passing by Brown’s backup Kelly Holcomb. Then in San Francisco, the 49ers fell behind the NY Giants 38-14 in the second half before rallying to take a 39-38 lead behind Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens. The last play of the afternoon summed up the entire day. The Giants lined up for a game-winning field goal attempt but the snap was botched, and holder Matt Allen scrambled right and heaved a desperation pass to Giants’ guard Rich Seubert (who was an eligible receiver). Seubert was blatantly interfered with by the 49ers’ Chike Okeafor, but the referees instead penalized the Giants for an illegal man downfield. If the referees had called offsetting penalties (or if Allen had just spiked the ballit was third down) the Giants could’ve had another shot at winning the game. The 49ers, for some reason, didn’t let the Giants play at Tampa the next week in their stead.