With the NFL’s 2018 season in the books, NFL Network decided to take a look back at the year that was and list the top 10 of the 267 games played between the regular season and playoffs — from the Philadelphia Eagles’ 18-12 victory on opening day to the New England Patriots’ 13-3 win in Super Bowl 53. And the Patriots are actually well represented on the list, as four of their games made the cut.
Let’s take a look at them.
#10: Week 14, New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
The tenth spot goes to one of New England’s five defeats in 2018, their last-second loss against the Dolphins now known as the “Miami Miracle.” You know the story by now: after the Patriots increased their lead to 33-28 on a late fourth quarter field goal, the home team had one final play left — and it made the most out of it by gaining 79 yards on a series of laterals to score the game-winning touchdown.
In case you want to relive it (hello to all Dolphins fans visiting), please click here:
While the final play is likely the reason why the game made the list, it was only one in a series of noteworthy moments during the Patriots’ 34-33 loss in week 14. The contest also saw quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ryan Tannehill combine for six touchdown passes (the final play one of which), two touchdowns by ex-Patriot Brandon Bolden against his former team, and a pair of punt blocks by New England’s Albert McClellan — the first time such a feat happened since 2003.
#8: Super Bowl 53, New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams
While the Super Bowl may not have been the high-scoring affair many anticipated in the two weeks leading up to the game, it was still an entertaining contest between two of the NFL’s best top-to-bottom teams. Ultimately, the Patriots prevailed by winning 13-3 — with the lone touchdown being scored by rookie Sony Michel to cap an outstanding fourth quarter drive by the AFC champions:
Catch the re-air of Super Bowl LIII at 11:30am ET on NFL Network! pic.twitter.com/mMTX4QoSIf— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) February 16, 2019
All in all, Patriots versus Rams — the lowest-scoring of the 53 Super Bowls so far — will be remembered primarily as a defensive battle: neither team got into much of a rhythm for most of the game, with New England’s defense in particular delivering a performance for the ages. The world champions got contributions in all three phases, though, in order to capture their record-tying sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.
#3: Week 6, Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
The first meeting between the Patriots and Chiefs saw the two best teams in the AFC go at each other in prime time. In week six, New England hosted Kansas City in what turned out to be one of the highest-scoring games of the year — a 43-40 shootout that was ultimately decided on a last-second field goal by the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski:
The story of the first half was the domination of the Patriots defense: the unit played its best football of the season up to that point, and held the Chiefs’ high-flying offense to a mere nine points — all while the offense scored 24. In the second half, however, Patrick Mahomes and company fought back and ultimately tied the game at 40 with three minutes left. However, the Patriots drove into field goal range to secure the victory.
#1: AFC Championship, New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs
According to NFL Network, the rematch between the Patriots and Chiefs was the best game of the 2018 season — and for good reason considering that the meeting saw high-stakes drama that once more ended on a walk-off touchdown. This time, New England running back Rex Burkhead decided the contest in his team’s favor on a two-yard rush in overtime:
Burkhead’s run capped a thrilling AFC title game that had a similar script as the week six meeting between New England and Kansas City: the Patriots jumped to an early lead — 14-0 this time — behind a dominating defense and a ball-control offense, before the Chiefs were able to get back into the game. The home team tied the game at 31 on a last-second field goal, but the Patriots received the overtime kickoff and marched right to the game-winning score.
The full list of NFL Network’s top 10 games of 2018 looks as follows:
#10: Week 6, Patriots at Dolphins
#8: Super Bowl 53, Patriots vs Rams
#7: Week 14, Eagles at Cowboys
#6: Week 15, Chargers at Chiefs
#5: Week 16, Steelers at Saints
#4: NFC Championship, Rams at Saints
#3: Week 6, Chiefs at Patriots
#2: Week 11, Chiefs at Rams
#1: AFC Championship, Patriots at Chiefs