We deserved this weekend.
Without offering a hot take on the safety of playing (or attending) games in a pandemic, without minimizing the crisis we’re still enduring, I’ll just say this: It was damn nice to see the return of some old friends on the college football field, the joy (and agony) of October baseball heroics, the last-second thrills of multiple NFL games.
How did this weekend go? Like a rollercoaster sent around a dozen times. Check out how many twists, turns, loops and swoops this weekend featured:
The Browns and Bengals combined for one of the most enjoyable games of the entire season, a game which featured an NFL-first five touchdowns to change the lead. Joe Burrow was outstanding, and Baker Mayfield was even better, concluding his five-TD performance with a pinpoint game-winner with just 11 seconds left. Talk about “deserve” — the people of Ohio deserve to watch these two going at it for the next decade.
Penn State commemorated its return to the football field with a highly generous gift to Indiana: A game that the Nittany Lions had locked down, statistically speaking. And then Penn State scored too early — remember that theme, we’ll come back to it later — and allowed Indiana to march down the field, score, force overtime and then win on one of the most dramatic pylon dives you’ll ever see. So much fun … for everyone outside State College.
In the battle of heavyweights that lived up to its billing, Pittsburgh knocked off Tennessee to remain the only undefeated team left in the NFL. The Steelers built a big lead, the Titans snarled their way back into the game, and Pittsburgh only won after a late missed field goal from onetime Pats legend Stephen Gostkowski. We’ll be hearing from both these teams well into January.
The Atlanta Falcons — who are to blown leads what Mozart is to music — added another movement to their symphony of futility Sunday when they pulled a Penn State. Todd Gurley couldn’t hold up from going into the end zone, giving Detroit the ball back with a minute to go. At that point, they should’ve just given Detroit the game, too, the way umps automatically give an intentionally walked batter the base now. We all knew what was going to happen, why waste time?
In one of the most ridiculous field goals in history, Rice lost to Middle Tennessee State on a field goal that bounced an astounding four times off the uprights before falling into the end zone. Seriously, check it out … you’ve never seen anything like this:
Rice just basically kneeled three straight plays and kicked a 45 yard fg for the win in OT and this happened. pic.twitter.com/EyxpYfrfSS
— Matthew Brune (@MatthewBrune_) October 24, 2020
The Seahawks can't seem to not play a thriller on Sunday night, only this time they lost. Zane Gonzalez, who missed a 41-yarder earlier in overtime for the win, totally redeemed himself by nailing one from 48 with only a few seconds left, handing the Cardinals a massive victory and Seattle its first loss. Warm up the Kyler for MVP talk.
And finally, the masterpiece: Game 4 of the World Series, where the Dodgers were one strike away from a 3-1 lead over the Rays. But then Brett Phillips singled, Chris Taylor fumbled the pickup in center field, and Will Smith bobbled the throw at the plate, allowing the Rays to pull off the unlikeliest of 8-7 wins. All due respect to every other game on this list, but there’s nothing like a World Series game walkoff.
Now that’s a sports weekend. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips and story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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