The top play of Week 8 was more of a fortuitous sequence of events than a calculated display of superior athletic prowess. While Kareem Hunt was shedding defenders off his shoulders like they were lint and vaulted over another tackler for the second week in a row, he loses points for originality.
Instead, Miami Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler and a pair of receivers pulled off the most scintillating play of Week 8 and possibly the NFL's most auspicious at the midpoint of the 2018 campaign.
Brocktober has been a rocky ride for Miami. During the Dolphins Thursday night clash with the Houston Texans, Osweiler threw for a modest 241 yards, nil touchdowns, and an interception. Approximately 134 of those yards were gained by embattled receiver DeVante Parker. However, 46 of those yards were courtesy of a glitch in the gridiron Matrix.
Late in the third period, Osweiler rolled to his left to escape a collapsing pocket, sailing a high arching pass to Jakeem Grant. Grant reeled in the pass at midfield before safety Justin Reid laid a punishing blow which dislodged the ball before he could complete the catch.
That’s when it got weird. The ball squirted from Grant's grip with enough velocity to bounce off of cornerback Natrell Jamerson's helmet as he closed in and spun forward another 13 yards.
If ever there was corroborating evidence for the simulated reality theory, it was this play. Anyone who's ever played Madden is familiar with the forward pass that bounces perfectly off of a defender into the hands of a receiver or defensive back yards away from the play.
Even the full-extension catch Parker made off the ricochet would have been worthy of top play contention on its account.
Most of the catch was out of Parker’s control, but he deserves kudos for staying vigilant after Grant appeared to make a routine catch. Miami's Immaculate Deflection is the closest thing to a Madden glitch you'll see occur in the natural world. However, it didn't provide enough of an impetus to propel the Dolphins to a comeback. The catch contributed to a monster performance that eclipsed the previous career-high in yardage for Parker, who badly needed a breakout performance before the Tuesday 4 pm trade deadline.
A week earlier, Parker's agent ripped coach Adam Gase for deactivating Parker against the Detroit Lions. A string of finger and quad injuries have had Parker on the mend all season up until this point, but the football gods finally appear to be looking upon him with favor in the wake of injuries to Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the Parker-Grant double catch wasn't enough of a blessing for Miami, which lost 42-23 to the Houston Texans and dropped to 4-4.
*Out-of-market games only. Select int'l games excluded.