Chandler Jones reflects on craziest finish in decades


Chandler Jones, from his home Sunday night, knew the end of the Raiders’ 30-24 win over the Patriots was stunning and strange, but he didn’t know it was historic.

So he asked me: “You’ve been covering the game for a long time—how do you see it?”

I’m not positive, I said. But I think it’s the most incredible end to a game I’ve seen since, well, maybe since the Immaculate Reception.

“Do you know about that?” I asked.

“Refresh me,” he said.

“Raiders-Steelers playoff game, 50 years ago this week,” I said. “Steelers down 7-6, fourth down, 22 seconds left, at their 40-yard line. Terry Bradshaw throws, it caroms either off a Steelers running back or Jack Tatum, the Raider safety, and Franco Harris either traps it or picks it off near the ground, and he runs for a touchdown. Steelers win.”

“Pretty amazing,” Jones said.

“Here’s what’s amazing,” I said. “You go to Pittsburgh for Raiders-Steelers this week on the 50th anniversary of the game.”

Jones soaked it in for a minute. The enormity of what just happened was hitting him now.

“It will be hard for me to fall asleep tonight,” Chandler Jones said.

So how does one of the most shocking plays in modern NFL history occur?

This is how the 48-yard Jones “fumble recovery” (seriously, that’s how it will go down in history) happened:

Pats 24, Raiders 24, three seconds left, New England ball at its 45-yard line, last play of the fourth quarter. Overtime beckoned. Pats decided not to throw a Hail Mary, because they didn’t have confidence Mac Jones could fling a high arcing ball 60 yards. So Jones handed it to Rhamondre Stevenson, who’d try to find his way 55 yards downfield, somehow.

Maybe we all were expecting the Patriots to play for overtime, which was the stratagem here. Bill Belichick certainly was. Most of the Raiders were. But Chandler Jones told me he expected the Patriots to take a shot to score right there.

“It was a desperado situation,” Jones said over the phone from Nevada, “and that was a team that would try to do anything to advance the ball for a touchdown. They’ll throw the ball, pitch it, lateral it. I knew that was a possibility to happen. I thought they would do a hook-and-lateral, or something like that. They had a random run.

“I actually missed a tackle on [Stevenson]. I went to go punch the ball out on that play and I missed. The guy kept running. By the time I stood up, I realized that the ball was being pitched around.”

On FOX, Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma thought the Patriots would try something, but nothing dangerous. The sound of their voices, at first, was pretty calm.

Albert: “Stevenson is inside the 30. Flips it back. Stanford band nowhere in sight.”

“They were playing hot potato now,” Jones told me. “Instead of pursuing the ball, I just started playing back into saying, alright who’s the next passer? Who could they possibly throw it to next that’s behind the line of scrimmage? Because they’re playing this whole hot potato game. Sure enough, I saw Jakobi Meyers kinda look back at Mac Jones, the quarterback. He was standing in the middle of the field. I literally just jumped up when I saw the ball coming, intended for Mac. Mac was kind of standing there, looking at me with big eyes.”

This seemed crazy, and it was: Meyers threw the ball 22.9 yards on the backward pass intended for Jones, per Next Gen Stats. That’s not just a little lateral. That’s the equivalent of a good downfield pass.

Vilma: “Uh-oh.”

Albert: “IT’S PICKED OFF!”

Vilma: “Uh-oh! Oh no!”


“I literally just jumped up and intercepted it,” Jones said. “I just gave Mac a nice stiff arm with my right hand. The rest was history.”

Albert: “INCREDIBLE! Chandler Jones [crossing the goal line] takes it in! And wins the game! For the Raiders! Have you ever seen an ending like that!!!”

Vilma: “I have NEVER seen anything like that. I have no idea why he was doing that. Oh my goodness!”

“Crazy he threw it back,” said Derek Carr.

“I didn’t see the dude there,” Meyers said later. “I was trying to do too much. I shoulda just gone down with the ball.”

Meyers had no instructions to throw it—and certainly not to throw it 23 yards.

Albert: “An unbelievable ending here in Las Vegas.”

Vilma: “I thought I had seen it all, Kenny.”

“Shocked?” Jones said. “No, I’m not shocked at all. I mean, I’m happy that I did something to help the team win. But not shocked at all. Honestly, I was trying to catch my breath, to be honest. It felt like a 100-yard run. I was kinda just getting slapped in the side of the face, in the head. Everyone’s congratulating me, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ And all I could do was just hang onto the football. I remember vividly the football being in my right hand. [Tight end] Foster Moreau, he came up to me and he said, ‘Chandler, give me the ball. I’ll make sure you get it.’ I kinda just let it go. I just let the ball go and I was like man I just need air. And the game was over. It was such a crazy feeling. It was almost like a Hollywood script that’s unwritten because people won’t believe it. There’s no way, you know?”

It’s not shocking to do something like what Meyers did when a team is behind. But tied? Headed for overtime? The backward lateral’s just too dangerous. It can get fumbled or picked off, and it can be returned for a touchdown. That’s what happened.

What’s so uncharacteristic about the play is that Meyers is a very smart player, one of the players Belichick trusts the most. If he’s going to do something like this, what hope is there for this team when times are tight near the end of games?

“This might be one of the dumbest teams I’ve ever seen,” said perturbed colorman Scott Zolak on the Patriots Radio Network.

So now these teams go into the longshot pool for the playoffs. New England, 7-7, and Vegas, 6-8, will have to pull some upsets to be playing after Week 18. As NBC prognosticator Steve Kornacki said Sunday night, the Patriots’ odds to make the postseason dropped to four in 10, and that might be generous—New England closes with three foes who are likely playoff-bound.

“Anything in your football life compare to this?” I asked Jones.

“I won a Super Bowl, Super Bowl 49,” he said. “That was pretty legit. But making a play to win a game? No. Never. I’m 32 in year 11. Better plays are coming with age, I guess.”

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

19. Kyler Murray (AZ)

18. Derek Carr (NO)

17. Jared Goff (DET)

16. Ryan Tannehill (TEN)

15. Geno Smith (SEA)

14. Russell Wilson (DEN)

13. Dak Prescott (DAL)

12. Kirk Cousins (MIN)

11. Daniel Jones (NYG)

10. Matthew Stafford (LAR)

9. Deshaun Watson (CLE)

8. Aaron Rodgers (NYJ)

7. Jalen Hurts (PHI)

6. Trevor Lawrence (JAX)

5. Lamar Jackson (BAL)

4. Justin Herbert (LAC)

3. Josh Allen (BUF)

2. Joe Burrow (CLE)

1. Patrick Mahomes (KC)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!