NFL Next Gen Stats built a machine learning model which determines the probability of a pass being completed.
The name of this stat is called completion probability.
The model takes into account stats such as Air Distance, air yards, and receiver separation. Other factors include previously unrecorded metrics like a receiver’s distance from the sideline and more.
Improbable completions look at passes with the lowest completion probability each week with a minimum of 10+ air yards, and all scoring plays.
We’ve used the Next Gen stat to generate a list of the top 10 most improbable completions of the 2022 NFL season.
Top-10 Most Improbable Completions Of The 2022 NFL Season
The quarterback position is the most important in the NFL.
A QB needs to be able to make some throws that seem impossible to complete.
Gardner Minshew’s 23-yard pass to DeVonta Smith kicks off the top 10 most improbable completions of the 2022 NFL season.
Click to jump a player in the top-10:
- Mac Jones
- Dak Prescott
- Jalen Hurts
- Cooper Rush
- Trevor Lawrence
- Jacoby Brissett
- PJ Walker
- Derek Carr
- Lamar Jackson
- Gardner Minshew
10. Gardner Minshew 23-Yard Pass To DeVonta Smith
In Week 16, Jalen Hurts was injured and missed the game due to a shoulder injury.
Gardner Minshew started the game for the Philadelphia Eagles and he had 355 passing yards, two passing TDs, and two interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys.
Out of the 355 passing yards, 23 passing yards came on an improbable pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
With 5:04 left in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia had the ball at their own 25-yard line with the game tied 34-34. Minshew was in shotgun and he dropped back to pass, passing the ball near the sideline for DeVonta Smith. Smith jumped up and caught the pass along the sideline and got two feet in for the 23-yard completion.
Gardner Minshew finds DeVonta Smith along the sideline.
Great catch by Smitty! 👀 pic.twitter.com/Q0g2wnnPZi
— DIE-HARD 🦅 Fans (@Eaglesfans9) December 25, 2022
Unfortunately for the Eagles, they ended up losing the game 40-34.
Minshew’s 23-yard completion to Smith ranked 10th with a completion probability of 12.9%.
9. Lamar Jackson 16-Yard TD Pass To Mark Andrews
When healthy, Lamar Jackson is one of the most dynamic players in the league.
In 12 games this season, Jackson had 2,242 passing yards, 17 passing TDs, 764 rushing yards, and three rushing TDs.
One of his most improbable completions came in Week 3 against the New England Patriots with 35 seconds left in the second quarter with the Baltimore Ravens down 10-7.
The ball was on the New England 16-yard line, Jackson was lined up in the shotgun, he dropped back and threw the ball to Mark Andrews, with a defender right in his face, Andrews caught the ball over the defender, was able to get two feet in for the 16-yard TD reception.
Lamar Jackson throws it up for Mark Andrews for a 16 yard TD!#RavensFlock lead 14-10!
Andrews ATTD (+135) ✅💰https://t.co/oHr5Vqzlq0#NFL
— Coolbet Canada 🇨🇦 (@CoolbetCanada) September 25, 2022
This gave Baltimore a 14-10 lead and they would go on and win the game 37-26.
Jackson’s 16-yard TD completion to Andrews ranked ninth with a completion probability of 12.7%.
8. Derek Carr 34-Yard Pass To Darren Waller
Derek Carr was benched in the final two games of the season, signalling his time as the starting quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders will be coming to an end.
In 15 games started, Carr had 3,522 passing yards and 24 passing TDs.
One of his best throws came in Week 16 with 32 seconds left in the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The ball was on the Raiders’ 44-yard line, Carr was lined up in the shotgun, he dropped back to pass and threw the ball to Darren Waller, Waller had to twist his body with two defenders on him in order to catch the ball, and he was able to reel it in for a 34-yard completion.
Cover 1 robber on 3rd and long.
The Steelers 3 safety looks have been huge since Kazee returned but there's a drastic drop-off between Fitzpatrick and the others in terms of playing the centerfielder role.
Carr stares Waller down but Norwood doesn't have the range to get there pic.twitter.com/EPPSxMvi1H
— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) December 29, 2022
The Raiders would go on to lose the game 13-10.
Carr’s 34-yard completion to Waller ranked eighth with a completion probability of 12%.
7. Phillip Walker 62-Yard TD Pass To D.J. Moore
Phillip (PJ) Walker played in six games this season for the Carolina Panthers and he had 731 passing yards and three passing TDs.
One of those passing TDs came in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Carolina had the ball at their own 38-yard line, Walker was lined up in the shotgun, he dropped back and rolled to his left, he threw a deep ball to DJ Moore, who was covered by two defenders, but Moore was able to get the slightest separation and was able to haul in the 62-yard pass for a TD to tie the game 34-34.
PJ WALKER TO DJ MOORE, HOLY COW!pic.twitter.com/hNazMcWFwe
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 30, 2022
Carolina missed the extra point and ended up losing 37-34 in overtime.
Walker’s 62-yard TD completion to Moore ranked seventh with a completion probability of 11.5%.
6. Jacoby Brissett 27-Yard Pass To Donovan Peoples-Jones
Jacoby Brissett started the first 11 games of the season for the Cleveland Browns with DeShaun Watson serving a suspension.
Brissett had 2,608 passing yards and 12 passing TDs.
One of his better throws came in Week 11 against the Buffalo Bills with 4:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland had the ball on Buffalo’s 34-yard line, Brissett was in the shotgun, he dropped back to pass, and threw a deep pass along the sideline for Donovan Peoples-Jones, who had a man all over him but was able to make the catch and get two feet down inbounds for a 27-yard completion.
The Browns scored a TD on the next play to make the game 28-16 for Buffalo.
Cleveland would end up losing the game 31-23.
Brissett’s 27-yard completion to Peoples-Jones ranked sixth with a completion probability of 12.9%.
Top Five Most Improbable Completions Of The 2022 NFL Season
Now, we get to the top-five most improbable completions of the 2022 NFL season.
Trevor Lawrence’s 10-yard TD pass to Marvin Jones kicks off the top-five list.
5. Trevor Lawrence 10-Yard Pass TD To Marvin Jones
Trevor Lawrence had a big second season after a rocky rookie year.
Lawrence had 4,113 passing yards, 25 passing TDs, 291 rushing yards, and five rushing TDs on the season.
He led the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC South crown and won a playoff game.
One of his most improbable completions came in Week 12 against the Baltimore Ravens with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter with the Jaguars down 27-20.
Trevor Lawrence was lined up in the shotgun with the ball on Baltimore’s 10-yard line, he dropped back to pass, and threw it along the sideline in the endzone to Marvin Jones, who had a defender all over him, but was able to reel in the catch with two feet inbounds in the endzone to score a TD.
Here are the replays for the Marvin Jones Jr touchdown catch late in the Jaguars Ravens game.
It aas ruled a touchdown on the field and after a long review Land Clark announced "the ruling on the field stands".
Do you agree? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/dX3PRY5pVX
— René Bugner (@RNBWCV) November 27, 2022
This made the score 27-26 for the Ravens but instead of attempting an extra point to tie the game, the Jags went for two and got it.
Jacksonville won the game 28-27 after an excellent play from Lawrence and Jones.
Lawrence’s 10-yard TD completion to Jones ranked fifth with a completion probability of 8.2%.
4. Cooper Rush 27-Yard Pass To Michael Gallup
Cooper Rush started five games for the Cowboys under center with Dak Prescott suffering a thumb injury.
On the season, Rush had 1,051 passing yards and five passing TDs.
One of his best completions came in Week 5 with 11:48 left in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams.
It was third and 15 and Dallas had the ball at their own 31-yard line.
Rush was in the shotgun, he dropped back to pass, and threw a deep 27-yard pass along the sideline to Michael Gallup, who was pinned between a defender and the sideline, but was able to bring in the catch with two feet inbounds for the 27-yard completion.
According to @NextGenStats, this 26-yard completion from Cooper Rush to Michael Gallup on Sunday had a completion probability of 8.2%, the third-most improbable completion in the NFL this seasonpic.twitter.com/l16no5c0Up
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 12, 2022
Dallas would go on to win the game 22-10.
Rush’s 27-yard completion to Gallup ranked fourth with a completion probability of 8.2%.
3. Jalen Hurts 45-Yard Pass To DeVonta Smith
This is the second time DeVonta Smith has made the list but this time the pass was from Jalen Hurts.
Hurts had an incredible season and he was a favorite to win MVP before suffering an injury and missing two games.
Hurts had 3,701 passing yards, 22 passing TDs, 760 rushing yards, and 13 rushing TDs on the season.
One of Hurts’ best throws came in Week 3 against the Washington Commanders with 1:20 left in the first quarter and the score was tied 0-0.
Hurts lined up in the shotgun, dropped back to pass, launched it 45 yards to DeVonta Smith along the sideline, and with a tiny bit of separation along the sideline, Smith was able to haul in the pass with two feet in for the 45-yard completion.
Jalen Hurts hit a 45-yard bomb to DeVonta Smith against the #Commanders' defense. What did Hurts see pre-snap and confirm post-snap before delivering this throw?
Full Video: https://t.co/cpIxKxDMyo pic.twitter.com/bwzoSlE4a2
— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) September 28, 2022
Philadelphia would win the game 24-8.
Hurts’ 45-yard completion to Smith ranked third with a completion probability of 8.1%.
2. Dak Prescott 27-Yard Pass To CeeDee Lamb
Another Cowboys connection makes the list except for this time it is a pass from Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb.
Prescott missed five games this season and he had himself a rocky season.
He had 2,860 passing yards, 23 passing TDs, and led the league with 15 interceptions.
One of his better passes came in Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings.
The score was 20-3 for Dallas and Prescott had an incredible 27-yard passing play with 13 seconds left in the second quarter.
Prescott was lined up in the shotgun with the ball on Dallas’ 30-yard line, he dropped back to pass, rolled to his right, threw the ball while on the run along the sideline to CeeDee Lamb, and Lamb was able to bring in the pass with two feet inbounds and possession to complete the 27-yard pass.
.@dallascowboys @dak to @_CeeDeeThree for +27 right before the half that lead to a FG. Never; Never stop attacking. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/K6CQvlsGah
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) November 22, 2022
Dallas would go on to smash the Vikings 40-3.
Prescott’s 27-yard completion to Lamb ranked second with a completion probability of 7.4%.
1. Mac Jones 25-Yard Pass To DeVante Parker
After a solid rookie season, Mac Jones took a step back in his second year.
Jones played in 14 games this season and he had 2,997 passing yards, 14 passing TDs, and 11 interceptions.
One of Jones’ best throws came in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens with 12:51 left in the third quarter and Baltimore had a 14-13 lead.
The ball was on the Baltimore 27-yard line and Jones was lined up in the shotgun.
Jones dropped back and threw a 25-yard pass along the sideline to DeVanta Parker, who had a defender on him but was able to catch the pass with two feet inbounds and possession to complete the 25-yard pass.
Caption: According to Next Gen Stats, Mac Jones' 25-yard completion to DeVante Parker with 12:51 remaining in the 3rd quarter had a completion probability of 7.4 pct pic.twitter.com/lmCgqziFzN
— Steve Smith Sr. (@SteveSmithSr89) September 29, 2022
The Patriots scored a TD two plays later to make it 20-14 Patriots.
New England would go on to lose to the Ravens 37-26.
Jones’ 25-yard completion to Parker ranked first with a completion probability of 7.4%.