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99-yard pass play

A 99-yard pass play is the longest play involving a forward pass that is possible in an American professional football game, and gains 99 yards for the offensive team.


Specifically, a 99-yard pass play starts with the line of scrimmage at the offensive team's one-yard line, the quarterback receives the ball and passes it from his own end zone, completes a forward pass, which is then carried for a touchdown at the other end of the field. Since in American professional football a forward pass is measured by the number of yards gained in the play, a 99-yard pass play can also be referred to as a 99-yard pass, even though the actual pass was much shorter than 99 yards. In addition to 99-yard pass plays, there has been one NFL 99-yard running play, by Tony Dorsett.

This play is a high-risk play, since the pass is coming from the offensive team's end zone. If the ball is intercepted, the opposing team will either score a touchdown or have very good field position; a sack can result in a safety or even a touchdown for the defense.

Since returners do not start from the line of scrimmage, return plays can be (and have been) longer than 99 yards (the longest plays in NFL history are a return of a missed field goal and a kickoff return, both the maximum possible yardage of 109).


Thirteen 99-yard pass plays have occurred in the history of the National Football League:

From To Team Opponent Game result Date Details
Frank Filchock Andy Farkas Washington Redskins v. Pittsburgh Steelers W 44–14 October 15, 1939 "Filchock flipped a pass from the end zone to Farkas, who gathered it on the ten for a stirring 90 yard jaunt to the goal behind perfect blocking by his mates."[1][2][3][4][5]
George Izo Bobby Mitchell Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns L 37–14 September 15, 1963[5] "Izo had faded into the end zone and fired high and long. Mitchell ... caught the ball around midfield and scampered untouched for a touchdown."[6]
Karl Sweetan Pat Studstill Detroit Lions at Baltimore Colts L 45–14 October 16, 1966 "Studstill ... gathered in the pass at the Lion 45 on a dead run and raced on to pay dirt."[7][8][9]
Sonny Jurgensen Jerry Allen Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears W 38–28 September 15, 1968 Allen caught the ball at the Washington 35 and ran the remaining 65 yards[5][10]
Jim Plunkett Cliff Branch Los Angeles Raiders at Washington Redskins L 37–35 October 2, 1983 Branch caught the ball at the Raiders' 35 and ran the remaining 64 yards for the score.[11][12]
Ron Jaworski Mike Quick Philadelphia Eagles v. Atlanta Falcons W 23–17 (OT) November 10, 1985 "Jaworski hit Quick about the 20. Quick ran the 80 yards for the score."[13]
Stan Humphries Tony Martin San Diego Chargers at Seattle Seahawks W 24–10 September 18, 1994 Martin caught the ball at the 35, and with Patrick Hunter pursuing him, ran the remaining 65 yards to score.[14]
Brett Favre Robert Brooks Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears W 27–24 September 11, 1995 On Monday Night, Favre pump-faked a quick post pattern to Robert Brooks, who then ran an up-route that left Donnell Woolford in the dust. Brooks caught the ball at the Green Bay 32 and ran the remaining 68 yards untouched for the TD to put the Packers up 21–0 in the second quarter.
Trent Green Marc Boerigter Kansas City Chiefs v. San Diego Chargers W 24–22 December 22, 2002 Green took the snap and retreated deep into the Chiefs' end zone, then stepped up and heaved the ball toward Boerigter, a rookie receiver who was streaking down the middle. Boerigter took the ball in perfect stride at the Kansas City 40 and outran Rogers Beckett the remaining 59 yards.[15]
Jeff Garcia André Davis Cleveland Browns v. Cincinnati Bengals W 34–17 October 17, 2004 Davis was near the Browns' 40-yard line when he caught the pass from Garcia.[16][17]
Gus Frerotte Bernard Berrian Minnesota Vikings v. Chicago Bears W 34–14 November 30, 2008 Berrian caught the ball at the Vikings' 46 and ran the remaining 54 yards to score.
Tom Brady Wes Welker New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins W 38–24 September 12, 2011 Brady lofted a pass to Welker at the 17 from 7 yards deep in the end zone. Welker then stiff-armed defender Benny Sapp on his 83-yard sprint into the end zone.[18] (Sapp was cut the next day.)[19]
Eli Manning Victor Cruz New York Giants at New York Jets W 29–14 December 24, 2011 Manning threw a pass to Cruz at the 11, which was followed by Cruz avoiding 3 tackles while running down the right sideline to score a touchdown.[20]

See also


  1. "Skins Strike Through Air to Defeat Pirates", Frederick (Md.) Post, October 16, 1939, p3
  2. "Redskins Crush Pirates, 44–14, Again Breaking Scoring Record; Eclipse Mark of 41 Points Set in Previous Game on Home Gridiron—Filchock's Pass to Farkas Gains 99 Yards for Tally Opening Kick-Off Fumbled Filchock's Pass Good". New York Times. October 16, 1939. pp. Sports, 24. Retrieved January 6, 2009. 
  3. "Riff raff by Raff". (subscription) (Frederick News-Post, Frederick, Maryland). October 21, 1939. p. 3. 
  4. "Filchock sets mark with 99 yard gain on pass to Farkas". (subscription) (Fresno Bee, Fresno, California). October 18, 1939. p. 17. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Macrevace, Phillip (2007). The Redskins Encyclopedia. Temple University Press. p. 332. ISBN 978-1-59213-542-4. 
  6. AP report, in the Lima (O.) News, September 16, 1963, p15
  7. AP report, "Unitas Sparkles as Colts Crush Detroit Lions 45–14," Ironwood (Mich.) Daily Globe, October 17, 1966, p8
  8. UPI (October 17, 1966). "Colts rip Lions 45–14". (subscription) (The Times Recorder, Zanesville Ohio). p. 19. 
  9. AP (October 17, 1966). "Baltimore routs Detroit 45–14 behind Unitas. Sweetan hurls 99-yard pass to tie mark". (subscription) (The Cumberland News, Cumberland Maryland). p. 15. 
  10. (UPI report) "Redskins Defeat Bears Behind Jurgensen 38–28, Cumberland (Md.) News, September 16, 1968, p5
  11. AP report, "'Skins win over Raiders like another Super Bowl", Frederick (Md.) News-Post, October 3, 1983, pD-1
  12. AP (January 10, 1984). "'Skin, raider rematch promises to be exciting". (subscription) (The Titusville Herald, Titusville, Pennsylvania). p. 6. 
  13. Sheridan, Phil (November 11, 1985). "Eagles survive against Falcons in overtime-Quick and Jaworski team up on 99-yard touchdown pass". (subscription) (The Daily Intelligencer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania). p. 3. 
  14. Rick Telander, "A Means Machine", Sports Illustrated, September 26, 1994, p50
  15. "Chiefs Chargers Matchup Through the Years". National Football League. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  16. [1]
  17. Dulik, Brian (October 18, 2004). "Two backs, one big result". (subscription) (Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio). p. 25. 
  18. Davis, Nate (September 13, 2011). "Brady, Welker get kick out of 99-yard touchdown". USA Today. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  19. Klemko, Robert (September 14, 2011). "Dolphins cut Patriots' 99-yard TD victim". USA Today. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
  20. Ehalt, Matt (December 24, 2011). "Cruz changes game with 99-yard touchdown". ESPN. Retrieved December 25, 2011. 
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