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May 15, 2019

Philadelphia sports' best late-game victories of the last 30 years

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051519BrandonGraham John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

This was kind of a big play.

In the wake of the gut-punch delivered by Kawhi Leonard to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night, we sadistically published Philadelphia sports' 10 most crushing late-game defeats of the last 30 years.

But, Philadelphia teams have also administered their share of gut punches as well to other teams. To even it out, let's go ahead and take a look at the most thrilling late-game victories by Philadelphia sports teams over the last 30 years.

To note, we could have shoe-horned in two more to make it an even 10, but it would have been a pretty big dropoff from the list below to whatever else we would have included, in my opinion.

8) Matt Stairs' two-run, eighth inning HR vs. the Dodgers in the 2008 NLCS

This will be the first of two Jonathan Broxton appearances on this list, the man who gave up this moonshot to Stairs.


You'd never know it from Joe Buck's call, but this was a huge home run by Stairs, as it effectively gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead in the series. They would, of course, close the deal against the Rays after dispatching of L.A. 

7) Keith Primeau's 5 OT goal

In the Eastern Conference Semis, the Penguins had a 2-1 series lead over the Flyers, who badly needed a win to even it at 2-2. In what is still the longest game ever in the modern NHL, Primeau went top shelf over sports name Hall of Famer Ron Tugnutt.


The Flyers would win Games 5 and 6 in the series, and head to the Eastern Conference Finals, where, um, well, we covered that in the most devastating losses post.

6) Allen Iverson step over

The NBA should replace Jerry West as their logo with Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue, in my opinion.


I think that one of the under-discussed parts of this play is Mark Madsen trying to scream at Iverson from the bench as he's shooting. Shut up, nerd. 

Anyway, I'll understand if some of you think this should be higher, but ultimately the Sixers would lose four straight, and the series.

5) 4th and 26

Freddie Mitchell did indeed get enough for the first down, but look at the ridiculous spot the side judge gives him, lol.


The Eagles would kick a field goal, go to OT, where Brett Favre would throw an absurdly dumb up-for-grabs INT to Brian Dawkins, and the Eagles were on to, well, one of their many crushing NFC Championship Game losses.

4) Jimmy Rollins' walk-off double vs. the Dodgers

In some of the other entries in this post, Philly teams did something great with the score tied. In Rollins' case, the Phillies were staring down the barrel of a loss, when he performed his heroics.


If scientists could find a way to inject gleeful Chooch sliding into home plate into people's veins, it would cure cancer.

3) Kris Jenkins' game winner over North Carolina for the National Championship

Big Smooth...


Bang.

2) DeSean Jackson's walk-off punt return

I'll understand if some believe this should be lower, since it was only a regular season game, but this was the gut-punchiest game I've ever seen, and it did help the Eagles win the division. I mean, the entire back half of the fourth quarter must have been an absolute nightmare for Giants fans.

The Eagles were down 31-10 with just over eight minutes left in the game, and after three quick scores, Jackson delivered the final blow. We'd show just the punt return, but that would be doing a disservice to everything else that happened in that final eight minutes. Michael Vick was simply amazing.


On a personal note, that was the first road game I had ever covered from a press box. When Kevin Boss caught the TD pass that put the Giants up 31-10, there were loud cheers, a no-no in press box etiquette. They were pretty quiet thereafter. 

1) Brandon Graham's strip sack of Tom Brady

Admit it. When the Patriots got the ball back with a five-point lead, you thought they were driving the field for a TD. Patriots fans certainly though it, anyway.


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