Sports

Rarefied Air: Despite recent run, Hail Mary catches not common, but still every bit as clutch

  • Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) makes the catch the to score the game-winning touchdown as Georgia strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) looks on late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. Auburn won 43-38. (AP Photo/Opelika-Auburn News, Albert Cesare)

    Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis (5) makes the catch the to score the game-winning touchdown as Georgia strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) looks on late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. Auburn won 43-38. (AP Photo/Opelika-Auburn News, Albert Cesare)  (The Associated Press)

  • Georgia free safety Tray Matthews (28) and strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) try to intercept as pass late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Auburn. Ala. Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis, hidden, came up with the catch and ran for the game-winning touchdown. Auburn won 43-38.(AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jason Getz)  MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT

    Georgia free safety Tray Matthews (28) and strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) try to intercept as pass late in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 in Auburn. Ala. Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis, hidden, came up with the catch and ran for the game-winning touchdown. Auburn won 43-38.(AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jason Getz) MARIETTA DAILY OUT; GWINNETT DAILY POST OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; WXIA-TV OUT; WGCL-TV OUT  (The Associated Press)

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completes a tipped, 51-yard pass to A.J. Green for a tying touchdown on the final play of regulation against the Ravens.

Six days later, another stunner — a deflected 73-yard TD by Auburn in college football.

Happens every week, right? Actually, a successful heave-it-and-hope pass — the kind Roger Staubach is credited with dubbing a Hail Mary — is exceedingly rare in the NFL.

The Dalton-Green connection is one of only two times since the start of the 2008 season that an NFL team scored a TD off a throw of 50 or more yards in the final minute of the first or second half of a regular-season or playoff game, according to STATS.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org