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

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.


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org