Josh Gordon’s 28-yard tightrope act Sunday was one of the unlikeliest completions of the 2019 NFL season to date.
Gordon’s reception, which came during the third quarter of the New England Patriots’ 30-14 win over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium, had just a 15.8 percent chance of being completed, according to NFL Next Gen Stats’ completion probability metric.
Only two completions have had lower probabilities this season: one from the Jets’ Luke Falk to Robby Anderson in Week 2 (10.8 percent) and one from the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson to D.K. Metcalf in Week 3 (13.9 percent).
The exact formula for completion probability is unclear, but Next Gen Stats describes it as “the probability of a pass completion, based on numerous factors such as receiver separation from the nearest defender, where the receiver is on the field, the separation the passer had at time of throw from the nearest pass rusher, and more.”
“We had good field position, and Josh made a huge play,” Brady said after the game. “He made a bunch all day. He went wire-to-wire; he’s going to be pretty tired tomorrow. I’m proud of him and what he accomplished today. That was a huge play in the game.”
Making Gordon’s catch even more impressive was the fact he’d already suffered multiple injuries earlier in the game. The big wideout received treatment for an apparent back/hip issue late in the second quarter and on what appeared to be a dislocated finger early in the third but returned to the field both times.
Gordon’s teammates applauded his toughness, with special teamer Matthew Slater giving him the infinitely badass nickname “War Daddy Deluxe.”
“I don’t think anybody likes to get banged up or have to come out of the game, but it’s just the reality of it,” said Gordon, who caught six passes for a game-high 83 yards in the win. “I think the more important part is just how many times can you get knocked down and come back? That’s my mindset. That’s my attitude.
“If it doesn’t take me out all the way where I can’t physically do it, I’m going to be back out there within a couple plays. If medically, I’m approved to do so, I’m going to go back out, no matter what it is that’s hurt me.”
Thumbnail photo via Sep 22, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts (27) called for pass interference against New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports