Receivers are rarely wide open in the NFL.
Defensive players are simply too athletic, and defensive coordinators too crafty, to consistently allow players to roam free downfield.
Thus, quarterbacks have to thread passes through painfully tight windows, and receivers must make circus catches up, over and around defenders, to move the ball. But of course, some completions come more easily than others.
This season, NFL's Next Gen Stats introduced a figure known as "completion probability" for the first time.
"Using Next Gen Stats tracking data, we built a machine learning model that determines the probability of a pass being completed, and we named that stat Completion Probability. The machine learning model takes into account Next Gen Stats such as Air Distance, Air Yards, Receiver Separation. It also leverages other previously unrecorded metrics such as receiver distance from sideline, and more," the creators of the model explain.
We started with the model's rankings, mixed them up a bit when a certain play didn't pass the eye test (this rather pedestrian Blake Bortles touchdown pass, for example, had a shockingly low completion probability), then came up with the most unlikely completions of the 2018 NFL season so far.
These 13 impossible pass-and-catches are the type of plays that haunt defensive backs' dreams.