The 2011 NFL season was filled with great matchups and amazing finishes. Narrowing the field to just 20 best games was tough. Fortunately, Elliot Harrison was up to the task. After much debate and consideration, here are his top 20 games of the 2011 season.
No. 20: Panthers at Cardinals, Week 1
Cam Newton's explosive NFL debut against the Cardinals didn't result in a Panthers win, but it did make Elliot Harrison's list as the 20th-best game of 2011.
No. 19: Packers at Chiefs - Week 15
The Chiefs' shocking Week 15 victory over the undefeated Packers comes in at No. 19 on the Top 20 Games of 2011. Relive the performance that earned Romeo Crennel a head-coaching gig.
No. 18: Giants at 49ers - Week 10
The Giants and 49ers wound up meeting in the NFC title game, but their Week 10 clash provided championship-level drama, making it Elliot Harrison's 18th-ranked game of 2011.
No. 17: Saints at Titans - Week 14
Despite his late-game dramatics, Jake Locker couldn't outduel Drew Brees in the No. 17 game on Elliot Harrison's list of the 20 best games of the 2011 season.
No. 16: Chargers at Chiefs - Week 8
Turnovers were the name of the game for the Chargers in this Week 8 divisional game, specifically a mishandled snap from Philip Rivers that the Chiefs recovered on their way to a 23-20 overtime win.
No. 15: Texans at Bengals - Week 14
Two teams on the brink of the playoffs. Two young quarterbacks coming of age. The storylines were ripe for the picking in game No. 15 of the 2011 season, which turned out to be a first-class thriller.
No. 14: Bears at Broncos - Week 14
Matt Prater's two 50-yard field goals extended the myth of Tebow Time as the Broncos beat the Bears in overtime in game No. 14 of Elliot Harrison's Top 20 Games of 2011.
No. 13: Saints at Falcons - Week 10
Coach Mike Smith's daring call set up failure for the Falcons. With the score tied in overtime, Smith sent his offense in for a 4th-and-1 deep in their own territory. The gamble predictably failed, setting up an easy Saints victory.
No. 12: Patriots vs. Giants - Super Bowl XLVI
Mario Manningham's celebrated fourth-quarter catch in Indianapolis summed up the Giants' title-clinching victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, Elliot Harrison's No. 12 game of 2011.
No. 11: Ravens at Steelers - Week 9
Forgoing their traditional styles, the Ravens and Steelers took to the air in Week 9 - a shootout that ended in thrilling fashion with a Torrey Smith TD catch, and a Ravens season sweep of their rival.
No. 10: Packers at Giants - Week 13
One of the defining storylines of last season was Green Bay's bid to go undefeated - a dream they kept alive in Elliot Harrison's No. 10 game of 2011.
No. 9: Cowboys at 49ers - Week 2
Tony Romo overcame the pain of a cracked rib to lead the Cowboys to a thrilling win in overtime against the 49ers in game No. 9 of Elliot Harrison's Top 20 Games of 2011.
No. 8: Raiders at Texans - Week 5
The Raiders honored the memory of Al Davis with an inspirational win over the Houston Texans in game No. 8 of Elliot Harrison's list of the best games of last season.
No. 7: Patriots at Bills - Week 3
The Bills put an abrupt end to their 15-game losing streak to the Patriots with a thrilling second-half comeback in Elliot Harrison's seventh-best game of the 2011 season.
No. 6: Steelers at Broncos - Wild Card Weekend
Tebowmania reached its climax in the Broncos' wild card win over the Steelers, as the controversial quarterback lifted his team to victory with for an overtime-ending, 80-yard touchdown pass to receiver Demaryius Thomas.
No. 5: Saints at Packers - Week 1
The opening game of the 2011 season provided football-starved fans with a glut of offensive plays and made it into the No. 5 spot in Elliot Harrison's list of the Top 20 Games of 2011.
No. 4: Ravens at Patriots - AFC Championship Game
The AFC Championship Game provided plenty of drama in game No. 4 of 2011 as kicker Billy Cundiff missed a game-tying field goal with seconds left, and the Patriots celebrated a return to the Super Bowl.
No. 3: Giants at 49ers - NFC Championship Game
The Giants proved the adage that defense wins championships, holding off the surging 49ers 20-17 in the NFC Championship Game, Elliot Harrison's No. 3 game of the 2011 season.
No. 2: Giants at Cowboys - Week 14
They didn't know it yet, but the Giants' season hung in the balance against the Cowboys in Week 14. Fortunately for them, Jason Pierre-Paul came through with a game-clinching blocked kick, paving their way to the playoffs (and later the Super Bowl).
No. 1: Saints at 49ers - Divisional playoff round
Elliot Harrison's No. 1 game of 2011 was truly one for the ages. The Saints and 49ers battled all the way to the end in a ferocious back and forth that had fans on the edge of their seats right down to the final moment, when Vernon Davis hauled in a game-winning touchdown catch that will forever be etched in 49ers lore.