Cromartie Returns Missed FG 109 Yards
On a single play, the greatest number of yards that a football player can gain is 109 – and this actually happened, for the first time ever in the NFL, during a game on Nov. 4, 2007 between Chargers and Vikings at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. With the score knotted at 7 with four seconds to go before halftime, Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell tried a 57-yard field goal, for which Antonio Cromartie, a second-year backup cornerback for the Chargers, was sent out to return. Sure enough, when the kick fell short, Cromartie caught the ball acrobatically with his foot a fraction from the end line, and attempted to run it back. He veered toward the right sideline, outran two would-be tacklers and then accelerated into open space, where – aided by blockers – he cruised into the end zone. Although the Chargers lost the game, Cromartie’s play was the most exhilarating in a late-season stretch that saw him emerge into a star: the next week, Cromartie started at cornerback and intercepted three of Peyton Manning’s passes; the Chargers would go on an eight-game winning streak which included two playoff victories and Cromartie would lead the NFL in interceptions, with 10.