Top plays are great and all, but a breakaway dunk or wide open touchdown catch, while fun to watch, are some of the easiest plays in sports. What about the feats of strength shown by J.J. Watt shredding a double team, or Nerlens Noel blocking a shot while being slapped across the face? These are the beastly plays we should take notice of, and appreciate the immense amount of focus and brute power it takes to pull them off. Here are the 14 most beastly plays of 2014.
Marshawn Lynch Takes the Entire Oakland Raiders Defense For a Ride
Question. How many Oakland Raiders does it take to bring down Marshawn Lynch? Answer: We have no idea, because about eight of them couldn’t do it here. Lynch’s nickname is Beast Mode, so perhaps a touchdown run like this shouldn’t be a surprise anymore. But man, it gets us every single time.
RELATED: WATCH: High School Player in Beast Mode, Fights Off Tackle After Tackle
LeBron James’s “And One” Against Carmelo Anthony
Not much went right for the Cleveland Cavaliers during their highly anticipated home opener against the New York Knicks, but we did get a glimpse of things to come. Kevin Love lassoed his first long outlet pass to LeBron James, who finished at the rim even as he was wrapped up by Carmelo Anthony. James flexed, Love flexed, and we all flexed right along with them.
Dez Bryant Annihilates the Jaguars
It’s becoming abundantly clear that Dez Bryant is a football-playing alien who was sent here to destroy defenses and soothe Tony Romo through his break-up with Jessica Simpson. When the Cowboys traveled to London earlier this year to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in front of 20,000 blokes, Bryant put his supernatural abilities on display, including this touchdown catch where he told three defenders to talk to the hand.
Rudy Gay Goes Ham on OKC
Just when you think Rudy Gay is just going for a nice stroll down the middle of the lane, he stuffs the ball right in your face. You can see Gay’s eyes perk up as he starts heading toward the hoop. He’s all like “Maybe I can dunk. Woah, I can totally dunk. I’m going to dunk! I’m going to do it! WHAM.” Serge Ibaka never had a chance to stop it.
Gronk Goes Nuts Against the Colts
You cannot stop Rob Gronkowski. You can only hope to contain him. The New Englad Patriots resident fraternity brother and other-worldly tight end went full-on beast mode during his team’s matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, catching a 10-yard out and turning it into a 30-yard touchdown. He spins out of one tackle, then dodges two other would-be tacklers before leaping into the end zone like the finale of an ice skating routine.
Nerlens Noel Packs Jared Sullinger with Hand in his Face
It’s one thing to get in perfect position to block someone’s shot, and it’s another thing entirely to block that person’s shot while he’s slapping you in the face. That’s what Nerlens Noel did to Jared Sullinger here. Noel is all like, “Ouch, bro!” And Sullinger is like, “My bad, but that was rude!” Good times all around.
Utah Player Gets Obliterated by Kansas State Defender
This poor kid. He’s all excited about the big steal he just made, and he’s eyeing the rim to throw down his first-ever dunk and impress the girl he gave his varsity jacket to. Then out of nowhere comes this gigantic man who packs his shot so hard that it’s a miracle the kid didn’t end up in China after hitting the ground. Goodbye, girl I have a crush on. Hello Internet infamy.
J.J. Watt Sheds Two Blockers to Chase Down Andrew Luck
We’ve all seen the J.J. Watt highlights—the touchdown catches, the interceptions, the forced fumbles. But what is sometimes most impressive is when Watt gets double-teamed and still brings down the quarterback he’s hunting. Here, he sheds his initial blocker and is faced with a second, a puny running back. He flicks him out of the way like he’s a miniature poodle and brings down Andrew Luck even as the QB tries to escape around the edge. Wow.
Andre Drummond Dunks Over Serge Ibaka
Not many people have the pleasure of dunking over a dude nicknamed “Iblaka,” but etch Andre Drummond’s name on that trophy. This vicious dunk over one of the game’s best shot blockers should be blown up in a poster and hung over Drummond’s fireplace ASAP.
Nick Johnson Slams a Put-Back Dunk Over Ramon Sessions’ Head
Life comes at you fast, and in the case of Ramon Sessions, right over your head. Sessions made the mistake of turning his back and forgetting about the man he was supposed to box out, Houston Rockets guard Nick Johnson. Instead, he allowed Johnson to rise up over him like a phoenix and throw down a gnarly put-back dunk right on top of his head. Fortunately, Sessions’ hair was left unmussed.
RELATED: How to Dunk This Year
Eddie Lacy Puts the Philadelphia Eagles in the Spin Cycle
During this play, Eddie Lacy put so many Philadelphia Eagles in the spin cycle that you’d think it was a team-wide laundry day, am I right? Lacy showed off his receiver skills after hauling in a short pass from Aaron Rodgers and trucking it all the way to the end zone. Some nifty footwork and a full spin move that spun a defender completely off him put Lacy in for 6.
Isaiah Crowell against Atlanta
As Jermaine Dupri once said, in Atlanta the party don’t stop ’till 6 in the morning. Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell got the party started early in the Georgia Dome when he barreled through a handful of Atlanta Falcons defenders and zig-zagged his way to the end zone.
Mike Evans Goes WWE on Terrence Newman
Mike Evans is making a serious case to be offensive rookie of the year with his receiver skills for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his blocking talents are also next level. Here he is going at Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terrance Newman, shoving him once, then completely ruining his life by tossing him like a rag doll. If I were Newman, I’d head back to the sideline and ask to be taken out of the game.
Mikael Granlund Scores on Colorado’s Entire Team
Taking hold of the puck in the left corner of Colorado’s zone, Minnesota Wild center Mikael Granlund skates along the boards behind the net while getting continuously slapped in the chest by a defender who is tailgating him hard. As Granlund comes out the other side, he spins out of a check and skates back toward the goal, swerving through traffic and taking more sticks to the midsection before scoring a goal while falling to the ice. Colorado, your whole squad just got owned.