A strong argument can be made that this play should top the list, and I gave it strong consideration.
The play: Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor ran untouched 93 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in an Oct. 27 game at Oakland.
The situation: Pryor struck right after a holding penalty on the opening kickoff had backed the Raiders into the shadow of their own end zone. Pryor faked a handoff to running back Darren McFadden and raced around right end where he encountered a huge opening. A handful of Steelers players had bit on the fake to McFadden and crashed the middle of the line. Strong safety Troy Polamalu couldn’t shed wide receiver Rod Streater’s block, and Pryor exploited the breakdown on the way to the longest run by a quarterback in NFL history.
Why it mattered: The Steelers had righted themselves after an 0-4 start and appeared to be in good position to win their third game in a row as well as snap a two-game losing streak in Oakland. No play proved to be more deflating than Pryor’s run. It also served as a microcosm for the alarming number of big plays the Steelers’ defense yielded in 2013. The Steelers never seemed to recover from Pryor’s touchdown, and a late rally couldn’t save them in a 21-18 loss. The Steelers, who missed the playoffs by a game, had a handful of bad losses in 2013. None were worse than this one.