Ryan Fitzpatrick's No-look Hail Mary Sends NFL Twitter into Raptures

Ryan Fitzpatrick delivered a late Christmas present to the Miami Dolphins, leading his team to an improbable walk-off win in Las Vegas against the Raiders.

The veteran quarterback started the game on the bench, before being introduced in place of Tua Tagovailoa with nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter and repaid head coach Brian Flores' trust with one of the plays of the season to give the Dolphins a 26-25 win.

With the Raiders leading 25-23 and 19 seconds left in the game and the ball at Miami's 25-yard line, Fiztpatrick took the snap before heaving a Hail Mary down the left sideline, hitting Mack Hollins for a 34-yard completion.

As he desperately looked for a target downfield, Fitzpatrick had his face mask yanked by Raiders defensive lineman Arden Key, which made the throw significantly harder and ensured Las Vegas received a 15-yard penalty.

The extra yardage allowed Miami to set up Jason Sanders' 44-yard winning field goal.

"You're throwing up a prayer," Fitzpatrick said after the game. "I didn't know that it was complete, initially. My face mask was getting pulled, and my head was getting ripped off.

FitzMAGIC? #FinsUp

📺: #MIAvsLV on @NFLNetwork
📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/Gd3pMdskDl pic.twitter.com/qVzZt5R506

— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2020

Fitzpatrick's throw was the latest entry in an ever-growing list of exploits that have earned him the nickname FitzMagic and social media was awash with praise for the Dolphins quarterback

Kansas City Chiefs star and reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes was among those paying tribute to Fitzpatrick.

I know I’m late but best no look pass of all time 😂😂😂

— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) December 27, 2020

Completed (game winning) pass because in a world of 7 billion people, there is only one Ryan Fitzpatrick pic.twitter.com/0c4q2cD7qw

— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) December 27, 2020

Ryan Fitzpatrick's 34-yard pass to Mack Hollins to set up a game-winning field goal had a completion probability of 10.9%, the 3rd-most improbable completion this season.

➤ Air Distance: 45.3 yards
➤ QB Under Pressure
➤ Sideline Distance: 0.4 yards#MIAvsLV | #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/EPLja4ZTUZ

— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 27, 2020

Fitzpatrick began the season as the Dolphins starter, only for Flores to turn to Tagovailoa, who Miami drafted with the fifth overall pick in this year's draft, in Week 8.

While the former Alabama star is Miami's future, Flores hasn't been afraid of introducing Fitzpatrick in games. The 16-year veteran replaced Tagovailoa during a loss against the Denver Broncos in Week 11 and was again put into the game on Saturday as the Dolphins looked for an offensive spark.

The move immediately paid off, as Fitzpatrick completed nine of his 13 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown, a 59-yard pass to Myles Gaskin which put the Dolphins 23-22 ahead with 2:55 left in the game. While Tagovailoa threw a touchdown pass himself, he struggled to move the ball down the field, completing 17 of 22 passes for a modest 94 yards.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Fitzpatrick's 182 passing yards in the fourth quarter were the most any non-starting quarterback has thrown for in the fourth quarter since 2005. Incidentally, the Dolphins were also involved then, as Sage Rosenfels came off the bench to pass for 202 yards in the final period of Miami's 24-23 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Fitzpatrick's 182 passing yards in the fourth quarter were also the joint-most in his career in the final period of a game, equaling the tally he threw for in Week 15 of the 2013 season against the Arizona Cardinals.

If I'm the Dolphins I offer Ryan Fitzpatrick a contract for 2021 tomorrow morning. Backup. Mentor. Reliever. Magician. Give him any title he'd like.

— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 27, 2020

Imagine being a top high school quarterback prospect watching tonight who knows, deep down, that Ryan Fitzpatrick is taking his job in six years.

— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) December 27, 2020

I don’t see the problem, Tua is the starter and Fitzpatrick is the closer, normalize starting rotations in football

— BUM CHILLUPS AKA SPENCER HALL (@edsbs) December 27, 2020

absolutely LOVE Brian Flores for rolling with his current best QB when he's seen enough from his future best QB

— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 27, 2020

Tua is named the starter.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: pic.twitter.com/hBjVYBfTNc

— PFF (@PFF) December 27, 2020

Flores, however, suggested Tagovailoa will remain the Dolphins starter, despite Fitzpatrick's exploits.

"If we got to go to a relief pitcher in the ninth [inning], that's what we'll do," he explained "Fitz, he's always ready to go. [...] I have a lot of confidence in Tua. He's made a lot of plays for us. He's made plays today. We just felt like we needed a spark. Fitzy gave us that.

"Tua is a young player. He's developing. He's improving on a daily basis. He's learning from these experiences. He'll be better next week."

The Dolphins improved to 10-5 with the win in Vegas and can clinch a playoff spot for the first time since 2016 with a win over AFC East rivals Buffalo Bills in Week 17.

ESPN's Power Index gives the Dolphins a 62 percent chance to make the playoffs, while FiveThirtyEight gives Miami a 44 percent chance.

The Raiders, meanwhile, dropped to 7-8 and have been eliminated from playoff contention after losing a third consecutive game.

Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Miami Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Miami Dolphins reacts to a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Harry How/Getty