Justin Jefferson's critical fourth-quarter catch in the Minnesota Vikings' thrilling Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills will go down as one of the best of all-time, but for the All-Pro wideout it was simply a case of him meeting expectations he has held since childhood.
Jefferson's astonishing one-handed grab on fourth-and-18 with the Bills ahead 27-23 kept the Vikings' hopes alive in an instant classic, the 23-year-old arcing his body backwards and leaping to rip the ball away from Cam Lewis for a 32-yard reception.
Despite driving down to the Buffalo one-yard line, Minnesota failed to get across the goal-line, but the Vikings were handed a reprieve when Bills quarterback Josh Allen fumbled the snap after the turnover on downs, Eric Kendricks recovering to put the visitors ahead with 41 seconds left.
Allen led the Bills down the field for a game-tying field goal that forced overtime, in which the Vikings took the lead on a field goal after once again failing to convert from inside the Buffalo five-yard line following another Jefferson-inspired drive. That gave Allen the chance to win it for Buffalo with a touchdown, but he was intercepted in the endzone by Patrick Peterson as Minnesota clung on for a remarkable 33-30 success.
In a game of so many dramatic moments, it is the image of Jefferson wresting the ball from Lewis in mid-air while falling backwards that will be the defining one.
Yet the Vikings star appeared to see nothing extraordinary about his pivotal play.
"Before we left the huddle," Jefferson told Peter King for Football Morning in America.
"Kirk [Cousins] said to me, 'Hey, I might just throw this up to you.' Kirk knew. We just needed to make something happen.
"I felt how close [Lewis] was. I knew it was going to be a battle for the ball. On plays like that, I don't remember exactly what happened. But I'm going up, I'm going to fight for the ball.
"That's my ball. Since ninth grade, those are the balls I think I should catch. I'm just happy Kirk trusted me and put the ball up for me to catch."
Jefferson finished with 193 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches. It marked his 20th career game with at least 100 receiving yards and saw him surpass Odell Beckham Jr. (19) and Randy Moss (19) for the most such games by a player in his first three seasons in NFL history.
He has yet to play in a postseason game, but with his latest heroics helping the Vikings improve to 8-1, that appears destined to change.