Ranking Alabama football's top 10 plays from the 2021 season

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football's 2021 season didn't end how it wanted, but the Crimson Tide had plenty of plays worth remembering. 

Alabama had 15 games from which to choose top plays. Sifting through each game, about 30 plays stood out as impactful and many of those are the kinds that make you pause and replay to watch the football brilliance again. 

The impact of each play was certainly considered, but it couldn't just be impactful. It needed to be impressive, no matter the situation. 

Here are the top 10 plays from Alabama's season. 

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10. Will Anderson Jr. sends Cotton Bowl to halftime with sack

Cincinnati wanted one Hail Mary attempt before halftime, but Anderson made sure it didn't happen. 

Despite being on the opposite side from where quarterback Desmond Ridder ran, Anderson beat the tackle by swiping his hands aside and made the sack. Anderson displayed elite athleticism in the process. 

Several of Anderson's sacks could have made the top 10, but this serves as the representative for his tremendous season. 

9. Kool-Aid McKinstry breaks up end zone pass in fourth OT vs Auburn

This play made the next play the game-winner. 

Auburn had its shot in the fourth overtime to convert another two-point try, but McKinstry kept it from happening. 

He broke up a pass in the end zone, giving Alabama its chance to win it right after. 

8. John Metchie III catches pass to win Iron Bowl in 4OT

After McKinstry's pass breakup, Metchie faked inside before breaking outside to catch the score that gave Alabama the come-from-behind victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. 

Finding ways to make a play such as this one is not easy with so little room with which to work near the goal line. 

Metchie also accomplished this against Tigers cornerback Roger McCreary, who had blanketed receivers for most of the day.  

7. Jordan Battle picks off and runs through Will Rogers for touchdown

Battle turned in a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown as he read the play perfectly, waiting for Rogers to make the throw. Then, Battle sifted through traffic en route to the end zone. 

And right at the end, Rogers tried to tackle him near the goal line. Battle ran right through him. 

Before the interception, Alabama held only a 7-3 lead over Mississippi State. This helped break open a game that the Crimson Tide went on to dominate. 

6. Jameson Williams scores on 100-yard kickoff return vs. Southern Miss

Williams provided two kickoff returns from which to choose against the Golden Eagles. The one that went 100 yards earns a spot in the top 10. 

The game had just started when Williams ran through a tackle attempt and zipped away for the touchdown. 

5. Bryce Young dishes football to Brian Robinson Jr. in SEC Championship

This wasn't a score, but the play certainly belongs in Young's highlight reel. 

During a second-and-10 play in the second quarter, Young had to scramble from pressure. A Georgia defender started to grab him as Young moved toward the line of scrimmage. He shook that off, but instead of running, he looked to Robinson. 

Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean started to close on Young, but the quarterback took advantage, flipping the ball back to Robinson, who ran for the first down. Young even got out in front for a block. 

4. Young drops dime to Williams vs. Georgia 

Alabama only had a one-score lead at the start of the third quarter in the SEC Championship Game. Questions remained how well Williams could do without Metchie, who had just left in the second quarter with a season-ending injury. 

Williams could do just fine. Actually, more than fine. 

He caught a 55-yard pass in which Young dropped a perfect pass over two Georgia defensive backs for the score. 

3. Christian Harris forces Stetson Bennett fumble 

Plenty of debate ensued during the College Football Playoff championship after the officials ruled this second-half play a fumble. 

Either way, Harris' hustle and speed made the play and gave his offense the ball back. That led to the Cameron Latu touchdown that gave Alabama a lead in the fourth quarter. 

The fumble was possible because Harris chased down the elusive quarterback for the sack.

2. Williams outruns Georgia for touchdown

Williams turned on another gear against Georgia's defense as he ran for the 67-yard score in the first half of the SEC Championship Game. 

It was only a pass over the middle, but Williams found open grass and no Georgia defender could touch him. 

This touchdown proved pivotal because within seconds, it brought Alabama right back in the game after Georgia jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. 

1. Ja'Corey Brooks catches overtime-forcing touchdown in Iron Bowl

The significance of this catch of course makes it meaningful because it sent the Iron Bowl to overtime, capping a last-second 97-yard drive. 

But set the circumstance aside and look at the catch Brooks made. 

He managed to secure the ball over his shoulder along the sideline with a defensive back draped over him. And Young made a perfect throw for Brooks to make the catch. 

Those components make the touchdown with 24 seconds left in regulation Alabama football's top play from the season.