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A few questions about the trick play



When the Redskins' ran their glorious trix play at the end of the first half Monday night, I was sitting with the people. I had wandered down to take photos of various signs and shirts making fun of Vinny Cerrato, and so I stood there amongst the commoners and watched. Then I booed. Sure, there's no cheering, or booing, in the press box, but everyone around me out in the stands was booing, so I figured why not. Immersion journalism.

Anyhow, that play wasn't the lasting image of the game for me -- I'd say the first quarter was much more memorable -- and yet the play turned into something of a big thing. It was the lead story on Yahoo!'s front page, for one thing, and apparently led Google Trends at some point Tuesday. Slow news day.

A day of Tuesday child care responsibilities prevented me from posting about the play previously, but something that gained such national renown cannot pass by without mention, so I'll just ask some questions.

1) What was the most charitable interpretation of the playcall?

I'll hand it to the notion put forward by both John Riggins and Mike Wise: that the play was Zorn's way of spitting in ownership's eye. I happen to find this an absurd interpretation, but hey, maybe it helps you sleep better at night.

"Now there was a great moment I thought on Monday night, which was the attempted field goal, whatever that was supposed to be," Riggins said in his latest video. "Jim, I love you, you're great, because that was your Andrew Dice Clay moment, when you looked up at the owner's box and you went 'Oh, oh yeah, did I tell you, did I tell you?' That was just a beautiful formation. I thought it was well-played. You had eight weeks to hatch that out, to plan it, I thought it was staged perfectly. The Giants called a timeout. Does that deter you in the least? No way. You run it again. That's my man, and that was your sign to the guy up in the owner's box, 'Hey hey, I got this, right here. I got it right here, Mr. Snyder.' "

And with that, Riggins made a rude gesture toward the camera. Wise wrote much the same, at great length:

That absurd call Monday night was the only way Zorn could exact some revenge on his meddlesome bosses, the only way he could get back at a splintered organization he will almost certainly cease to be a part of by the first week of January. And if that's the case, well, it's about time.

I mean, I guess we all have space to fill. I'd just wonder how Zorn's master plan for revenge would have been carried out had the Redskins not been trailing, 24-0, with a field goal opportunity just before halftime. And what the deal was with his other punter-driven fake plays earlier in the year, before all was lost. Trust me, this guy's just weird.

2) What was the most ridiculous thing written about the play?

David Schoenfield, writing for ESPN.com, called it the worst moment in Redskins history, "*Not including the team's insistence on keeping a racially insensitive nickname and mascot or becoming the last professional team to integrate, which they did only under pressure of legal action from the Kennedy administration." I guess he was trying to be funny with this:

That excruciatingly awful fake/trick field goal attempt Monday night that will go down as the worst designed play in NFL history. Even Richard Nixon had a better playbook.

I mean, if one bad play during a blowout during a meaningless season is the worst moment in your franchise's history, you've had it pretty good. I would personally argue that it wasn't close to the worst moment of this season; the Suisham missed field goal against the Saints was worse, the DeAngelo Hall missed tackle in Carolina was worse, the Cowboys game-winning drive was worse, and several moments in the losses to Detroit and Kansas City were worse. To say nothing of, for example, Sean Taylor, but I guess that wasn't funny.

3) What to call the formation?

Golly, so many choices. Joseph White of the AP immediately tweeted three choices:

Redskins try to run fake FG "washbucket" (or "waterbucket" or "picket fence", depending on where you're from).

With Leather's Monday Morning Punter was outraged that more people didn't recognize this for what it was: the Polecat:

It's not a terrible football play, but it's a horrible, horrible NFL play. Even with a real quarterback, this play doesn't work against the Giants. But the Redskins coaching staff thought that the polecat was ready for prime time, which explains a lot about their woeful season.

Another e-mailer insisted it's properly called the "Lonesome Polecat," while others referred to it as the Swinging Gate. As for the play's successful execution, I'll refer to Wikipedia:

The best-known example of the play can be found in the closing scenes of Adam Sandler's remake of the movie "The Longest Yard," where Sandler's team executes the play successfully.

So it can be done.

4. What's a sign that the world has too many writers and not enough stuff to write about?

Honestly, I'm stunned how many people wrote about this. Look, it was a dodgy call, but it was a blip in a blowout. The Redskins have still converted two-thirds of their special teams fakes involving Hunter Smith into touchdowns. Those successful calls got maybe 0.000017 percent of the press that this abject failure did. Some snippets:

New York Times: "Let's say you are the Redskins' Dead Coach Walking Jim Zorn. You are about to be thrown onto Dan Snyder's compost heap of discarded coaches. You have already been humiliated by having your play-calling duties stripped and given to a man who was most recently calling Bingo games. Your team is being destroyed by a Giants defense everyone had written off for dead. And you're thinking, how can I really make a mark on this season? Answer: Run the worst play of the year."

Nah. No way. See below.

Gregg Doyel: I'm going to say this, and I'm not going to exaggerate. I'm simply going to make a reasonable observation about genuinely nice Jim Zorn: That guy's an idiot. ... When he's fired after this season -- and Jim Zorn will be fired after this season -- that play will be his epitaph, a multi-colored bird dropping on the tombstone of his head coaching career. ... Maybe -- and this is my eureka moment -- maybe Zorn knew what would happen. Maybe the play came straight from Sherman Lewis, and Zorn let it happen, knowing the likely result, as if to say to Daniel Snyder, This is the guy you want calling plays? Fine. Here he is. This ain't 'B-14,' Danny."

A Bingo joke? Well, that's original.

Shutdown Corner: "The Washington Redskins were being beaten soundly by the New York Giants last night, and had a chance to get on the scoreboard just before halftime. Head coach Jim Zorn opted against the field goal, and instead ran this "trick play." I guess it sort of worked, because it did catch everyone by surprise, but only in the sense that no one ever dreamed it was possible to execute a play that failed this colossally."

Off the top of my head, last year, Dan Orlovsky got a safety by rolling out to pass the ball and unwittingly stepping out of the back of the end zone. Which playcall failed more colossally?

Don Banks: "It was arguably the worst play call in NFL history. Especially since it came after Washington had lined up in the same freaky field-goal formation, only to see Coughlin call a timeout to adjust his defense."

Ok, you could not possibly, with any sort of straight face, argue that was the worst play call in NFL history. You can't possibly argue that it was a worse play call than the stretch play out of the end zone that resulted in a safety against the Panthers, so that makes it no worse than the second-worst playcall of the 2009 Redskins season. Also, as has been said 600 times, the Skins went ahead with trick play madness after they the Broncos called a timeout earlier in the year, and it still worked to perfection. And everyone stood and cheered.

Wait, am I now defending Jim Zorn? Man, that wasn't the point of this. Look, the play was awful, and certainly embarrassing. It just wasn't historically, eye-gougingly, kidney-rupturingly awful.

5. What was the low moment of the episode?

Try this on for size.

"We're dogging him about the play, and let's be frank, it's pathetic," Matt Millen said during ESPN's post-game show. "But next week, they're gonna play the Dallas Cowboys, and I'm gonna tell you right now, it is gonna be a brutal game here. And Dallas better be ready, because you're gonna get the best that the Redskins have to offer."

Nice of him to throw in the rest of that, but to be clear, Matt Millen just called the Redskins pathetic.

As for his partner, Steve Young, "We honestly need to move on," Young said, after Zorn had tried to explain the play. "I have to move on," Young insisted. "I cannot respond to that."

6. Blah blah blah?

Should I quote the guys from Around the Horn or the guys from PTI? What the heck, home court rules: After introducing it as "one of the most bizarre moments in the 40-year history of Monday Night Football," Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser discussed the play thus.

"As a result of that play, he's not going to be a head coach again," Kornheiser said of Zorn. "Was that a joke play? Didn't you think it was a joke play?"

"It was sad," Wilbon said. "The whole episode was just sad."

7. Jon Gruden's never seen that play?

"I've never seen that play," Jon Gruden said during the broadcast, as the crew piled on. "I hope I never see it again, Jaws!"

Previously in the night, Gruden had said the only team he'd be coaching next year is his 13-year old son's flag football team. He better study up on the Lonesome Polecat, because he's going to see it again.

8. Players? Who cares about the players?

The thing Zorn was ridiculed for above all was calling for the fake after the Giants timeout. Here's what Todd Yoder, one of the smartest Redskins, said when Matt Terl asked if he still wanted to go for the fake.

"Hell, yeah," he said. "If we could've gotten a big touchdown going in there at the half, changes the momentum of the game, maybe puts it in our favor. I applaud the fact that even upon them calling a timeout, we felt very comfortable that, hey, we needed to make a play at that point in the game, so let's run it. Y'know, go for it."

(Terl also explains how the play was supposed to work, so go read it.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 23, 2009; 9:47 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Comments

i'm just pissed it ruined Hunter the punter's obscenely impressive stats...now he's only a 50% passer with an even TD to INT ratio...

boring!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: carsonspence | December 23, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This is all amusing and I read every word, but ultimately I just want to know, how was the play supposed to work? If you could see it drawn up on a chalkboard, what is supposed to happen. Please elaborate.

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins | December 23, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I've got a high school coach up here in Vt. who runs the swinging gate on PATs all the time, but most often he just sets it up to see what the defense will do, then returns to his original kick routine. But when they gamble, the throw goes to a receiver behind seven blockers, who then (if they do their jobs) plow the road for an easy two-point conversion. I've never see them throw a pathetic Hail Mary beyond the protection, nor have I ever seen them let their holder get hung out to dry for a hard hit.

Which means, I guess, that the next Redskins coach should come from the high school ranks. Or Ringling Bros.

Posted by: fengraf | December 23, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Only a few more days till the EAGLE BANK BOWL!

Posted by: alex35332 | December 23, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

it may have been a successful play. it was just woefully executed. They had 7 men on the side of the field, and most of them did jack squat in blocking.

Posted by: j762 | December 23, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Mommy! Make the bad men go away!

Posted by: GoRobGordon7 | December 23, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Great post Dan. I agree 100% with most of your opinions. I mean seriously, can you say recency effect? Sure, it was an awful play but for these writers to act as if it's on the level of not only the worst Redskins plays of all time, but the entire NFL? It was during a blowout of a meaningless game for the Redskins from a lame duck coach. Who cares?

And that writer who called it the worst play in Redskins history is not only unfunny but a hack.

Keep up the good work Dan. HTTR.

Posted by: PropJoe | December 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The thing about Schoenfield is that he's the worst writer on Page 2, yet he pretty much runs it. Go figure, WWL.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 23, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Worst play in Redskins history? Not even close -- for that, you have to go further back than even you did in the post, Steinz. Worst play in 'Skins history is, without parallel, Theisman's pick 6 right before halftime against Oakland in the 1984 Super Bowl; that put the Raiders up 21-3 and the 'Skins never recovered.

Worst play in NFL history? That's just laughable. There are plenty of others that far out"worst" this one. One that comes to mind immediately -- Joe Pisarcik fumbling an unnecessary handoff to Larry Csonka in the Miracle at the Meadowlands in 1978 instead of kneeling down and running out the last 12 seconds of the game, allowing the Giants to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against the Eagles.

This is a perfect example of why nobody should ever say "worst in history" or "best in history" -- there are plenty of examples showing that, no matter what just happened, whether good or bad, "NFL history" is pretty long and has lots of worse or better moments...

Posted by: gr8day4bsbll | December 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I record the games so I can watch the game more closely at a later time. I believe Zorn committed coaching suicide on purpose. You can see Zorn’s facial expressions during the game. He seemed to be enjoying the debacle. He is not stupid. He can see the writing on the wall. He has been around football a long time and would not have called that play twice before half time without knowing the consequences. There is no doubt in my mind he enjoyed seeing the Redskins embarrass Dan Snyder on national TV. As for the ESPN commentators they seem self-serving, and I was very disappointed in the coverage. Gray looks like a desperate fool for interviewing for a job he does not have snow balls chance in hell he will get. Who would want to play or work with a coach that is willing to step on man that is down to advance his own career? A leader would have thought about the team first, and told Snyder he would be happy to interview after the season.

Posted by: mattphillips | December 23, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

So Zorn watches Jason Campbell get pounded and pummelled the entire first half - and he had an offensive line at least to try and stop the Giants' pass rush. So then he decides to let his punter become a QB for a play and gives him no offensive line whatsoever. Even if the play was designed for him to quickly throw a sideline pass to whomever was out there behind the offensive line - Hunter Smith still would not have had time to catch the ball and throw it before three or four guys crushed him. I actually found myself hoping the guy would return the interception for a TD and just shove this debacle in Zorn's face. If I were Snyder, I honestly think I would have gone down to the locker room at halftime and fired Zorn. Snyder has brought this upon himself to a degree but that play was symbolic of just how out of place Zorn is as a head coach, and I have been a Zorn supporter throughout this ordeal. But, for me, Zorn sealed his fate and lost any ounce of credibility he still had left. It was just plan embarassing and infuriating.

Posted by: AsstGM | December 23, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Do you know what was awesome about this morning? I turned on 106.7, and there were 3 sports guys talking about local sports, not 4 random dudes who talk about their kids, making fun of the mentally challenged, and celebrity gossip.

All I want for Christmas is a home for Scott Jackson, Smokin Al, and B-Mitch in the mornings.

Posted by: colerwilson | December 23, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I've always taken up for Zorn. So I hope Wise's reason for the play was correct. Zorn's demeaner during the interview suggests that. If he did take the play seriously even lining up a second time after the time out. He should be embarassed and realize he's in way over his head.

Posted by: pstotts15 | December 23, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

That dude Schonefield (or whatever his name is):

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y265/Diggs13/nerd-1.png

Looks like a guy who is on top of his lighter side of sports writing. /*cough

Posted by: PropJoe | December 23, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Does Gregg Doyel even follow the NFL? Sherman Lewis is an offensive consultant. He doesn't call special teams plays. That play call was 100% undoubtedly Jim Zorn.

Nice job calling him on the awful Bingo joke too. Those stopped being funny about two months ago.

Posted by: DCUMD | December 23, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Awesome post. Dissecting the Swinging Lone Polecat - genius.

Posted by: JBuss | December 23, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Do you know what was awesome about this morning? I turned on 106.7, and there were 3 sports guys talking about local sports, not 4 random dudes who talk about their kids, making fun of the mentally challenged, and celebrity gossip.

All I want for Christmas is a home for Scott Jackson, Smokin Al, and B-Mitch in the mornings.

****

I agree. I can't stand listening to those guys in the morning. Four guys, hanging out, being broadcasted on a sports radio show. I don't get it.

Posted by: JBuss | December 23, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I was at the Denver game. Skins lined up for a FG and moved into a trick formation. Albeit, a different play, but a trick play none the less. Denver called a TO. Zorn ran the play anyways. As you know, Hunter threw a nice ball to Sellers for a TD! It worked. So, at that point, you thank God and you NEVER EVER try it again.

Posted by: TheDubb | December 23, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

What the he11 is a bog????

Posted by: jboogie1 | December 23, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Riggins. That was a public f you from Jim Zorn to Snyder. And why not? All Snyder's done is publicly humiliate the dude.

Otherwise, the alternative is unthinkable. To think an NFL team will not be ready for that dumb play after seeing it and calling a timeout?

Posted by: tundey | December 23, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

My first impression was lame-duck Zorn was determined to embarrass Snyder on national TV - and it worked.

Good job, Zorn.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | December 23, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Well actually in the Denver game, the Redskins called timeout because they didn't have enough players on the field...

But let's give Zorn credit, he's got everybody talking more about that one play that didn't work than about a team in shambles that didn't show up on Monday night.

And if the play had worked, everybody would be calling him a genius like they did after the Denver game.

Posted by: CapsNut | December 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Worst moment in franchise history? In addition to those mentioned above, how about the 73-0 loss to the Bears way back when, or Joe T's leg breaking, or Hendricks' INT in the '84 Super Bowl, or the loss to the @*&#ing Lions after beating them a million times in a row, or losing to the Cowboys for one of their two wins on the year a decade or so ago. The play was goofy and should have been changed to a more conventional fake, but in a blowout in a garbage year, it almost doesn't matter.

Posted by: np2131 | December 23, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Couple of things here...no one has mentioned that perhaps special-teams coach Gray MAY have called that play. Why assume that it was Zorn's decision? Maybe Gray wanted to prove to Allen that HE was the right choice and there's no need for any further interviewing...(ahem..!!)
Secondly, if the center was the last man on the right side of the line, doesn't he then become an elligible receiver? If so, the Giants had 3 men over him and all 3 rushed, leaving him uncovered. Ergo ...(ergo..?) Hunter missed his "read", panicked, and threw to the wrong side, while the "intended" receiver was wide open over the middle!!
Gray's play all the way.

Posted by: scmonty1 | December 23, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Hunter the punter could have literally gotten killed on that play.

Posted by: darkdarcus | December 23, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Thats so funny! When I was a kid playing football in CYO leage we had the same play and it was called the CRAZY PLAY. It never worked like the Flea Flicker did. LOL

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | December 23, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I disagree, Dan. This is CLEARLY the worst play of the Redskins' season, and certainly one of their worst in the history of their franchise. As a fan, it was by far the most embarrassment I've ever felt as a fan supporting this team since I started in '77.

Worst of all time in the NFL? I doubt it, but I do know this will be the highlight of the NFL Films Dept Bloopers reel for this year, and will probably will make their all-time bloopers reel.

Posted by: ndickover | December 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

You know, if I am a NFL football player and I have any self respect and that or any other goofy play gets called in I change it and tell Zorn to "F" off.

After all he's going to gone in just a couple weeks anyway. So they get benched, big whoop. My excuse to NEW management would be that I have pride and I would never even run that play in my kids pop warner league.

What would they do? Disagree?

Zorn is an idiot.

Two more weeks!

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | December 23, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Dan - I think you are seriously underestimating that the fake fg represents the microcosm of the season. it was a big play just because of what it represent in the game which was complete and utter embarrassment of the game and season as a whole. the skins are getting to become a laughing stock like the oakland raiders because of the constant change and turmoil and not because of necessarily the play on the field.

Posted by: RedhawkDC | December 23, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

BOYCOTT $NYDER AND HIS EVIL EMPIRE!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: hessone | December 23, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Dan - I think you are seriously underestimating that the fake fg represents the microcosm of the season. it was a big play just because of what it represent in the game which was complete and utter embarrassment of the game and season as a whole.
Posted by: RedhawkDC

I would add to that and say it's more of a microcosm of the past 10 years of Redskin history. If the colts had run something like this, coming off of 10 years of consistently excellent football, it might have gotten a 30 second mention at the end of a PTI.

Considering how low expectations have been set for the Redskins already, with the six and soon to be seven head coaches, with the well-documented front office blunders, with the prior week of constant shannahan speculation, with Jerry Gray interviewing for his bosses job, with the THREE people responsible for calling plays, with a first half of production that did not account for a first down worth of yardage,

To have all of that in the past and still surpass any expections of suck with the monumental epic fail, I think the hyperbole was the result of people's minds literally getting blown.

Posted by: jbanks979 | December 23, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I am frightened to see how many people in the stands will be Cowboy fans. It will be worse than the Steeler game last year.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 23, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I only have one word for the game on Monday night - NIGHTMARE!!!! HAIL!

Posted by: ladyredskins | December 23, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I appreciate your sense of history and agree that it isn't the worst of anything. However, if you want to win the game, you kick the FG and concentrate on scoring a TD when you get the 2nd half kick-off. A four score margin would be cut to two scores. Apart from that, the play was coaching malpractice. No TD is worth putting a punter (!)unprotected against 900 plus pounds of linemen. It's bad enough that JC has to suffer in this way, but he comes prepared and it is part of his job description.

Posted by: StevenGrossman | December 23, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"it may have been a successful play. it was just woefully executed. They had 7 men on the side of the field, and most of them did jack squat in blocking.

"Posted by: j762 | December 23, 2009 10:34 AM"

They could not do anything. They would have been called for ineligible men downfield. The Giants played prevent on the left side (as they should have with 2 seconds left on the clock), and the blockers could not go down field, so the blockers were left to stand there with nothing to do.

Posted by: chrisvb | December 23, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Like any play a coach calls it is the results that count. If this would have gone for a touchdown, like it did earlier in the year against the Broncos, then no one would have said a word. To think that someone would think that Zorn called the play knowing it would not work is just crazy. I don't think he even thought of it not working, cause he may have sealed his career in professional football with that call. Though I hope not. Zorn seeems to be a nice guy that is slowly learning how to be a coach in the NFL, unfortuantely he just doesn't have the clout in the organization to stand up to Vinnie or Snyder and I doubt he will get the chance with Bruce Allen.

Looks like we are doomed for re-building every 2-3 years. At this point in his ownership of the Redskins, I don't think Snyder can stay completely out of the re-building process. Maybe someday, like Steinbrenner, he will learn, to win, he needs to just sign the checks.

Posted by: SkinsFan39 | December 23, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

What needs to be mentioned is that had the skin kicked a field goal, they would have closed to 24-9 early in the third. No guarentee that they would have comeback, but it is much more manageable at that point.

Posted by: blinders1 | December 23, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Worst moments in Redskins history for me, a skins fan for a long time, was the Mel Gray (non)catch. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/59555-flashback-friday-mel-gray

Also, the Clint Longley replacement at QB for an injured Roger Staubach, on Thanksgiving Day ruined Thanksgiving for our family and a lot of families in the DC area.

Posted by: SkinsFan39 | December 23, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I am against sports-media hyperventilation and piling on.

But I am not convinced by your counter-examples of other "worst plays ever." The hype is that this was a terrible play CALL: even if effectively executed, it had zero chance of success.

Dan Orlovsky stepping out the back of the end zone was freakin' hilarious, but it wasn't a bad play call. It was just a guy screwing up. Same thing with a crippling pick-6 - it's a bad PLAY, but the play call might have been fine.

The stretch play in the end zone vs. the Panthers is more like it. That was a terrible call. But it at least had a chance of succeeding. The swinging gate OTOH was doomed to fail from the start, and as such was a terrible, terrible play call.

And IMO it was worse in context. That context being Zorn butchering the two-minute drill AGAIN and leaving at least one or two plays out there on the field with horrible clock management. (Helmet speaker malfunctioning? Gee, maybe you could give TC two plays at once. Of course that implies that the Redskins can think two plays in advance. So scratch that.) My impression was that Zorn was more excited about his zany fake figgie than in the boring nuts-and-bolts regular offense.

Honestly if I were a player I would have quit after that play. Fortunately for Zorn most of the Redskins seem to have quit about an hour earlier. So no harm done!

Posted by: hubcap | December 23, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Hubcap. I couldn't agree more.

It's not like that play really changed the outcome of the game.

We were losing 24-0 with no real hope.

If it worked - Great. If not - so what nothing else has worked so far.

Posted by: SmallPen15 | December 23, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Don't anyone realize that the two primary receivers in the play(Yoder and Davis) were both open? Had the punter thrown the ball deeper in the endzone where Davis was open or to Yoder(the snapper in the play) who had at least two steps on the defender, we would have some chance to complete the play the way it was supposed to.

We should definitely kicked the field goal after the timeout, but what the heck... Don't forget that it was the players who really wanted to go for the play again after the timeout (read postgame interview).

Posted by: gonats1 | December 23, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

That was refreshing, colerwilson. I accidentally had my radio on that station the past couple of mornings and was pleasantly surprised. I normally can only listen to the normal crew in moderation. I want to listen to a sports show for sports, not whatever they think they are.

Regarding the fake field goal... the play was horrible and one of the worst calls by the Skins that game but it's silly to call it the worst ever. It had no impact on the outcome of the game. That wasn't the worst call the past weekend in the NFL. How about Tomlin's ballsy move and not trusting his defense with the onside kick or a few weeks ago the Pats going for it on fourth down and losing as a result? The Redskins wouldn't have won if they scored a TD there or if they scored a field goal.

Posted by: sitruc | December 23, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

too much talk on how atrocious the play call was (which it was), and not enough analyzation on how the play was supposed to exactly work..i haven't heard anybody even attempt to figure out how the play should've gone down

Posted by: jdwood84 | December 23, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Everyone keeps writing, asking how the play was supposed to work -- are you blind? Steinberg put the link to that right at the end of his post.

I watched the play a dozen times on DVR, and I didn't think it was that crazy. The ball was headed right for Fred Davis, but fell short because Hunter got clobbered. If that ball had gone a bit farther, Davis could've gotten it at the back of the end zone. If not, it would've been an incomplete pass out of the end zone. Plus, the Redskins had an advantage on that side, since they outnumbered the Giants (because three people rushed Hunter).

So, while it had a high chance of not working, I don't get how anyone could call it the most embarrassing or worst play in NFL history. And I totally believe that, had it worked, it would've seemed genius and, like Yoder said, it would've be a huge morale boost.

Posted by: Andrew53 | December 23, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

All you need to know. Hunter Smith said the play worked in practice. (Probably every time they ran it!)

Posted by: jburnetti | December 24, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Dan, it would be interesting and entertaining (core values of professional blog-ism) if you can come up with two lists; top 10 all time trick plays (excluding wild cat) and top 10 trick-plays-gone-wrong. I know it is a taxing exercise but with your wealth of WaPo resources, it is doable.

Posted by: KarK | December 24, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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