Originally Posted by Rey
...doing something "tricky" every now and then keeps your opponents on their toes and it doesn't let them key in on exactly what you're doing. That is the point. They have to play everything honestly and can't cheat up, or cheat back, or cheat over...Hell, our offense is basically set up that way with the bootlegs...It's just another way of keeping the defense honest...
I'm with you here. I don't have an issue with doing something unconventional and uncharacteristic to throw the defense off balance.
Remember when Cowher's Steelers used Randall El to break the Seahawks' back in SB XL.
Probably the biggest play of the night, though, was Randle El's touchdown pass to Ward on a double-reverse play. The score essentially put the game out of reach and, typically, was set up perfectly by Whisenhunt on a previous call. Two plays before the gimmickry, the Steelers had run a quick screen to Randle El for a 7-yard gain. So on the long pass play, Pittsburgh aligned in the same formation, brought the tight end in motion, and tried to bait the Seahawks into thinking the screen was coming again.
Instead, Parker took a pitch, then handed it off to Randle El, who found Ward behind the Seahawks' defense for the score. Key to the play, Whisenhunt and Steelers players said, was the realization that the Seahawks were playing minus two starters in the secondary, and that the backup Pruitt was likely to bite on the reverse, and come up into the no-man's land in which no defensive back wants to be caught.
Last week, in offering his views on the game to ESPN.com, New England head coach Bill Belichick was adamant that Randle El would make a big play in Super Bowl XL. A play, he said, for which "an opponent can't plan." The "Fake-39 Toss X-Reverse Pass" was that play.
Randle El has three options on the play: throw deep to Ward, throw to Parker, who after pitching the ball proceeds up the left sideline, or keep the ball and run. Ward was so far behind Pruitt and cornerback Marcus Trufant, though, there was really no option at all.
"I was so open," recalled Ward, who finished with five catches for 123 yards, "that I just kept thinking, 'Please, ball get here, huh!' It just seemed like it happened in such slow motion, you know? But it was a great play call, at just the right time, something that we had run before and had some success with, and it worked again.
I particularly like the Steelers' version because it gives the passer three options, two of which are quick & easy reads.
- Is the deep guy wide open?
- If "yes" hurry up and throw it for six.
- If "no" check the short guy.
- Is the short guy wide open?
- If "yes" hurry up and throw it for a nice gain (Hey, and if it's Foster, maybe he breaks it).
- If "no" keep it and run.
- Run the reverse. If they've maintained deep coverage AND have the RB (that should be 10-15 yds downfield) also covered, that means pulling it down and running it (especially with Casey being the ball carrier) should be able to pick up some nice yardage. Not to mention giving the defense something else to worry about.
Another thing I liked about this play was when they decided to run it. They ran it on first & 10. ...at mid-field. If it blows up - meaning all of the three options above are covered, worse case it's 2nd & 10.
And worse/worse case let's assume that GP's scenario, where Casey suddenly goes into "Hero Mode" (or panic mode), is credible. I don't think it is but let's play along. Casey tries to go deep but underthrows or floats one allowing Ed Reed to come back and make a play on the ball. IMO, that's no different than if T.J. tries to go deep to Andre and Reed makes a play on the ball. If we do this from midfield, it's as good as a punt.
all that to say, I like the idea but we need to be judicious in when it's done (consider down, field position, ebb & flow of the game, etc.; i.e., don't do it in desparation
) and how we set it up (like the Steelers, make it look like something that burned the defense previously).