Worst-designed play in NFL history? Colts may have just run it

Jay Busbee

Behold, friends: the strangest-designed play of the NFL season, and maybe since the introduction of the forward pass.

We're not quite sure what was supposed to happen here ... matter of fact, even the Indianapolis Colts themselves didn't seem to know. Here's the deal: the Colts were facing a fourth down late in the third quarter. After initially setting up in a standard punt formation, the entire team shifted to the right in some variant of the swinging-gate formation. Only Griff Whalen and Colt Anderson remained over the ball.

Andrew Luck fell to 0-5 against the Patriots in his career. (AP)
Andrew Luck fell to 0-5 against the Patriots in his career. (AP)

That would be wide receiver Griff Whalen playing center, and safety Colt Anderson at quarterback. Yeah, we have no idea what the hell was supposed to happen here either.

The New England Patriots, confused but not entirely fooled — if there's trickeration in football, they've probably already thought of it first — kept five men up close on the ball. That's five men to Whalen's one. And so when Whalen inexplicably snapped the ball, well, he and Anderson were swallowed up immediately.

The Patriots thus took over in Indianapolis territory, and six plays later scored to go up two touchdowns. Cameras caught Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano asking "Why did you snap it?" (Or possibly "what happened?", which is what the rest of the country was thinking.)

The Washington Redskins tried a similar version of the play about six years ago, with the same amount of success. But at least Washington used a shotgun formation, which gave the de facto quarterback half a second to throw a pass. This one never had a chance. Save it for the Turkey Bowl, guys.

Reaction on Twitter was, as you'd expect, swift and merciless:

Indianapolis had a shot at winning this game, or at least looking respectable. With one total misfire of a play, the Colts killed almost any chance of either.

The Patriots won, 34-27.

More on Week 6

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter.

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