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.
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:
— Matthew Henderson (@mhenderson95) October 19, 2015
This is how that fake punt by the Colts should have been ran, man. This has first down written all over it. pic.twitter.com/d4TWbC3wfh
— Jon Gruden (@Faux_Gruden) October 19, 2015
"Who are: the Indianapolis Colts?" #JeopardySports pic.twitter.com/rqKixxctST
— Jeopardy! Sports (@JeopardySports) October 19, 2015
had to be done pic.twitter.com/LgVCTLuxGx
— Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) October 19, 2015
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.
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