the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, September 14, 2012

NFL Week Two: Tricky Thursday

Green Bay led Chicago 3-0 with 1:56 remaining in the first half. It was 4th down and 26 to go at the Bears 27 yard line, so the Packers lined up for a 44 yard field goal attempt. Apparently.

But appearances can be deceiving. Instead of kicking, the ball was directly snapped to punter/holder Tim Masthay. Kicker/decoy Mason Crosby ran left. Masthay threw a shovel pass to tight end Tom Crabtree who ran to the right and went untouched into the endzone for the score. 

The plan was a long time in the making, as head coach Mike McCarthy noted:
"We’ve been working on that for two or three years and we were looking for a certain look from the Bears. They gave it to us and it was a great execution on our players’ part. I was trying to send a message when I made the call and I was fine with the field position. Then our guys executed and I thought it really lifted our sideline up and our defense just kept going … It was a big play in the game."
The 'certain look' was described by Mason Crosby:
"They had a rush on for the field goal, because with that much yardage for the first, it was pretty much get a touchdown or nothing. We were able to seal them off. You draw them up and you run them in practice and they work pretty good, but that one worked better than expected."
 Tim Masthay executed his part.
"I had the easiest job of anybody. All I'm doing is catching the snap, putting it down and flipping it to Tom. The rest of the guys were the ones doing the work. So, yeah, it was really cool."
His efforts gave him a 158.3 passer rating.
"It’s funny, because I literally shovel passed it four yards, and I have like a (perfect) QBR. But I’ll take it."
Footnote: on three other field goal attempts there was no trickery. Crosby made all three, the latter of which was a 54 yarder - the longest ever by a Packer at Lambeau Field.

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