It was a thing of genius, but John Hufnagel won’t claim credit.
The way the Calgary Stampeders finished their 23-20 CFL victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was a thing of beauty.
“Oh, it’s been done before,” Stamps head coach Hufnagel said.
Not many can remember.
The Stamps had a five-point lead and took possession on their 30-yard line with 36 seconds remaining in the game.
After a pair of Joffrey Reynolds rushes netted eight yards, the Stamps were facing third-and-two with 27 seconds remaining.
They have to punt, right?
Wrong. The Stamps took a time-count penalty — which used all 20 seconds on the play clock — and that left seven seconds remaining.
Instead of punting from their own 28-yard line, the Stampeders lined up with quarterback Henry Burris under centre and receiver Romby Bryant deep in his own endzone.
Burris took the snap and fired a pass to Bryant — who was nearly 40 yards away from the Bombers players when the play began. Bryant ran around the endzone until time expired, surrendering two points.
“We practised the day before, with
10 seconds left and on the 35-yard line,” Hufnagel said. “If we called a time out, there would have been one second more on the clock. So we took the time-count violation, used all 20 seconds instead of 19, and it’s one second less we have to contend with.”
The play may have had fans wondering what was going on, but the players weren’t shocked at all, even when it was drawn up earlier this season.
“I’ve seen people do it many times in the States,” Burris said. “The fact you have more field here to run around, it’s only logical that you run it.
“The last thing you want to do is punt. If they get a block, all hell’s going to break loose.”
Still, it has to feel weird throwing a pass into your own endzone.
“We practised it a number times. It’s like that seven-second throw out of bounds in the West Final a couple of years ago, and it ended up using six seconds,” Burris said. “You work on it, and it becomes second nature for you.”
— Randy Sportak
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