September 25, 2011
Falcons fall for bluff
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
TAMPA BAY -- Less than two minutes to play, leading 16-13 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had fourth and the length of the football to go at the Atlanta 44-yard-line.
What to do?
Raheem Morris, the Bucs head coach decided to go for it. Sort of.
So the Bucs came up to the ball, the Falcons dug in. Quarterback Josh Freeman went under centre, barked out a hard count and waited for the Falcons to fall into the trap.
With no time outs left, the Falcons knew they had to put the brakes on the Bucs right there, to get the stop, to get the ball.
In the game of chicken, the Falcons moved first as a couple of members of their defensive line jumped the gun.
As soon as they moved the ball was napped, Freeman dropped to a knee and broke into a wide grin.
Afterward Freeman said that the draw-them-offside manoeuvre was not a complete bluff, that in the end they would have gone for it.
"We had a play but in that particular set we were going to call a time out if they didn't jump and then who knows?," Freeman said, "We might have come back and tried to hard count them again. Who knows? But eventually we were going to get to a quarterback sneak."
Given the situation the Falcons were in -- no time outs remaining -- put the Bucs in the driver's seat.
"We had a lot of time during measurement over what we were going to do. And their backs were up against the wall really because we got a QB sneak before (for a touchdown from inside the one)," Freeman said. "We're extremely efficient in the QB sneaks so if they're going to stop us they're going to have to get a great get-off.
"They kind of have to guess right and it's kind of like the whole D-line has got to guess right and get off when we're snapping the ball or we're going to get the first down."
It's not the first time that Freeman and the Bucs have used the play and been successful.
"It worked last year against Detroit," he said. "We used the hard count and the guys sold it real well. Got in the huddle and got everybody kind of ramped up and made it look like we were going to go for it.
"It worked out."