game-winning QB sneak against the Dallas Cowboyshappened so fast that we couldn’t see how amazing and risky it was until the game ended.
Down 30-24 with the ball on the one-yard line and the clocking ticking toward zero, Stafford frantically motioned his team toward the line of scrimmage to spike the ball.
But instead of spiking it with 15 seconds left and setting up a final play, he snapped it and awkwardly leaped over the pile to win the game 31-30.
He never told his teammates what he was doing.
Lions center Dominic Riola told Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel that Stafford was yelling “spike, spike, spike” as they got to the line. Proof:
Stafford said he only decided to sneak it after he saw that the Dallas defenders were standing a few feet back of the line of scrimmage. He told Yahoo:
“I’m looking down and I see [a defensive lineman’s] feet in the end zone and light [signaling a gap just to Raiola’s left that was asking to be attacked]. And I just said, ‘Shoot, here we go.'”
The gambled paid off:
It’s the second time this year that we’ve seen a quarterback score a touchdown by himself without telling his teammates what he’s was doing against the Cowboys. Peyton Manning scored a naked bootleg TD while the rest of his team thought it was a simple handoff back in Week 5.
But the stakes for Stafford were much higher.
If he hadn’t gotten into the endzone, there’s a chance the clock runs out before he has a chance to spike it.
His team had no timeouts. He snapped it with ~15 seconds left. Maybe six seconds would have ran off the clock if he was stopped. It would have taken another six seconds to get everyone back to the line, leaving an incredibly small margin for error.
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