- The Los Angeles Rams attempted a risky fake punt early in their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
- While it initially looked like the Rams had the numbers to reach the first down, the Cardinals defence smartly snuffed out the play just short of the yard-to-gain.
- After the play, Rams head coach Sean McVay was furious on the sideline, seemingly unaware that special teams coach John Fassel had called for the fake.
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The Los Angeles Rams got caught playing a bit too risky at the start of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, and head coach Sean McVay was not at all happy with the call.
The play in question came in the first quarter with the Rams holding an early 3-0 lead. Facing fourth-and-seven from their own 17-yard line, the Rams lined up in punt formation but sent a direct snap to Nick Scott, who ran towards the first-down marker but was tackled just short of the line to gain.
On the sidelines, McVay was incredulous, seemingly unaware that the fake had been called by special teams coach John Fassel.
Sean McVay was not happy about John Fassel's fake punt attempt.
"What are you doing?!" pic.twitter.com/xdVRNul5Bq
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) December 29, 2019
In Fassel’s defence, it’s clear to see what he saw in the Cardinals punt coverage formation. Arizona had overloaded the left side of their defensive front, leaving just three defenders matched up with three Rams blockers on the opposite side.
But unfortunately for the Rams, the Cardinals were apparently ready for the Rams trickery. Rather than blitzing the punter, safety Chris Banjo, number 38 in the above photo, immediately broke to the right to help out on the Cardinals’ weak side.
When the fake became apparent, Banjo was able to force Scott to hesitate for just a moment, giving the Arizona coverage unit enough time to collapse on him before he could reach the first-down marker.
The Cardinals took over possession, and scored the first touchdown of the game just two plays later to take a 7-3 lead in the game.
The Rams have proven time and time again that they aren’t afraid to try for a fake even deep in their own territory, but McVay’s reaction made clear that it was a play he’d like back this time around.
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