Series Introduction: I stole this idea from SBNation’s Carolina Panthers Community, Cat Scratch Reader after seeing it there last year. I felt it would be a good addition to our features, and thought I’d try my hand at it. The premise of this article is to examine plays that weren’t big or flashy, but had a profound impact on the game. At times, I’ll also include the big plays, but it will be to highlight a small individual part of the play, like a block. I’m also going to award a little big player of the game, to recognize a player who did the little things right, but didn’t make a bunch of big plays or put up a ton of yards. I hope you enjoy!
The Good Plays
- Q1 3:19 2nd and Goal: On the first TD, Ike Willis gets a knockdown block in the end zone in order to spring Matthew Jordan. Thanks to that block Jordan waltzed into the end zone despite the broken play.
- Q2 4:28 2nd and 6: With the fullback lead blocking on a power run, Brant Mitchell stonewalls the lead blocker at the LOS. This forces the RB to cut back into the unblocked Terrell Lewis. The BC offense was trying to get a numbers advantage to their right side, and they had it if Mitchell had not plugged the hole. This had the potential to be a really long run. The Eagles were forced to punt on this series of downs.
- Q2 2:15 1st and 10: After a big run on the previous play, Terrell Lewis chases the RB down from the backside for a loss. There was a sizable hole at the point of attack, and the LBs responsible for pursuit reacted late. This could have gone for a big gainer, but instead was a loss. 2 plays later, the Eagles attempt a pass on 3rd and 6, only to have Antonio Simmons force a fumble right into the waiting arms of Kyle Cerge-Henderson.
- Q3 3:40 3rd and 9: After a short pass, Corey Griffin slips trying to make the play. However, either Griffin’s foot, or that of the OL blocking him, trips up the receiver to prevent the 1st down by a yard. The Eagles missed a field goal on the next play. This one was less of a good play, and more of a lucky one. Game of inches(feet?) indeed.
- Q4 3:33 1st and 10: The play. Much has been made of Justin Thomas and his miraculous job spinning free from a surefire sack that could have sealed the game, then having presence of mind to throw the ball away. So much has been made of this play that it no longer seems like a little-big play, but I’d be remiss not to mention it. It was just an incomplete pass on the score sheet, but it may become one of the more iconic moments of Justin Thomas’s career.
- Q4 2:22 1st and 10: Inside Veer. The Mesh gets blown up, but Thomas somehow pitches the ball to Qua Searcy. With defenders stringing out the play, Searcy makes the smart move by making a beeline for the sideline. By stopping the clock, Searcy saved precious seconds and gave the offense time to think and regroup.
The Bad Plays
- Q2 8:11 3rd and 6: Thomas scrambles, and a Marcus Marshall cut block would have sprung him at least for the 1st down if not a lot more. Instead, Marshall turns to look for the ball, and slips when he turns around to block.
- Q3 1:36 3rd and 5: Thomas checks the option to the opposite side, but Ike Willis fails to go in motion, so there’s no pitch man when Thomas looks to pitch. Was this play open for a big gain? Well, you decide:
While one could argue that the safety would have gone to the pitch man if there was one, but the MLB was blocked well by Klock on this play, and the DE was not likely going to get Thomas if the safety went for the pitch man.
Little Big Player of the Game: A-Back Qua Searcy
The selection of a “Little-Big Player of the Game” this week was difficult. It was a sloppy game on both sides of the ball, and it was hard to select someone who did the little things right. Normally, I wouldn’t give this award to someone like Searcy, who made so many game-changing plays that the moniker “Big Play Qua” would perhaps be more appropriate. Regardless, it was Qua who did the little things correctly better than anyone else on the day. From blocking well, to executing his assignments, to getting out of bounds when necessary, Qua simply did what he was asked.
That’s all for this week’s edition. If you have any questions or suggestions, just let me know!