Anatomy of a Trick Play: How the Cardinals Burned the Eagles Sunday
The Cardinals have been running flea flickers all season and have had tremendous success with it. They’ve used it in the playoffs to their advantage, scoring a touchdown against the Falcons and also the Eagles. The one in the NFC Championship went for 62 yards from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald, as always. The TD made it 14-3 and really helped Arizona build their first half momentum. While the play itself was cool, it’s the back story to the play that really is awesome in my opinion. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Three years ago, when [Saints head coach Sean] Payton and Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley were working together in Dallas, Payton introduced Haley to a play called “The Philly Special.”
It was a trick play designed specifically to burn the Eagles’ aggressive defensive scheme, and Payton had used it successfully against Philadelphia when he was coaching in New York during the Giants’ Super Bowl run in 2000-01.
Ironically, the Cowboys never used that play against Philadelphia. But Haley always kept it in his bag of tricks, and as he prepared for the biggest game in Cardinals history this past week, he knew for certain that he would pull it out.
In fact, he had even assigned third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre with the task of studying the Eagles’ game tapes, so he could advise him of the best time to use it Sunday.
And St. Pierre called for it at the moment we saw it on Sunday. Now the only part that would kill this great story is that the Eagles did have a man back to cover Fitzgerald on the play as Quintin Demps didn’t bite on the fake. Only problem is we’ve all come to find out these playoffs that you can’t single cover Fitzgerald otherwise that will happen. Here’s the play in case you missed it, or want to re-watch:
Worked like a charm, huh?