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#pounditThursday, April 25, 2024

49ers, Lions ran virtually the same trick play for a TD

49ers and Lions ran a similar trick play

San Francisco 49ers fans are used to seeing some offensive razzle-dazzle from Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan. But the Detroit Lions actually pulled off the same trick first on Sunday.

The 49ers executed a double handoff flea flicker to perfection early in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Quarterback Brock Purdy took the snap and gave it to Christian McCaffrey on what initially appeared to be a designed run. The All-Pro running back then handed it off to wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Samuel tossed the ball back to Purdy, who found tight end George Kittle streaking down the right sideline for a touchdown.

That was a great play, but hours earlier, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson ran virtually the same play in his team’s 42-24 victory against the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.

It was Lions quarterback Jared Goff throwing the pass instead of Purdy. Running back David Montgomery and wide receiver Kalif Raymond played the McCaffrey and Samuel roles, respectively. Kittle mirrored the exact route run by Lions tight end Sam LaPorta, who also scored the TD for the Lions.

Here are the two plays side-by-side:

The similar plays were no coincidence. 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk was asked about the trick play after their 42-10 win over the Cowboys. Juszczyk explained that he texted Kittle after seeing the Lions TD. The 49ers apparently had that exact play in their playbook as well. Kittle urged 49ers tight end coach Brian Fleury to let them run it on Sunday night. Clearly, Fleury and eventually Shanahan agreed.

The similarities didn’t stop with just the play itself. Both teams ended up scoring 42 points in a home win. Tight ends Kittle and LaPorta, who both scored multiple touchdowns, share the same alma mater Iowa.

There was some buzz about the Cowboys gathering intel on the 49ers through former Niners QB Trey Lance. Perhaps they should have been watching the Lions game beforehand instead.


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