Quarterback Jared Goff went under center, but instead of snapping him the ball, center Frank Ragnow rifled the ball between Goff’s legs to running back David Montgomery. He then took the direct snap and charged forward, while Goff pretended there was an awry snap, causing the Panthers defense to freeze for a second. Montgomery would end up picking up the third-and-6 play with an 11-yard gain.
If you’re like me, you’ve never seen a play like that before. However, the NFL is a copy-cat league, and it turns out the Lions were inspired from the college ranks. As quarterback Jared Goff told 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday, the Lions identified that play from a 2022 William and Mary game.
“We stole it from a college team. I believe it was William and Mary. I think that was the school. It was wherever Colby Sorsdal went to school, which I believe was William and Mary,” Goff said. “We saw it from them. We call those our specials is what we call them, our trick plays, our ‘specials.’ Our specials ideas guys found that one and thought it fit our game plan this week and we put it in.”
Goff was not mistaken. It didn’t take long to find the William and Mary play, although the run concepts are quite different than the one the Lions used. William and Mary actually snapped the ball through a receiver’s legs to the quarterback, who ran an option after receiving the ball.
The Lions, on the other hand, used Goff as the decoy, getting the ball directly into Montgomery’s hands.
When asked after the game, Goff said the play worked in practice, as Ragnow avoided the snap hitting Goff’s legs each time. But on the radio, Goff admitted that he went the extra mile on Sunday to make sure the ball didn’t deflect off his leg... or anywhere a bit higher.
“It never hit me anywhere, which was good, but I had to get really close to Frank,” Goff said. “There was no room for error. I was very intimate with him on that play.”