Monday, October 10, 2011

Tricks ARE Treats: The Halfback Pass; Week 5 Thoughts

Today, “Naptime Huddle” continues its October series on trick plays* with the Halfback Pass.  Then, in a rare combo-platter post, some parting shots on Sunday of Week 5 in the NFL.

Oh, and by the way, “Naptime Huddle” is now on Facebook!  If you support what we’re about, hit “Like” and share us with your friends.  In addition to post links, you’ll get news updates and random thoughts throughout the week and on game days.

The Halfback Pass

If a team has a running back who is also good at throwing, it can tuck away the Halfback Pass in its playbook for a rainy day (actually, a dry, sunny day would probably be better).  The play is simple:  The quarterback pitches the ball to the halfback, making the play look like a run toward the sideline.  As happens during the flea flicker, the defense, notably the cornerbacks and linebackers, will then back off their coverage of the receivers to pursue the halfback.  Meanwhile, instead of running with the ball, the halfback will look for an open receiver downfield and throw the ball while he is still behind the line of scrimmage.

As with any trick play, if the defense isn’t fooled there is potential for disaster in the form of a loss of yardage or, even worse, an interception.  Here, though, is an example of a successful halfback pass by the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Superstar running back LaDainian Tomlinson, currently with the New York Jets, is actually a prolific passer.  So far in his career he has thrown for seven touchdowns and 143 yards.

Week 5 Thoughts

  • After Week 2, NH took a look at the season’s Unexpected Undefeateds.  With five weeks in the books, we can now list the “Bewildered Beatens,” those teams who find themselves in unfamiliar territory with either zero or one win:  the Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals.  Some teams are no strangers to winless stretches—e.g., St. Louis and Miami—and shouldn’t be so bewildered.  The New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons have put together two wins each, but as 2010 playoff teams they should be equally bewildered.  I suppose the Colts’ fortunes shouldn’t be surprising since they are missing future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, but many were under the impression that the Colts also had a talented supporting cast and coaching staff.
  • Broncos fans finally got what they wished for as second-year quarterback Tim Tebow replaced much-maligned Kyle Orton after halftime in what was ultimately a losing effort against the San Diego Chargers.  Was his comeback attempt enough to land him the starting job permanently?  Will Tebow now have a Tom Brady-like run after replacing a veteran QB?  Only time will tell…
  • Minnesota finally put the ball in the hands of its best player, running back Adrian Peterson, to run all over the Arizona Cardinals for the Vikings’ first win of the season.  Will they finally admit that QB Donovan McNabb is not their best player, and maybe not even their best option at quarterback? 
  • How much does “Naptime Huddle” love the Buffalo Bills right now?  T   H   I   S      M   U   C   H   (I’m holding my arms open real wide now.)  Their multi-faceted play on the field is not only giving the team its best start in three years, but they are also giving the fans a real show each and every week.  The Bills’ win over the Eagles was one to remember, as RB Fred Jackson ran for almost 200 yards and the defense got four interceptions (a career high for Eagles QB Michael Vick) and a fumble.

Well, that’s it for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed Week 5 so far.  Tune in to Monday Night Football tonight as the Detroit Lions try to stay undefeated against division rival Chicago Bears!

*Yes, I realize that the first post in this series was called "Trick and Treat."  I like the new title better.