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Monday, December 17, 2007

The Smartest Play in Football

I was just watching some of the week's highlights on NFL.com, and when watching the Eagles-Cowboys highlights, I immediately was impressed. Brian Westbrook made what I think is the smartest play in football - one that is very difficult to do for a number of reasons, but brilliant nonetheless.

With 2:19 left in the 4th quarter, and Dallas with 0 timeouts remaining, the Eagles were up 10-6. Westbrook broke through the line and a couple of tacklers, easily on his way to a touchdown that would make it 17-6... but then he turned his head, slowed, and stopped. At the 1. And let himself get tackled.

The clock ran down to two minutes, and the Eagles downed the ball three times to end the game.

Last week, while watching the Browns-Jets game, (I think) I remarked to G sitting next to me that Jamal Lewis would really have been better off not scoring on that late TD run where he ran over the Jets' secondary; it simply gave the Jets a last shot to score, onside kick, and try to score again (though the Browns recovered that onside kick to end the game). But running backs are trained to run hard, go for the end zone... and of course, stats DO matter when trying to work out contracts, and we're talking about millions of dollars. Nobody will criticize a player for scoring a touchdown...

...which is why what Westbrook did is so much more impressive. To have the selflessness and most importantly, presence of mind, to simply take a dive at the 1 and end the game rather than allow Dallas even the remotest of chances to come back is simply brilliant. It's the smartest play I've ever seen in football.

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