- The Washington Times
Thursday, November 26, 2020

Just like people all across the country, the Texans looked like they were drawing plays in the dirt, having fun playing football on Thanksgiving. And for Houston, the eccentric play call worked out in a huge way.

Deshaun Watson handed the ball off early in the fourth quarter to running back Duke Johnson. With a heavy blitz off the edge, Johnson ran laterally, along the line of scrimmage. But then Johnson stopped, turned back to his quarterback and flicked a backwards pass to Watson.


That allowed Watson to look for Will Fuller, wide open along the sideline and ready to haul in a 34-yard touchdown catch at the end of an unusual flea-flicker.

“I’m telling you, it’s a backyard play,” said Jim Nantz, the CBS play-by-play commentator. “You’re going to have a thousand of those later this afternoon all across the country, trying to replicate that.”

The Lions had kept the Thanksgiving matchup close in the first half, but the Texans took over after intermission. Plays like the flea-flicker helped settle the contest.

That touchdown was also Fuller’s second of the day, having scored from 40-yards out earlier in the fourth quarter. To Tony Romo, the former Cowboys quarterback and current CBS analyst, the blitz turned what might’ve been a standard flea-flicker into something so much more special. Or, the play design was just especially unique.

“It was a flea-flicker, but the blitz made him have to run away from the guy blitzing,” said Romo. “I think it’s a little random, like you said. Backyard, everyone’s trying it.”

Earlier in the game, Detroit used a bit of trickery of its own to earn a big gain. With a reverse flea-flicker, quarterback Matthew Stafford found T.J. Hockenson for a 51-yard gain after a handoff and two pitches.

But the Texans one-upped the Lions, scoring on their flea-flicker attempt.

 


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