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Somehow, Giants fake FG pass to center Nick Gates didn't work out

Jason Owens
·2-min read

Sometimes in the NFL, a coach draws up a stunning piece of misdirection that fools the opposition and draws effusive praise from pundits.

This was not one of those times.

The first New York Giants drive against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night stalled 8 yards short of the end zone, leaving the home team in range to kick a chip-shot field goal to open scoring.

Except it didn’t. The Giants sent out their field goal unit on fourth-and-5. But they did not kick the ball.

6 wide and 3 offensive linemen?

Instead, they lined up six wide with three offensive lineman in a formation that’s probably never been used in the NFL.

Cleveland Browns' Malcolm Smith (56) breaks up a pass to New York Giants' Nick Gates (65) from Riley Dixon (9) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
This is what happens when a punter throws to a center in triple coverage in the NFL. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Punter/holder Riley Dixon lined up in shotgun behind center Nick Gates. The Browns adjusted their defensive lineup in response. Gates snapped the ball and ran straight toward the end zone and into triple coverage.

Dixon immediately threw in Gates’ direction, and the ball bounced off his hands high and incomplete into the back of the end zone. Because that’s what happens in the NFL when a punter throws to a center in triple coverage.

So who’s responsible for this?

It’s unclear who drew up this beauty. Former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens made headlines this past week, stepping in to call plays against the team that fired him after Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett tested positive for COVID-19.

But this was a special teams play and a decision by head coach Joe Judge. Whether or not special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey drew the play up is unclear.

Here’s guessing that nobody rushes to the microphone to take credit postgame.

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