In the Bears’ playoff game against the Saints, Chicago coach Matt Nagy used a trick play that had quarterback Mitchell Trubisky line up as a wide receiver, get the ball on a reverse, and then throw deep downfield. It would have gone for a touchdown if it hadn’t been dropped in the end zone, and New Orleans coach Sean Payton liked the play so much that he used it a week later.
It worked for the Saints, who lined up backup quarterback Jameis Winston as a wide receiver and did the exact same play, only this time it was caught for a touchdown. Payton said he thanked Nagy for the play.
“The next day, I text Matt and said ‘I appreciate that play’ and everyone got their credit,” Payton said on ESPN 1000, via Yahoo Sports. “That had zero to do with us and was Chicago’s design.”
Payton said he loved the creativity of the play design from the moment he saw Trubisky lining up.
“Honestly, I had never seen it before,” Payton said. “I remember seeing the play live because when Chicago broke the huddle, Trubisky was right in front of me on our sideline. He wasn’t just – you know you’re getting a wildcat play, but generally speaking, you’re close to the line of scrimmage and Mitch was about three yards deeper than normal. There was the timing, the snap, the motion, the handoff, and then back to the quarterback. At that moment, you’re like ‘ugh.’ Honestly, it was a magnificent throw.”
Payton said that he didn’t even tweak the play when the Saints ran it the next week, instead literally showing his players the exact same play and telling them to be ready to run it.
“We started with the idea that maybe we just flip the whole thing around and go the same exact play, but go the other direction,” he said. “We said no, just show our players this picture.”
It’s a great play design, although given its success in the playoffs, it’s a play that should be studied by every defensive coordinator in the NFL, and shouldn’t catch any defense off guard next year.