Given the long history of the NFL, it’s hard to have a play with little precedent. But that happened on Sunday during the Dolphins’ loss to the Raiders.
Miami was backed up to its own 1-yard line at the end of the first quarter when quarterback Jacoby Brissett elected to throw behind the line of scrimmage to receiver Jaylen Waddle. Waddle caught the pass in his own end zone with no one in sight to block for him. Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward immediately dropped him behind the goal line for a safety.
It was a bizarre play for several reasons — one of which is that according to ProFootballReference, it’s the first safety in its database from a completed pass with no penalties or fumbles.
In theory, Waddle could’ve dropped the pass, which would’ve prevented the safety. But that’s counter to every receiver’s instincts.
Really, the pass never should’ve been thrown. To that end, Brissett took responsibility for the safety after the game.
“It just wasn’t a good play. It’s a dumb decision on my part,” Brissett said, via Sam Gordon of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s a great learning experience in that situation.”
Games aren’t often won or lost on one singular play. And Brissett didn’t play poorly for the entire game, engineering the comeback that sent the game to overtime.
But setting up an easy safety with a completed pass into his own end zone is something Brissett should never do again.