Kliff’s rip: Cardinals steal Ohio State’s fake play change from the sideline

Oct 26, 2020, 2:56 PM | Updated: 3:38 pm
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 and wide...
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 on the field in the second quarter of the game against Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium on October 25, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

DeAndre Hopkins’ catch was nice, Kyler Murray’s throw was accurate but the fun started prior to the snap of the Arizona Cardinals’ first scoring play on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury discovered his latest ripped play while watching Ohio State’s offense attempt to pull a fast one on rival Michigan last year, he said Monday. And a touchdown, while nice, isn’t even necessary for it to be successful.

“You all kind of look to the side like you’re getting a play, you snap it, try to catch them off-guard,” Kingsbury said after Arizona’s 37-34 win against the Seahawks.

“I like the play. It unsettles the DBs and our guys did a great job of executing it,” the head coach added. “Even if you don’t hit it, you kind of freak them out the remainder of the game.”

Before Murray connected with Hopkins on a 35-yard completion, the Cardinals all looked toward their sideline as if taking instructions about a play-call change. Then came a sudden snap, catching Seattle off guard.

It didn’t fool all of Seattle’s defenders. Hopkins’ man, Quinton Dunbar, was in stride with Hopkins and just couldn’t get position to contest the throw to the pylon.

But the trick sure got cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who was one sleepy boy playing catch-up against Christian Kirk on the opposite side of the field.

While we couldn’t find video of the Ohio State play — Kingsbury said it resulted in a dropped pass by an open receiver — the Buckeyes aren’t the only ones running it.

Alabama pulled something similar with greater success against LSU, showing the same personnel grouping and similar routes.

The only difference to novice eyes is the tight end alignment. And that the snap happens at the quarterback’s clap, which as the Cardinals learned in 2019 may or may not be legal in the NFL.

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