PORT ARTHUR — If you watched the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles game two weeks ago, you’d have seen a similar throwback return try that failed, because the Eagle returner threw the ball forward when he tried to find Riley Cooper racing down the sideline. One of the gripes about Tennessee’s Music City Miracle over the Buffalo Bills was that Frank Wycheck’s lateral appeared to go forward instead of backwards to Kevin Dyson.
Having a QB throw the ball across the field makes it much easier to practice and ensure that it is a proper lateral. But, it still takes practice time to get that right. The players have to know it is coming and have been drilled on what to do.
All for one play in a game the Titans ultimately lost. The play didn’t break for a touchdown this time, but that one play can make a ripple effect in the future. Now, any playoff opponent will have to be aware that the Titans could try something tricky if they pooch kick it. That, in turn, may make the coverage unit a little hesitant in flying down field and may open up lanes for regular returns from John Leday or Kam Martin.
That’s where all that hard work may pay off. It’s a single play in the third phase of the game, but if it leads to a touchdown in the playoffs or gives the Titans great field position in a crucial situation, it’s worth every extra minute.