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McAfee Clarifies Fake Punt: Whalen Wasn't Original Center, Explains Design

Posted Oct 20, 2015

Colts punter Pat McAfee clarified some important details as to why the fake punt went wrong on Sunday night.

INDIANAPOLIS --- Colts punter Pat McAfee was on the Bob and Tom radio show Tuesday morning and explained in detail what the fake punt on Sunday Night Football was supposed to look like, with a detail that has not been shared yet.


Wide receiver Griff Whalen was never supposed to be the center on the gadget play.


“The gunner who became the center all week was (safety) Clayton Geathers. Clayton Geathers gets injured in the second quarter,” said McAfee. “Insert Griff Whalen who had never done it before. So Griff Whalen is now the new center in a play he’s never practiced before.”


McAfee said Whalen knew the original intent of the play, because it’s in the playbook, but didn’t know a second option that was added in practice last week because he isn’t usually on the punt team with McAfee.


Original Intent of the Play


“The point of the play is a deception play. So, you’re trying to manipulate the (receiving team) into thinking they have to sub their defense back on,” said McAfee. “We are sprinting to the sideline in hopes to make the other team think we are subbing our offense back onto the field. So, when they think the offense is coming back on the field, your hope is that they think their defense has to come back on the field.”


If you look at the Colts sideline, you’ll see the offense lined up and ready on the edge of the boundary, as if they are going to run back onto the field for 4th and 3. The Patriots defense though never tried to sub anybody back onto the field.


fake punt sideline.png


“As soon as their defense comes back on the field, we snap it, steal 5 yards (because the defense would have too many men on the field), and we get a first down,” explained McAfee on what the Colts hoped would happen. “So there’s the intention of it. That’s the thought.”


But the Patriots didn’t sub. The Colts added a second option though to the play in practice that week to still try and draw New England offsides.


“Last week (in practice), Griff is at the other end catching my punts. We added something to try and draw them offsides if they don’t do their substitution,” said McAfee. “Griff never got the heads up this was happening, because it’s not in the playbook. Stanford guy, reads the playbook, knows everything he has to do, but if he’s not there for an audible that’s added, he can’t know.”



 


“Griff has no idea we’re trying to draw the guy offsides,” said McAfee, “because in the play it says if we get under center, snap it. So Colt Anderson (the quarterback on the play) is trying to draw a guy offsides to pick up an easy five yards. If not, we just don’t snap it. We take a delay of game.”


But Whalen just didn’t know, since he wasn’t part of the install of the 2nd option in practice.


“Griff goes… ‘If I feel him right now, I’m supposed to snap it.’ So this is a 100% miscommunication,” said McAfee. “It’s literally a miscommunication.”


And in the aftermath of the failed fake, McAfee said the bad feeling was still resonating in the building initially Monday.


“Yesterday was like the time’s when we were 2-14,” said McAfee, “because we shot ourselves in the foot so hard.”


But by Monday afternoon, the Colts were looking ahead to the Saints. McAfee though certainly clarified the play everybody’s been talking about very well.



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