October 09, 2011
There were approximately 70,000 people at Orchard Park Stadium on Sunday for the Buffalo Bills-Philadelphia Eagles game and 69,999 were anticipating that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) would be trying to get the Eagles to jump offsides on fourth-and-inches with 1:23 left in the game. Philadelphia defensive lineman Juqua Parker(notes) was the only one in the dark.
Baiting defenders offsides with a hard count works about as often as those crazy lateral plays at the end of games. When it does, it's a living tribute to a lack of discipline, ignorance of game situations and a total absence of good sense:
You know it's bad when Andy Reid is baffled by the foolishness of a late-game maneuver.
We exaggerate a little, of course; Parker obviously knew Fitzpatrick's intent was to bait Philly into a penalty with the hard count, but he couldn't control his reflexes enough to prevent himself from falling into the trap. Buffalo appeared to have little intention of snapping the ball and likely would have accepted a delay of game (or taken a timeout) and then punted to the Eagles, giving Philly a chance to tie on a last-minute touchdown. Instead, the penalty gave Buffalo an automatic first down and allowed Fitzpatrick to take a knee on the next two plays to seal the 31-24 victory.
An aside: I'm not a big fan of this new-ish trend of offensive linemen moving after a defender jumps into the neutral zone and acting like that baited them into breaking their stance. It's as lame as flopping. If the Bills want to take advantage of Parker's jump, Fitzpatrick should have to snap the ball, not have one of his offensive linemen act like the leap made him move.
In no way should this be construed as a defense of Parker, mind you. In no way at all.
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