AFC Wild Card Game: Jacksonville Jaguars 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 29
"I don't want to get fined, but watch the long quarterback sneak. Watch the middle of the defensive line and you'll see. You'll see it. Watch what happens in the middle of the field. ... You see a big old hole open up and you'll see the reason why." - Larry Foote
It wasn’t so much that the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, it was how they did it. The Jags cheated.
Jacksonville had the ball at their 49-yard line, with one timeout and 2:38 left on the clock.
Three plays later, after a solid Steelers’ defensive stand, the Jags were in a fourth-and-two situation.
Lining up in the shotgun formation, Jacksonville appeared ready to pass for the first down. But Jags quarterback David Garrard, after taking two steps back, takes off running.
Garrard sprints pass the line of scrimmage, rushes pass the first down maker and one elusive move later, carries the ball all the way to Steelers 11-yard line before getting tackled. It’s a 32-yard run!
After a few safe hand-offs, Jacksonville’s kicker, Josh Scobee, boots a 25-yard field goal to give his team the lead.
The Steelers have 37 seconds to mount a scoring drive, but Jags’ defensive end Bobby McCary recovered Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s fumble, thus clinching the victory for the visitors.
"I knew they weren't going to stop me for two yards," Garrard said later about his epic dash.
Garrard had wanted to run the ball on third-and-two, but the coaches called a pass play instead—it was incomplete.
Of course if you’re going to run the ball on fourth down, especially with a quarterback not known as a good rusher, it helps if the referees allow your linemen to hold.
In the spring of 2008, NFL's head of officiating, Mike Pereira, admitted that on Garrard’s fourth down run his officials missed a holding penalty against Jacksonville’s offensive line.
Like they say, if you’re not cheating you’re not trying.