It feels like the screen pass has tormented the Redskins defense forever. I’m sure that’s just the fan in me talking, but over the last decade or more, it seems like successful screen passes have prolonged more drives for Redskins opponents than any other play. So when the Packers started their second possession of Sunday’s overtime period with a screen pass to Brandon Jackson and the offensive lineman came out and blocked safety Reed Doughty, my optimism collapsed in on itself like a star going supernova. This looked like the kind of game-killing play that could just go on forever.
And then this happened:
In the locker room after the game, I wasn’t quite sure how to explain to Doughty which play I was asking about. “It was in overtime,” I said, “and you actually make the tackle while you’re facing AWAY from the ballcarrier….”
“Ah,” Doughty said, “The infamous butt tackle?”
I guess so.
“We were kinda in a man-to-man,” Doughty explained, “and I dropped to help with the crossers. I saw the screen, and the offensive lineman tried to cut me. I stayed on my feet, but he’s still blocking me, and I knew that there was nobody else — because everybody else was in man-to-man — and I knew that I had to make the play. So I, ah, threw the bum out there and made the butt tackle.”
The way he kept referring to the “butt tackle” made it sound like something they were instructed on, or — at the very least — something he had done before, but Doughty was quick to clear up that misconception “I don’t think it’s a coachable thing,” he said. “I think it’s just instinctual. I don’t know how it really went down — I don’t know if maybe he tripped over the lineman’s feet or something — I just knew that if I didn’t tackle him, it was trouble.”
There’s a scene that happens in the movies where an interviewer asks someone, usually a military man, a goofy question. And the military guy totally shoots down the idea that the question is in any way humorous, which makes the questioner feel really dumb. I wish I could think of the movie scene that I’m describing, but I’m drawing a complete blank.
ANYWAY, that’s pretty much what happened when I asked Doughty’s fellow safeties about the play.
LaRon Landry, for example, knew immediately which play I was talking about. “Oh, yeah, where he turned around and tackled him? That was some funny stuff.”
So I asked, jokingly, if the butt tackle was something they had practiced. “What kinda question is that?” Landry said. “Nah. I guess he saw the guy in his periphery and he just put anything out there to stop him. That’s what it’s all about: putting everything on the line.”
In fact, Landry said, they hadn’t even given Doughty any kind of hard time for the play. “Nah, not at all,” Landry said. “When I was running to the ball I looked at it and said, ‘Wow, that’s some funny stuff,’ you know? But he stopped him, and that’s what it’s about. Anything you got — if you’ve gotta throw your shoelaces out there to stop him, you do it.”
Then there’s Chris Horton. Horton has answered some goofy questions from me — I’ve asked him about Dr. Seuss books on more than one occasion, for example — but he just looked at me after this one and shook his head. “Matt,” he said, “that’s a stupid question.”
Lastly, Kareem Moore, who also remembered the play immediately despite me stammering around what body part Doughty had used to make it.
“His derriere?” Moore suggested. “Man, that’s something Reed pulled out of the hat. You know, he had to get him down, so … hey, get him down any means necessary.”
I asked Moore what he’d said to Doughty about after seeing the film, expecting at least a slightly amusing answer. But Moore just looked at me, shrugged, and said, “I said, ‘Hey, good freakin’ tackle.’”
Tags: redskins vs. packers
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