Niles Paul wasn’t surprised that his patience and hard work learning the tight end position had paid off with his first-career touchdown in Thursday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys.
What did surprise Paul, however, was how wide open he was on the play.
“We practiced it, I sold it and was very patient,” Paul said after the game. “And it was just wide open.”
A quick look at the play shows exactly how Paul was able to get loose with no defenders in sight.
With 12:57 remaining in the game and the Redskins leading the Cowboys 28-13, Washington faced a 3rd and 1 from the Dallas 29-yard line.
The ball was snapped, and Griffin III faked a handoff to Morris, which brought the middle linebackers out of coverage and near the line of scrimmage.
Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson — who had earlier busted wide open for a 68-yard touchdown catch — and tight end Logan Paulsen, who were on opposite sides of the field to begin the play, perfectly executed their mesh patterns, which involves them crossing each other about five yards away near the middle of the field.
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh decided to cover Paulsen, leaving Paul uncovered. He caught Griffin III’s pass around the seven-yard line before losing his balance and falling at the three-yard line. He was able to stay in bounds, get up, and backpedal into the end zone from there.
“When I looked around, yeah I was surprised,” Paul recalled. “I was like, ‘Nobody’s back here.’ And then I fell to the ground and had to roll a little bit and then back pedaled and still, nobody was there.”
Paul — who converted this season to tight end after being drafted out of Nebraska as a wide receiver last season — said he was ecstatic to get his first touchdown in a win against the rival Cowboys on a Thanksgiving Day, nationally-televised game.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Paul said with a grin. “We’re in Dallas — our enemies, our rivals. To score a touchdown in this game feels so good.”
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