Flea-Flicker Leaves Niners Scratching

From Arrowhead Stadium

It’s not a play with a fancy name. It doesn’t sit on a piece of paper in the Chiefs offensive playbook with a title like “x-post, gun left, yada, yada, yada.”

According to the players, it was simply called the flea-flicker.

“That’s it, that’s what it’s called,” said QB Matt Cassel.

That’s Cassel and WR Dwayne Bowe above at the end of what was a 45-yard touchdown pass. That’s how it will look in the box score for generations to come. But there was so much more to this play. It had the potential for the big payoff and also came with the potential for disaster. Any time five different players touch the ball on the same play; there are always things that can go very wrong.

“We executed just the way we practiced and just the way it was drawn up,” said RB Thomas Jones. “We were really able to do that most of the afternoon.”

OK, so here are the details.

It was the third quarter, and the Chiefs held a 10-3 lead. The situation was 2nd-and-10 for the Chiefs at the San Francisco 45-yard line. The Chiefs had normal personnel in the huddle, but when they broke the circle, it was hardly normal. Cassel ran out to the far left as a wide receiver. Jones was lined up behind center Casey Wiegmann. WR/RB Dexter McCluster was in the slot right.

Jones took the shotgun snap and handed off to McCluster, who had been in motion. McCluster ran left, but then stopped and flipped the ball back to Cassel who had done a bit of a circle behind the action. It was there that Cassel let loose with a 45-yard throw that Bowe went up and got and landed in the end zone.

Five hands touched it – Wiegmann to Jones to McCluster to Cassel to Bowe. There was a shotgun snap (always potential for something to go wrong), a handoff by a player who normally takes handoffs, a lateral back from a wide receiver in the open field with defensive players around him. And then with Bowe, there’s always the chance he drops the thing at the end of the play.

But every exchange worked perfectly and the Chiefs had the score that took all the air out of the 49ers.

“That definitely gave us a jolt of energy,” said Cassel. “You could see it throughout the sideline. From there we were having a party out there. Everything was going well. We were running the ball well and it just continued throughout the rest of the game.”

It was one of several gambles that Todd Haley called for throughout the game. The Chiefs tried a surprise onside kick that worked except they were offsides. They went for it on fourth down, playing a cat and mouse game with the Niners by lining up to punt and then hustling the offense on the field. And then there was the flea flicker.

“I just think there are games that you can and games that you can’t (gamble),” Haley said. This is one where we had a clear cut plan where we thought we could get some things done. We didn’t get all the things done that we could have. There are some risk-reward plays that are going to have to be called in games.”

On Sunday with the flea-flicker, it was all reward.

7 Responses to “Flea-Flicker Leaves Niners Scratching”

  • September 26, 2010  - cupp says:

    I thought it was call the double reverse flea flicker out of the wild cat for a touchdown, or DRFFOWC46 for short.

  • September 26, 2010  - OMG! … Chiefs 3-0 With 2-Game Lead! | Chiefs Football at BobGretz.com says:

    [...] Sidebar: Flea-flicker gamble pays off. [...]

  • September 26, 2010  - Nate says:

    I just call it beautiful!!

  • September 27, 2010  - Mark says:

    I like Cupp’s “short” nick name for the play!

  • September 27, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Good job cupp, very clever! I was @ the game (1st since playoff loss to Indy 03) and we were all yelling “throw the ball”! We didn’t think cassel was going to let it go! It was GREEAAATTT!

  • September 27, 2010  - dan in joplin says:

    Hey Bob, where do you view the game from?? are you in a press box, sideline, in a seat???

  • September 27, 2010  - TDKC says:

    The Steelers used to have plays like that in just about every big game. Some gadget that would give them the lead. Then they could run the ball and play defense.
    I used to watch that and think why don’t the Chiefs do that?

    Now they do and I love it.

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