Power Play of the Week: Cribbs, Wallace, and McCoy Trick Play Should Have Been Flagged

When I saw the Cleveland Browns run the trick play involving Joshua Cribbs, Seneca Wallace, and Colt McCoy this past Sunday, the first thing that immediately jumped out at me was Cribbs' forward flip to Wallace. As soon as I saw that, along with another player running toward Wallace, I assumed that we were running a double reverse. Instead, the third player in the exchange ended up being McCoy, who threw a pass down the field to Wallace.

I speculated in my game review on Tuesday that the play seemed to be illegal because there were two forward passes. Head coach Pat Shurmur was asked about the play today, and he confirmed that the play was executed differently than practiced and should have been penalized:

"We knew it when we watched it," Shurmur said. "We practiced the play. The first exchange between Josh and Seneca was practiced as a handoff. Three times last week we handed it off, and in the game it got flipped. That's a rule. We know the rule."

It would have been upsetting to have had the play called back, but I also would have been furious as a fan of the opposing team to see no flags on the ground. It stuns me that none of the officials, Rams coaches and players, or commentators noticed that the first flip was a forward pass. It also surprises me that it took until Wednesday for anyone else to bring this to light.

With all of that said, I am still calling the play this week's Power Play of the Week. It showed a definitive method-to-the-madness of having Cribbs in the Wildcat earlier in the game, and, penalty or not, it still ended up yielding a 21-yard completion that had fans on the edge of their seats.

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