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Chris Cook sniffed out fake punt attempt by Rams

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The 49ers managed to avoid getting suckered by a Rams fake punt on Monday Night Football. Here is a look at how it happened.

Early in the fourth quarter on Monday Night Football, the San Francisco 49ers led the St. Louis Rams 24-14, and had the Rams on a 4th and 15 at their own 27 yard line. The Rams took a delay of game penalty, and we later learned it was because the 49ers caught them trying to run a fake punt.

During the play, quarterback Austin Davis was right near the sideline, but still in bounds. The picture above shows him right there. He was the Rams 11th player on the play, making him eligible to receive a pass on a fake. However, we were fortunate in that cornerback Chris Cook spotted the fake. Cook was in on the special teams play. I didn't notice it at the time, but Jim Harbaugh referenced it in his press conference Wednesday afternoon:

"Chris did a fantastic job on special teams, a heads up alert play. They were lined up for a fake punt and Chris diagnosed it and they ended up taking a delay of game. So a real good heads up play by him."

This would have marked the third time in as many seasons that the Rams would have tried a fake punt against the 49ers (two successful versions in 2012, one unsuccessful versions in 2013). Rams punter Johnny Hekker was a quarterback in high school, so this is not entirely shocking. But it will be something to keep an eye on in a few weeks when these two teams meet in San Francisco.

Here is a GIF of the All-22 film on the play. If you look at the bottom right side of the screen, you'll see Davis next to the sideline. Additionally, you'll see Cook walking over to cover him. The Rams were lined up in a bit of an odd formation with what looked like two gunners on the the right side of their formation. I'm not sure who counted the Rams special teamers, or how Cook knew to go over and cover Davis, but that's a big heads-up play by the cornerback.