Trick plays are just fun, aren't they? The San Francisco 49ers, particularly under head coach Jim Harbaugh, do a lot of weird things on the offensive side of the ball, and sometimes that manifests in the form of trick plays. But most of the talk about said trick plays has focused on the St. Louis Rams, San Francisco's Week 9 opponent.
That's because the Rams have been pretty darn good at the trick plays this season. For the most part, their trick plays are simple, but effective: punter Johnny Hekker is a real athlete (and not a fake one like most punters obviously!) and knows how to throw a football or two. So he takes the snap and throws it to someone, regardless of who it is.
Against the 49ers earlier this season, Hekker was set to attempt to do exactly that by throwing it to quarterback Austin Davis. The quarterback acted like he was leaving the field but lingered near the sideline, and Hekker would have been able to throw for a first down ... if the ball was ever snapped. Chris Cook caught Davis on the sideline and moved to cover him, so the Rams took a delay of game penalty.
It may have been a lucky break, or Cook knew what he was looking for. Whatever the case, the Rams ran two trick plays against the Seattle Seahawks and it won them the game. One of them was what was described above: Hekker hitting a target for a big gain against an unsuspecting foe.
The other was pure brilliance -- two punt returners, one of whom fielded a punt on the right side of the field while the rest of the team went to the left side and the other returner, who sold it beautifully. Seattle went for that guy, and the one with the ball made it to the end zone unscathed.
I doubt the Rams will be able to pull that off again (this season at least). And frankly, it would be surprising if Hekker tried to attempt another pass given that the 49ers are totally aware of this possibility. But it's definitely an interesting storyline and one to pay attention to. Hekker threw a pass against the 49ers a couple years ago -- from his own goal line -- and completed it for 21 yards. They know it works.
San Francisco will be ready for the Rams to try some trick plays, but given the two run against Seattle, there's always a chance the 49ers could be caught off guard. It's definitely one of the more interesting aspects of this game. Think we'll see anything new?