Why did Jakobi Meyers throw the ball across the field?
Dec 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) looks to pass the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders at the end of the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
If a lateral play wasn’t called in the huddle, why did Jakobi Meyers make such an extreme play to throw the ball across the field? That also sounds like a bit of freelancing.
“I thought I saw Mac open. I didn’t see Chandler Jones at the time,” a visibly-emotional Meyers told reports after the game. “I just thought he was open and tried to give it to him and let him try to make a play with it. But the score was tied, so I should have just tried to go down.”
Meyers continued to take accountability, noting “Once he gives it to me, I’m smart enough to know the score was tied and to go down with it. Whether he gave me the ball or not, he gave it to me because he trusts me, and I’ve just got to be smarter with it.”
“I promise you I’ll learn from it. Just try to be better next time,” he added.
But why was it the wrong play, from a technical sense? Why exactly did the pass fail? Teams regularly make those kinds of throws in lateral situations – what made this one different?
There were two factors working heavily against Meyers here. First off, when teams design these scramble lateral plays, they usually leave a player on the backside of the play. That way, if the defense gets too sucked in towards the action on one side of the field, they can throw the ball back across for an open throwing lane. Jones wasn’t on the full back end of the play, but in the middle of the field.
Plus, that back side option is usually a wide receiver or running back, or in some cases maybe a tight end. On the rare occasion a team uses a quarterback in that spot, it’s almost always a mobile quarterback used to running with the ball. Jones was out of position as the outlet option on that play, and as expected looked lost and likely didn’t expect the ball to come his way – especially since there was no lateral call on at all.