The special teams misadventures for the Washington Redskins continued during Thursday night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings when punter Sav Rocca threw an incomplete pass on a fake punt on which the intended receiver, Niles Paul, wasn’t expecting a pass to be thrown. The third-quarter gaffe was inconsequential because the officials called the Redskins’ Jerome Murphy for a false start penalty. The officials ruled that the penalty came before the snap and Rocca’s pass, which landed on the turf near Paul, didn’t count. The Redskins, given a reprieve, punted. But a 20-yard return and a personal foul on the Redskins’ Darrel Young still enabled the Vikings to begin their drive in Washington territory. Minnesota scored a touchdown on that drive to take a 28-27 lead en route to a 34-27 victory. Rocca said the fake punt was put on when Reed Doughty, lined up behind the center, gave the signal for it by touching his hands to his helmet. “It was called on,” Rocca said. “But it wasn’t supposed to be on. … If [Paul] had seen it, it would have been fine. But he didn’t see it. … It’s generally we wait a couple punts to see what their formation is. And that was the first punt. So actually it wasn’t supposed to be on.” Paul, lined up to the far right of the formation, sprinted down the field to try to make a tackle on the punt. He never looked for a pass from Rocca. “I think everyone on the inside [of the formation] heard Reed call it,” Rocca said. “I didn’t hear it because I could just see his signal for it. But Niles, being outside, wouldn’t have heard it. … Because it was the first punt, it wasn’t supposed to be on.” Paul also said the fake was not supposed to be on in that situation.
Redskins get signals crossed on fake punt
Washington Post | Nov 8