A very peculiar play took place during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. With the Packers backed up in their own end zone, linebacker Earl Holmes was about to drop Samkon Gado for a safety when the running back threw an incomplete pass.
"I don't know if I've seen that play ever in football," Head Coach Mike Sherman said.
The officials initially ruled it a safety but then determined Gado attempted the pass while outside of the tackle box and called the pass incomplete. The change did not surprise Sherman.
"I knew the play I called," he said. "He had to be outside the pocket."
Immediately after the play Sherman approached Gado on the sideline, and Gado forseshadowed the referee's eventual decision.
"Coach, I did throw it forward," Gado said.
Regardless offensive coordinator Tom Rossley called it a dangerous play because the Detroit Lions could have intercepted the pass and scored a touchdown. Inexperience likely factored into Gado's decision. The rookie has only played in seven NFL games.
"I don't know if Sam's ever been in that position," Rossley said. "For him to do what he did was very high risk."
Further complicating the play, the officials called Mark Tauscher for holding. Such a violation could result in a safety, but they determined he committed the penalty outside of the end zone. Sherman did not disclose whether he agreed with the holding call after reviewing the tape.
"I did not pay a lot of attention to it," he said with a smile.
Goal Line Grady
Grady Jackson showed his value to the team during one of the most important plays of Sunday's game.
On the first drive of the fourth quarter, the Lions moved the ball to the Green Bay 4-yard-line. Artose Pinner gained 3 yards on first down but zero yards on the next two downs. On fourth-and-1, quarterback Jeff Garcia attempted a sneak, but Jackson used great leverage to stuff the Lions short again.
"He made a great play," Sherman said. "He drove the center backwards."
Unofficial press box statistics credit Na'il Diggs with the tackle, and the entire defense enveloped Garcia, including Aaron Kampman off the edge. But the 345-pound Jackson collapsed the play.
"It was a team effort, but everything started with Grady," defensive coordinator Jim Bates said. "Garcia didn't have a chance to get any movement going."
Jackson had four tackles on the day, giving him 53 on the year.
"Grady's made some big plays for us this year," Sherman said.
But none better bigger than the one on Sunday night.
Anyone who saw Gado outrun the entire Detroit Lions team on his 64-yard touchdown run knows about his speed and burst.
But his intelligence serves as another quality that makes the rookie a special running back. Gado earned all-academic honors while compiling a 3.66 GPA at Liberty University and aspires to become a doctor after he finishes his football career. Gado's aptitude extends from the library and onto the football field.
"He's very smart," Sherman said. "You tell him something one time, and he has it. From that standpoint, he's off the charts."
Gado has quickly picked up how to read blitzes, align properly and motion out of the backfield. He has a great thirst for knowledge, always wanting to learn more. He constantly peppers running backs coach Edgar Bennett with questions and asks to dissect tape with him.
"He's constantly up in the offices," Rossley said "He wears Edgar out."
Although the medical world beckons for such a bright person, he may have to put that career track on hold. It looks like football will keep him busy for some time.
"He has certainly showed some tremendous qualities," Sherman said.