Football game-planning can be complicated sometimes. Coaches and players spend long hours developing intricate strategies to outsmart the opposition.
The play Alabama used to sink Georgia in overtime of Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship wasn’t that. It was Alabama throwing caution to the wind and trusting its players to be better than Georgia’s, with a dash of deception sprinkled in to make the play work. The result was a 41-yard touchdown.
On this play, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found DeVonta Smith streaking down the left sideline for the score that won the title. The play before that, the freshman took a bad sack.
He’d played smart and poised after relieving a struggling Jalen Hurts at halftime, but Tagovailoa let himself lose 16 yards on the first play of Alabama’s overtime possession. The Tide’s kicker, Andy Pappanastos, had just missed a 36-yard field goal that would’ve won the game in regulation. Georgia had scored three points on its opening overtime series. Alabama had to score a touchdown, or it had to trust an untrustworthy kicker.
So Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll went to the most “we need a touchdown” play of all plays — the one you might call in Madden when you’re losing by 10 and tired of trying to dink-and-dunk your way up the field.