Even though his players stood there stunned, as if they didn’t know what to do with the oddly spinning onside kick, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said they do, in fact, understand the rules that allowed them to recover it.
That may actually make it worse.
Via Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press, Quinn said the situation has been covered in practice before.
“We’ve got to go capture it when the moment comes. . . . From where I saw, it was a slow roller and one that we should make the aggressive move to go get it,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.
When Greg Zuerlein‘s kick started slowly rolling their way, it appeared that wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, safety Sharrod Neasman, and tight end Hayden Hurst were waiting for the ball to go 10 yards. Then, Cowboys cornerback C.J. Goodwin ran around tight end Jaeden Graham to recover the ball.
“The front three are usually blocking as the high bouncers go to the second side, so the front line, generally on an onside kick, they’re looking to get a block first, then the high hop goes to the next player,” Quinn said. “So when that instance happens and it’s not one that’s a high hopper you transfer in and you go to your ball. . . . They definitely know the rule.”
If you give them the benefit of the doubt on that, it means the execution of the play was simply awful.
“We’ve just got to learn that we’ve got to attack that ball and things like,” said wide receiver Julio Jones, who was on the field, but not among those nearest the ball.
Moments later, Zuerlein hit the game-winning field goal for a 40-39 comeback, leaving the Falcons to wonder how it happened, and why.