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The Colts’ last-gasp touchdown attempt went backwards 15 yards, got flagged and ended in a safety

A valiant attempt. That we will laugh at.

NFL football is back, and that doesn’t just mean incredible highlights and game-winning touchdowns. It also means something even better: We get to watch NFL teams with no chance of scoring hopelessly try to extend games with comically doomed sequences of laterals. Some of the best athletes in the world, just improvising and failing and looking stupid while doing it.

The Lions hit a field goal with four seconds left that put them up 37-35 on the Colts. The Colts decided their best attempt of winning was to return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.

This was that return:

Here’s the official play-by-play of that:

S.Martin kicks 65 yards from DET 35 to IND 0. Q.Bray to IND 12 for 12 yards. Lateral to T.Green to IND 6 for -6 yards. Lateral to D.Moncrief to IND 5 for -1 yards. Lateral to T.Hilton to IND 5 for no gain. Lateral to Q.Bray to IND 2 for -3 yards. Lateral to J.Doyle to IND -4 for -6 yards. Lateral to T.Hilton to IND -4 for no gain. T.Hilton pass short right to D.Moncrief, dead ball declared in End Zone, SAFETY NULLIFIED by Penalty. PENALTY on IND-T.Hilton, Illegal Forward Pass, 0 yards, enforced in End Zone, SAFETY.

So, to summarize: Quan Bray got the ball to the 12-yard line when he first lateraled, and the ball ended up going out of bounds four yards deep in the end zone. That’s a loss of 16 yards. When the ball goes out of bounds in the end zone after you’ve taken it out of the end zone, that’s a safety. But even if they’d caught the ball and ran it out, it would’ve been a safety because they threw an illegal forward pass in the end zone.

So instead of 37-35, the final score was 39-35 — don’t worry, gamblers, the line didn’t come into play on this.

It’s not embarrassing that teams can’t pull off the 105-yard 7-lateral return regularly. It’s pretty much impossible. But we’ll still chuckle at how teams look when they chaotically fail.