A week after the Patriots turned a lot of heads for a trick play featuring an unbalanced line of scrimmage, the Patriots ran another such play -- and got a TD out of it
This is the first career TD for the 6'8, 320-pound lineman -- and he had some wheels! You don't normally see an offensive lineman get 15 yards after the catch.
This is the same concept, but different look at the play they ran last week. On that play, the Patriots used six players who normally are considered eligible receivers and had one line up in an ineligible position. On this play, the Patriots used six players who would normally be considered ineligible receivers and had one line up in an eligible position.
You're legally required to have seven players on the line of scrimmage. The five in the middle are ineligible, and the two on the ends are eligible. In this case, all seven of those players are in the middle of the formation. It's pretty easy to identify that the one on the top (Rob Gronkowski) and the one on the bottom (Solder) are the two eligible ones.
But there was trickery afoot -- on many plays over the course of the first three quarters of the game, the Patriots had asked OT Cameron Fleming -- No. 71 line up in an eligible position. They did this on three plays on this drive, including the one directly before.
On this play, Fleming and Brandon LeFell, the WR at the bottom of the screen were the two players on the ends of the line. Fleming could have split downfield for a pass if there had been one (it was a run play to his side of the formation)
So the Colts might have been prepared to guard Fleming. When the referee announced that No. 77 was eligible, they might have assumed the referee meant No. 71, and not thought twice about it. But on this play, Solder was the eligible one, and he was able to get wide open.
Earlier in the week, we'd written about how the Patriots could wreak havoc by swapping eligible receivers on a drive like this, but it's surprising to see them actually attempt it during a game.
The Seahawks scored a LARGE MAN TD also in the NFC Championship game, throwing to an offensive lineman on a fake field goal.