Todd Gurley’s ill-advised touchdown keeps looking worse and worse.
The Atlanta Falcons running back made an error that ended up costing his team the game on Sunday. Down 16-14 and at the Detroit Lions’ 10-yard line with less than a minute left, all the Falcons had to was run out the clock and make a chip-shot field goal for the win.
The Lions had no timeouts remaining, so the Falcons were in that rare position where scoring a touchdown — and therefore giving the ball back to the Lions — was against their interests. And yet, against all logic, Gurley got the ball and scored a touchdown.
— NFL (@NFL) October 25, 2020
Gurley clearly realized he was making a mistake, as he made a too-late effort to hold himself back from the end zone. But he still scored and possession reverted to the Lions, who drove down the field for a game-winning touchdown.
As costly a decision as that was, there was still some reason to sympathize with Gurley. He’s spent his entire career with the directive “run to the end zone” ingrained in his mind on the field. Breaking that mindset can be tough.
After all, it’s not like Gurley had someone specifically tell him that he shouldn’t score a touchdown moments before he got the ball and scored a touchdown, right?
Matt Ryan specifically told Todd Gurley not to score a touchdown
Footage from this week’s episode of “Inside the NFL” revealed what happened in a Falcons huddle before Gurley’s touchdown.
Specifically, it showed Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan repeatedly telling Gurley not to score:
I wish that I had never seen this... pic.twitter.com/XiAwzMWTgX
— 🇬🇧 Atlanta Falcons 🔴⚫ (@ATLFalconsUK) October 28, 2020
“Hey, don’t score. Don’t score. Don’t score. Get the first. Get the first. Get down,” Ryan said directly to Gurley, who appeared to respond with “Yeah, I wouldn’t right there.”
That’s not going to settle the stomach for Falcons fans.
Falcons head coach took blame for Gurley getting ball in first place
Gurley still isn’t blameless in all this, though. He wasn’t playing on the defense that allowed the Lions to drive across the field in a minute for the win.
He also wasn’t the person who decided to run the ball in the first place. That decision was made by interim head coach Raheem Morris, who took the blame for the touchdown on Monday. Morris reportedly said the plan was for Gurley to get the ball and a take a knee in front of the end zone, marginally improving the team’s position for a field goal.
Morris reportedly regretted not having Ryan take a knee and just kicking the field goal:
"I put that on me, 100%,” Morris said Monday.
Clearly, the 1-6 Falcons are going to be feeling this one for a while.
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