On the Cardinals' game-winning drive Sunday, there were three plays that were worth a breakdown. The first was Kyler Murray's scramble. The second was the 33-yard bomb to Trey McBride. And the third was James Conner's run from the Atlanta 9-yard line that he prematurely made seven yards in order to run the clock and make the Falcons call timeouts.
Conner then took the carry on the next play and fell down for a loss of one, before Murray knelt to wind the clock to the end.
The call comes from the coaches, who made clear the thought process of a situation every team addresses.
"It comes in in the same sentence (of playcall) but it's the communication about the situation," offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said. "Head coach to me, me to the quarterback and the quarterback to the huddle. Obviously in those high-leverage situations, being able to stay calm and communicate was good to see because that's not always easy to do."
The idea, of course, is to leave the opposition with no time in which to come back. Had Conner scored on his original run from the 9 -- the Falcons were going to let him get into the end zone had he not fallen down -- the Falcons would have had about 40 seconds and would've needed 5, 6 or 7 points, depending on the conversion outcome.
This way, it was impossible for the Falcons. But with the Cardinals trailing by a point, even with such a short field goal, meant that one mistake could make it all backfire in a big way.
"There is a human element to all the things that can happen there," assistant coach/special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers said. "It worked out, guys performed how we hoped they would. But it can get interesting at times."
This one turned out run of the mill. Perfect snap, perfect hold, and Matt Parter easily drilled the 23-yard field goal. The Conner fall, and the reasons behind it, worked as planned.
"Our guys are situationally trained and when you need to execute things within the ball game, they've got know what to do and we try to put them in those situations and educate them," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "Each game plays out different with what you do, and I was proud of our guys and the execution there."