The Panthers got on the board first Monday night against the Saints with a fun trick play on fourth-and-two. Running back Christian McCaffrey took the handoff from Cam Newton and threw a pass to tight end Chris Manhertz (typically a blocking tight end) who ran to the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown. McCaffrey became the first non-QB in Panthers history to throw a touchdown pass, and the Saints defense was stunned by the unique play call.
New Orleans came back to beat Carolina 12–9, better positioning the Saints to lock up home-field advantage throughout the upcoming playoffs. But in light of the Panthers’ offensive creativity, here are three of our favorite trick plays this season:
1. Santa’s Sleigh
Matt Nagy has called several touchdown-scoring trick plays in his first year as Bears head coach, but the play the team dubbed, “Santa’s Sleigh” takes the top spot. In Week 14 against the Rams in primetime, Nagy called for the playaction pass, which featured an unconventional cast of characters: quarterback Mitch Trubisky, six offensive lineman, and four defensive lineman. There wasn’t a single skill player on the field. Backup offensive lineman Bradley Sowell, and four defensive linemen, Jonathan Bullard, Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols and Roy Robertson-Harris, all reported as eligible receivers for the play. Trubisky took the snap, faked an inside handoff to Hicks and hit Sowell for a smooth two-yard touchdown. As of …