In the fourth quarter of the Cowboys' playoff matchup with the 49ers, Dallas converted one of the most difficult and exciting plays in football: a fake punt. Unfortunately, nearly all of the excitement was negated by the confusion that followed immediately upon the very next play.
On fourth-and-five with 14 minutes left in the game, punter Bryan Anger took the direct snap, but then he threw the ball to gunner and special teams captain C.J. Goodwin, catching the 49ers off guard and converting a first down. Anger said the play had been practiced all season.
"We haven't really needed it yet, so we didn't want to show it," Anger said after the game. "They gave us the right look, and we made it happen."
But, after the conversion was made, special teams coordinator John Fassel could be seen on the sideline insisting that the punting unit stay on the field. Unfortunately, whatever the team was planning to do with that unit never materialized. After wasting the majority of the play clock, the offensive players subbed in and the Cowboys eventually were penalized for a delay of game.
The 49ers would not have been allowed to sub in their defense if the Cowboys had executed whatever they originally intended to do with their special teams unit.
"They can't sub [in that scenario] since we didn't sub anybody off the field," Anger tried to explain after the game. "The refs stood over the ball and we should've snapped the ball."
Anger called the confusion, "kind of unfortunate." He would not say what the play was that they had intended to run.
"We'll run it later, probably," Anger said, despite the fact that there are no games left to play in the season. "It would've been good."
As if that wasn't enough randomness from a punter, Anger also punted a ball so high at one point that it hit the scoreboard at AT&T Stadium. By rule, the play was void and Anger re-punted the ball.