Then I bring up the winning touchdown pass by the Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl, the 11-yard Foles-to-Zach Ertz game-winning touchdown pass out of the weird Philly formation New England had never seen, the play the coaching staff invented the week of the game, a week after the regular game plan had been installed.
“The four-by-one,” McVay interrupted, suddenly remembering it. “Yeah.”
The Eagles used the odd formation 51 weeks ago—one receiver (Ertz) to the left, four to the right, and Foles picking the one over the four in traffic.
McVay’s instant recall of the play that flummoxed the Patriots stood out because it gave me an idea of his mindset now.
Which is: I bet he’s thinking of distinctive plays like this today.
A reminder of how this messed with the Pats: Patricia, the defensive coordinator, was caught by NFL Films before the play saying, “We’re gonna have to double 86.” Ertz. They never did. The coverage got lost in translation.
But McVay’s reflexive recall in the California darkness reinforced to me that, as with the Eagles and Doug Pederson last year, the latest of this new cadre of young (very young, in this case) and imaginative offensive thinkers will test Belichick.