Steelers' Robert Golden, Darrius Heyward-Bay execute demoralizing fake punt
In one hurried motion, Robert Golden took the direct snap and flung the football downfield.
No one will confuse his throwing mechanics for a quarterback's, but his fake-punt toss was nearly perfect.
"That's kind of how you have to do it," said Golden, the Steelers safety who connected with Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 44-yard completion in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 29-14 victory over the Bengals.
"We have a punt team out there, not an O-line, and I understand that," Golden said, "so you just try and get it out there."
The Steelers were protecting a 12-point lead with 6 minutes, 53 seconds left when the trick-play call came from the sideline. On fourth-and-7 at their own 40-yard line, the punt snap went to Golden, the up-back. Heyward-Bey, lined up as a gunner wide right, chased down Golden's throw along the sideline.
"You definitely want to put it out there a little bit and let him go get it," Golden said. "We've been practicing it for the last three or four years. We were able to connect on it tonight, that's all that matters."
The fourth-down conversion led to Chris Boswell's fifth field goal, a 25-yarder with 5:17 left. The pass was the second attempted by Golden in his six-year NFL career, and he is 2 for 2. He completed a 25-yarder in 2014 against the Browns.
"Robert Golden made a great throw," Heyward-Bey said. "He did all the work."
This is the correct amount of self-satisfaction after pulling off a fake punt pic.twitter.com/d1YLU6AqlS— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) October 22, 2017
The Steelers spotted a Bengals tendency while studying their game last week against Buffalo, Golden said, so they knew there was a chance the fake punt would be called Sunday.
"We rep it all the time in practice, but you never know what's going to happen," Heyward-Bey said. "The opportunity was there, and we executed. That was the key."