EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A change in a play based off a read created a Detroit Lions touchdown on Sunday.
Jeremy Ross lined up in the slot on a third-and-10 with 6:29 left in the first half and saw something in the way the New York Jets were covering the play. So he and quarterback Matthew Stafford made a change in the route.
Initially, Ross wasn't supposed to break up the field on his 59-yard touchdown catch. The play called for an in route, one that based on its depth would have apparently gotten a first down. Then, in the pre-play reads, Stafford and Ross saw both cornerback Antonio Allen and safety Calvin Pryor playing down closer to the line of scrimmage.
So Ross said Stafford changed the route.
"He gave me a pump and signaled an and-go it," Ross said. "So broke it in, saw that (coverage) was low, took it high and just ran as fast as I could."
The more technical route turned into a speed chase and one Ross was going to win. Ross said the play was one the Lions have repped before in practice, but not something they have worked on constantly during practice.
When Stafford made the change, the route was supposed to go exactly as it went. Ross appeared to freeze Pryor, who appeared to be looking toward the middle of the field and looked like he was late reacting to Ross cutting up the field.
At this point, Stafford pump-faked, giving Ross the step he needed to split the defensive backs just right off the right hashmark on the field.
Ross knew when the ball was snapped he had a good chance.
"I saw the safety playing low, the corner was playing almost even with the safety," Ross said. "So as soon as I busted in, I said, 'OK, the safety is still low, I'm about to run by this guy.' "
All that mattered after was the catch, which Ross handled cleanly. Allen caught up to him and actually tried to jump on Ross' back to bring him down, but Ross threw him off for the longest touchdown reception of his NFL career.
"Just break the tackle," Ross said. "I felt him on my back and I'm like, all right. In the receiver room we're always like 'Hey, we're not going to get tackled on the 1-yard line.'
"So I'm just like, make sure I secure this ball and just be strong on them. Don't let him bring me down."
He didn't and it resulted in the longest catch of Ross' career and his second receiving touchdown.