Chiefs 350-pound DT Dontari Poe’s jump-pass touchdown is the NFL’s play of the year
Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe is listed at 346 pounds.
He almost certainly weighs more than that.
You probably don’t notice it in the trenches, but the man has elite athletic ability, and he proved it on Christmas night in the Chiefs’ 33-10 win over the Broncos.
Late in the fourth quarter of a game that was well out of reach for the opponent, Chiefs coach Andy Reid put in Poe at quarterback for a third-down play from the Broncos’ 2-yard line.
Poe has been used by the Chiefs, on occasion, as a goal-line back — usually as a blocker.
But on Sunday, the Chiefs and Poe whipped up something special, something glorious.
They gave us the best play of the 2016 season.
And to think you probably turned this game off to spend time with family or sleep …
6-3. 346lbs. @PoeMans_dream is a defensive tackle…
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2016
Everything about this play is tremendous, and stupendous, and humungous, but let’s list the ways it is the best:
You can see the aforementioned down and distance, the score and the time in the video. This whole thing is a big ol’ middle finger from Chiefs coach Andy Reid directly to the Broncos bench.
The game is over. The Broncos couldn’t move the ball in the second half — they ended with 101 second-half yards — and the Chiefs certainly didn’t need the touchdown.
But no, Reid busted out the best play on his sheet for this situation.
Denver is going to remember that for next year, but you know who will remember it too? America, and perhaps even the whole world.
It takes some gall to call a direct snap to a defensive tackle for a jump-pass on third-and-goal.
Why would Reid gift us such a holiday miracle?
Perhaps no one appreciates a fat-guy touchdown more than Andy Reid.
When Poe first accepted the snap, he pushed forward, selling the run.
That makes sense — he has two rushing touchdowns in his career.
The play is called Hungry Pig Right.
Seriously, that’s what the play is called.
It fooled everyone on the Broncos defense — they all thought he was going to plow up the middle. And just as you at home thought a large man is about to run into a giant mass of red-and-white humanity on a rainy night in Kansas City, something beautiful happened.
The leap was utterly spectacular.
The biggest man on the field went airborne, and for a moment, time stood still.
What was that big man doing up there?
Did he forget the play?
Was he frightened, much like elephants are scared of mice?
Was he trying to do a jump cut but failed miserably?
Wait, no, he’s … throwing!
This was the most amazing part of the most amazing play of the season. Poe, a good five or six inches off the ground, easy, throws the ball to the end zone to tight end Demetrius Harris, who had beaten his mark — a spellbound Darian Stewart — and was wide open and awaiting the toss.
Well, Poe didn’t throw it as much as he shot a 15-foot floater in the lane — like he was Stephen Curry or Kyrie Irving.
The push-throw-thing fluttered in the air for an eternity.
Did he really just do that? Did he really throw the ball after jumping?
And, the bigger question, no pun intended: Was it going to fall anywhere near a receiver?
The questions hung up in the air with the ball as Poe came down and made the earth quake with his thunderous step and feather-soft touch.
Seriously, look at that beautiful follow-through. Such grace.
Harris dropped a touchdown earlier in the game. He had cut across the back of the end zone, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw the ball his way, and the second-string tight end allowed the ball to go through his hands and hit his shoulder pads. He wasn’t able to corral it.
And anyone who watched that drop and was able to put two-and-two together in Poe’s interminable moment of jaw-dropping amazement had to be thinking “don’t you dare drop this — for all that is beautiful and good, don’t you drop this one too.”
For a moment, it appeared that he might. Harris went up in the air, put two hands on the perfectly weighted pass from the perfectly weighted quarterback, and came down.
Only he was off balance.
One foot down, then two, but Harris was falling backwards. Would he be able to complete the catch — whatever the hell that means?
He fell on his butt out of bounds and rolled over.
He still had the ball firmly in his grasp.
Touchdown Kansas City.
There were thousands of people who paid money to watch that stinker of a game be played in the rain on Christmas night. Yes, 99 percent of them were Chiefs fans who got to see their team win, but it was a slow, plodding contest that never developed a rhythm or pace. It was miserable to watch on TV — WE GET IT, CHEVY HAS HIGHLY RATED CARS — but to be there must have been another level of terrible.
But when Poe jumped and threw that pass and Harris came down with it in the end zone, it sounded as if the Chiefs had just won the Super Bowl.
Never has a meaningless touchdown been celebrated as hard.
Look at the joy on every face in this photo. This should be in every NFL commercial until the end of time.
That joy — that moment of universal (Colorado excluded) enjoyment — was of course flagged for 15 yards and the Chiefs missed the point-after field goal, but who cares about that? Did you see that 350-pound guy throw a jump pass for a touchdown?
It just doesn’t get any better than that.
No sir, it doesn’t.