About mid-way through the second quarter of the Bengals’ win over the Browns, Kevin Huber punted the ball away following an uneventful offensive possession for Cincinnati. But things got more interesting when Darqueze Dennard downed the ball right at the Browns’ 1-yard line. It was one of Huber’s best punts of the season.
What came next was defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle predicting Hue Jackson would call for Robert Griffin III to execute a flea flicker on the ensuing possession, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
And, what do you know? That he did.
Griffin handed the ball off to Browns running back Duke Johnson, Jr. who pitched the ball back to Griffin, who threw a deep pass to about mid-field, targeting Terrelle Pryor. But, since Coyle was planning for exactly what the Browns executed, three defensive players, Dre Kirkpatrick, Shawn Williams and George Iloka were at mid-field covering Pryor. Knowing what was coming, Iloka jumped into the air to grab the pass over the top of his head, intercepting it at the 47-yard line and returning it 21 yards to the Cleveland 26 yard line.
“He really, legitimately called it out right before the play,” Iloka told the Enquirer of Coyle. “On top of all that, there was some pre-snap things that we saw. It just worked out in our favor.”
It was Iloka’s third interception of the year and eighth of his career.
“I just had tunnel vision,” Iloka said of the play. “Anytime I feel like I have another defensive back with me I feel I can just play the ball because if I misjudge it or something happens, there’s still someone there to make the tackle. I felt Dre there with me so I just played the ball all the way.”
It’s interesting Iloka says that since last week, he helped Williams to grab an interception of his own, grabbing the ball before tipping it into his teammate's hands.
After the play against the Browns, the announcers were split on the play call decision with one commentator saying it was a “curious play call” while the other though it was “a great play call.” But, Browns head coach Hue Jackson seemed to agree with the former statement.
“That was disappointing, but we took a shot and should not have, but we did,” Jackson said of the play. “At the same time, that is on me. I made the call so I will take responsibility for that.”
Griffin also took the blame for the play, saying he should have either thrown a better pass or thrown it away.
“I have to give him a better ball or just throw it away,” Griffin said. “The backside safety did a good job of cross-keying across the field. Corey (Coleman) was on the other side of the field with a corner, but the corner was on top of him, too. Really just manage a bad play and either throw it a little farther so T.P. (Pryor) can run underneath it or throw it out of bounds.”
At the end of the game, it was just one of many plays that didn’t go the Browns’ way, resulting in their 13th loss and the Bengals’ fifth win of the season.