By: Will Burchfield
With the Lions on the Jaguars' one-yard line on Sunday, Eric Ebron went into motion, received a hand-off from Matthew Stafford and swept his way into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
Just two weeks prior, the Lions had been on the receiving end of an eerily similar end-around, this one executed by the Vikings. And it wasn't lost on Minnesota's head coach.
"Yeah, it looked familiar," Mike Zimmer told reporters during his conference call on Tuesday.
Then he indicated the Vikings might return the favor.
"We're going to steal a couple of their plays this week and use them," Zimmer chuckled.
In truth, the Lions didn't take the play from the Vikings. They were integrating it into their playbook well before the two teams met in Minnesota in Week 9.
"We've had it a while. Minnesota used it on us before we could use it," said Jim Caldwell.
When the Vikings beat the Lions to the punch, Ebron wasn't necessarily peeved. But he was certainly sold.
"I was like, 'Man, we need to run that damn play because obviously it works,'" he told the Detriot News. "So we greased it up and we got it going."
This isn't to say the Lions have clean hands. The play was indeed plucked from another team's playbook.
"We stole it from New Orleans," Ebron admitted. "This is a copycat league. Someone else is going to run it in about two more weeks, watch."
(At least they didn't steal it from the Mayans.)
Ebron said the end-around became a particular point of focus leading up to the Lions' game against the Jaguars.
"They kind of told me throughout the week, so I kinda was dealing with that pressure all week. So I was just happy to get that play over with," he said on Sunday. "Now I don't have to practice it no damn more, now I can go about doing something else."
As if the ball-hungry tight end was anything but thrilled to show off his talent.
"I've never known him not to want the ball in his hand, regardless if it's thrown to him or if he's carried it," Caldwell said on Tuesday, flashing a smile. "He'd been calling for that play for quite some time now."
Zimmer knows the Vikings are in for a challenge defending Ebron on Thursday.
"He's a very athletic guy. Former number one pick, very athletic, good size. Excellent quickness in and out of the breaks. I think he does a nice job of using his body to ward off defenders. He can stretch the field with his speed," Zimmer said. "All those things and I think he's a pretty good run-after-catch guy as well."
for more features.