Inside The Playbook End Around Option Pass
September 25 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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This week I feature the reverse option pass that the 49ers used in their defeat of the Washington Redskins. This past week, the 49ers used Terrell Owens on the end around option pass. Owens ended up in the end zone after a 35+ yard run, that after the game, he said, felt like a ‘100-yard run’.
In and end around option pass, one receiver cuts across the backfield from the receiver position as the ball is snapped. He takes a hand off from the quarterback and starts out in the other direction. The offensive line and running backs are used to run block, and to draw the defense in, as the second receiving option runs a pattern down field. The receiver with the ball looks down field, and has the option to throw to the other receiver, throw the ball away or run with it. This past week, Owens attempted to throw twice before finally tucking the ball away and making the run.
This play works best early in the game, as the 49ers try and keep defenses off balance with changing up the tempo. The 49ers typically run Owens as the receiver who is supposed to throw the ball. He has a strong arm, which is important for the play, he has great speed and is hard to tackle if he has to run. Using Owens is a good option on this play. JJ Stokes is a good target for this pass two. He could have the most reliable set of hands on the team, and having the ball come his way more often is always a good idea. Cederick Wilson would be a good option for either position in the play too. Wilson played high school quarterback, and is speedy so he could get some extra separation as the receiver in the play.
The reason why this play works is three fold. First and foremost it’s considered a ‘trick play’ and thus can catch defenses off guard if used at the appropriate time. Second, the play works because the receiver has three different options to choose from, further keeping the defense off balance. Finally, it works because the end around is normally run without the option pass, and so when the defense reads the end around, it often will forget about the receiver who is the target for the option pass.