JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It took a major jolt on a big-time gamble to awake the Jaguars from a listless first quarter on Sunday at EverBank Field.
On fourth-and-7 at the Jacksonville 44 with 34 seconds left in the first quarter, the Jaguars lined up to punt for the third time in the game.
The Los Angeles Chargers, expecting the punt, lined up ready to field the ball. That turned out to be the wrong move on their part.
Long snapper Matt Overton launched the ball behind him to running back Corey Grant instead of punter Brad Nortman.
"They called it from the sideline," safety Peyton Thompson said. "If they come out with a look we want that we've been practicing all week, then we run it. If they don't, then we don't run it."
Prior to the snap, Grant had one goal in mind.
"Get the first down," Grant said.
"With it being fourth down, the offense is relying on you, half of the time they don't even know we have a fake called when we have it called. The press on you, you know you need to get a first down and this could be a big play to get the offense to drive downfield. The nerves do spike up a bit."
The speedy back was nearly tackled at the line of scrimmage by Chargers defensive end Chris McCain. Grant was able to break free from McCain's grasp with plenty of open field in front of him.
He picked up more than the first down.
Grant bobbed and weaved as he made his way into Chargers territory. He made defenders miss and followed his blocks to the end zone.
The 56-yard touchdown run offered up the first points of the game. It was also the second time this season that Grant picked up 55 or more yards on a punt fake run.
In Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens, the Jaguars ran a similar play, which allowed the Jaguars to pick up 58 yards. On the next play, the Jaguars scored a touchdown.
"That's just the type of team we are," Thompson said. "We're a game plan team and we've got something new for you every week."
Grant has become a weapon on offense and special teams. The trickery in the game's third phase has made Grant unique. A longtime kick returner, Grant has contributed more with trick plays than in his normal station.
Grant hasn't had a lot of opportunities to break free on kick returns. Instead, his big plays have come when everyone least expects them.
"It's a lot more stressful with [special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis] coming in but what he does works," Grant said. "At the end of the day, it is a bit more fun."
While Grant only has 20 carries this season, he has been able to produce 179 rushing yards, though 114 yards have come off the fake punt plays.
Grant said he isn't bothered by the lack of opportunities on offense. He likes his unique role and looks forward to making even more big plays in the future.
"As long as I'm contributing to the team," Grant said.
"I'm almost to the point where that's my role. I have no problem with it. We've got Leonard [Fournette] and T.J. [Yeldon] and Chris [Ivory] handling the running back role and from time-to-time, I'm in there getting snaps. Other than that, that special teams role - the reserves, the fakes - I'm fine with that. It's just the playmaking position and something to contribute to the team."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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