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What Was The Play Of The Game in Cardinals vs. Texans?

You won't want to miss this awesome play!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's tough to see Larry Fitzgerald get psyched up in a press conference.  He's stoic, reserved and well-spoken.

But on the football field today, boy was he fired up at this Jaxon Shipley Touchdown.

Let's take a look at how this play turned out:

First, Matt Barkley gets flushed out of the pocket and he uses his legs to extend the play.  He squares his shoulders and then launches the ball into the back of the endzone in a high up area.

This is called "high pointing" where a WR can catch the ball at the highest point of it's arc by extending their body outward, and Shipley does it beautifully and even hangs onto the ball after the big hit.

The real reason to show this play, however, is that it may have been not intended for Shipley.  Rather, from this angle, it seems Barkley was aiming for fellow WR J.J. Nelson.

As you can see from this angle, the Quarterback's eyes are on the streaking Shipley in the back, but he underestimates the receiver's position and the ball sails high and a bit behind Nelson.

Fortunately, Shipley was reading the eyes of the Quarterback and was in position to go up for the leaping grab.  And Larry Fitzgerald, waiting there for him yelling "my man, my man!" was certainly impressed by the effort.

So what does this play tell us about evaluation?

Well, for starters, it shows how a quarterback who can extend a play can find weaknesses when plays break down, especially in the red zone.

Secondly, it shows how for a quarterback, sometimes the surrounding talent can be of vital importance--if Shipley hadn't recognized Barkley's leaving and drifted back to the soft spot in the zone, Barkley might have missed Nelson completely and instead, it's a touchdown.

These are all factors to consider when watching preseason games for evaluating players.  It's not always going to end in a circus-catch that Michael Floyd would be proud of as Shipley's did, but it's always about being in the right place at the right time to make a play.

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