In the 1994 film Little Giants, “Rad” Tad Simpson grabbed the ball and ran the wrong way, a part of a comedy of errors as the rag-tag team put together by Rick Moranis’ character attempted to resemble a football team.
The play from the movie was rooted in real life, as former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall picked up a fumble in a game against the San Francisco 49ers in 1964. That play was named the fifth-worst play in NFL history by NFL Films in 2016.
Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward was worried about a repeat when linebacker Devin Bush Jr. got his hands on the fumble that T.J. Watt forced in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
With the line of scrimmage for the play the 15-yard line, the Steelers were already well within the range of kicker Chris Boswell for a game-winning field goal. But Bush decided to return to the ball, and his first few steps were back toward his own end zone.
Bush picked the ball up at the Seattle 16, ran backwards to the 22, stiff-armed wide receiver DK Metcalf, and turned back upfield, eventually being tackled back at the 16.
— TheWolverine.com (@TheWolverineMag) October 18, 2021
“It was an emphasis, of course, to recover the ball,” Bush said after the game when asked about the play. “Get a short field for the offense, and win the game.”
He left out his back-and-forth, 12-yard jaunt. Heyward said he was reminded of the Little Giants.
Cam Heyward said Devin Bush’s attempted fumble return reminded him of Little Giants pic.twitter.com/4hRHH3nxN3
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) October 18, 2021