Laws' near-sack play turns into the game stopper

Trevor Laws did not get the sack, but he pressured 49ers quarterback Alex Smith into an interception.
Trevor Laws did not get the sack, but he pressured 49ers quarterback Alex Smith into an interception.
Posted: October 12, 2010

The Eagles needed a big play, and Trevor Laws thought he had one Sunday night.

With the defense looking tired and needing a stop to preserve a much-needed victory, Laws closed in on 49ers quarterback Alex Smith with no blockers around to intervene.

"I thought I had a sack," Laws said.

He had come free with help from defensive end Juqua Parker and a bit of play calling misdirection that took advantage of 49ers rookie offensive tackle Anthony Davis.

"Man, I got to give [Parker] credit because he set me up so nice," Laws said.

The play began with Parker at left defensive end and Laws next to him at tackle as the 49ers faced third and 10 on a last-ditch attempt to tie the game. There were 36 seconds left in a game the Eagles needed to win.

At the snap, linebackers Stewart Bradley and Ernie Sims, who had showed blitz, dropped back into coverage.

Parker, who had pressured the quarterback two plays earlier, again lunged ahead as if he was rushing straight upfield, forcing Davis, the tackle, to back pedal. At the last moment, though, Parker broke back toward the interior of the offensive line, where Laws was engaged with guard Chilo Rachal.

Rachal released Laws to stop Parker, but Davis was stuck, caught out of position as he set up to stop what he thought was a charging Parker.

Laws came off Rachal and slipped between the guard and tackle and raced toward Smith.

A sack would save the game. Smith had burned the Eagles on the previous two drives, putting up two touchdowns that turned a comfortable Eagles lead into a tight 27-24 drama.

The Eagles couldn't afford to blow this one. Not on a night when quarterback Kevin Kolb turned in a strong performance. Not after the defense had produced four turnovers and a touchdown of its own. Not while trying to bounce back from an ugly divisional loss and not with the teeth of their schedule bearing down starting this Sunday.

The Eagles defense, down to three true defensive tackles due to an injury to starter Brodrick Bunkley, had already been on the field for 24 fourth-quarter snaps.

One of those tackles was Laws, who has been producing after disappointing rookie and sophomore seasons since being selected 47th overall in the 2008 draft. He made his first two career sacks against he Jaguars in Week 3. Against the 49ers, though, he was not on the stat sheet: no tackles, no hurries, no sacks.

Now he was on the field for a crucial drive. The 49ers were at the Eagles 44, maybe 10 or so yards from setting up a game-tying field goal try. Kicker Joe Nedney had earlier hit from the 50.

Laws and Parker ran their play, and it worked exactly as planned.

"He faked going upfield and the tackle set out far, [leaving] enough space to get in the crease. I got in the crease, [Parker] came back underneath, the guard came off on him, and I was able to get back to the quarterback," Laws said.

He tore in on Smith, dreadlocks hanging out from the back of his helmet and dove. Smith unloaded. With a 6-foot-1, 304-pound tackle in his face, though, the pass was wobbly and floated toward rookie cornerback Trevard Lindley, who made a game sealing interception.

"I was like, 'Pick it! Pick it! Pick it!' and somebody got it, so I was happy. I was pumped about that," Laws said later in the locker room.

He just missed his third career sack. But he secured the Eagles' third win of 2010.

"Whatever wins the game, right?" Laws said. "Whatever wins the game."


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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