Patrick Crayton: Before the Drops

As Cowboy fans enter Day Two of Mourning, they still look for the appropriate person, place, or thing to blame. Richie did an excellent job of spreading out the scorn. But as I watched on Sunday, it was obvious that at least one FOX telecast producer thought the largest chunk of responsibility fell on the shoulders (and slipped through the hands) of Patrick Crayton. Seems like there was a cutaway shot of Crayton on the bench after every single play in the fourth quarter.

Years ago, back in the summer of 2005, I had an idea for D to do a “What It Feels Like Feature.” If it sounds like it’s stolen from the pages of Esquire, it is. (I like to think of it more as an “homage” than outright theft.) In it, we would talk to Andrew Litton for What It Feels Like to Conduct a Symphony, Sai Gunturi for What It Feels Like to Win a Spelling Bee — stuff like that. I also wanted to know what it feels like to score an NFL touchdown. DeSoto-native Patrick Crayton seemed like a good guy to ask. At the time, he’d only scored one — a game-winning, last-minute catch against the rival Redskins in his rookie season. The piece never ran. But I offer Crayton’s retelling of his first touchdown here, for all to reminisce.

I didn’t feel any different that morning. It was the day after Christmas, though. Good Christmas with the family and everything, so. Got up that morning at the hotel, went back home for a second like I always do, get my stuff and everything, then I head to the stadium, like usual. Regular warm up and stuff with the wide outs, the receiver coach, the quarterback and everything. One of the things I always do, I’ve always done it since college, I always eat gummy worms before every game. Once we come back in from warming up and stuff I start to get ready, I eat my gummy worms, listen to my headphones. It was just a regular Sunday to me, basically. We were playing the Redskins, though, so it was a rivalry. We wanted to keep the winning streak we had against them going, other than that, it was a regular Sunday game. Just trying to get a victory.
[final minute] I’m on the sideline, my coach says Crayton, get in there. Get Cop out; he’s winded. I go in there, it’s fourth and 10. He calls F-Dig, which is a formation we have. I run it, it’s like a 16-yard square in. I get it for 15, it was fourth and ten. Keep the drive going. You know, for a few more plays. I’m noticing that Sean Taylor, throughout the whole game he and Keyshawn had been going back and forth. Keyshawn had gotten in his head, veteran that he is. We have a play against their cover-2. He’s supposed to be deep man, but he’s not paying attention to me at all. And the corner’s supposed to have a re-route and get the jam on me.
I wasn’t getting too pumped up. I was glad we kept the drive going, that was number one. We still had some time left to catch some passes if we needed to catch some in the middle, catch em there, get up to the line, spike it if we need to and what not. We’re on their 39 yard line now, so we’re in good field position. Come down. The corner’s supposed to get a reroute on my, help the safety out, so he can widen out. Well he doesn’t get any kind of jam or anything on me, and I just got on the sideline. We were told to get width, away from their safety. So I got my width on the sideline, Vinny laid out a perfect shot. Caught it in stride on about the six or seven. Walk in untouched.
I was thinking, it’s coming my way. Let me catch this and get in the endzone.
I told myself, if I let this ball go, I’m not getting it back. I wasn’t letting that ball go. Keyshawn was pointing to the goalpost, saying, “Dunk it.” I’m shaking my head, “No.” I’m not letting this go.
It was a real big thrill. Especially growing up in the Dallas area, that’s all you watch: Cowboys-Redskins. From Crazy Ray to those fans with the pig snouts on their noses.
Get back to the sidelines, everyone’s beating up. Flozell Adams knocked me down by the goalposts first. I get back to the sidelines, everybody’s hitting me in the head. It’s kinda crazy.
[after, interviews]
It kinda reminded of college, how it was in the national championship. But a lot bigger.
I actually slept pretty well that night. Pretty good. I didn’t really play it back in my head too much. My focus was New York. I enjoyed it that night, and then that next day, get ready for New York.

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