USFL Week 5 best plays: Clutch catches, trick plays and more

USFL Week 5 best plays: Clutch catches, trick plays and more

May 16, 2022

From walk-off touchdowns to one-handed grabs, from bulldozing runs to dazzling trick plays, Week 5 of the USFL season featured plenty of thrilling moments.

There were a number of close games over the weekend, with huge plays proving to be major factors in the outcomes.

With so much to tackle, let's get right to it and take a look at the best plays of Week 5.

Catch of the Weekend: Teo Redding, Houston Gamblers

The Gamblers were trying to ice their game against the Pittsburgh Maulers on Sunday when quarterback Clayton Thorson launched a pass up the field, trying to sneak the ball to Redding through tight coverage. Redding was interfered with on the play, but stuck with the pass, hauling in an impressive one-hander.

"That's a tremendous catch," Shannon Sharpe said on "Undisputed." "Look at how low the ball is when he actually caught it. It's not up high, it's almost on the turf. He's able to get one hand, catch the football while being interfered with. This is a heckuva play. Good catch, young man."

"It was a really good throw by Clayton Thorson," Skip Bayless added. "It's right on time, right on the money. Way to go."

Best Run of the Weekend: Darius Victor, New Jersey Generals

Victor was key to the success of the Generals on Saturday, grinding out 95 yards and a touchdown — his league-leading fifth of the season — in a win over New Orleans.

Several of those yards came on a bruising run up the middle in which he fought off several would-be tacklers on the way to a sizable gain.

In a conversation with FOX sideline reporter Brock Huard, Victor credited his thick thighs, which measure at 30 inches, for his running success.

Best Trick Play of the Weekend: Michigan Panthers

The USFL has a unique rule this season: Double passes are legal, even if the first one is a forward pass, as long as it's completed behind the line of scrimmage.

The Panthers took advantage of the rule in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Bandits. Quarterback Shea Patterson hit Joe Walker, who launched a rocket to tight end Ryan O’Malley, who went 30 yards for a touchdown.

"That's not legal! Oh, yes it is!" Nick Wright said on "First Things First." "Double forward pass! A USFL staple. Maybe the NFL brings it in. … You love to see it."

Best Pass of the Weekend: Jordan Ta'amu, Tampa Bay Bandits

Tampa Bay was trailing Michigan 7-0 after the Panthers' double pass when coach Todd Haley dove deep for a trick of his own, calling for a flea flicker pass by Ta'amu. 

That would have been impressive enough to pull off, but it was even more amazing when things immediately went wrong on the play. Running back Juwan Washington pitched back to Ta’amu, but it came in on a bounce. Ta'amu recovered it, spun, and then threw a jump ball to receiver Derrick Dillon over the middle. Dillon snatched it out of the air and turned it into a 50-yard touchdown.

Haley called it "one of the greatest plays I've ever seen in my entire career."

Said Sharpe: "This play should've been doomed from the start. There's a panic that sets in when you fumble the football, especially if you're the quarterback and you're in the pocket and you see the guy blowing your blocker up already." 

Clutch Play of the Weekend: Vad Lee and Bailey Gaither, Pittsburgh Maulers

The Maulers were nine yards away from the end zone with four seconds remaining, needing a touchdown for their first victory of the season. That's exactly what they got when Lee found Gaither on the quick inside route as time expired.

"It was a great throw," Bayless said. "And that little Bailey Gaither, who was with the Packers for a while, and I think he had concussion issues and retired, and now he's back. You wanna talk about clutch. It's probably a better clutch throw than catch. He ran a little in-cut route and got just inside the goal line in between the two DBs, and there you go."