Sept. 11 (UPI) — Tight end Austin Hooper delivered a vicious stiff-arm to Quintin Demps Sunday in the Atlanta Falcons’ win against the Chicago Bears.
Hooper ended up with an 88-yard touchdown on the play.
Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons lined up at their own five-yard line to begin a fourth quarter drive. Ryan threw two passes to Mohamed Sanu before coming up on third down. He stepped back to pass again, and found a wide-open Hooper near midfield.
Hooper sprinted down toward the 30-yard line before coming up on the Bears’ safety. Demps tried to wrap up the 6-foot-4 tight end, but was met with a big left arm to the chest. Hooper finished off the reception with a touchdown, giving the Falcons a 20-10 advantage.
“I swear to God, I felt like I lived a lifetime in my head when the ball was in the air” Hooper told reporters after the game, according to the Chicago Tribune. “I’m not even kidding, I think I blacked out for like a part of it. And then I caught it, and I felt like it was like autopilot. I was present in the moment, but honestly I just remember going in the end zone after I stiff-armed somebody and seeing all of my teammates in the end zone. I saw it on a replay, and it sunk in, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is pretty cool.'”
Hooper led all receivers with 128 yards and a score on just two receptions. He had 271 yards and three scores on 19 receptions in 14 games last year, but started just three times.
“Guys were excited for him after the game,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters in his postgame comments.
“Probably some question his speed and I think he put that to rest. I heard some of that. It was just a terrific play. And we have a saying, I do my job so my brother can do his. My brother does his so I can do my own. On that one, what an example by Matt too. When all things are going…here’s a busted coverage. The really experienced guy knows where to find that weakness and that’s typical Matt going to attack where a breakdown occurred. That might happen. When you find those opportunities and nail them it’s such an important part.”