Dan Quinn on Olamide Zaccheaus' breakout play: Everyone will 'know how to pronounce' his name now
ATLANTA -- As an undrafted NFL rookie, it's never clear when an opportunity will come. Sometimes, it never does.
But for Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, his chance came in the second half of Week 14 against the Carolina Panthers, and he didn't miss it.
With Calvin Ridley in the locker room because of an abdominal injury, Zaccheaus received a few snaps on a series about halfway through the third quarter. On third-and-8 from the Falcons 7-yard line, quarterback Matt Ryan found him open in man-to-man coverage deep down the field.
Zaccheaus made an excellent adjustment to the ball, which Ryan somewhat floated to him in order to get it out of his hand before the Panthers pass rush crushed him. Zaccheaus hauled in the pass at about midfield, broke one tackle and then was off to the end zone for a 93-yard touchdown.
It was the first reception of his NFL career.
"You probably saw the energy from the team, going down the field. He's been somebody that just worked his butt off in practice," head coach Dan Quinn said during his postgame press conference. "Everybody was pumped for him."
The 93-yard touchdown is now the longest passing play of Ryan's career. The previous receiver with the longest pass from Ryan was Roddy White, who ironically, was in the stadium Sunday because the Falcons inducted him into their Ring of Honor at halftime.
"I told OZ (Zaccheaus) that he stole Roddy's (White) thunder," Ryan joked during his postgame presser. "I think Roddy had the longest one before that with a touchdown he caught in San Francisco in maybe 2009. He had a 91-yard hitch-route on the outside, on the left side, and he broke a tackle to take it to the house.
"That was a great play. I'm happy for OZ."
Other Falcons teammates teased him out of excitement for a different reason.
"I heard one of the players say (in the locker room) 'they'll know how to pronounce your name now,'" Quinn said.
The 93-yard touchdown was Zaccheaus' only catch on three targets Sunday, but he may receive more opportunities in Atlanta's final three games. Ridley announced via Instagram on Monday that he will miss the rest of the season because of his abdominal injury.