I’ve been trying to adapt to a style that suits me and my time restraints for over 10 weeks now and this will be yet another change. This week, I’ll be showing the 5 plays that nobody’s going to remember or tall about that actually helped us win the game against the Aint’s!
5 Underrated Plays
Here’s the first play. Early on in the game, the Aint’s were facing a 3rd & 11 and would need to reach our territory in order to get the first down. When you count all of the players on the line of scrimmage for the Falcons, you’ll see there are five players ready to rush the passer. If you were the QB, who do you think would be covering Alvin Kamara? I’ll give you a hint: almost everyone is in man coverage. So let me show you the play they’re trying to run.
I circled the player that gets thrown to on this play, but as you can see, it’s a typical four verticals play, with the RB as the checkdown. Now if you were the QB that didn’t know any better, you would actually like to throw to Kamara and let him run for the first down, as he’s done so before many times. Reason being is, every defender in front of him would be facing away from him, and if the WR’s play it right, they wouldn’t let the defenders turn around. But now let me show you how the Falcons thought of all that and more.
I understand how busy this picture looks, so let me explain it. As I mentioned before, everyone on the outside is playing man coverage. But the defender covering Kamara isn’t Foye, but rather Mykal Walker, who’s disguising his assignment as though he’s rushing. The player to the left of Walker is actually Deion Jones. He’s also faking his assignment to rush, and instead drops back into a Zone that would allow him to cover both the TE and/or Kamara, especially if he’s running an angle route. And now everyone to the left of Jones are actually all of the pass rushers, including Foye. Let’s see how well they did.
Yeah that’s right, we found a way to rush for players and still get a free rusher! Grady Jarrett is on Ryan Ramczyk, their RT. Grady pivots Ramczyk so they’re by themselves. Ogundeji started off with a 1-on-1 with their RG, then turns to occupy the Center. Means actually had the tougher task on this play, which was to occupy 3 linemen at once: the Center, LG and LT.
Terron Armstead, the LT, was very confused at first, because he had nobody to block once Walker and Debo backed out. What made Means’ job so hard here is that if he got put on the ground (A.K.A. “pancaked”), this concept fails. So he had to fight to even get the LT’s attention, so he pivots over to him. That set up Ogundeji to collect 3 blockers now.
What’s important here is that Ogundeji still needs to have the RG blocking him in order to give Foye the open lane to blitz. And since Kamara is too good at catching out the backfield, there’s no way he’s staying behind to pass protect. So all of this forced Trevor Siemian to get the ball out early, so let’s see what this did for his placement of the pass.
Yeah, amid all that, they still had a strong chance of completing this pass. But the reason this fell incomplete wasn’t so much Fabian’s doing, but rather Kenny Stills. Once he thought he caught it, he wanted to twist his body to face away from the defender and toward the sidelines.
However, if he simply lands on his back, I’d say he actually catches this pass. That’s what Larry Fitzgerald would have done. But instead, Kenny Stills tried to be Anquan Boldin while not being as nearly as strong as him. This would’ve been a 32-yard completion, and a huge momentum swing! So now we’ll focus on the next play.
So these are the routes they tried to run on this play. Play designs like this are more meant for confusing a select few of defenders instead of a whole unit. So in this case, Erik Harris is being targeted here. For instance, if the Falcons were playing in zone coverage, Harris would have to decide which receiver to follow, giving him a “doomed if you do-doomed if you don’t” scenario. But this was not the case.
Like the previous play, the Falcons are in mostly man coverage. Deion Jones had a delayed blitz, but it was as if he had his attention on Mark Ingram. Ingram was in pass protection on this play, but I can tell the Falcons were prepared for that. They were also ready if he did run a route. Foye and Means dropped back into a small Zone, where they can either protect the sidelines if the QB were to scramble, or if Ingram was running a flat route.
Once again, the Falcons were able to manufacture pressure by only sending 4 rushers. It’s crazy how in both of these plays, they left Grady Jarrett with a one-on-one matchup. This also makes Jones’ job much easier, as all he needs to do is focus on where Grady is winning his battle and go to the opposite direction. Even though Ingram was there to meet him in the lane, this play wouldn’t have been able to last another second thanks to Grady.
Trevor Siemian got the ball out quick, but it was to no avail. Adam Trautman, his intended target, dropped the pass.
I mentioned before that this drive started on the 35-yard line. The reason I bring that up is because the 3 drives they scored Touchdowns on, only 1 of them started from that distance. The 2nd TD drive started at THEIR 30, then a penalty by Grant, Fabian and Foye brought them to our 13-YARD LINE WITHOUT THEM GAINING AN ACTUAL YARD. And their 3rd TD drive began on OUR 43, then it took them 4 plays to get into our 10. Basically, what I’m getting at here is they couldn’t move the ball against us until they had momentum late in the game.
Moving into the 2nd half of the game, we’re met with this momentum swing.
With the Aint’s zone blocking scheme allowing them to bypass having to block the bigger guys and instead move them to the sidelines to allow Kamara to find gaps and easily miss arm tackles, they still gotta execute every time.
They didn’t expect Anthony Rush to blow up their blocks, but he wasn’t able to wrap up Kamara in the backfield. And everyone behind him was out of the play, unless Kamara cut back. Which he wasn’t going to, as he saw the advantage up ahead, trusted that his 2 O-Linemen would push forward and that his TE and WR would move their defenders away from the play more, which everyone did. One little problem though…
Tre’Quan Smith was grabbing the pads of Harris and tugged on his jersey when he was reaching out to tackle Alvin.
Whether or not you agree with the call isn’t the biggest issue here. It’s the fact that the Aint’s never replicated this type of execution again. The Falcons were having problems stopping the run earlier, but seeing that they quickly learn from this and continued to stop them in the 2nd half shows growth. They didn’t get anything but a 52 yard field goal, meaning this drive stalled at the 39 yard line. And seeing how his longest make before this was a 35-yarder shows that the Aint’s needed to get the absolute most out of their special teams. Here’s another example.
Notice how the start of the 4th quarter happened and we start making mental mistakes? It’s amazing we would even get glimpses of us stopping them, even when we couldn’t stop them the play before.
Good thing Taysom Hill wasn’t at QB, otherwise this would’ve been a zone read and Hill could’ve kept it and walked to the outside to score. But instead, Kamara had the ball and his fullback is going to move across the formation to pick up a block. Problem was, he was way too slow.
Jaylinn Hawkins (along with the rest of the line for not getting pushed back at all) made this play work for us. As you can see, 45 never recognized Hawkins, so we actually got in the way of Alvin Kamara, which caused him to fall before reaching the line of scrimmage.
Of course there were many plays that helped us win and if you want the breakdown, VISIT THE WEBSITE MORE OFTEN PLEASE! I can even send you links to look at more plays, like this one and this one. Cuz I can’t be bothered taking days off to write this and edit this for hours just for maybe 2 people to come across it. And if you’re the 2 people that look at this that haven’t checked out my streams Wednesday nights, then visit me there!