Here’s a have a look at the well-designed and well-executed performs from Week 15:

Passing Design of the Week: Vikings’ O-line fools Dolphins

The Minnesota Vikings spent a lot of Week 15 coping with upheaval.

After scoring simply 17 mixed factors in back-to-back losses, the staff fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and gave quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski the interim title. And Minnesota’s offense appeared a lot improved – a minimum of for one week – throughout a 41-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.

An enormous a part of that success was the Vikings’ speeding assault, which gained greater than 200 yards towards the Dolphins. In consequence, Minnesota was in a position to execute play-action passes extra successfully, as seen on this landing connection between Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs.

The play begins with the Vikings dealing with a second-and-7 on the Dolphins’ 13-yard line. They arrive out with three receivers in a bunch to the suitable, together with Diggs, who’s working a nook route whereas Cousins fakes the handoff:


The important thing to profitable play-action passes is promoting the second- and third-level defenders on the run faux. And whereas the quarterback and working again are the apparent gamers concerned, the offensive line is simply as vital, as a result of linebackers and safeties are taught to learn their actions to shortly establish a run versus a go.

When the ball is snapped, proper guard Mike Remmers pulls throughout to the left, which imitates a run-blocking scheme. That motion helps idiot the linebackers and safeties, who transfer towards the road of scrimmage, leaving Diggs on their lonesome behind them:

From there, the Vikings would cruise and hold themselves within the NFC’s ultimate playoff spot. Transferring ahead, they will want Stefanski to proceed the offensive success in Week 16 towards the Detroit Lions.

Speeding Design of the Week: Steelers’ counter toss springs Samuels

In an enormous check following three straight losses, the Pittsburgh Steelers stayed within the playoff image by grinding out a 17-10 victory over the New England Patriots.

Reserve working again Jaylen Samuels performed a significant position by carrying the ball 19 instances for 142 yards, as a tweak to the sport plan helped propel his large efficiency. Through the years, the Steelers have dominated by working counter handoffs; on Sunday they started these counters with a toss:


The Patriots delight themselves on enjoying disciplined run protection, as they goal to set the sting and forestall ball-carriers from getting exterior. This design from the Steelers takes benefit of that, because it offers the working again a transparent cutback component from proper to left with a blocker in entrance of him:

Ultimately-zone angle beneath, you possibly can see how the blocking units up, with tight finish Vance McDonald (No. 89) resulting in the left forward of Samuels:

The Steelers used this sort of counter toss a number of instances towards the Patriots, which led to a variety of chunk good points. And ultimately, they got here away with a hard-fought victory.

Strain Design of the Week: Colts stunt on Cowboys

A stunning end in Week 15 was the Indianapolis Colts ending the Dallas Cowboys‘ five-game successful streak with a 23-Zero victory. The Colts’ protection pressured Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott all through the competition, sacking him twice.

As we highlighted approach again in our Week 2 preview piece, the Cowboys struggled to maneuver the ball when dealing with a number of deal with/finish change stunts of their season opener towards the Carolina Panthers. The Colts should have studied tape from that sport as a result of they used an analogous design to sack Prescott on a third-and-9 within the second quarter.

On this play, the Colts initially present stress however then rush simply 4. Nevertheless, they’re working stunts on each ends of the road:


On one aspect, the defensive finish is speeding upfield whereas the inside lineman loops round him to the sting. On the opposite aspect, the inside lineman – rookie Tyquan Lewis (pink arrow) – is speeding upfield whereas the defensive finish loops round him to the center. Lewis is definitely meant to occupy the middle and the guard, however his bull rush is so highly effective that he finally ends up with the sack:

Had Lewis not sacked Prescott first, it is seemingly that Denico Autry – who was looping behind him – would have gotten there because of the trail created by former. Both approach, their mixture of motion and energy was an excessive amount of for the Cowboys to deal with.

Protection Design of the Week: Byard’s good learn results in INT

The Tennessee Titans stayed within the AFC playoff race with a key 17-Zero highway victory over the New York Giants. The Titans persistently pissed off Eli Manning in a efficiency that included this spectacular interception by security Kevin Byard.

For this play, the Titans are in a Cowl 2 Man scheme – two safeties splitting the deep a part of the sector’s width and 5 beneath gamers in man protection – with Byard chargeable for the deep proper aspect. The Giants are working a submit/out mixture to Byard’s aspect, with the expectation that the submit route will occupy him towards the center and subsequently take him away from the out route (pink arrow):


Nevertheless, Byard acknowledges the idea and peels off the submit route, beating the supposed goal to the sideline to snare the interception. Manning clearly expects a one-on-one matchup in man protection, however the security supplies assist and erases New York’s scoring risk:

Recreation Plan of the Week – Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Going through a probably devastating hit to their playoff probabilities, the Steelers pulled collectively and survived towards the Patriots regardless of principally quiet afternoons from star receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

On offense, Pittsburgh did so by grinding out drives and using the kind of counter toss we highlighted above. Defensively, the Steelers pressured Tom Brady with a number of blitz packages and twist designs whereas utilizing protection schemes that bracketed Rob Gronkowski and eradicated Josh Gordon. It was a masterful job by head coach Mike Tomlin and his total employees.

Mark Schofield writes NFL function content material for theScore. After practically a decade of working towards regulation within the Washington, D.C., space Mark modified careers and began writing about soccer. Drawing upon greater than a decade of enjoying quarterback, together with on the collegiate stage, Mark focuses his work on quarterback analysis and offensive scheme evaluation. He lives in Maryland together with his spouse and two youngsters. Discover him on Twitter @MarkSchofield.


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