Wild Card Weekend was entertaining, with three of the 4 video games determined by one rating. We had been spoiled for selection, however listed here are the 4 finest designs.
Passing Design of the Week
The sport between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears can be remembered for both a Cody Parkey missed area objective or a Nick Foles landing move to Golden Tate, relying in your perspective. However the Eagles wanted a pivotal third-down conversion just a few performs earlier than the TD throw, and that goes down as our passing design of the week.
Going through an important third-and-9 with underneath two minutes remaining and trailing by 5, the Eagles break the huddle with two tight ends within the sport, Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz. They align with Foles within the shotgun and a little bit of a full-house backfield look, together with broad receiver Alshon Jeffery lined up deep behind the quarterback:
Jeffery does not stay within the backfield for lengthy. He motions into the slot on the left aspect, the place he’ll run a fast little Bang eight submit route:
Between the offensive personnel and formation, the Eagles catch the Bears in a base Cowl four protection. That permits Jeffery to seek out house between the cornerback and the protection to transform this important third down:
It took 4 extra performs for the Eagles to get into the top zone and end the drive, the scoring move to Tate approaching a variation of Dash Proper Possibility – a play made well-known by “The Catch,” a move from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark that helped propel the San Francisco 49ers to a berth in Tremendous Bowl XVI. Nevertheless it was this third down that set the stage for Foles’ newest heroics and has the Eagles devoted dreaming of extra Tremendous Bowl finishes.
Dashing Design of the Week
Saturday night time’s tilt between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys picked up steam after a sluggish begin. On maybe the most important play of the sport, the Cowboys and their dashing assault determined issues – and Ezekiel Elliott wasn’t the one carrying the ball.
With simply over two minutes remaining, the Cowboys clung to a 17-14 lead and confronted a third-and-14 on the Seattle 17-yard line. The Seahawks had one timeout and the two-minute warning, so the Cowboys had been maintaining a tally of the objective line and the clock.
Having made a curious choice to throw on the earlier play – the try fell incomplete – the Cowboys opted to run the soccer in an effort to pressure the Seahawks to both burn their closing timeout or let the clock bleed all the way down to the two-minute warning. They known as a quarterback draw, placing the soccer in Dak Prescott‘s fingers with middle Joe Looney and Elliott main the way in which:
Regardless of the gap to achieve, Prescott discovered a crease behind the blocking of Looney and somersaulted all the way down to the 1-yard line:
On the subsequent play, Prescott snuck into the top zone for the landing. The Seahawks scored a landing and a two-point conversion on their ensuing possession, however their onside kick try was dealt with simply by broad receiver Cole Beasley, clinching a Cowboys victory. This artful quarterback draw on third down might need been the most important play of the sport.
Stress Design of the Week
The Chargers largely succeeded at this job, holding the Ravens to underneath 100 yards dashing and maintaining Lamar Jackson to 54 yards on the bottom. However their move rush actually set the tone. The Chargers sacked Jackson seven occasions, and their move rush turned within the sport’s closing huge play.
Los Angeles’ utilization of Melvin Ingram was key. The Chargers moved him throughout the defensive entrance, on the sting and even on the within. When the Ravens confronted a second down with underneath a minute remaining, making an attempt to tug off a miracle comeback, the protection aligned Ingram inside over the left guard (outlined in crimson), with defensive finish Joey Bosa on the surface of Ingram (outlined in blue):
Placing two pass-rushing specialists on the left aspect creates a one-on-one alternative on the alternative aspect. On this case, that matched up Uchenna Nwosu (outlined in yellow) in opposition to rookie proper sort out Orlando Brown, who fell from a possible first-round draft choice into the third spherical as a consequence of considerations a few lack of athleticism and power.
Nwosu will get the higher of Brown on this important play, beating him to the surface and knocking the soccer from Jackson:
Ingram capped off an enormous day for the Chargers’ protection with the restoration, making certain Los Angeles will come east for a second straight weekend and tackle the New England Patriots.
Protection Design of the Week
The guests raced out to a 14-Zero lead by scoring on their first two possessions of the sport, and on its first defensive possession, Indianapolis compelled a three-and-out from the Texans. On Houston’s second offensive possession, it lastly moved into Indianapolis territory however confronted a fourth-and-5 on the Colts’ 45-yard line.
Enter cornerback Kenny Moore.
The Colts used a variety of Cowl 2 within the secondary, maintaining two safeties deep to assist excessive of DeAndre Hopkins and making an attempt to restrict huge passing performs. They ran a mixture of zone and man protection beneath, and on this play, Moore is aligned within the slot.
The Texans empty the backfield and put three receivers to the left and two on the appropriate. Indianapolis runs a Cowl 2 scheme, leaving the beneath defenders in zone protection. Given the down and distance, robust security Clayton Geathers additionally spies Deshaun Watson, stopping the quarterback from scrambling for the primary down.
Watson, in the meantime, desires to hit Ryan Griffin on the curl route. He thinks he has a window as Geathers slides inside and away from Griffin to spy the quarterback – however the security is not the one defender sliding. Moore slides inside, passing off the vertical route from Jordan Akins and leaping the curl route:
This angle provides a greater take a look at how Geathers and Moore play this to perfection:
This well-designed defensive scheme compelled an early turnover that helped maintain Houston in an early gap. For his or her efforts, the Colts earned a visit to Arrowhead Stadium, the place they will attempt to deal with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs‘ offense in a hostile atmosphere.
Sport Plan of the Week
Whether or not it was containing Jackson and the Ravens’ working sport or harassing the quarterback when he appeared to throw, Anthony Lynn and Gus Bradley appeared to have all of the solutions Sunday.
In stopping the run, the Chargers relied on a excessive proportion of six- and seven-defensive again packages, utilizing pace and athleticism to counter Baltimore’s energy dashing assault. As we mentioned, the Chargers moved Ingram throughout their defensive entrance, creating after which successful some advantageous one-on-one matchups. One other sport plan like that would take the Chargers to the AFC Championship Sport.
Mark Schofield writes NFL characteristic content material for theScore. After almost 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 degree, 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.