The Crescent and Cheese

where east meets the midwest

An Important Play Lost in the Chaos

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Amidst all the doom and gloom of the Packers’ loss to Atlanta, one of the key plays in the fourth quarter has kinda gotten lost. If the Packers convert here, they probably get at least a field goal, if not more, and their chances for winning greatly increases. Let’s break down the situation and see why exactly the play failed (i don’t have the coaches tape, obviously, so I’ll just be using the broadcast video).

First, the situation. It’s fourth and one at the Atlanta forty one and a half. The Packers need to get to the forty to convert. There are nine minutes and nineteen seconds left in the game. The Packers are down by seven. The drive started at the Green Bay seven after a not-so-great Sam Shields decision and a ticky-tacy-tac penalty.

Here’s the formation:

Atlanta lines up for a blitz

As we can see from the image above, Atlanta lines up to blitz. The safeties have rotated left, meaning that’s probably where the blitz is going to come from. The LBs are crowding the line (except for the middle backer, who stays a bit off). This is the route combo the Packers use to counter it:

The back is going to motion to the right and run an identical pattern to Greg Jennings. The rest of the receivers are going to run slants. Rodgers is going to see where the blitz is coming from and throw to the flat of that side. If that’s not there, he’ll throw to the center. He only has two reads to make here. That’s all the time he has. Now let’s look at how things actually turn out:

Atlanta threatened to bring six, but instead brought four: two linemen, one backer, and one corner. The nose and the ROLB dropped off into zones. This has the following effects:

1. The two flats are taken out: one by the ROLB, and the corner immediately raises his hands and takes out the passing lane to Greg Jennings.
2. College and Sitton block no one.
3. There’s a free rusher due to the confusion, but enough people to cover the long enough to keep Rodgers from getting comfortable.

You might say, hey, look, Greg Jennings is open. Here’s the play from another angle:

As you can see, there’s no throwing lane. If he throws there, its’ batted down and perhaps picked. So then Rodgers returns to the center and throws off target to Driver. One things that very telling in the video (which is posted below) is that Rodgers pats the ball twice. One big pat and then a little pat. In that moment, he seems indecisive. The first lane to Donald D is covered, and he doesn’t have time to wait for the second. Still, he throws it, and it’s just a few inches off (a bit less, and Donald D is able to make an acrobatic catch).

So what could they have done differently?

1. There might have been a mess up in protection. College might have had to take the corner, or maybe Clifton, and leave the backer to College. I’m not sure; I don’t have enough experience to make a judgement on that.
2. Rodgers could have waited for the corner to commit to a tackle and then thrown. You’ll notice that, as soon as Rodgers looks away, the corner lowers his head. Now, I know this is hindsight, but Rodgers could have “looked off” the corner, if you will, and come back to Greg Jennings on the flat.
3. Just make a better throw. That single second of indecision, where his feet get skittish, is what does him in on the throw, in my humble opinion. He should know before hand that he’s going to take a hit, and he should keep his composure and not throw a kind of desperate pass (which is what I think that pass was). I think he got caught by surprise a little by the corner putting his hands up, and that completely messed up his perfect little plan to dump outside to the flat. If the throw is just a bit better, the Packers score on the drive and perhaps win the game.

Here’s a link to the video. Let me know your analysis and what you think.


Written by AdmiralPrice

December 2, 2010 at 7:35 pm

One Response

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ashu Siralis, Ashu Siralis. Ashu Siralis said: New on The Crescent and Cheese: 4thand1 at the ATL 41, An Important Play Lost in the Chaos: Check it out and discuss! […]

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