How about that for a lesson plan?? That was like when Lupin shows up and they do Boggarts on the first day. Everyone's gonna be talking about that all week. For me it was more like the Bio class where you dissect guinea pigs. At first its pretty, then in the second half things gets messy, but at the end you learned a lot and came out holding your opponents heart in your hand. Shall we dive in? Class is officially in session.
Since there was plenty of good and bad on both sides of the ball last Sunday, I will mirror that here today. The first huge play of the game was the HIGH interception. I'm not counting the initial third down stop forcing the Chiefs opening FG because that was more on two missed throws than it was anything great by the defense.
This was an awesome scheme. Only two lineman with their hand on the ground. Guy and Shelton. MY BOY Trey Flowers, Van Noy, High, and Roberts are all standing up, hovering in the box. Plus you have Dev and Chung waaaay up on the line, showing an 8 man front. Chung will stay down there, but Dev will run with Kelce when he releases from the line. But where you really make your money with a pre snap formation like that is trying to confuse the OLine with who is rushing. Flowers and Van Noy go around the edges, which was to be expected. A standard 4 man rush with Guy and Shelton. But when Patty Mahomes sees Roberts go with Hunt out of the backfield that means he has to account for HIGH. There is no man responsibility left so is HIGH rushing or is he dropping into coverage.
High fakes the rush initially, and does a good enough of job of it to make Mahomes take his eyes off of him, trusting his OLine to handle the added pressure. What I love about High here is not only that he takes more than just one step forward, which you see all the time in these fake blitz looks, but also he intentionally gets himself lost in the scrum in front of Mahomes. Look at this, I doubt Patty could even see HIGH if he wanted too here.
All Patty knows is Kelce is going to turn in behind the linebackers and it appears to be wide open. But High instantly pulls back, gets under the route, and makes the play. If we're being super critical he almost misdiagnoses it and overpursues. He thinks Kelce might sit down instead of running all the way across the formation. Luckily, HIGH is athletic enough to get his hands up despite overrunning it by a few steps. This tweet shows a really cool angle of the play.
But for all the good scheming we did on Sunday Night there was plenty of broken coverage to go along with it. When the second half started I said I don't care if they score. The pick at the end of the first prevented the horseshoe so anything here is gravy. I will even live with a tuddy. But for the love of all things Brady just don't let them score instantly. A long 10 play drive that eats half the third quarter would have been fine with me. Instead, on their first third down, they drop a billion yard tuddy on my face to Kareem Hunt, who has made it his life's mission to shit on us. So what happened? Pre snap, we can see a two safety look. Usually that means they are splitting the deep middle of the field. Not always. But usually. Hunt is in the backfield, and is obviously going to release. Who picks him up depends on the call.
He kicks out into the flat, and with no other receiver split wide right we see J-Mac pick him up. Great. Kelce is running the seam, and Roberts is going with him initially. Kelce is going to turn his route inside, while Hunt is going to run a wheel up the sideline. The issue is Dev. He has his eyes focused on the middle of the field. Right now that's Kelce, but in a second will be Tyreek Hill.
Kelce cuts hard inside and Dev releases him into the coverage on the other side of the field. Hill has entered his air space and is trying to get free deep middle, so Dev is going with him. Roberts has turned his eyes on the QB, who is scrambling, to put pressure on him and prevent a first down run. On the right side of the field we can see Hunt NUDE up the sideline. J-Mac let him go expecting safety help.
On the broadcast Fillingsworth said that Dev blew his assignment there and should have been covering that half of the field. He knows a hell of a lot more about football than I do, but with the way the DBs reacted on the left side of the field it looked like they were playing deep thirds. To my very untrained and usually intoxicated eye it felt like J-Mac was responsible for anyone releasing deep up the sideline, and he mistakenly let Hunt go. I tend to trust the body language of the DBs. And no one looked at Dev with that palms up WTF look after the play, so I think J-Mac messed up and everyone went with the "no one is more mad at him than him" strategy. Either way, the identical twins were not on the same page here, and as it always goes in the NFL, that will cost you a big play. I've been thrilled with the way J-Mac has come on, so I'm not worried, just pointing out there is still room to grow.
On offense, we have something I highlighted last week but I feel the need to show it to you again. I don't even have a good look at it, but it was a massive play so take what you can get. This is third down and goal, trying to answer the Chief's opening tuddy. Flash is lined up here at the bottom of your screen. He's going to run an out route at the back of the end zone. The Chiefs are in zone D and will bracket him with the safety and the corner boxed in red here.
Tom has some time and wants Flash to sit down in the space between the DBs. I know this image sucks, but you can see that Flash keeps running into coverage. He doesn't run the wrong route. He's supposed to run an out to the sideline, but Brady sees that there is coverage that way and wants him to sit down in the window between the zone. That's where the throw comes, but its behind and admittedly a little high for Gordon, and we have to settle for 3.
These will become automatic when they get in a better rhythm in the second half of the season.
Considering I'm a phenomenal teacher I wouldn't leave you with a bad taste in your mouth like that, so why don't we end the lesson with something fun? In the all important drive after KC took the lead, Hoags stepped up big with a couple nice grabs. There was the bomb down the right sideline on third down, which he caught despite the DPI that was committed on the play. And then on the very next snap Brady got him again setting us up for first and goal from the five. On the play, Tommy motioned Jules into the backfield. We did that a few times on Sunday and I loved it. Had the Chiefs all out of sorts. Here we are pre snap.
The key to the entire play is how everyone sells it as soon as Tommy gets the ball. Jules bleeds to his left, illustrating a WR screen. Tommy has his eyes planted on Jules. That's step 1. Step 2 is Jules, who puts his hands up ready to catch the quick pass. Step 3 is Hoags breaks down ready to block the DB. He doesn't even look like he's thinking about running a route. This causes the corner on him to begin to make every effort to get around the block, and even more importantly it causes the safety to come rushes up the field to stop the play for a limited gain.
When Tommy doesn't throw to Jules and Hoags goes into his route its too late. Jules is sitting harmlessly behind the line of scrimmage, and both the safety and the corner are left with their dicks in their hands while Hoags streaks past them for an easy pitch and catch.
This was a great play design that set up the QB sneak heard round the world. And btw, even if Tom does get sacked on that play, there was a flag for defensive holding in the end zone so it would have been first and goal from the two. People don't forget.