Film School: Patriots vs Chargers Divisional Round
Like I said last week. These exams count kids. I was gonna say each one is 33% of our grade from here on out. Then I was like nah that doesn't make sense because now that we've beaten the Chargers this game means nothing. We are on to more important topics. But then I was like actually yes that makes sense. Because if we lose Sunday we would only get a 33 out of 100 for the year. A massive failure. Anne Frankly not returning to the bowl feels like a massive failure. If (when) we beat the Chiefs, and then we were to turn around and lose the bowl, we would score a 66 out of 100 for the year. Also a big fat F. In these parts, losing in the bowl does mean that season is an F. So I hate to call this class a pass/fail, because that makes it sound like a joke, but that's our reality. We can get a 33, a 66, or a 100. (Bowl is worth 34%) But the reason we didn't get a zero is because we returned to AFCCG. Lets find out how. Class is officially in session.
For the first time in a long time I really enjoyed myself picking out the lesson plan for the offense. That first half was like watching Jack Shepard do surgery. Like watching Craig Schwartz use puppets. (Deep cut) Like watching Dr. Don Shirley play piano. Yea, I saw Green Book. It's dope. The play I've chosen is beautiful for so many reasons. One of them is because I wanted to show why Gronk the Blocker is a valuable asset to this team. But mostly I want to show ways we can hurt teams in the play action game. I think that is going to be MASSIVE on Sunday. We have to control the line, bully them up front with the run, and hit them where it hurts (the dick) with play action.
On a dreaded second and long, which is usually run territory, we line up 3 wide. Hoags and Jules to Tom's left. Patterson (get off the team) to the right. Sony in the single back. We motion Gronk across the formation and he comes to a stop just behind the line, close to a fullback position. This position from Gronk is a run look and we know it and the Chargers know it and we know that they know it.
Ok lot happening on the snap here. At the bottom of the screen Melvin Ingram is running a stunt. Mount Trent and Thuney are doing a reasonably good job of communicating this. Trent is trying to hand off Ingram and slide over to take the the DT that Thuney is blocking. Andrews and Shaq Daddy both release into the second level. Again, a clear sign of a run play. They're ready to take on the crashing linebackers. This works because the chargers only send 4 rushers from their front 7. Blocker Gronk is able to fill Shaq Daddy's spot on the interior, with Cannon doing his thing at Right Tackle. The DB covering Patterson at the top of the screen is coming on a blitz, but that's ok for two reasons. One, after the fake we trust Sony in blitz pick up to handle that pressure. And two, we've designed a chip from Patterson before he goes into his route. This is to further disguise the run. It's hard to capture it in a screen shot, but when Patterson goes into a wham block against the corner, the safety can start to creep forward because he's sold on the run.
Once the safety sees Patterson roll off the block and Sony doesn't have the ball, he knows its a fake, but he thinks he's good because Patterson peels off into a shallow out route. The safety jumps up because with the blitzing corner, that's his job. Patterson is nude and he needs to make that play. You can see him drive on the route. Not circled, you can see another safety, Phillips #31, who was playing a pseudo linebacker role, is also out of position. He bought the run fake and is trying to recover. Both of them have left their spot in the deep middle/right of the of the field.
Which is a problem because that's precisely where Jules is headed. The Chargers behaved exactly how we expected them to, creating a vacancy in that area of the field. Patterson was a perfect decoy and you can see all three safety trying to scramble back, running around the field like chickens with their dicks cut off. We hit Jules for a big gain on second and long and move the sticks, on the way to our second effortless touchdown drive.
If the run game is working I promise you the play action will be a huge spark for this offense.
On defense the first half was also a treasure trove of talking points. Needless to say the name of the game on Sunday is going to be third downs. I'm on record with my boys already saying if Chiefs punt twice we win. I'm not sure if that will be true but when have I ever been wrong before? The third and shorts I can give them. You're welcome. But the third and longs I gotta have. I'm talking 7+ I just gotta have them. Here's one the Chargers were facing when the game was just about out of hand. However, if they score on this drive and horseshoe, very very possible at this juncture, then its 28-21 when we get the ball next and we've got a tilt on our hands. So despite the score, this a was a big drive. 3rd and 10, Flip has trips right, a WR to the left, and a running back next to him in shotgun. We're doing that amoeba defense move, which I love so much. Three DBs at the top, one DB at the bottom, and then SIX guys loading the box with only a single player with his hand in the ground. MY BOY Trey Flowers.
On the snap, the key here for Rivers is always going to be who is actually coming. Well we send MY BOY Trey, Simon, Van Noy, and HIGH. Dev and Chung drop back. When looking at the personnel presnap, that makes sense. Those are the four you expect to rush. But by lining up like a floating blob the way we do, at least it makes Flip wonder for an extra second who it's gonna be. The three DBs at the top are communicating the trips. JC has the receiver at the bottom. And the extra wrinkle is you have a double stunt from the four rushers. Both HIGH and Simon, who I've highlighted, are coming around the corner to crash the middle of the line.
Now finally here goes Gordon on a delayed release. He's Flip's "break glass in case of emergency" option on this play. And Flip does have an emergency on his hands, because HIGH's stunt is effective. He is able to crash through the Guard and get in Flip's face. With no time to let his other routes develop Flip is forced to throw to Gordon in the flat. Remember, this is 3rd and 10, but that could still convert if you didn't have the two guys who didn't rush, Chung and Dev, doing their job in hot pursuit of the running back.
This would fall incomplete, but even if he caught it the Pats were forcing a punt here because Chung is all over him. That stopped the horseshoe and eventually we went up 35-7 at half, essentially ending the game.
We don't need to shut down Pattie and KC. We just need to confuse them on two or three third downs. It doesn't sound like a lot to ask but it is. That offense is a wagon. But if we can make him throw a few into the dirt and get the ball back it will turn the game in our favor. I know we can score on these clowns. If our D can find a way to disguise pressure and disguise coverage and get off the field on third down, then we going to the ship.