Talons B Sharp
- Sep 26, 2012
- AFL Club
Mr Tom Brady is my new friend and confidant.. we have all the ducks in a row and also we have a measure of never getting too old people..
Hopefully this works
The bye week before the Super Bowl is a game-changer. The extra time allows teams to change their stripes a bit and install tailored game plans. Though Andy Reid has been the coach lauded for the strategic dominance over the league, Bruce Arians and his staff were able to checkmate Reid before the fourth quarter by drastically changing their identity on both sides of the ball.
Throughout the regular season and up to the NFC Championship game, the Bucs used play-action at the lowest rate in the NFL, only using play-action on 20 percent of dropbacks. In the Super Bowl, they used play-action on 43 percent of dropbacks. And in the regular season, when they used play-action, they were looking to take shots. In the Super Bowl, they used play-action to get receivers open quickly in the short and intermediate parts of the field. In the regular season, Brady had an average depth of target (aDOT) of 11.2 yards. In the Super Bowl, he had an aDOT of 8.8 yards. Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich had a brilliant plan and the offense executed and was remarkably efficient, scoring 31 points in three quarters.
But enough about offense, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and the Bucs’ defense were the true stars of the show. They didn’t allow one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses and one of the most talented quarterbacks that we have ever seen to score a single touchdown. The Chiefs’ offensive line was injury-riddled — it only had two of their five Week 1 starters available against one of the best four-man rushes in the NFL featuring Shaquil Barrett, Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Before the game, everyone knew the mismatch was glaring and it threatened to wreak havoc on Patrick Mahomes. But we’ve seen Mahomes thrive in chaos, he’s the master of escape and making ridiculous throws from the most awkward positions. Bowles couldn’t blitz at a high rate like he normally does and leave his secondary in one-on-one situations against the Chiefs’ weapons and he couldn’t rely on a four-man pass rush without a plan to keep Mahomes in the pocket. So, Bowles kept two safeties deep nearly the entire game and turned the Bucs’ fierce pass rush into a coordinated attack.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Bucs blitzed on just 9.6 percent of dropbacks, which is the lowest rate by defenses coordinated by Bowles in the last five seasons. Bowles blitzed early in the game and then relied on simulated pressures and defensive line games with bringing more than four defenders as the game progressed.
On third downs, the Bucs frequently used an odd front with Vea at the nose and Pierre-Paul and Barrett lined up in a two-point stance on the edges. Linebackers Devin White and Lavonte David mugged both guards.
11:34 remaining in the first quarter, third-and-8
Against odd fronts, offenses will usually call man protection. On this play, the center was responsible for the nose, the guards had the linebackers, and the tackles had the ends.
The Bucs called end/linebacker twists on both sides. The ends crashed inside first to occupy the tackles, while the linebackers looped outside of them.
Right tackle Andrew Wylie (No. 77) should have passed off the end to the guard sooner, but he went too far inside and couldn’t recover in time to block White looping outside.
Mahomes got rid of the ball but both linebackers were able to get into the backfield rather easily. The pass fell incomplete and the Chiefs were forced to punt on their first offensive possession.
Instead of relying on his four-man pass to get home, Bowles tested the Chiefs’ patchwork offensive line’s ability to communicate and pass off with timely blitz calls, twists and stunts.
On their next drive, the Chiefs drove the ball into Bucs’ territory but Tampa Bay’s cleverly disguised aggressive blitz scheme forced Kansas City to settle for a field goal.
5:37 remaining in the first quarter, third-and-8
The defense initially showed a three safety deep look with an odd front, which is the trendy way to play Tampa-2 (a form of cover 2 zone with a defender in the hole between the two safeties). However, the outside corner to the boundary (top of the image) and the nickel to the field (bottom of the image) blitzed and the defense would drop into a three-deep, three underneath fire zone coverage.
The Chiefs once again called man protection against the Chiefs odd front.
This time, both linebackers dropped into coverage. The ends crashed inside to occupy the tackles, while the defensive backs rushed from the outside. Left tackle Mike Remmers (No. 75) went too far inside with Pierre-Paul and didn’t see the corner blitz until it was too late.
Whenever Pierre-Paul crashed inside, he didn’t really make a big effort to rush. Instead, he kept his eyes on Mahomes to make sure he was in a position to pursue if the quarterback scrambled.
Mahomes was able to step up and make the corner miss. While running horizontally to his left, Mahomes launched a perfect touch pass from an awkward position to Tyreek Hill running toward the sideline.
The ball went over safety Antoine Winfield’s outstretched arm but Winfield did just enough to distract Hill. The pass hit Hill on the facemask and he was unable to make the catch.
Though the pass was spectacular, Mahomes hasn’t been as productive when he’s flushed out of the pocket to his left. According to Sportradar, on 47 passes when he’s flushed to his left, Mahomes hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass and has been intercepted twice. When he’s flushed out to his right, he’s thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Bowles was well aware of that and most of their four-man pass rush plan was designed to get him running left. Barrett was key in getting Mahomes to do that.
9:47 remaining in the second quarter, third-and-8
Here, the Bucs were again in their odd front with both linebackers mugged on the guards. This time, Barrett’s job was to speed rush Wylie (right tackle). Vea rushed the A-gap to the offensive right to help flush Mahomes to the left. The end opposite of Barrett rushed inside of Remmers (left tackle) to occupy him and keep White free. White’s job was to spy Mahomes but aggressively chase him once he got flushed left.
Barrett did his job and quickly beat Wylie with a rip move. Because the end to his left crashed inside, Mahomes thought he had space there and started drifting in that direction. However, White attacked the line of scrimmage as soon as he saw Mahomes move left.
The Bucs defensive line surrounded Mahomes but he somehow slipped through and threw a pass that landed right in tight end Travis Kelce’s hands, but he uncharacteristically dropped it.
Another way that Bowles deployed this strategy without using an inside linebacker was calling an E-T stunt to Mahomes’ left.
5:52 remaining in the second quarter, first-and-10
Here, Barrett’s job was again to speed rush off the offensive right’s side to flush Mahomes to his left. David bluffed the A-gap to get the center to turn away from the stunt. On the left, the end would crash inside, but instead of White pursuing Mahomes outside like in the previous example, defensive tackle Steve McLendon did.
The Bucs weren’t really concerned with Mahomes scrambling for yards to his left. They wanted to flush him in that direction and as long as they had a player pursuing him, they were OK with the results whether he ran or had to make an amazing throwing to his weak side. “
"(Mahomes is) a great quarterback,” Bowles said after the game. “But for the most part, you know if he’s not throwing the ball 30 yards down the field, we’ll take those 5- and 8-yard runs all day.”
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the Bucs played two-deep safeties on 59-of-68 plays (87 percent), which is the highest rate by a Bowles-led defense in a game in the last five seasons. For most of the game, their ability to pressure with only four allowed them to sit back in coverage and take away deep passes. They played a lot of 2-man (man-to-man with two deep safeties), which made it difficult for the Chiefs to run their screen package and “solo” coverage.
When playing the Chiefs, defenses know they have to account for Hill running a crosser out of a three-by-one formation with Hill lined as the No. 3 receiver and Kelce isolated to the weakside.
1:35 remaining in the second quarter, third-and-6
With solo, the weakside safety (safety on the one-receiver side) looks for a deep crosser coming from the three-receiver side. The weakness in this defense is that it leaves the isolated receiver one-on-one. When that isolated receiver is Kelce, that could be problematic for defenses.
On this play, the Chiefs had Hill run a deep crosser and Kelce run a China stick route in which he faked like he was breaking outside before going back inside. Against the Browns in the divisional round of the playoffs, Kelce got wide open on this same concept against cornerback Denzel Ward.
Kelce broke cornerback Jamel Dean like he did Ward and got wide open. He looked to have plenty of space to make a catch for the first down, but Mahomes was instantly pressured and couldn’t get the ball to Kelce.
Up front, the defense lined in an even front. On the offensive left, Vea lined up on the edge, while Pierre-Paul was inside to take advantage of a complete speed mismatch against left guard Nick Allegretti.
David mugged the offensive left A-gap to get the center to turn in his direction.
Barrett had been beating Wylie with speed rushes on the outside early in the game, but this time, he faked going outside causing Wylie to overset before cutting inside of him. Suh looped outside of Barrett to contain Mahomes.
The center didn’t turn toward David but the outside linebacker at least got Austin Reiter to look at him. With his attention on David, Reiter couldn’t help on Barrett’s inside move.
Barrett and Pierre-Paul quickly won their matchups and had free lanes toward Mahomes. Vea’s ability to bull rush and go through Remmers rather than around him made him an effective contain player to Mahomes’ left.
Barrett and Pierre-Paul’s quick pressure and discipline staying in their rush lanes forced Mahomes to throw the ball away on third down. This red-zone stop was pivotal because the Bucs were only up 14-6 after the field goal and it preserved time for their own offense to drive for a touchdown before halftime to increase their lead to 21-6.
The Chiefs received the second-half kickoff and drove into Bucs’ territory, but once again their drive was halted by a scheme designed to flush Mahomes to his left.
12:00 remaining in the third quarter, third-and-7
The Bucs lined up with Vea, Suh and Barrett to the right, causing the offense to slide its protection that way. Suh’s job was to bull rush Wylie to flush Mahomes to the left. On the left side, Pierre-Paul crashed inside to occupy Remmers.
This time, Barrett had to come all the way from the right across to the left to pursue Mahomes.
Suh did his job and pushed
o Mahomes’ lap, causing him to run left. As soon as he took a step left, Barrett was in his face. Credit to Pierre-Paul, who took Remmers inside and shortened the corner for Barrett. Pierre-Paul didn’t stop there. After going inside, he kept his eyes on Mahomes.
When Mahomes tried to reverse field to get away from Barrett, Pierre-Paul saw him and contained him to the right.
Barrett and Pierre-Paul nearly sandwiched Mahomes, who had to throw the ball across his body to Kelce. Whenever David was matched up on Kelce, he had tight coverage without much help. On this play, he was able to plaster on Kelce despite Mahomes buying time. The pass fell incomplete and the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal again. The score would be their last of the day. On the next possession, the Bucs scored a touchdown to increase their lead to 28-9 and put the game out of reach.
Could Reid have protected Mahomes better with a different game plan? Yes. “(Bowles) got us,” Reid said after the game. The Chiefs’ offensive line was completely mismatched against the Bucs’ star-studded defensive front, and the discrepancy was magnified by Bowles’ cleverly tailored game plan. The secondary held up its side of the bargain and took away the deep ball and the defensive line applied relentless pressure while keeping Mahomes contained. In the end, the Bucs’ combination of talent and smarts proved to be too much for the Chiefs to overcome. (Top photo: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)
Yeah Fisher was a loss but don’t think he would have changed the result. Schwartz had missed most of the season anyway. Both guys may not even be back next season. Think combined they are a $25m cap hit, Fisher will be out for most if not all season anyway and doubts on Schwartz’s back injury.Still a great strategy for the game, probably still caused issues if Fisher was in
He couldve devised SOMETHING, something different, new wrinkles. Bowles didnt just sit pat. Its the SB. Same anger with McVays gameplan in the SB loss to the Pats, didnt do anything different, no wrinkles, same gameplan theyd be doing all year, and they were sh*t on O that gameim not sure what Spags could of done. the pass rush wasn't getting home and blitzing would just expose the DB's more against a dangerous WR group.
You cant lean on a blitz without getting burned by it a few times. Even the DB's were in panic mode at times and grabbing to give up flags rather than TD's when they were in good position. which might go back to the struggles on O and not wanting to fall further behind.
It helped, but what Bowles did (as articulated in the article) was put pressure on the entire line which forced a lot of those mistakesIsn't that just an enormous paraphrase of "KC backup tackles were no good"?