Editor's Note: This was bumped from the FanPost section. Exemplary work, Jon. - BG
It is 3rd-and-6 at the Buffalo 39, and the game is tied 7-7.
The Buffalo Bills come out in an empty look, but the New York Giants show blitz with no safety in the middle of the field. Ryan Fitzpatrick brings David Nelson into the backfield and tells the offensive line to slide protection to the right. The DB covering Nelson motions in with him. Looks like man coverage all around.
The Giants, however, are not blitzing; they are actually in Cover 2, with the two outside corners taking the deep halves and the slot corners taking the flats. The two linebackers fake the blitz and have the hook zones, and the DB covering Nelson is almost spying him, playing a robber in the middle of the field. Teams are obviously on to the fact that the Bills like to go to Nelson short over the middle on third downs.
The Bills are actually not in a good protection scheme here, as Nelson has to come across Fitzpatrick and block a DE 1-on-1, while Chris Hairston is blocking air as the ILB that shows blitz drops back in coverage. The Bills have a spacing type play called with a hook by Steve Johnson as the strong side split end and a stick route by Naaman Roosevelt in the weak slot. Meanwhile, Fred Jackson in the right side slot runs a shallow post / deep drag, and Brad Smith as the weak side outside receiver is running a go route. I'm guessing had Nelson not been motioned to the backfield, he would have run something to the flat, giving Fitzpatrick a vertical/horizontal stretch of the defense. Roosevelt does a great job of getting in between the flat defender (the CB) and the hook defender (ILB). If you watch the play closely, the ILB that was supposed to be in the hook zone is yelling when the ball is snapped and is late getting back to his zone. The other ILB gets back in time and does a good job covering Jackson.
This play is designed to put pressure on the hook defender in the zone; if he is able to get to the stick, Jackson should come open behind him. It just so happened that the slot corner going to the flat and the ILB not getting back is a perfect storm, and leads to a wide open receiver.
There a couple reasons why Roosevelt is able to score on this play. The first, as I mentioned above, is that the ILB is late in his drop (yellow circle). Look at how the other ILB is in coverage as a good comparison. The second is the flat defender slips on the play while making a break on the ball (red circle). Finally both outside corners that have the deep halves take terrible angles to the ball. Both angles are way too shallow - and then to make matters worse, they run into each other. It took one screwup to make it an easy completion, and it took three others to mess up to make it a TD.
Give lots of credit to Nelson, who was able to get enough of Osi Umenyiora to give Fitzpatrick time to throw the ball. Also, Roosevelt showed some speed and vision being able to sit down in the zone in the correct place and being able to find the open field and make a play when the opportunity was there.
I hope you guys liked this. Comments and thoughts welcomed.