Giants 27, Bills 24: Breakdown Of Fred Jackson's TD

Hey guys. First of all, I want to thank everyone for all of the positive feedback on my first post. I really enjoy the X's and O's of football, and would be glad to do one or two a week if people want to read them.

I first did this breakdown for another site, but it really didn't get much feedback there, so I will post it here so others can see it as well.

Also, I saw that Matt Bowen broke this down on NFP, but I disagree with his assessment that it is like a counter play. This is because the O-Line zone blocks to the left, and there is no pulling lineman leading Fred Jackson. Corey McIntyre does come across the formation blocking the end to seal off the backside in a "pseudo-trap" block, but the line zone blocks with no lead. This is the University of Nevada's base running play. Like Picasso said: "Good artists borrow... the great ones steal."

It's first and 10 for the Bills at the their own 20; Giants are up 7-0.

Here is the pre-snap look. The Giants come out in what looks like press man, with a deep safety - something the Bills have been seeing a lot of lately, and did see a ton of through out the whole game. The Bills have C.J. Spiller out wide left, David Nelson in the slot left, Mcintyre in the backfield, Jackson in the right slot and Stevie Johnson out wide right. It's a three-back, two-receiver formation.Remember this is early in the game, and the Giants probably didn't know that Spiller would be a de facto receiver in this game. Jackson motions from the slot into the backfield for a pistol look.

Quick pistol aside here: The pistol is a hybrid shotgun formation, designed by Nevada coach Chris Ault back in 2004. Basically, he wanted to use the benefits of the shotgun for his QB, but also allows his backs to run downhill. The QB stands a few yards closer to the center and the RB can align at seven yards deep. It also allows for better play-action out of a shotgun spread formation. One prediction I'd like to make here is that at some point in the season we might see the diamond formation out of the pistol, where there is a back to each side of Ryan Fitzpatrick and one behind him.

This looks like a basic inside zone running play where the line all moves to the left. Covered linemen block the guy in front of them, and uncovered linemen double team at first, then move on to the second level. Chris Hairston takes the end out of the play. Andy Levitre helps Eric Wood with his block and then and goes and gets a linebacker. Wood takes care of the DT, Kraig Urbik makes the key block by absolutely destroying the other DT, and Erik Pears goes to double team the DT, but doesn't need to and goes and picks up the other linebacker. Finally, Mcintyre kicks out the first guy he sees on the right, which happens to be the end. However, there are only six blockers and seven Giants defenders in the box. Freddy needs to make one guy miss.

I circled the two combo blocks in green. The combinations of Wood/Levitre and Urbik/Pears do a great job of combo blocking at the snap, and then Pears and Levitre slip off and get a linebacker as well. As I said before, what makes the play and opens the lane is Urbik just destroying the DT he is blocking; Pears doesn't even really have to help at all on the DT. The free man circled in red is the guy that had Jackson in man coverage pre-snap and is unblocked.

I circled Urbik in green again to show how far he moved his guy down the line of scrimmage. Also to be noticed is the great job Pears does in turning the 'backer and creating a huge hole for Jackson to run through. The red circle i the DB that was covering Jackson; he didn't really have that much of a shot at him as he was filling the gap he was supposed to, but Urbik's destruction in the middle leaves Jackson a huge hole, with only the safety in front of him. This really illustrates how gap responsibility is so important to a defense. If one guy can't keep his gap under control, even though everyone else is doing what they are supposed to, it can lead to a big gain.

The rest is all Freddy, totally juking the safety and basically running away from everyone on his way to the end zone. Looking back on this, the Giants were in a pretty good situation at the start of the play to stop the run, but a great job by our line gave Freddy a giant (pun intended) hole to run through. From looking at other things, I noticed that the Giants' secondary really didn't have a good day tackling; I don't know if it was a one-game anomaly or if this is something that has been going on all season. Both big plays could have been stopped for 10-15 yard gains instead of touchdowns.

I think that will be all for this week as far as breakdowns... I'll probably look either at Fitzpatrick's interceptions or something by the defense next week while we wait for the Redskins. Again, thank you for all of the great feedback, special thanks to Chris Brown (of smartfootball) who I've learned a lot from. I appreciate it greatly, and thoughts and comments are welcome.


Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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