Nice to see the Bills dust off a few blitzes last game, they really sent a bunch of different players multiple times and John Beck looked like he had no idea what was going on. Looking back at the game, our defense really played well, Dareus got a lot of credit, but I felt Dwan Edwards had just as strong of a game. Moats was also a terror off the edge, he belongs at OLB.
But enough about defense... today I am going to look at Scott Chandler's 2nd TD against Washington, he scored on a play commonly known as a snag pattern
It's 3rd and 1 at the Washington 15. 11 minutes left in the 3rd Q, Bills up 13-0
Bills are in a 2TE, 2WR, 1RB (12 or ace) formation and motion Lee Smith across the formation. Your receivers from left to right are Nelson, Smith, Chandler, Johnson w/ Jackson in the backfield.
Obviously this looks like a run formation to the left. You have have 2 TE's in the game, you then motion your best blocking TE across to the other side creating an extra gap to worry about on the left and it's 3rd and 1, I would be thinking run too if I was the redskins.
Oh those tricky Bills... it isn't a run on 3rd and 1, it's not even a playaction pass, it is a regular dropback pass.
The redskins have 8 in the box, and have a press look on the outside with the lone safety hovering ever so close to Stevie Johnson. What defense are the redskins playing? Why it is cover 1 man... again. Teams love playing this defense against Buffalo because they can take away the short middle and they are not afraid of getting beat deep by a WR. The circled defenders are the zone defenders while the other defenders have red lines showing who they are matched up with man to man. The defender that has Jackson drops back into coverage when he realizes Freddie is staying in to block.
The Bills are running a Snag route combination to the left which is a smash variant. What smash does is create a high-low read for the QB where there is a usually a hook underneath with a corner pattern over the top of it. What the snag combo does is create a horizontal stretch as well. The outside receiver runs what looks like a slant, but suddenly stops, (the snag pattern) while another receiver (usually the RB, but in this case a TE) runs a shoot pattern to the flat. All the while having the same corner pattern run over the top of it. Against a zone defense this can cause great problems... Gailey is trying to play 3 on 2 here with Fitz making the correct read. Kind of like how a hockey team will play 3 on 2 along the half-wall on the power play. Usually teams run a man beater on the other side of this, and the Bills do this too, w/ Stevie on the slant (he was open). Fitz, however saw the double coverage presnap and didn't even look that way, knowing he had man coverage on the other side. So even though the snag route combo is supposed to be a zone-beater, a corner pattern is still a tough cover man to man for a ILB on a TE.
And here is how Chandler gets so open (along with the slight push he gives on his break to the corner). Look at how much the Redskins are thinking run, every single linebacker takes at least 1 false step towards the LOS. There wasn't even a run-fake! Yet every linebacker, is now at the 12/13 yard line instead of at the 10 where they lined up. You can't take false steps like that and be successful in coverage.
Here is what Fitz sees just before he releases the ball and when Chandler is making his break. The coverage is actually pretty good. Nelson is blanketed, Smith is covered as well and while Stevie has separation, his pre-snap read took him to the left. However, look at the yellow circle, there is no deep middle defender... nobody there, all Fitz has to do is lay the ball up there and count on Chandler being able to beat Fletcher to the ball.
I circled Chandler and Fletcher in yellow to show the separation Chandler got on the aging linebacker. That is wide open in the NFL. Fitz does a great job throwing him open and putting the ball in an area that will either be a TD or incomplete. Lastly I drew a triangle with red to show how Gailey's route combinations create triangles. This creates both vertical and horizontal stretches of the defense and really puts zone defenders in binds. It is up to Fitz to make the proper reads on the defenders (reading 2 guys) and throwing the ball to the appropriate receiver, who at the moment might not be open. Next time you watch, take a look at how often Gailey creates triangles in his passing game.
Looking ahead to this week, the Jets will mostly like put Revis on Johnson and really sit on the underneath stuff. It will be very important to make the Jets respect the deep parts of the field. Screens and draws can be very effective against the many different blitzes that the Jets run, so look for a lot of those.
Comments and thoughts always welcomed,