Hop in the plane, gang! We’re going around the globe trying to solve a major crime. Carmen Sandiego has absconded with Stefon Diggs. He disappeared right out from under the noses of the Buffalo Bills’ offense. Time’s running out to put Diggs back where he belongs. Let’s harness our
geography football knowledge and cringe-worthy puns to figure this out. We’re off to Illinois, where rumor has it there was a brief Diggs sighting against the Chicago Bears.
Foiled by a necessary hot read
Early on in the game, we see Diggs running a long-developing route. While he does come free as designed, and Josh Allen’s arm is capable of fitting the ball in the window easily enough, the free rusher coming at Allen necessitates a faster option. Allen wisely takes the easy chunk to beat the blitz.
Double the coverage, double the fun
This happened a lot, and I suspect in a lot of other games as well. The Bears seem to have heard of this Diggs guy, and try to blanket him with defensive backs. This throw is probably possible, but the rushing yards were a lot higher percentage.
A missed opportunity
The answer, by the way, is “yes” — there were some missed opportunities to feed the ball to Diggs, and here’s a big one. Playing Devil’s Advocate, though, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that Allen assumed the deep safety would float toward Diggs. If Allen knew how this would have played out and thrown to Diggs, this might be a touchdown. Another thing to clarify: all games have missed opportunities like this one.
More pressure problems
For this play, I pause at about where I think Allen would be making the throw to Diggs to bring him open, assuming he makes the throw. If I timed it as right as I’d like to think, you can see that the pocket has already broken down, and Allen is having to go into self-preservation mode. This seems like a good play design to bring Diggs open, and if executed well, it may even be another missed touchdown opportunity.
Finally, a catch!
I won’t dive too much into the analysis here. Diggs runs a curl route and is open quickly. Allen throws it pretty much on time, and Diggs is able to get some yards after the catch.
Diggs the two-point decoy
I want to highlight a couple things here from the pause. The first is that the Bears are so worried about Diggs, they essentially completely forget about Khalil Shakir. This is about as easy of a score as you’ll see. The other thing I want to highlight is that Diggs is full-on celebrating and the ball is only halfway to Shakir. He’s also the first to run up and celebrate the score.
First and foremost, I don’t think there’s any issue with Diggs right now. He’s playing at the high level we’ve come to expect. He didn’t get the ball against the Bears as much as we’d have liked, due to a variety of factors. Quick pressure and double coverage from the Bears were huge components. Could schematic changes help? Yep. Putting Diggs into quicker-developing routes would likely do the trick. That said, the attention on Diggs did help free up his teammates.
I’d also like to add a blurb here on team chemistry. There’s been a little buzz that Diggs might be unhappy about his number of targets, and for the record, I’m not ruling it out. There’s still plenty of on-screen evidence, though, that he’s a team-first player.