For a second straight week, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman came up with a great script for the offense to start the game during last week's 41-14 win over Miami.
Even though they lost in Week 2 against New England, the Bills had a perfect start to the game, moving down the field with ease and ending the drive with a touchdown. The Miami game showed the same great planning by the coaching staff. Roman used a combination of play-action, motion, and easy, defined reads for the quarterback to start both games with perfection. Let's look at the Miami plays in a bit more detail.
To start the game, Charles Clay motioned into the backfield to look like a lead blocker, something the Bills often do. This time it was a play-action pass however, and Clay sneaks into the left flat for an easy gain. Notice the Miami linebackers pursuing the play fake.
Good easy throw to start the game... look at the Miami LB's go after the run fake pic.twitter.com/F16aLG9UJ8— YardsPerPass.com (@YardsPerPass) September 30, 2015
The second play was another play-action pass; Miami again sold out on the run and failed to keep backside contain on Tyrod Taylor. These throws were being checked down to the short man against New England, but this time, Taylor sees Clay wide open for a nice gain. Another clearly-defined read for the quarterback. If teams are going to allow these types of plays against the Bills, they are going to be in deep trouble.
Go right back to the play action... Easy read, Harvin holds the flat defender and Sammy runs off the deep zone pic.twitter.com/Uj6iFQnNdJ— YardsPerPass.com (@YardsPerPass) September 30, 2015
Play No. 3 is just a quick screen to Percy Harvin - nothing fancy, but with Sammy Watkins and Harvin outside, these types of plays can be easy yardage for the offense.
3rd play... quick screen to Harvin, basically a long hand off pic.twitter.com/cZ2frSzwF6— YardsPerPass.com (@YardsPerPass) September 30, 2015
Another play-action pass! I like it when coaches keep going to something that is working. If Miami is going to keep being over-aggressive, then make them pay. This play is called swap-boot, as the receiver actually comes away from the play fake, back behind the line of scrimmage. This is another easy half-field read for Taylor. If you want to get your quarterback going in a game, give him these easy reads to start out with. The misdirection again fools Miami, and a quick flip to Robert Woods gains almost 20 yards. The slot back blitzed on the play, but Taylor wasn't flustered in the least, and just flipped it over his head.
4th play, Swap-boot, Woods gets lost and a little flip goes for almost 20... another easy throw/read for the QB pic.twitter.com/EdueQSKdge— YardsPerPass.com (@YardsPerPass) September 30, 2015
Finally, the touchdown pass, otherwise known as Clay announcing his return to Miami. I will be the first to admit that I thought the money paid to Clay was a bit much, but I also had no idea how athletic Clay was. A guy that big shouldn't be able to shake three defenders in the open field like that.
Now, stop me if you have heard this before, but this was a play-action pass. What I liked best about it was the wrinkle of motioning Harvin to tailback; that just screams "gimmick play," except that it was all a ruse.
This was a planned deep ball to Watkins, but even though the Dolphins' front seven again bit hard on the run fake, the deep zone defenders did a good job staying back on the deep route. Taylor, however, knew that he had Clay coming across on a check-down. He hit him with an easy toss, and Clay did the rest. Again, the clearly-defined reads for Taylor: look for Watkins, check down to Clay, or run.
Finally the TD... designed to hit 14 deep. I like the motion of Harvin to RB, sells the PA well, Clay is a check down pic.twitter.com/lZZNOwtjXV— YardsPerPass.com (@YardsPerPass) September 30, 2015
Last year, Chip Kelly gave a great quote in one of his press conferences when asked about his offensive system. He said, "I would say any system that's not QB friendly, then it's probably a bad system."
It is a brilliant quote when you really think about it: a coach's job is to make things as clear as possible for his players, and that is what I think Roman is doing for Taylor. He's incorporating lots of confusion for the defense with motion, shifts and formation changes, but clearly-spelled out for his young quarterback who, thus far, is executing those play calls masterfully.
Finally, a quick thanks to everyone who responded on twitter with ideas this week, espeically to @PeterMCarpenter who had the idea to look at the first drive in its entirety. See everyone next week!