Sometimes, picking a play for this spot is difficult. Other times – like this week – it picks itself.

I wanted to talk about a couple plays in this space, mainly because I really liked the last two plays of this game and wanted to look at both of them together.

2nd and 1. Bucs in Cover 1 Man Under. Packers put Randall Cobb [18] in motion, going right to left. We’ve seen this look quite a bit this season. On this occasion, Brett Hundley [7] fakes the handoff to Cobb, then comes back to Jamaal Williams [30], going left-to-right, running under Cobb.

Ryan Russell [95] sees Williams sneaking out of the backfield and tries to hook him off the edge, but he can’t quite get there. Good recognition by Russell, who stays with Hundley to keep him from scrambling.

Meanwhile, Kwon Alexander [58] is matched up man-to-man with Williams. To get underneath Cobb, Williams takes a few steps towards the line of scrimmage before heading to the flat. This movement upfield gets Alexander out of position. The movement upfield causes Alexander to take a step to his right before coming back to his left. That delay gives Williams all the separation he needs. Easy pitch-and-catch. Williams is able to break Alexander’s tackle attempt and pick up a few more yards before stepping out of bounds.

12 yard gain on 2nd and 1.

Since this isn’t a full rollout for Hundley, he still has other options on the table. Richard Rodgers [82] runs an angle route off the left side, creating some nice separation by running at his defender then disengaging and releasing to the middle. If Williams isn’t open, Rodgers is.

Same for Jordy Nelson [87] on the left. He sells the go route before giving a step to the outside and cutting inside to the post. With the middle of the defense sucked in by the play fake and watching the pre-snap path of Cobb, Nelson has a ton of room to work with.

And here we are. Overtime. 1st and 10 at the Bucs’ 20 yard line.

The Packers are looking to run this to the right. The right side of the line is downblocking to seal the edge. Aaron Ripkowski [22] is the lead blocker. Ripkowski and the pulling Lane Taylor [65] are tasked with blocking out off the end of the line, opening a hole for Aaron Jones [33].

David Bakhtiari [69] is the lone man on the left, blocking out on Will Clarke [94] to cut off back side pursuit and to open a cutback lane. But Jones gets too deep into the line and Justin Evans [21] shoots the gap from the safety spot, so that cutback lane was never really there.

Jones gets close to the line, steps back and heads back to the left.

I mentioned Evans shooting the gap. After shooting that gap, he sees a hole opening in the middle, so he hits that hard. Jones briefly looks there but escapes when Evans plugs it. With Evans gone from that side of the line, Jones is free. Clarke tries to come back off the end of the line, but he can’t get there in time. Brent Grimes [24] is deep with Jordy Nelson [87] but Nelson holds the block well.

Evans got overaggressive in trying to plug the hole in the middle and it cost the Bucs the game. If Jones had hit that hole in the middle, it’s unlikely he would have picked up much yardage. Chris Baker [90] is holding down the middle and is in a great position to bring down Jones at the line.

Lack of contain by the Bucs, combined with a good run by Jones and a good block by Nelson allowed the Packers to escape with a win. They don’t always have to be pretty.


Album listened to: Frankie Rose – Cage Tropical

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