On the first ever playoff edition of One Big Play, let’s take a look at two big plays. Let’s get wild. Let’s stay up past 11:00 pm and eat crackers in bed. Really get weird with it, ya know?

I don’t know what I’m saying. I blame playoff madness.

With 3:45 remaining in the first half, the Packers found themselves down by a score of 6-0. Not a bad deficit, especially considering how poor they looked at times, but still less than ideal. The Packers ran this play on 1st and 10.

Davante Adams [17] is the outside receiver to the right, while Jared Cook [89] is in the slot to that side.

Aaron Rodgers [12] sees two deep safeties before the snap. If the Giants are playing Cover 2, it’s unlikely that Rodgers throws this pass. Directly before the snap, one safety rotates down while the other fades back to the middle. That tells Rodgers that the Giants are in Cover 1, and that Adams will be man-to-man up the sideline against Eli Apple [24] with no safety help. He knows he’s going to Adams as soon as he sees the safeties shift.

Rodgers gets the snap, steps back a few yards and throws a perfect pass to Adams up the sideline.

If the Giants wait until after the snap to show that movement, Rodgers would have to take a beat after the snap to read that movement. Since it happens immediately before the snap, he’s able to determine where he’s going with the ball before the ball is snapped.

Let’s look at it from another angle.

Adams keeps enough room between himself and the sideline that Rodgers can throw the ball to the outside – creating space between Adams and Apple – and allow Adams to catch it while staying in bounds. It’s a great route by Adams and a great throw by Rodgers.

A couple plays later, the Packers faced 2nd and goal from the 5 yard line. Davante Adams [17] starts in the slot to the left of the line, with Jared Cook [89] on the outside. At the snap, Adams runs a slant while Cook runs a fade. When no one is open on the initial break, it becomes a scramble drill. The offensive line gives Aaron Rodgers [12] a ton of time to dance around in the pocket and wait for someone to get open. As it turns out, it never happens, but having a receiver open has never been a deterrent to Rodgers. He eventually gets flushed to his left, where he sees a sliver of space to fit the ball to Adams. It helps that Coty Sensabaugh [30] isn’t looking back at Rodgers, but there still isn’t much room to fit the pass. Yet, somehow, Rodgers found a way. He snuck it past Sensabaugh and Adams made a terrific catch.

Let’s look at it from another angle.

Just watch how Rodgers maneuvers the pocket. I love how he ends up circling Johnathan Hankins [90], while T.J. Lang [70] fights him every step of the way. I’ve said it before, but Rodgers’ movement in the pocket is otherworldly, and it’s on full display here. And, of course, the throw is just ridiculous. Off-balance, to the corner of the end zone with only one spot to fit it. I have no idea how he does these things.

Let’s just watch nothing but that throw for a minute.

Before I finish, I want you to just watch this gif and follow a different lineman every time you watch it. They’re all doing an incredible job of fighting to give Rodgers time, while keeping a clean pocket and not holding. Remarkable blocking.

One last thing: here’s a screenshot of the moment when Rodgers started throwing this pass. You can see Adams in the top left.

I don’t know what made Rodgers think he could complete this pass, but he was right. He always is. That’s why I come up here.


Album listened to: Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle

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