Week in Review: Film Study: Dalton Stays One Step Ahead of Chiefs

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In this play, the route scheme pulls the coverage out from the middle of the field. Jermaine Gresham uses the man coverage assignments to use Chris Pressley’s defender to screen his, leaving him all alone for an 18-yard gain.

Jermaine Gresham’s catch-and-run  for 18 yards to set up Green’s jaw-dropping, one-handed touchdown catch was immediately remarkable due to his gutty run through arm tackles at the end of the play.

The play design was even better to combat the Chiefs’ coverage. They had been rolling out of two high safeties into a single high with a safety bracketing a receiver underneath and the cornerback bailing. Knowing that the outside linebacker, in this case Justin Houston, over Gresham would have coverage responsibilities, this play could not have been more perfect.

On the right side, Green runs a comeback with Flowers in press-man and a safety playing over the top. On Mohammed Sanu’s side, the safety brackets him underneath and he runs a go route to take both defenders with him.

In the Chiefs’ man coverage, Jovan Belcher, the inside linebacker, is assigned to fullback Chris Pressley, who releases to the flat. This causes an opportunity for Gresham to use Belcher as a screen to rid himself of Houston, and he runs into a middle of the field completely vacated by any linebackers or safeties. Perfectly isolated, he turns upfield to daylight.

As the Bengals line up, A.J. Green signals to Andy Dalton the coverage he has from Brandon Flowers.

On the deep pass down the sideline to Green, he stars off the play signaling the press-man coverage from Flowers. With the opposite cornerback playing off, the Chiefs look like they will roll into a single-high safety look again.

When the Bengals go in motion, the Chiefs begin to roll their coverage.

Brandon Tate motions over to the right side of the field, with Gresham to the left. Tate’s man follows him across the field, and the safeties begin to rotate to play the blitz to the left.

The Bengals run a play action to the left, which sucks in the linebackers. Sanu and Green are the only receivers that release, selling the fake further. Sanu runs a deep crossing route, which occupies the safety enough to spring A.J. Green deep down the sideline.

The run fake to the left plays perfectly into the Cheifs’ blitz. With the linebackers keying in on Gresham, who stays in to block, Sanu is set up to run an easy crossing route from the left. He would be in perfect position for the catch, with all the open space in the middle of the field and no one to impede his release.

Even better than Sanu, however, is Green streaking down the sidelines to the right. He released cleanly past Flowers, who was not able to drive him towards the sidelines to limit the room in which to work. With Sanu crossing his face, the safety is drawn downward, and had his hip open to the side opposite of Green because of the blitz.

With everything falling into place, Dalton was able to place a ball easily between the safety and cornerback for Green. As Hannibal Smith from the A-Team would say, “I love it when a [game] plan comes together.”

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