This is the play that the Bengals ran directly after the dust-up between Whit and Houston. The Raiders are in a nickel, 3-3-5 defense. They are playing an under front, however, and likely feeling overly aggressive after the brawl.
When players like Green speak highly about Dalton’s even keel, situations like these are especially useful for a quarterback who keeps his head straight under pressure. The Bengals, despite the 3rd-and-11 situation, dial up a play action pass. With Gresham initially staying in to block, the Raiders defense bites hard on the fake, especially considering the unlikely situation of the Bengals taking a deep shot late in the game with a decent lead.
At the top of the formation, Sanu runs down the sideline and pulls the safety outside. On the other side, Green runs a post route and uses the vacated middle of the field. His defender bit on the run fake and Green blew past him at the line of scrimmage. With both cornerbacks playing with their hips opened to the inside to funnel receivers towards the middle of the field, the two-high safety look with man coverage is confirmed. That means that Green, with his tight split, would be able to easily hit the middle of the field opened up by Sanu. As soon as Dalton hits his hitch after the fake handoff, he sees Green’s cushion and does not hesitate.
The Raiders’ hope of a comeback was deflated by the big play, and after that reception the Bengals regained their early dominance to close out Oakland and seal the big win.
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