On this play action pass, Gresham sells the fake by run blocking. Reed is playing very low for a Cover 1, almost in the box, and keeps his eyes in the backfield watching the fake. Green is lined up to the right and blows past Cary Williams and gets behind Reed, who can not close the gap after he realizes he has been duped.
On Reed’s pick-six, he made the play purely on instinct.
With this route combination, Reed would likely gain depth to watch the vertical route on the outside. Instead, he sees something he recognizes and drives down on the Jermaine Gresham out route.
Gresham, who was having some problems with drops early in the season, can not reel in the off-target throw. Reed is now rewarded by his gamble, putting himself in perfect position to intercept the pass and set the all-time record for interception return yardage.
Reed’s ball-hawking prowess is so important since the Ravens play a large amount of man coverage. This is why Andrew Hawkins found so much success in wide receiver screens.
With the run fake going to the right. The linebackers and safeties have already begun flowing away from Hawkins on the outside left. His man is played in off coverage, and he squirts behind the slot receiver who is blocking the immediate threat.
When a defense is in man, a little, shifty receiver like Hawkins can be lost in the shuffle. Hawkins could have his second big game in a row after a much-needed performance against the Steelers.
It showed up in the Ravens game how much control has been handed to Dalton to audible at the line. Against the Ravens, the Bengals often used package route combinations with Cover 2 and Cover 3 beaters on either side, which kept the pressure of Dalton to diagnose the coverage at the line.