When the Bengals lined up with 12:40 remaining in the first half for a third and one situation, there was little effort taken disguising the play. The reason was because a massive, long-haired and bearded Samoan was lining up at fullback. Like last season’s Week 3 game-opening wildcat toss from Mohammad Sanu to AJ Green against the Washington Redskins, the adaptive strategy worked well last Monday against a stunned Pittsburgh Steelers defense, but Domata Peko’s effort was ill-fated in this most recent outing. The Green Bay Packers were not shocked, but rather very prepared. Understanding the singularity of the play, the weak side rusher cut behind the offensive line and without hesitation went straight for the stalwart BenJarvus Green-Ellis and was able to strip the ball from his hands and create a turn over.
How was this so obvious? In an assumption that would hardly be challenged by anyone who watched the train-up of Orson Charles on HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Packers reasoned the run play that Peko was brought in for would mirror the play from the week prior. This is backed up by the fact that Peko ran this play not once but twice against the Steelers.
But what makes this assumption so clear?