The Prevent Offense

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Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead (39) runs the ball away from Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (59) during third quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The first critical aspect is to establish the run game… then anchor the offense to it.  Contrary to the modern NFL offensive schemes, remaining on the ground through aggressive rushing and occasional short passes increases the clock-time of each drive.

Measured in the amount of plays executed, the overall game becomes reduced.  This challenges “explosive” offenses that survive on big, if inconsistent, plays.  Fewer plays mean fewer chances to get ‘the big play’.  On Sunday, San Diego ran the ball 40 times, approximately 71% of the time.

The typical response from opposing teams whose offenses function in this manner is an attempt to slow the game down in order to increase the amount of plays.  Normally means a disproportionate amount of pass plays while on offense.

Teams could remain balanced, but typically they do not.  Adhering to that game-plan would effectively put more of their game-winning eggs into fewer baskets.  Cincinnati did just this; executing pass plays more than two-thirds of the time.