Defenses are prepared for this aerial shift, going as far as spreading out their formations and accepting risks in power rushing plays. Notably, BenJarvus Green-Ellis enjoyed massive rumbling runs up the gut throughout the Sunday’s wild card engagement, averaging more than 5.3 yards per carry.
Anticipating a transition to an aerial offensive transforms these secondaries into ball-hawks and hand-hackers that prey upon the turnovers. A single shift in the scoring exchange favors the opportunist and makes the second critical aspect of this offense.
Here again the Bengals fell victim: despite racking up 334 passing yards, Dalton threw 2 interceptions, was 29 for 51, and finished with a passer rating of 67.0.
Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) runs the ball during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Additionally, the reduction of plays from the game reduces the amount of plays that a defense will see, keeping them fresher and more able to make quick-twitch actions incumbent to a turnover savvy defense.
While utilization is not meant for a whole season, this offense was the primary strategy of the 2010 Denver Broncos, and one of key reasons for Tim Tebow’s success. Running the Option under Tebow was much more of a ground game, but critically this meant that a recharged defense saw an estimated one-fifth less snaps every game. Over the course of that season, that equated to more than two full games that the defense did not have to play.