By BBD Editor: Matthew Elder
Since the NFL is kind enough to offer us a free trial of the All-22 film, we thought we would indulge and take a gander at this past Sunday’s game. First off, the All-22 film is the gift at Christmas time that you asked for but that your parents convinced you that they couldn’t afford only to find it under the tree on Christmas morning. I literally spent hours just clicking through plays and just watching, in agony, over and over again.However there were two plays in particular that I wanted to break down and share with you all.
The first is the Stephen Hill touchdown grab, we all saw this play happen and were instantly mortified but let’s breakdown why it happened. Here is the play pre-snap.
The Bills are in a pretty standard 43 base set and appear to have safety help over the top to prevent any deep balls. You can see that Gilmore (circled in red) is in off coverage (green line) v. Hills (circled in red).
Now here is the picture where the play falls apart for Buffalo. Sanchez (circled in red) is in the process of pump faking the ball to Hill who is faking a hitch route. This fake sucks both Gilmore and Wilson up since they are both watching Sanchez. Hill is already out of his hitch and back on the go portion of this Hitch and Go route while Gilmore is just getting out of his backpedal to try and stop the hitch.
The reason this play works so well is because of the time Sanchez has. Look at the pocket and passing window here (blue box) for Sanchez to throw through. There is nobody within 5 yards of him. The hitch and go route is a very long developing route and you have to know you have enough protection to make it work.
This is right after the pump fake is done and as you can see Hill is now already by Gilmore and headed towards the endzone. Gilmore is just now turning his hips back around to stay with Hill who is beginning to accelerate away. Also note that three players (green circles) including both safeties have converged on the TE who is running a post route across the middle. Wilson has to stay home and help Gilmore out on the edge. Look at the wide open area that Sanchez has to throw the ball into (black box).
Finally this is the slide right before the TD catch, Gilmore has completely lost Hill as you can tell by their four yards of separation (green line) and the safety reaction is so late that they have no shot of even touching Hill, let alone stopping him.
It can not be stressed enough how vital knowing your assignments and playing help defense will be to this team, especially when we are not generating any pressure.
The second play is the flea flicker play and I actually watched this one multiple times just to make sure I saw everything.
The Bills are again in a base 43 look and have walked Wilson up into the box since the Jets have come out in a two TE system. Gilmore is playing closer to the line while Williams is giving up a nearly 9 yard cushion.
At this point the RB has the ball and the Bills defense is reacting appropriately. Its a Cover 3 call with both CB’s and Byrd dropping into a deep zone while the LB’s and Wilson man up underneath. Now the Jets have both receivers appearing to cut in early on in this play but watch how it develops.
At this point Sanchez once again has the ball and its clear its a pass. The Bills are still in good position here because they have three deep players v. the Jets two WR’s. The issue that you can see is that when you look at the difference in space Hill has v. Gilmore compared to what Holmes has v. Williams it becomes clear why Sanchez goes to Hill.
Sanchez does the smart thing here and under throws this pass to Hill. He knows there is no way Gilmore can break on this ball and look how wide open the area under Hill is here. Hill just comes back slightly on his route and makes the catch.
This it the point where Hill catches it and you can still see that Gilmore is 3-4 yards away while Byrd is about 10 yards away. When you lose 3 v. 2 battle deep like this you can’t win football games. Gilmore looked too conservative here after getting smoked by Hill and that does nothing to help this team.