FanPost

Play of the Week Vote: Pre-Season Week 3 vs the Baltimore Ravens

This week, we have 3 plays.  The Hightower 37 yard TD run, the Grossman to Moss 24 yard TD pass, and John Beck's pass to Austin for a 13 yard TD.  

Lets start first with Tim Hightower's 37 yard TD run.  It's the famous stretch play that we've seen time and again from Mike Shanahan, and we'll see it all season long if we keep having this sort of success.  Mike Sellers is the TE in motion, Logan Paulsen is in at TE as well.  Moss and Austin at WR, and obviously Hightower in the backfield.

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This play is blocked to absolute perfection.  The key block is the one I've put in blue.  Kory Lichtensteiger makes a brilliant cut block on the Dlineman.  This not only takes that defender out of the play, but it allows Paulsen to block his man into Kory, so it cuts him as well.  It also makes the Linebacker lined up over Paulsen's shoulder completely irrelevant because there's no way he can get past the pile of players caught up by the cut block.  Will Montgomery shows fantastic jump off the snap to get off the ball and help Chris Chester to block the other Dlineman and push him towards the numbers.  Mike Sellers plays a big role as well, chipping the DE/OLB, pushing him outside before getting to the second level.  By getting the chip, Jammal Brown is then able to take over and push him wider.  This combined with the double team block from Montgomery and Chester makes a huge hole between them and the place of the cut block for Hightower to run into.

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via i293.photobucket.com

You can see in the red circles that the cut block has taken out the back side, and the double team block that is just destroying the Dlineman and creating a huge hole.  The one name I didn't mention in the last paragraph was Trent WIlliams.  That's because this is his paragraph.  I've circled his block in black as it was the key block at this point.  Normally the Ravens would not allow a hole this large in their defence.  On any normal play, Ray Lewis would have been there to fill the void and make the play.  But Trent Williams does an amazing job getting out and just blowing him up.  If you are at all skeptical of Williams, check out the highlight video of this play and just watch the block on Ray Lewis, and you'll see why we picked him.  

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via i293.photobucket.com

Hightower see's the free defender from the right, so he makes his cut back to the left.  Logan Paulsen, free after blocking his first man over the pile on the floor, shows great awareness and comes back to make a great block on the Linebacker.  Trent continues to dominate Lewis.
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via i293.photobucket.com

Terrance Austin then comes in, and shows yet another string to his bow.  He makes a key block to allow Hightower to get one-on-one with the outside defender (which you'll see in the next frame).  Trent still dominating Lewis.  He's blocked him to the ground at this point.
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via i293.photobucket.com

What I really like about this picture is we see the mean streak in Trent Williams.  He finishes his block, making sure that Lewis is not getting back up to make a play.  Austin does his part with that block, but from this point its all about Hightower.  He does an excellent job of making that defender miss, and then he turns the burners on and streaks for the end zone.  Fantastic play but everyone involved.
Our second play this week is the Grossman TD pass to Moss for 24 yards.  What I like about this play is that we take advantage of a defensive breakdown, which we have failed to do a lot in the past.  I also like the design of the play to occupy defenders and give our primary targets the best chance to get open.  Lets have a look:
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via i293.photobucket.com

We are lined up in a bunch formation, Hightwer in the backfield and Fred Davis at TE on the far side of the picture. This is a pretty simple play as we only have 3 routes, and 7 blockers including Hightower.  Moss is going to run straight to the back pylon, being the primary target, and in a 3rd and long situation, the only real target.  Gaffney runs a quick out as a check-down or second option.  Armstrong runs a 5 yard come-back route as the 3rd option, but the main design of that route is to occupy zones and/or defenders to allow the first two guys more chance of getting open. 

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via i293.photobucket.com

The Ravens probably surprise us a bit by only sending a 4 man rush on 3rd and long.  As you can see here, the Oline have no problem picking this up.  Only Davis struggles with his block, but Hightower is on his way over to help out.  Grossman has as clean a pocket as you could ask for.

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via i293.photobucket.com

Look at how clean Grossman's pocket is, he has the time to take aim and throw.  Again, I know its only a 4 man rush, but we've rarely given the QB a clean pocket to throw from for the past few years.  Also notice that Armstrong occupies multiple defenders, a very nice design of the play.

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via i293.photobucket.com

Moss does a really nice job of locating the ball and making the adjustment to catch it.  Slightly worrying that when Moss runs through blown coverage that Grossman can't hit him in stride, but a nice job by Moss on the catch to show he still has it.

Our final contender this week comes from Terrance Austin on a screen pass from John Beck.  It shows off the athleticism of our Olineman, and shows very good execution of a play we should see a fair amount of this year.

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via i293.photobucket.com

Austin motions across, and then pulls back to receive the pass.  The WR (I'm guessing Donte Stallworth by his hair) does a real nice job to get up-field and get a good block on the DB.  Artis Hicks does a fantastic job to get to the second level to lead a way for Austin, and the RT (I think its Sean Locklear)  gets out and makes the initial block for Austin.

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via i293.photobucket.com

I have a feeling Austin would have beaten the immediate defender, but Locklear does a nice job making sure of it. Stallworth's block is good enough to give Austin the clear path to run into.  Notice Hicks has gotten up-field nicely to be the lead-blocker.

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via i293.photobucket.com

The safer play here would have been to follow Hicks and let him get a block on the last defender.  But Austin is full of confidence, especially after this drive on which he already had two catches.  He streaks for the end zone.

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via i293.photobucket.com

The defender does actually catch up to Austin, but that doesn't bother him.  Austin hits him with a really nice stiff-arm to the helmet, which you can see in the red circle, before getting into the end zone for a TD.

So, what will it be?  Hightower's run, Grossman to Moss, or Austin's screen pass?  I know there was no defensive plays again this week, but I just felt these were more noteworthy (other than the Hall INT, which I already covered in my last post).  Hopefully we'll get to see some big defensive plays in the not too distant future worth breaking down.

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