I don't know what more can be said. All I can say is no matter what story-lines brew between Monday-Saturday, I can't allow them to overshadow the real story that was on display Sunday. For lack of a better term, it was an abysmal performance from the quarterback position. Why? Schemes too complex? Not enough time behind this O-line? Wide Receivers not getting open? I'll show you.
1. First play of the game is a package play. If you remember last year, Chip Kelly used this to abuse London Fletcher numerous times. You have a read-option in the backfield with a bubble screen to the top whole the TE releases on a seam route. The defender lined up over Pierre Garcon actually moves up to the line of scrimmage on a blitz so the play should go to the bubble screen because it's 2 on 2 on the outside.
Griffin doesn't go with the bubble screen but luckily the read-option PA froze both guys on the outside. Even better, the read-option drew the MLB inside leaving Jordan Reed open on a pop pass. Reed is open here and Griffin cocks back to throw but doesn't pull the trigger. He doesn't trust his eyes here.
Instead, Griffin rolls out left and dumps it off to Niles Paul who ends up knocking the ball in the air for a Tampa Bay interception. A play that could have totally been avoided.
2. Jay Gruden loves using the corner routes which are a great Cover 2 zone beater (Lovie Smith specialty). Here, he actually goes with a Corner-Post route with DeSean Jackson (at the top) expecting the Buccaneers to be over play the corner route.
Griffin pumps on the corner route and the CB doesn't bite on it at all. DeSean Jackson eventually runs by him anyway.
This is 7 points off the board here and it's disappointing because the deep ball was one of Griffin's top attributes coming out of Baylor.
3. Griffin needs to win more often before the snap of the ball. Jordan Reed is lined up in the slot with a LB playing over him. Reed then motions out wide and the LB doesn't follow him. Instead, the CB flexes out with him. This is typically a clear indication to zone coverage.
Here's the route combo. Jordan Reed is running a slant route.
Many people on my timeline gave Jordan Reed hell for "hearing footsteps or avoiding the hit" on this play. Well, you're always taught to sit down in a hole if you're running in zone coverage. Reed does this as soon as the WR/DB cross his face from the slot. Griffin throws it as if it's man coverage which would have lead him right into the LB. Griffin and Reed are not on the same page.
4. Remember the Cover 2 zone beater I talked about earlier? Gruden calls it here and gets the defensive play call he expects. Now I'll admit, on this play I don't know which side of the field Griffin is suppose to read first, but I personally would read the bottom of the field first. Why? Wide side of the field and it's much easier for Darrel Young to scrape into the flat and suck the CB up (so he can hit the corner route behind it) than it is for Alfred Morris to take the fake hand-off, go through the middle of the O-line and get out to the flat to the right to do the same.
Griffin looks to the top of the field first but with no one in the flat (Morris gets caught up in the Oline), the CB is able to trail Pierre Garcon on his route, meanwhile the CB at the bottom of the screen freezes when he sees Young leak out.
Griffin does a good job avoiding the traffic in the end zone but doesn't keep his eyes downfield as DeSean Jackson is wide open on the corner route. Instead, he dumps it off to Young.
5. This is all about eye control. All slants. LB is in the A-gap but drops and reads Griffin's eyes.
Griffin drops back and looks straight to Garcon. He doesn't notice the LB drop.
The worst part is every single receiver won their battle on the slant route. Griffin throws to Garcon which gets tipped by the LB and returned for a touchdown because he stared him down.
6. Tampa Bay goes with a Cover 1 man. DeSean Jackson is on a sail route from the slot. Basically, the outside WR runs a short route to hold that CB while the slot runs a fly (sail) towards the sideline. This is EXACTLY what you want as a QB.
Garcon does his job running a short hitch route to hold the CB, DeSean Jackson already has a step on his CB, the safety is still in the middle of the field, and Griffin has a clean pocket. With good anticipation, the ball should come out now as Griffin hits the last step of his drop.
All Griffin had to do was float the ball anywhere in this yellow area for Jackson to run underneath it. Instead, he holds the ball too long and takes a sack.
7. Prime real estate here. We get the ball after the muffed punt return and we're in the red zone. DeSean Jackson is the WR at the top of the screen. He's tight to the formation with a CB over him. Helu motions out of the backfield which brings the CB with him. Jackson now uncovered.
I mean, there's a safety deep in the end zone but there's literally one OLB to chose between Niles Paul and DeSean Jackson who are both releasing on routes.
Jackson even widens his seam route as the LB tries to play between them but Paul's hitch route gets most of his attention. Griffin is looking in that direction. Hit the seam. Even a back shoulder throw if you want to be safe. Instead, runs around and gets sacked for a 10 yard loss.
8. Tampa Bay likes to disguise their Cover 2 as a Cover 1 but their safeties still give it away most of the time. In a Cover 2, the MLB, who is lined up in the A-gap faking a blitz, is responsible for the deep middle and any seam routes that attack it. Andre Roberts is running a seam route from the slot.
And although Tom Compton loses his battle on the outside quickly, the MLB has no shot catching Roberts if you hit him here. He doesn't and ends up getting sacked for a 9 yard loss. After taking two sacks in a row, we miss the field goal.
9. Deep ball isn't working, anticipation isn't working, and he isn't trusting his eyes. Gruden/McVay dig this one out of the Shanahan playbook to try and get Griffin jump-started. The quick play-action with the backside post/slant.
Griffin carries out the play-action and snaps his head around. He has a clean pocket, the LBs are opening a whole, and the ball should be coming out.
You can see Garcon is in the hole but the ball should have already been out. He didn't trust his eyes. Now, his eyes come down because of the pressure. He ends up rolling out right and dumping it off to Niles Paul.
Check back for the second half which should be posted later today.