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Hazard's Huddle: Coverage Busts vs. Indianapolis Colts

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An All-22 film look at exactly what happened that sprung all those big plays for the Colts

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Ryan Clark was asked why the defense played so well. He responded, "the coaches simplified things." Well, that lasted about a week. It's not that Jim Haslett decided to go back and call tougher, more complex plays, it's because the simplified things somehow ended up being hard. Let's take a look:

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1. I'm going to show this one first because it's not really a coverage breakdown, it's more of a technique/pride breakdown. I am also going to use this play to point out concerns from Redskins Nation that need to be squashed. On this play, Haslett has the LB and slot CB blitzing which leaves Everette Brown in coverage. Here is what needs to be squashed: You can't always complain about who is in coverage. The idea behind bringing someone the offense doesn't expect may require someone dropping into coverage that you don't expect. You also don't plan on the TE, Coby Fleener to have enough time to run 10 yards upfield and then 10 yards across on a climb route. The blitz is suppose to get there. It's called a gamble for a reason. Rushing the same four guys doesn't do anything to confuse the offense.

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Fleener catches the pass here with E.Brown trailing him and Ryan Clark just needs to make this tackle. Fleener is not the fleetest of foot.

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Fleener is able to make him miss and Greg Ducre (blue) isn't able to chase him down. Touchdown.

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2. Route combination look familiar? It should. Teams have been running this against us constantly because we haven't shown consistency in stopping it. The Scissor combo has wreaked havoc on our Cover 3 and Cover 4 defenses because the CB (David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland have both been guilty) carries the Post route too far inside and doesn't keep his head on a swivel, missing the wheel route developing on the outside. Except this time, we're in a Cover 2 man.

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Except no one told Trent Murphy......who gets a jam on Coby Fleener but then releases him and heads to cover the flat. Fleener, of course, is running the wheel route.

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As you can see, Breeland (top of the screen) is in man coverage, the RB that leaks into the flat gets picked up by a LB in Man coverage and David Amerson carries the post inside (this time, he's suppose to) in man coverage. Murphy is just standing in the flat and even if Brandon Meriweather saw Fleener, the post route is acting almost like a screen. If Meriweather saw it sooner, he could have alerted "wheel" to Amerson but we all know the secondary isn't known for their communication.

Side note: Anyone mad that Trent Murphy would have been lined in man coverage against Coby Fleener? You shouldn't be. Colts came out in 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) and Redskins stayed in their base look to counter the run package.

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3. I'm going to jump towards the end of the game real quick because we had the exact same play call against the exact same route combination except this time the Colts are in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) so the Redskins are in their nickel package. (Also, Phillip Thomas is in for Brandon Meriweather now.)

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Scissors concept at the top. I wonder why the Colts went to this late in the game when they already had a big lead. It's probably as simple as "this will probably work." I also want you to notice how tight Amerson's alignment is at the top of the screen.

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The receiver gives a little shake and Amerson jumps inside about two yards. He loses instantly. It's crazy that a guy with his length can't press a receiver.

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Amerson is trailing the outside receiver here. As Amerson looks back at Andrew Luck, he sees T.Y. Hilton breaking to the outside for the wheel route. Remember the endless times I begged that David Amerson to have his head on a swivel? Well, when you're in Cover 2 man, that's about the only time you CAN'T do that.

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So naturally, this is when he does it. Amerson turns his hips outside and breaks on the wheel route. Problem #1. You left your man in man coverage without letting anyone know to pick up your man. Problem #2. Bashaud Breeland has him in man coverage and has the wheel route already covered. Problem #3. Phillip Thomas is also seeing that wheel route which leaves the post route completely unattended. Andrew Luck wanted to throw the wheel route so bad but with no pass rush, he was able to double -clutch, reset his feet and find the post route.

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Donte Moncrief scores a 79 yard touchdown.

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4. From this look, Andrew Luck already knows (barring a ridiculous disguise), this is either Cover 1 or Cover 3 with the single high safety. Luck sees press coverage at the bottom of the screen so he knows regardless of Cover 1 or Cover 3, he may have a shot there. So Luck is going to try and look at Fleener who is also running a fly route to draw Ryan Clark over so he can take his shot at the bottom.

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What wasn't planned was for Chris Baker to get such quick penetration. It looks like Andrew Luck has no choice but to roll right, right? Because of this, Ryan Clark goes in this direction as there is only one route on this side of the field.

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But Luck rolls right and then back up into the middle of the pocket, when he sees Ryan Clark has come over the top of the route at the bottom of the screen, he knows the middle of the field is vacated and he either has Coby Fleener in a one on one situation or in a busted zone. It was Cover 3, so it was a busted zone. Luckily, this is one of the worst drops of all time and isn't a touchdown somehow.

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5. This is just David Amerson and his eye discipline. Amerson is at the bottom of the screen standing over a hitch route with a sail route coming from the slot. Amerson is in Cover 3 so he is responsible for the bottom 3rd of the field.

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As soon as Amerson plants his foot in the turf in reaction to the hitch route, he lost. Sail route from the slot has already closed the cushion.

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Donte Moncrief for a 48 yard touchdown.

Four more games, guys......four more games.