Over the past three weeks, the Commanders film study on the New York Giants created a unique situation for Washington’s coaches and players. With no games scheduled, they could hone in on the Giants’ tendencies in great detail, self-scout in greater detail, and identify alternative plans of attacking or defending New York.
Washington’s preparation was tested throughout the game, but very much so on the opening drive Sunday night. Washington’s opening drive seemed promising, and they were approaching the red zone as their ninth play of the drive set them up with a first and ten at the Giants’ 32-yard line. However, after a poorly executed Curtis Samuel run that netted a three-yard loss on first down, Washington ultimately faced a third and nine two plays later.
Two weeks ago, the Commanders called a man/zone beating concept, but it has to be read right from the quarterback.
Loved this call from Turner that frees Curtis v. 2-man. Logan runs Out w/Samuel's whip underneath it & is wide open. Might be a 1st. Heinicke never sees him, he starts his read w/Terry's backside slant. 53 confused Larsen & got him off Lawrence who won. (Missed call on Kayvon.) pic.twitter.com/Lo7F2q1IwC— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) December 7, 2022
From the first Giants game, Washington also faced a third down here and typically faced man coverage in 3rd and long situations against New York.
From Sunday night, Washington expected a man coverage call from Martindale, and based on the defense’s pre-snap look, and they got it. In turn, Heinicke likely expected Samuel’s route to be available at the snap. However, Martindale was aware of his own tendencies and rotated from a single-high coverage into a Quarters coverage.
1st sack of the game, Martindale confuses Heinicke & Turner. Washington calls a play expecting Man on 3rd & 9. NYG disguised their Cov 4 shell, taking Samuel away from TH. Stays on his read too long & misses McLaurin backside. Pressure doesn't allow TH to find Dotson deep. pic.twitter.com/pl7nK8jnKj— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) December 19, 2022
This late rotation confused Heinicke, and he ended up staying on his read far too long while McLaurin’s slant was available to him on the backside of the play. The sack ended up dropping Washington to a fourth and 12, where Ron Rivera chose to punt the football at the Giants’ 34.