Reading and Thinking Football

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Upon Further Review: IND@TEN

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Upon Further Review, for the Dec. 3, 2006 game between Tennessee and Indianapolis, won 20-17 by the Titans on a last-minute field goal by Rob Bironas.

LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T29 1 10 Weak I Run 7 Henry Counter Off Tackle
Colts RDE Mathis came crashing down the line, totally taking himself out of the play. This play is a good example of using a defense’s known habits against it, and also fun to see as a Titans fan. Because y’know, opposing teams have NEVER gotten big plays because Titan DEs have overpursued.
T36 2 3 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 8 Henry Iso
T36 2 3 Penalty Decl. IND-Freeney Offside
Good lane between Stewart and Olson on one side and Hartsock and Scaife on the other.
T44 1 10 4-WR Run 1 Henry Iso
I don’t understand this playcall. The basic theory is to spread the D out, then do a power run. But you can overwhelm the Colts at the point of attack, as the Titans did the two previous plays. Here, the LBs at the second level have time to read the play and shoot the gap. Tackle is actually made by Freeney, whom Roos bumped and then released to get to the second level-giving Freeney time to shoot down the line to fill the hole.
T45 2 9 3-WR, 2 Strong Pass 4 Henry Screen
Kind of a basic screen play. Colts seemed to be playing a zone, not rushing, so D was able to converge relatively quickly and outnumber the blockers (CA).
T49 3 5 Split Backs, 3-WR Pass Inc Jones In
Jones runs a 12 yard in route, plenty for the first down, but VY’s throw goes high (IN). Freeney is successful with a spin move on Roos, which may have rushed the throw a little.
Drive Notes: The key to winning games is converting on 3rd down to keep drives alive. Winning quarterbacks make this throw-VY made this throw last week. This won’t be the first drive with a mix of playcalls I like and those I don’t.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T48 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Pass 16 Hartsock Waggle
T48 1 10 Penalty Decl. IND-Thomas Offside
Thomas did a good job to stay at home on Hartsock, but when VY booted that way, he released Hartsock to pursue VY. VY smartly dumped it to Hartsock, who avoided a couple (lousy attempts at) tackles and picked up 18 YAC.
I36 1 10 Weak I Pass INT Jones Go-Post(?)
Jones runs a sort of fly pattern that makes a sort of turn for the post late-not sure exactly what the route was supposed to be. Pass is either overthrown or Jones didn’t expect it to go as far, as he ends up failing to make a catch and gets unlucky, tipping the ball to David for the INT in the end zone. Fisher challenged this play, and it’s possible David didn’t maintain full possession of the ball as he went to the ground. But there’s no camera angle that could possibly have shown that.
Drive Notes: TOs=points. I’m still split on whether Jones or VY is at fault for this INT, but when you have chances against the Colts, you can’t just give the ball back.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T27 1 10 Pro Set Run 0 Henry Draw
This is another playcall I don’t understand. I know you’re expecting the Colts DEs to move too deep, but the handoff is too deep, allowing the Colts to get to and fill the holes. Maybe Henry gets a couple more yards if Hall gets the block on Gardner from the weakside, but that wouldn’t make me like this play.
T27 2 10 I-Formation Run 7 Henry Iso
See, just a back I-formation HB run. Scaife with a block on DE Mathis, Hall hits the LB covering the hole, and Henry turns 2nd and long into 3rd and short.
T34 3 3 2-TE, 3-WR Pass 0 Young Scramble
Another odd formation, presumably designed to induce coverage mismatches. Titans should have great protection, with only 4 guys rushing and 6 in, but it kind of breaks down. I expect this was supposed to be a quick pass play, but that didn’t work out because nobody was open. So, VY did what VY does. I (heart) VY.
T39 1 10 I-Formation, 2-TE Penalty -5 Roos False Start
T34 1 15 Shotgun Run 0 Henry Draw
Pacman lined up slot right, so if you’re going to give to Henry, you move the line left and let Henry run right, between the crashing line and the DE covering for Pacman. Except Henry runs left, where there’s no room. He tries a pitchback to VY, akin to the toss to Scaife v. BAL, but forward progress had been ruled.
T34 2 15 I-Formation Pass Inc Jones Slant
Quick slant, thrown in a good place for Jones to grab it, but he seemed to alligator arm it fearing a hit from Harper. Catch the danged ball!
T34 3 15 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass Inc Jones Post
VY tries to hit Jones on a post pattern 25 yards downfield, but skies the ball. Sanders probably hits Jones a little early, but the pass is too high and wouldn’t have been completed even if Sanders hadn’t been around. (IN)
Drive Notes: Punt. See above re VY and converting on 3rd down. This was not an impressive first quarter for the Titans rookie QB throwing the ball.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T23 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run 5 White Iso
Good run on first down for the Titans. Play went right, with blocking going left, looked like a read for White as to whether to go up the middle left or up the middle right. Colts’ LDE totally took himself out of the play, thankfully taking away White’s option of bouncing it outside.
T28 2 5 ? Run 0 White Iso
May I just say how much I hate it when the TV crews aren’t kind enough to show us the formation? This was a run up the middle that didn’t go very far.
T30 3 3 Strong I, 2-WR Weak Pass 4 Young Scramble
It looks like VY has only one quick read on this play, to Scaife running an short out, then has to wait for Hall(?) to slip out of the backfield. Both are covered (and near each other), so VY spots a lane up the middle and takes off. Bad play, good scramble. (SCR)
T34 1 10 I-Form, 2-WR Weak Run 26 White Iso
When longtime AL pitcher Bruce Hurst joined the San Diego Padres in 1989 and got to bat, he had a hard time at first. Then after, 20 or 30-something at bats, he finally got his first major league hit. When the reporters asked him about it, he said, “Even a blind dog sometimes finds a bone.” See White, Lendale, trying out bounce outside runs up the middle. This was a good play, but it was disappointing to see. It looked like there was a lane there where he could have gotten 5-6 yards, for sure. Normally, that’s the better decision for a back with White’s skillset (assuming “avoiding contact at all costs” isn’t part of his skillset). This play worked because the Colts OLB, I think Brackett, overpursued.
I40 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 4 Henry Right Tackle
Blah, short run strong/right side.
I36 2 6 I-Formation Pass Inc Roby Quick Hitch
VY tries for the quick throw to Roby split out left. This seems like a weird playcall to me, because (1) Roby isn’t the sort of deep threat you need to play off of, (2) the Colts CB WAS in fact playing up on Roby, and (3) after 4 of 5 runs, I’d be expecting a pass. Maybe not as quick as this one, but still expected. Gilbert Gardner jumped up and deflected the ball away well before it got to Roby. (CA), I guess.
I36 3 6 Shotgun Strong Pass 7 Young Scramble
The Colts run a stunt, and though they only bring 4, they’re able to get good pressure on VY pretty quickly. So, VY does what VY does, and takes off. Encouraging to see, he keeps his head up and his arm in a position where he could throw the ball, until he makes the decision that he is going to run with the ball. Again, VY makes a play that keeps the drive alive. (SCR)
I29 1 10 Shotgun Pacman Pass 17 Pacman Jones _______
VY in the gun with White next to him, Pacman nearly as deep off the line, to VY’s right. It’s a quick pass to Pacman that goes marginally forward, and he just darts forward. Bob Sanders should have him after a couple yards, but he just runs past him. (CA)
I12 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 2 White Shovel
The rare Titans formation without a TE in it. VY moves right, like it’s a run with a pass option, then flicks the shovel pass forward to White. There’s not much room up the middle, but he is able to pick up a couple yards. (CA)
I10 2 8 Shotgun Trips Weak Run 2 White Draw-ish
This looks like it was some sort of read play. VY sort of moved to his right to hand White the ball, but in a funky manner. White hits a bad piece of turf (maybe) or trips over his own feet (more likely), and falls forward for a couple yards when he should have more. The ball comes out when he hits the turf, which is a fumble because he hasn’t been touched by a Colt yet.
I8 3 6 Shotgun 3-WR Weak Run 1 Henry Draw-ish
So, after White falls over his own feet, they run the same play with Henry. Weird call on 3rd down from inside the 10, in my opinion, and a pretty conservative one. The Colts D doesn’t completely fall apart this play, so the Titans end up with 4th down.
Drive Notes: Have I mentioned VY is awesome? Two 3rd down conversions, both of them on scrambles. Only two plays good enough to get a first down on their own, and no conversions on second down. It’s tough to cavil too much about a drive that results in much-needed points, but this wasn’t a very good drive. A TD would have been nice, but 14-3 is better than 14-0.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
I42 1 10 Weak I Pass 1 Henry Dumpoff
VY dumps it off to Henry. Some pressure, enough to force a decision. No clue if anything was open downfield. (CA)
I41 2 9 Shotgun Strong Pass 21 Roby Go
VY does a little in-pocket roll, then finds Roby down the left sideline. Ball is over David’s ahead, and for some reason the safety, Jackson, is like 30 yards off the line of scrimmage. Since the Titans have TOs and can throw the ball wherever they want, that seems like an odd strategy to me. Pass was decent, not great, so (CA). This play was reviewed by the booth, and was indeed a catch.
I20 1 10 3-WR, 2-WR Weak Pass 20-TD Bennett Seam
One of the few times you don’t see Bennett split out wide, as he’s in the slot to the left side. VY acts like he’s looking right, then whirls around and throws one to Bennett. It looked like it was designed that way, and could make for a risky play. This was another play that was reviewed, to see whether Bennett made it into the end zone. I thought he did, but I’m a Titans fan. For the record, David hit Bennett a little too early this play. (CA)
Drive Notes: Bulluck had a great INT, and it was nice to turn that into points. 14-10 at the half is a lot better than the 14-0 it was at the 2 minute warning. Oh, and teams that pass the ball successfully tend to do well. That’s why this is a drive I like, and the previous play wasn’t. And it’s not just the results.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T31 1 10 I-Formation, 2-TE Run 2 Henry Off Tackle
Colts read this play before it was snapped, and strung the play down the line. Henry did well to get back to the line of scrimmage, let alone pick up 2.
T33 2 8 Standard 2-TE Run 5 Henry Iso
Henry up the middle for a couple, between Olson and Stewart.
T38 3 3 Shotgun Split Backs Pass 6 Hall Short Post
VY in the shotgun, reads the D easily, see Hall just run out and then hit the middle. You don’t often see 5 yard post patterns, but this was one of them. (CA)
T44 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Pass 20 Scaife Flag
Play-action, but VY just rolls back into the pocket. Scaife has the corner on Harper, and VY hits him in the hands (DO).
I36 1 10 I-Formation, 2-WR Weak Run 1 Henry Iso
There were 9(!) Colts within 4 yards of the line of scrimmage, weighted playside. This play didn’t have a chance. This is where having a speedy guy at TB would be useful-run the play to the opposite side instead and you could pick up good yardage. But, Henry isn’t that guy.
I35 2 9 Shotgun 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Pass Inc Hartsock Seam
Not a formation you’ve seen the Titans run a lot from the shotgun. Hartsock is open on the seam route 20 yards downfield, but VY throws the ball over his head. Just a bad throw, no two ways to spin it. (IN)
I35 3 9 Shotgun Pass 18 Young Scramble
Neither Roos nor Stewart excelled on this play, as DEs Freeney and Mathis met 8 yards upfield at VY. But by coming upfield from the outside, they left big lanes for VY to run through. VY makes a move on June near the first down line to get the play, and it’s just watching #10 run.
I17 1 10 Shotgun Run 2 Young Read Option
Well, the Colts did a better job of defending this play than they did the first game. VY makes the proper read, but the blocking isn’t that great.
I15 2 8 I-Formation, 2-WR Weak Pass INT Scaife Seam
Scaife runs up the field and VY hits him in the hands… Except he didn’t see Marlin Jackson, who had an easy interception. Bad read by VY. (BR)
Drive Notes: TOs=points. VY made a bad read, and cost his team. It’s easier to forgive these mistakes when you win the game, but this wasn’t a good play. 5 called passes on this drive, and somebody screwed up on 3 of them. At least the 2 on 3rd down, one throw and one scramble, worked.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T5 1 10 I-Formation, 2-TE Run 21 Henry Off Tackle
This play is supposed to go left tackle, but Henry probably loses a yard. He bumps into guys, then cuts back and goes right side, where only Nick Harper is. He can’t make the tackle, and Henry’s off for a big gain. Henry fumbles at the end of the run, and Jacob Bell is there to save his bacon. Thank goodness for offensive linemen who are 20 yards downfield, as Stewart was also right there.
T35 1 10 Standard 2-TE Penalty -5 Henry False Start
T30 1 15 I-Formation, 2-TE Pass 11 Scaife TE Screen
Play action to Henry going off tackle, pulling all the defenders to that side. But Scaife stays home, VY hits him and he’s able to get a good gain. (CA)
T41 2 4 Weak I Run -1 Henry Trap(?)
The Colts are crashing play-side on the DL, and the OL doesn’t get any penetration to the second level. The LBs are able to read the play and plug the holes to stop Henry for little gain.
T40 3 5 Shotgun Split Backs Pass 15 Young Scramble
VY not seeing anything and taking off after he sees a big lane to the outside. But, he probably should have taken the checkdown to Hall, who seemed wide open on TV. This indicates he’s not seeing the whole field, since Hall was to the left and VY was looking right the whole way and took off to the right. First downs are nice compensation, but you want to make the safe pass when it’s open and useful (see Grossman, Rex).
I45 1 10 Shotgun 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Pass 14 Young Scramble
This is a play to looks to be mostly intermediate to deep routes. VY doesn’t see anything quickly, so he takes off. Good to see him keeping his head up as he’s scrambling sideways. I don’t want to keep gushing about VY, try to keep some perspective, but I can’t imagine what happens to this play if Collins is at QB.
I31 1 10 I-Formation, 2-WR Weak Run 11 Hall FB Blast
This is a play that can be REALLY effective with the right FB. Give it to the TB, give to the TB, give to the TB, throw in the fear of VY running, and a quick handoff to Hall is devastating. He just runs through June’s tackle and picks up a first down. Great play at the end of the first half, as I bet this must be dispiriting for the defense.
I20 1 10 Weak I Run -3 Henry Off Tackle
Mathis makes this play. Roby goes in motion and ends up outside of Scaife at TE. Mathis shifts to a position outside Scaife. Bo’s just seems to be to chip Mathis, then block the LB to seal off the play. But he stumbles as he chips Mathis, and Gardner is able to string out the play and make the tackle for a loss. Little things, but they win football games.
I23 2 13 Pro Set Pass 15 Hall Screen
Good screen play here, with Olson and Bell blocking left side. Marlin Jackson with a good diving tackle, else Hall has a good shot of taking it for a TD. (CA)
I8 1 G Standard 2-TE Run 0 Henry Iso
Blocking is maybe off a bit, or at least OL wasn’t able to get to the second level. June is there fastest, but LBs easily read the hole and react.
I8 2 G I-Formation, 2-TE Strong Pass -1 Hall Swing
Colts read this play well, with Brackett chasing Hall down the line and Harper on the outside. Hall running parallel to the line of scrimmage isn’t a formula for success. (CA)
I9 3 G 3-WR, 2 Weak Pass 9-TD Jones Slant
David is playing 7 off, reasonable on 3&G from the 9, but he’s playing outside. Hartsock runs a quick out as the TE on the side, drawing LB Brackett and giving VY a good place to throw the football. No safety help, and that’s a TD pass.
Drive Notes: Thank goodness for Jacob Bell. Aside from Henry’s long run, this was a VY drive. 4/4, 34, TD, 2 scrambles for 29 yards.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T20 1 10 Standard 2-TE Run 3 Henry Off Tackle
Well, it’s supposed to be off tackle, at least. Henry runs RT, but cuts the play back inside at RG. Not really sure why he did that. Stewart didn’t have a great seal, but it looked like there was room RT.
T23 2 7 2-TE Run 33 Henry Draw
This is a GREAT draw play, and a wonderful example of what can happen if you block the linebackers. Hartsock, Bell, Scaife are at the second level, and Brandon Jones had a good block, too. You or I probably could have managed a first down on this play.
I44 1 10 I-Formation, 2-TE Strong Run 2 Hall FB Blast
This play isn’t sold as well as Hall’s previous carry. Really, this looks a lot more like a Henry run up the middle than the power run up the middle when the team is expecting off tackle.
I42 2 8 I-Formation, 2-TE Run 1 Henry Iso
Colts read Scaife’s motion, which means the LBs shift and the DEs crash playside. A counter pitch would KILL when they do something like this. But, Henry gets not much.
I41 3 7 4-WR Close Pass Inc Hartsock Flats and Gos
Roos false start, not flagged. A familiar formation, with the same routes-TEs running flats and WRs running streaks. Hartsock is WIDE OPEN in the right flat, and VY just throws it too far. Frustrating to watch, because this was definitely a first down and could have been a big gain. (IN)
Drive Notes: VY giveth (see last drive) and VY taketh away. See also boom-and-bust running: 3, 33, 2, 1.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T25 1 10 I-Formation Run 2 Henry Iso
Another play made by Mathis. There’s supposed to be a lane between him crashing down and the outside. But, he’s there and that lane isn’t.
T27 2 8 4-WR Run 4 Young Draw
Pretty basic play, spread ’em out and let the mobile QB run. Kelvin Hayden does a good job to make the tackle-tough to tell how much more VY may have gotten, but at least the first down. There may have been a quick pass option on this play, but I think it was run all the way.
T31 3 4 4-WR Close Pass 9 Young Scramble
Same play on which Hartsock was just open. Here, though, the TEs chip before running routes, and VY takes off before they run their routes. Henry runs a little checkdown route and gets a bump on LB June, who was spying VY. Not much, but enough to try him off.
T40 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 1 Henry Iso
VERY conservative playcall. Tackle is made by Freeney, whom Roos didn’t even bother to chip before going to the second level. That’ll work against some DEs and with some RBs, but the Freeney/Henry combo is one it doesn’t work with.
T41 2 9 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 18 Wade Cross
Wade lines up slot right, runs a left cross. Colts bring 6, but both backs stay in and it’s pick up. Hayden with the coverage, but VY puts the ball right where it needs to be.
I41 1 10 Clock Spike Penalty -5 Jones Illegal Formation
UGH, this was an unpleasant reminder of the first half of the Dallas game. Y’know, remember when the Titans burned 15 seconds trying to get David Givens to line up on the line? Here, it’s Brandon Jones. This is just aggravating as all heck. But, this ended up actually helping the Titans. Since the Colts accepted the penalty, it’s first down still. This means the Titans can run a play, spike the ball, run another play, and STILL kick the FG. If the Colts had declined this penalty, the Titans would have had to try the FG instead of their 3rd down play. I’m not sure which is the right call.
I46 1 15 Shotgun Strong Pass 4 Henry Checkdown
VY sees nothing open and just gets rid of the ball to pick up a couple yards.
I42 2 11 Clock Spike Pass Inc Young Clock Spike
I42 3 11 3-WR, 2 Weak Pass Inc Hall Short Post
Scaife motions out of the backfield to be another WR. VY slips and falls as he’s dropping back to pass and does well to get rid of the ball. Hall was open underneath at the 37 on the same route he ran for a first down earlier-conservative, but consistent with what Fisher is doing in the endgame. Maybe if VY is in shotgun, he doesn’t slip, the Titans pick up a few yards, and Rob Bironas doesn’t enter the record books. Ah, well, nothing succeeds like success. (IN)
Drive Notes: Fisher seemed to have a very clear intention in this drive: if at all possible, do not give Peyton Manning a chance to win the game in regulation. Watching this game on NFL Replay with the commercials taken out highlighted just how brief this drive really was. I can’t decide if this was some fantastic clock management or idiocy induced by fear.

More stuff later, like a VY pass chart, possible error correction, and some formatting.

UPDATE (12-15, 1651 CT): Formatting changes! Colors to make things more readable! Still blank holes that annoy me!
UPDATE (7/11/07, 0034 CT): Filled in the blank spaces, finally.
UPDATE (7/11/07, 0036 CT): When I filled in the blank spaces, I got rid of the colors, and maybe some other format changes. Coming back tomorrow.
UPDATE (7/11/07, 2225 CT): Fixed the table, I think.
UPDATE (7/11/07, 2231 CT): Working on the color.
UPDATE (7/11/07, 2233 CT): Done? I hope so.

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Written by Tom Gower

December 14, 2006 at 20:56

Posted in Tennessee Titans, UFR

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