Reading and Thinking Football

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Upon Further Review: IND@TEN Offense

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This past Sunday, the Titans lost to the Colts, 22-20. What you see here is a breakdown of each Titans offensive play during the game.

The whole game is now up.

T23 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 2 White Cutback
It looked like there was a little bit of a cutback lane here for White, but it closed rapidly. The type of run typically called “blah, short run up middle.”
T25 2 8 Shotgun Base Run 1 White Read Option
Freeney’s coming from the outside, so VY correctly hands off to White up the middle. The blocking here appears to be that Bell is supposed to rub Brock out of the play, handing him off to Roos (left unoccupied by Freeney’s move outside), and then get to the second level. Brock makes a good play to spin off of Bell’s block inside and fill the gap.
T26 3 7 3-WR, Slot Weak Pass 10 Moulds Comeback
The Colts rush 6, but VY stands tall in the pocket and throws outside to Moulds just past the sticks for a first down. A nice throw and catch to keep a drive alive. (CA)
T36 1 10 I-Form, 3-WR Run 11 White Iso
The difference between the Jags and the Colts: the Titans spread the Colts out here, and the Colts still have 7 guys in the box. That’s one man on the three guys outside and one safety outside the picture. You play that way against a team where you want to force them to pass. Olson has a great play here to get off the first guy and get to the second level and force Brackett out of the way, creating the running room for White.
T47 1 10 Shotgun Base Run 5 White Stretch
This starts as a 4-WR look, but Scaife moves into an H-back slot over Stewart after the Colts come out with 6 in the box. Ben Troupe is in the slot to the left. I think the play is supposed to be a stretch, but the stretch is an odd play to run against Dwight Freeney constantly spinning outside, and turns into a cutback, where White is able to find some decent yardage.
I48 2 5 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 3 Brown Read Option
Brown and White are the split backs, and White’s acting as the lead blocker here. Brown has a cutback lane, but it’s occupied by Bob Sanders, who’s able to bring him down after a short gain. Note: presence of safety near line of scrimmage. Go back to the Jaguars game and see how often that was the case. Hint: not very. Brown may get a little bit better gain here if he does a better job of attacking the hole.
I45 3 2 4-WR Run 1 Brown Cutback
The Titans start out in 4-WR, but they move Davis from slot left toward the formation as they snap it. Also, Bob Sanders walks down to make it 6 in the box not including Davis’s defender. Plus, this looks like vintage Chris Brown in 3&short, simply not able to generate the power he needs to get that extra yard.
I44 4 1 I-Form, 3-WR Run 0 Brown Iso
Fisher elects to go for it on 4&short from the Colts side of the field, a decision I liked when he made it. I didn’t really like the playcall, though. Your best offensive player is a mobile QB, your opponent is keying the run, and you do this stupid “contest of wills” thing with your offensive line from a non-power set using a back whose skill is not power. Ugh. 8 defenders > 6 blocks, ergo play fails.
Drive Notes: Downs, 0-0, 1Q 10:34. Too much of White, too much of what I don’t like about Brown, not enough passing (7 runs, 1 pass), too much assuming what worked last week will automatically work this week. Aside from that, great drive!
T40 1 10 4-WR Pass 9 Jones Sitdown
Spread ’em out, and hit ’em with a quick pass. Jennings can’t make the quick tackle and the Titans have 2nd and short. After seeing 1 more in the box, the Titans try to spread the Colts defense out by throwing outside. Act, react, and re-react. (CA)
T49 2 1 2-TE Run 2 White Cutback
I won’t be too critical of cutback runs that net a first down. The Colts did a good job to close this apparent hole quickly.
I49 1 10 4-WR Pass 8 Davis Out
VY fakes the read option, and dumps it short to Davis the opposite side as the fake. A nifty little play to get Davis the ball in space. Note what the Colts didn’t really bring an extra safety down into the box this time, but were playing the defenders over the slot WRs shaded inside toward the tackle box, allowing them to flow quickly towards any cutback runs or whatnot. (CA)
I41 2 2 Weak I, 2-WR Weak Penalty -5 Bell False Start
I46 2 7 2-TE, 3-WR Pass Inc Scaife Middle Screen
Weird formation for the Titans, with an empty backfield yet 2 TEs. The pass is a middle screen for Scaife, but VY throws it behind him, pretty much right at the LB. Bell thankfully has enough presence of mind to bat the ball down and do his part to prevent an interception. Maybe Scaife didn’t quite run the route the right way, but (IN) is the only grade I can give on such a simple pass here.
I46 3 7 Shotgun Base Pass 0 Young Sack
VY drops back, looks to pass, runs up the middle to try to use the O-lineman to block out Bob Sanders, who’s spying. I have no idea whether this was a good play or not, as I can’t see any of the WRs at all. (SCR) is the only grade I can give.
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-6, 1Q 5:55. All-22 film, please, so I can figure out what happened. Do it after the season is over, that’s fine. I’ll pay at least $30 a game.
T33 1 10 Weak I Pass 48 R. Williams Out & Up
Deep drop, a good pocket, VY pumps once, and hits Roydell Williams wide open down the right sideline. Pass is on target, but a little late, allowing the Colts defenders to get there. A better throw yields a touchdown. (CA)
I19 1 10 Shotgun Base Run 6 White Read Option
Ok, the read option was cool at Texas and it was neat when the Titans first used it, primarily because of the Texas stuff, but now it just bores me. I’m seeing too much of it this game, even if this is a decent gain.
I13 2 4 Shotgun Strong Run 1 White Read Option
Snore. Less room to run this time, so a RB who’s Just A Guy gets what’s there and no more.
I12 3 3 4-WR Close Pass Inc Jones Out
Normally you see flats and go’s out of this formation, but it looks like short outs and deeper outs were the name of the game today. Jones runs a short out and VY throws the ball too far. (IN)
Drive Notes: FG, 3-6, 1Q 1:07. Throwing the ball down the field = good. Missing WRs in the red zone on third down = bad. Me uncreative.
T29 1 10 Shotgun Strong Run 0 Brown Read Option
Read option again. VY makes the right read. Colts with 7 in the box. Bell (-1) lets Reid go right by him, and Brown loses half a yard. When you block like that, you have no chance to run the ball successfully.
T29 2 10 Shotgun 4-WR Close Pass 2 Brown Dumpoff
When you can’t see more than 2 yards downfield, it’s tough to say something intelligent. (CA)
T31 3 8 Shotgun 3-WR, 2-TE Pass 21 Young Scramble
VY look, VY run, VY dodge tackler, VY need to learn to slide rather than take unnecessary hits. I (heart) VY. (SCR)
I48 1 10 Shotgun Strong Run 5 Davis Reverse
Yes, it’s an actual, honest-to-goodness reverse! A nice change of pace, though one that would be better if they actually had run the running play (read option off tackle) this game.
I43 2 5 Weak I Run 0 Brown Iso
Blah, short run weak left side.
I43 3 5 Shotgun Base Pass 8 Moulds Comeback(?)
Jones(?) and Davis are stacked left. VY has enough time and finds Moulds to the right side just past the first down marker. 3rd down conversions = good. (CA)
I35 1 10 3-WR, Slot Strong Pass 6 Jones Sitdown
A little quick pass to Jones, who gets a couple yards. Decent enough play. The Colts D here looked like what the Titans do against the Colts-run this when they’re bunching the box against the spread and maybe you can break a big gainer. (CA)
I29 2 4 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 9 Brown Cutback
This is a play for which I’d love to have an end zone angle. Brown has a nifty cutback through what may or may not be heavy traffic and rips off a good gain. White gets no more than 3 yards here.
I20 1 10 3-WR, Slot Strong Pass Inc Scaife Sitdown(?)
Scaife finds a slot and is wide open in the Colts zone about 10 yards downfield, and VY absolutely airmails the throw. Just terrible. VY HAS to be better than this. (IN)
I20 2 10 Split Backs Run 2 Brown Iso
Pretty interesting setup here, with Hall and Brown in the backfield split way wide and Jones near to the weak left side. The run goes left side, and Brown should have a good gain but he’s Chris Brown and is slowed up by the ankle enough to let the rest of the defense get there. When was the last time the Titans had a complete running back, who could run with speed and break through ankle tackles.. Lorenzo White, longer? Yeah, those guys are rare, and Brown, Henry, and White (to take the most recent guys) do have their strengths, but I want a back who can do it all. A winning lottery ticket wouldn’t be so bad, either.
I18 3 8 Shotgun 4-WR Close Pass Inc R. Williams Curl(?)
Roydell’s about 7 yards downfield. VY throws for him, but misses badly. Hayden probably does a little bit of a takedown on Roydell, but the pass is bad enough it doesn’t really matter. (IN)
Drive Notes: FG, 6-13, 2Q 4:28. Bad throws = dead drives. And both of the bad throws came when the difference between a good throw and a bad throw was the difference between a chance at 7 and getting 3. Bad QB play in the red zone kills your chances of winning, and VY did that here. Nice scramble to help get them down there, though.
T20 1 10 3-WR, Slot Weak Run 1 Brown Cutback
No cutback lane, so short run up middle.
T21 2 9 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 7 Young Scramble
VY quickly rolls to his left and keeps his head up looking downfield (good). Apparently seeing nothing, he takes off and gets out of bounds. Smart play in the two-minute drill. (SCR)
T28 3 2 3-WR Right Pass 9 R. Williams Drag(?)
Rollout, and the Titans try to create confusion by showing a 3-WR weak set. Roydell’s open 7 yards downfield, and manages to get out of bounds. 3rd down conversions are good. (CA)
T37 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Pass Inc Scaife Post
The Titans finally throw downfield, but not out of one of my preferred formations (though ISTR this is one they like to throw deep out of). The pass is batted away by S Bethea. More disconcerting is that Scaife and Troupe were both 20-25 yards downfield, close enough almost that one guy could cover both of them. That’s probably not how the play was drawn up. (CA), for lack of a better read on the play.
T37 2 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 7 Young Scramble
T36 2 10 Penalty -15 Young Unsportsmanlike
VY rolls right, and is supposed to throw back for Brown on the screen, but he’s covered. VY takes off and gets a shot by Hayden in bounds, then a hand to the face after he’s out of bounds. Clearly should have been flagged, but it wasn’t. VY takes offense, and tosses the ball right at Hayden. I don’t care if he hit you and it should have been called. You HAVE to be smarter than this. This is a dumb, dumb, D U M, dumb play by VY and costs his team 15 yards. (SCR)
T29 3 18 Shotgun Strong Pass 8 Davis Drag
Colts rush 4 and get pressure, mostly from the middle-left-ish. VY moves around and finds Davis on a crossing route, and he immediately gets popped by Jackson, well short of the first down.
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-13, 2Q 1:23. Bad throws from a QB kill drives, as we saw last time. QB stupidity also kills drives, as we see this time.
T24 1 10 2-TE Pass Inc Troupe Waggle
Bootleg action off the 2-TE set. Scaife is the short guy, and Troupe runs the deep pass about 16 yards downfield. Except VY throws it about 15 yards. Kinda tough to catch it when it hits the ground below your feet. Dierdorf gives Gary Brackett credit for getting in VY’s way, but I don’t really understand how. (IN)
T24 2 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 26 Jones Post
Jones lines up alone to the left. VY takes the snap and hits him over the middle about 15 yards downfield, with room to run. Nice play. (CA) VY takes a shot to the face from DT Eric Johnson here, so naturally there’s a personal fould called. Ha ha, just kidding.
I50 1 10 Shotgun Base Run 12 White Read Option
Thank you, Bob Sanders. Sanders absolutely gives the Titans 10 yards here. The DE makes a wide turn, so VY hands off to White on a cutback run. It’s Sanders’ job to play the cutback lane, but when the DE went wide he crashed the middle of the line, filling a hole that wasn’t even there and leaving the cutback wide open.
I38 1 10 Weak I Pass Inc R. Williams ?
VY drops and tries to throw for Roydell, apparently, though his pass is deflected by DE Thomas well before it gets there. Stewart (-) was on Thomas and didn’t handle him real well-VY was looking right and Thomas was able to spin out and really get in the way of VY’s passing lane. (PR) since it was Stewart’s failure, more than VY’s release that was at fault here.
I38 2 10 Shotgun Strong Run 0 White Read Option
The read option is designed to be a simple zone read running play. If the DE plays outside, run inside. If the DE plays inside, run outside. The previous run to White worked because the DE played outside and the player with contain, Sanders, went too far inside. This play fails because Sanders comes down late and plays outside of Freeney, forcing the inside handoff, which Freeney stuffs for no gain.
I38 3 10 Shotgun Strong Pass Inc Davis Skinny Post
The Colts bring pressure on the Titans-Mawae seems not to handle a blitzing Brackett well. White made the immediate read middle, leaving an unblocked Hayden coming in from outisde Stewart. VY has to throw under pressure, and makes a pretty good throw for Davis just past the first down marker. It’s not a great throw, a little behind Davis, but it hits him in the face, which was about the only place VY could have put it and not hit a defender. It’s not an easy catch, but it’s a makeable one. Davis was coming out of his break and may not have been expecting the ball that early. From the Colts’ lineup, though, a blitz was a real possibility, and he should have been ready for it. Not VY’s fault this wasn’t completed. (CA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 6-19, 3Q 7:13. Two big gains, a 20+ passing play and a 10+ rushing play, but boom-and-bust offense busts before scoring position. Remember the cardinal rule of Vegas-you’ll go broke before the house will. Fisher punts, which he maybe doesn’t do if the Titans pick up a couple yards and set up 4&medium or short, but it works out pretty well, as Hentrich’s punt is downed at the 1.
I15 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 8 White Read Option
Some nice trap action off the read option, with Brown running the outside play to keep Sanders to the left side. Freeney is blocked this time, and there’s a good lane for White to scoot through. If you’re tired of me not praising White, I will say that he at least runs forward through a hole that’s there instead of waiting for another one to appear on this play. This is, at least, a sign of non-total incompetence as an NFL RB.
I7 2 2 I-Form, 3-WR Run 4 White Iso
This is a simple read-and-react I-formation iso running play. It works because Olson and Bell are able to get through to the second level and prevent the linebackers from filling the hole. White again is also not totally incompetent and runs forward. After the play, Greg Gumbel tells us KVB was in on the play as the lead blockers. Funny, all this time I thought KVB was white. The camera guy, validating my hypothesis that the camera guys and/or directors think the announcers are blowhard idiots, immediately shows a shot of KVB, sitting on the bench, with his helmet off.
I3 1 G 2-TE Strong, Weak I Run 3-TD White Cutback
Ah, this is how a cutback run is supposed to work. The Colts flow to the left side, as the play is clearly going that way, but White cuts it back to the right. Sanders can’t get back over in time, and Bethea can’t make the play. Bethea is the guy most at fault here-I’m not sure why he wasn’t there to tackle White. Maybe he’s worried about a VY run, or getting caught up in trash, but I don’t think that’s really much of an excuse.
Drive Notes: TD, 13-19, 3Q 4:58. The Titans get the ball in excellent field position after the Finnegan interception and are able to convert.
T24 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run -1 Brown Read Option
LenDale White is a terrible lead blocker. He betrays where this play is going and then makes a terrible attempt at a block on this play. I know you have to give the ball to Brown once in a while when you have both guys in the backfield at once, but please don’t do so in a way that means you’re running behind him.
T23 2 11 Shotgun Base Pass -2+Fumble Davis Swing
The pass isn’t fast enough to be a smoke, and it’s not really a quick hitch. Instead, Davis runs a little bit of an out right, so it looks almost like a swing from the slot. He takes a good pop from Kelvin Hayden, and the ball immediately pops out. I don’t really get this play-the Colts had two guys right there, and Davis had no room to run.
Drive Notes: Fumble, 13-22, 4Q 14:02. Turnovers deep inside your own field are bad, mmkay? No, Vinatieri missing the ensuing FG does not make this OK.
T26 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass -7 Young Sack
It’s not that I don’t like LenDale White; I just don’t think he’s very good. White has a blitzing Sanders here, but Sanders comes in low and drives White, who outweighs him by 40? pounds into where VY is standing. Full blame doesn’t go to Sanders here, as Bell is also being driven back, but White deserves more of the blame here. VY scrambles to his left, and Sanders is able to release off White and eventually be the one to bring down VY here. VY’s only visible option was Brown out of the backfield, which may or may not have been remotely possible when the pressure got to him. Without all-22, I have no clue what was or wasn’t available downfield. VY really should have thrown this away after he scrambled. (.5 PR, .5 BR)
T19 2 17 I-Form, 3-WR Pass 10 Gage Quick Hitch
This play looks a little like the pass to Davis on the fumble, only better designed-a quicker throw, less swing action, a little more space in the formation, and Gage is able to find a lane and pick up a nice gain to set up 3&medium-long instead of &pretty long. (CA)
T29 3 7 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass Inc Gage Out(?)
T29 3 7 Penalty 24 IND-Bethea Pass Interference
The Colts come with some pressure, but VY rolls behind a wide pocket and throws about 25 yards downfield for Gage. Bethea’s not paying too much attention and runs into Gage while the ball is on the way, easily drawing a flag. (CA)
I47 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 13 Brown Read Option
I swear, I didn’t have this play in mind when I wrote my earlier comment about having Brown run in a place where it didn’t matter if White actually blocked anybody. Norm Chow takes my advice and it’s a nice cutback play. Brown helps sell this play by taking a big stride toward the left, forcing Brackett, who, as he should have been, was shading, towards the middle and setting up a big hole. He runs forward (yes!) and rips off a nice gain.
I34 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 3 White Cutback
Blah, short run up middle.
I31 2 7 3-WR, Slot Strong Pass 8 Scaife Stop
Scaife lines up way outside to the right, runs 8 yards downfield, and catches the ball. A very good throw by VY and the sort of playcall designed to help spread out a defense. I’m not sure, though, that Scaife is that great a concern split out to the far side-it’s simply too far to set up a running play. (CA)
I23 1 10 3-WR, Slot Strong Run 2 White Iso
Blah, short run left side.
I21 2 8 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 4 White Cutback
Blah, short run up middle. I can’t only write three sentences about every play. Or can I?
I17 3 4 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 10 Jones Out
The Colts bring pressure here-a sort of long, looping outside rush by Freeney, who’s bearing down VY. Who still has time enough to put one out there for Jones to make a play on. Which he does, successfully, for a much-needed first down. (CA)
I7 1 G Weak I, 2-WR Weak Run 3 Brown Iso
Short run up the middle.
I4 2 G 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Run 3 Brown Iso
Blah, short run right side. The nice thing about this is that even though it’s a goal-to-go situation, Brown is in the game. And what he’s doing is just running forward, trying to get as many yards as he can and trusting the holes will be there or he’ll be able to run forward anyway. I hope you were watching these plays, LenDale, since that’s why you’re not in the game.
I1 3 G Shotgun 4-WR, 3-WR Weak Pass 1-TD R. Williams Out
Lined up toward the right hash, and Roydell is the guy out left. Way left. VY makes a great, solid throw-this isn’t quite a rocket, but it’s a good, hard throw, that goes right past DB Tim Jennings, where no defender can make a play on it yet Roydell can snag it. It’s easy to be happy about a nice conversion on 3&goal. (DO)
Drive Notes: TD, 20-22, 4Q 6:02. Great result for the drive. The bad thing, though, is that it took 6:24, more than half the time remaining. A quicker drive means the Titans may be able to get two chances to outscore the Colts by 2+ the rest of the game, instead of the 1 they did get. Yes, I am a killjoy.
T20 1 10 Shotgun Base Pass -5 Young Sack
Ok, this is (a) a terrible play, (b) a lousy play, or (c) a really bad play. It’s tough, emotionally, to fault VY here-he sees pressure, and elects to take off, as he’s done so many times and so successfully before. Except, this time, it doesn’t work, as Bob Sanders is able to take him down from behind. From 20-20 hindsight, he should have thrown the ball away once he broke the pocket, or at least when he first felt Sanders come down on his legs. (.5 PR, .5 BR)
T15 2 15 Shotgun Strong Pass 6 Jones Drag
VY here takes what was probably the best available option, Jones on a drag route heading near the sidelines for just a short gain. Except as he’s running toward the sidelines, Jones gets popped by Tim Jennings, who probably sways the official on a tough call and gets the clock to be wound, costing the Titans perhaps :20. The timing here stinks-the Titans had a TO left on this drive, and probably should have used it after the sack or after this play, just to collect themselves and be ready. As was, they end up not using it at all, when :15 or :20 extra could have been very valuable. (CA)
T21 3 9 Shotgun Base Pass 12 Young Scramble
And people revert to type when under pressure. And VY’s type is a scrambling quarterback. He takes a quick read here, doesn’t see anything open but the right side of the field and takes off. LB Hagler is at the first down line and doesn’t even make a move on VY, apparently fearful of giving up the huge play and basically conceding both the first down and the sidelines. “Fear will keep them in line. Fear of this quarterback running.” I guess it beats being the NFL equivalent of posterized, as happened to Will Demps of the Giants last year. (SCR)
T33 1 10 Shotgun Strong Pass 14 R. Williams Comeback
The Colts really bring a lot of guys here, not your normal non-pressure defense. VY is able to stand tall in the pocket and hits Roydell on the sidelines for a nice gain. Great play. (DO) is inflated, but I don’t feel too bad, as VY has made some nice plays and good reads today.
T47 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 6 Young Scramble
VY with a quick rollout here, probably designed. This is almost a 2-read, then go play. VY takes off and picks up some yards before smarly stepping out of bounds. If it’s earlier in the game, he probably tries for extra yards, but getting OOB here is more valuable. (SCR)
I47 2 4 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass Inc Jones Comeback
Looks like about the same play as the pass to Roydell, only not as much pressure and this time the throw is a little bit too far back. It looked like Jennings may have had a hand on Jones a little early, but no flag comes out and that’s the right call. (IN)
I47 3 4 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass Inc Jones In
Jones runs an 8 yard in, VY hits him with the pass, and he drops it. No two ways about this one. Not a hard throw to make, and the pass hits him in the friggin’ hands. Bad Brandon, bad Brandon. (CA)
I47 4 4 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass -6 Young Prayer
Would you believe my DVR recording cuts off right as Mawae is about to snap the ball here? Yup, perfect timing. Since we didn’t see anything downfield at all, I have no idea what to write about this play. VY tried as best he could to make a play, I have no idea what, if anything, he could have done better, and I’m not about to give him a bad grade on a failed play for trying to make something happen.
Drive Notes: End of game, 20-22, 4Q end. Awful time management here early in the drive, and it’s disappointing to walk out of the game with one timeout, when it’s worth nothing. Credit to the Colts for bringing pressure rather than just rushing 3 and sitting back in coverage.

UPDATE (10/3, 2340 CT): Whole game up. Pass chart and whatnot coming soon.


Written by Tom Gower

September 21, 2007 at 02:47

Posted in Uncategorized

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