NFL Big Gain Week 1: Stedman Bailey Beats Richard Sherman

The St. Louis Rams recorded an important divisional win over rival Seattle Seahawks in overtime, with a final score of 34-31. Mark Schofield looks at the play that got the Rams into field goal range: when Stedman Bailey beats Richard Sherman on the corner route.

The two biggest offseason storylines for the Seattle Seahawks imposed themselves in the waning moments of their season-opener against the St. Louis Rams. The Seahawks newly assembled offensive line struggled to protect Russell Wilson all day, giving up six sacks and pressures on the QB for the game.

On the other side of the ball, the vaunted Seattle defense ‒ absent holdout safety Kam Chancellor ‒  was able to contain the St. Louis running game, but yielded 297 yards passing and one touchdown to Nick Foles, including a game tying 37-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds remaining. When the game entered overtime, the new Rams QB was able to make one more big play in the passing game to put the home team in position for the win.

On the first possession of overtime, the Rams have the football just inside Seattle territory ‒ thanks to a botched surprise onside kick from Seattle. Foles sets up in the shotgun with 11 offensive personnel on the field, in pro formation to the left and slot formation to the right. Seattle has their 4-2-5 defense in the game, showing Cover 1 in the secondary:

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St. Louis wide receiver Stedman Bailey is lined up in the slot, with cornerback Richard Sherman across from him. While the talented Sherman usually lines up on the outside, Seattle has used him in the slot before ‒ including against the Rams.

On the slot side of the field, Kenny Britt runs a shallow crossing route from the outside, while Bailey runs the deeper corner route. On the backside, Tavon Austin runs a shallow crossing route while tight end Jared Cook runs a deeper post pattern:

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The post pattern from the TE works to hold free safety Earl Thomas in the middle of the field, giving Bailey space to work on Sherman:

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Foles drops in a perfect throw with great timing ‒ just before Thomas arrives to disrupt the connection. On this replay, you can see how Sherman flips his hips to gain leverage at the snap and establish outside position:

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Bailey stutter-steps to the inside, gaining enough separation from the All-Pro corner, so that when he accelerates, Sherman’s jam attempt does not disrupt the route. Bailey put space between him and the corner as he extends his route, and Sherman can only try to chase this down from behind.

The well-executed play put the Rams in field goal position, and four plays later kicker Greg Zuerlein knocked the football through the uprights to give the home team the lead. The St. Louis defense did their job on Seattle’s next possession, stopping Marshawn Lynch on a 4th down and 1 run to end the game.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.

All video and images courtesy the NFL and Fox Sports.

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