The Oakland Raiders continued their solid start to the 2015 campaign with a convincing 34-20 victory over the visiting New York Jets on Sunday. Mark Schofield breaks down the key play, finding Taiwan Jones on the swing route.
Quarterback Derek Carr turned in a very impressive performance, completing 23 of 36 passes for 333 yards,four touchdowns, and no turnovers. But his biggest play serves as an example of why sometimes simply taking the quick checkdown is the smartest decision a quarterback can make.
Early in the third quarter the Raiders have 1st and 10 on their own 41-yard line. Carr is in the shotgun and the offense deploys 21 offensive personnel, with fullback Marcel Reece (#45) split outside on the right. The quarterback is flanked by reserve tight end Clive Walford (#88) and running back Taiwan Jones (#22) in the backfield. Wide receivers Seth Roberts (#10) and Andre Holmes (#18) set up in a slot to the left, with Roberts on the inside:
Because of this personnel, the Jets stay with their base 3-4 look, showing Cover 1. Prior to the play, Walford motions out to the right, giving the Raiders a 2X2 alignment:
The offense runs switch verticals on both sides of the field. On the right, Reece cuts to the inside before releasing up the seam, while the TE bends outside on a wheel route. Jones releases to the outside on a simple swing pattern.
The coverage on the outside is very tight. Cornerback Marcus Williams (#20) begins the play over the fullback, gets a solid jam on Reece, and is able to stick with him up the seam. Williams’ tight coverage on Reece allows linebacker David Harris (#52) a clear path to the outside, and he is in perfect position to cover the wheel route from Walford:
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Carr reads this play to the right side all the way. After checking the switch vertical routes, he sees the tight coverage and dumps the ball off to Jones on the swing route. This is what he sees at the moment he releases the football:
Linebacker Demario Davis (#56) is breaking on the RB, but given the down and the game situation, checking the football to the running back here is a smart, conservative decision.
A decision Jones is about to reward:
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Davis is in perfect tackling position, having broken down, made himself wide and ready to strike. But Jones beats the LB with a speed move to the sideline.
Next is Williams, who has come off his coverage of Reece, ready to make a tackle. But Jones hits the breaks, and the DB flies right by.
Safety Marcus Gilchrist (#21) is the proverbial last line of defense, but Jones puts a tremendous juke on the safety, angling quickly to the inside of the field before sticking his left foot in the grass and cutting back toward the sideline.
59 yards later, Jones is in the end zone with the score.The end zone view provides a good look at the various moves the RB used to carry out this long run:
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It is easy to knock a quarterback for playing conservatively, for checking the football down. But sometimes, coverage, situation and scheme dictate that the safe play is the right decision.
Carr takes advantage of the coverage and the situation, and smartly dumps the football off to his running back quickly enough so he is in position to do something after the catch. And Jones does exactly that, making multiple defenders miss on the way to the end zone.
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 NFL Game Pass.