Buffalo Bills and the Double Trap Block

Coaches often create small wrinkles or play designs to take advantage of opponents’ weaknesses. In 2015 the Buffalo Bills used the double trap block to thwart the Miami Dolphins in week 9. Ryan Dukarm explains the concept and how we should expect to see it again in 2016. 

A trap block leaves a defender unblocked at the line of scrimmage, and then brings a pulling blocker around to hit the defender from the side as they move upfield to take them out of the play. In 2015 the Buffalo Bills used two trap blocks on one play at times, most notably against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9, pulling both guards to the play side of the formation, allowing other lineman to get to the second level immediately. The blocks created large lanes in the middle of the field for runners while also causing confusion within the second level of the defense.

The Bills first used this scheme with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter while leading 9-0. Buffalo has 21 personnel on the field, quarterback Tyrod Taylor (#5) is in the shotgun with fullback Jerome Felton (#42) to his right and running back LeSean McCoy (#25) to his left. Tight end Charles Clay (#85) is aligned to the right of the formation. Miami is in a base 4-3 set, with Ndamukong Suh (#93) aligned as the defensive left 3-technique and Derrick Shelby (#79) is aligned as a 6-technique head up on Clay. Both Suh and Shelby are the targets of the Bills trap blocks on this play:

Bills Double Trap Still 1

Both guards are called on to pull to the right of the formation, with left guard Richie Incognito (#64) trapping Suh and right guard John Miller (#76) trapping Shelby. At the snap, both right tackle Seantrel Henderson (#66) and Clay move immediately to the second level to block the closest two linebackers. Incognito and Miller come through and trap both defenders, moving them to the right of the play and opening a lane up the middle for McCoy, who runs for a 7 yard gain.

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Later in the game, the Bills again went to the double trap block to run against the Dolphins. With 9:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and facing 2nd and 24, the Bills align in the same formation as they did earlier in the game. They again pull both guards to the right of the formation, once more trapping Suh and Shelby to create a lane up the middle. This time Karlos Williams takes the handoff and runs for a gain of 12, setting up a key third down late in the game.

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The Bills used the the double trap block as a way to take advantage of aggressive players along opponents’ defensive lines throughout the 2015 season. When defenders were left unblocked they would get into the defensive backfield, allowing the offensive guards on the Bills to trap the defenders behind the line of scrimmage and create running lanes for the Buffalo running backs. I would expect to see more of this in 2016, as the Bills look to build upon their successful year of power running under offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Follow Ryan on Twitter @DBRyan_Dukarm.

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