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Anatomy of a Play: Tony Gonzalez Scores Against Former Team


Hey guys, the Anatomy of a Play series is back in full swing this season and my first play is Matt Ryan's touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez.

In this video, I'll break down the play with a little bit of detail and also sound really stiff because I wouldn't know how else to sound. Hopefully, you'll all enjoy the video and hopefully it'll bring more fans to the site.

After the jump, you'll find the video as well as the script I used (pretty much word-for-word) for the audio in case you're in an area where you're unable to listen to the audio.

Thanks for watching, and feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns!

(If you can help it, watch it in fullscreen and HD! It looks much better!)

Anatomy of a Play - Week 1 2012 - Tony Gonzalez's Memorable TD at Arrowhead (via zippo729)

Hello everybody, welcome to the first edition of the Anatomy Of A Play Series for the 2012 Atlanta Falcons season. I'm Caleb Rutherford from The Falcoholic and today, I'm going to be going over Matt Ryan's touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez in the Falcons game against the Chiefs.

If you're unfamiliar with this series and how it works, I'll be taking one impact play from each Falcons game this season and breaking it down a little bit more than usual.

I'll also be providing a top-down perspective of the play using a bunch of circles and lines that will look a little bit like something you'd see if you closed your eyes and tried to draw a chicken.

The black lines you will see are offensive movement lines. They will involve either blocking or route running and will not involve possession of the ball.

The blue lines you will see are defensive movement lines. They involve the gap and coverage assignments the defense has at the time of the play.

The red lines you will see are ball movement lines. They involve every step from when the quarterback receives the ball on the snap to the movement of the player that will receive the ball, as well as the ball's final location at the end of the play. I use red to differentiate where the player that will be receiving the ball will be headed so as not to confuse the blocking and route running assignments that go on around them.



For the play, it's Falcons ball, 1st and goal on the 7 yard line. The Falcons are threatening to put the game out of reach towards the end of the third quarter.



Now, let's switch this over to the top-down view. (1:48)

The Falcons offense has a tight slot right, and a bit of a looser slot to the left with Roddy White and Michael Palmeroccupying the two slot positions. Roddy White comes in motion to the right, and Chiefs defensive back Jacques Reeves follows Roddy, signaling to Matt Ryan that, at the very least, his two wideouts have man coverage across from them. This is further reinforced by Chiefs DB Stanford Routt lining up a short distance away from Julio Jones.

The Chiefs appear to be in their nickel defense. They have two down linemen and two standup rushers on the edge. On paper, it looks almost like a hybrid 4-3, with mega-talented safety Eric Berry coming up to linebacker depth. The Chiefs have overloaded the right side, presumably because the two tight ends are to the right. They're so far overloaded to the right that a counter run to the left by Turner may have also scored a touchdown in this situation.



As you can see here (2:35), Roddy White's motion has him positioned next to Gonzalez in a bunch trips formation to the right. The safeties do not move very far, suggesting that they're in a Cover 2, also known to some as "Deep halves". This means that the two safeties are required to take or help on the deepest threat on their respective halves of the field. In this case, that means protecting half of the endzone.

Now, we switch to my beautiful top-down view (2:56) that shows the routes and basic coverages that both teams run.



The fascinating thing about NFL football is just how many moving parts there are in a single play.

First of all, this is a great play call, both in design and execution, and I'll explain why. (3:10)



After the snap, the trio of Palmer, Roddy, and Gonzalez all run different directions to pull the defense apart.

As we suspected, this is man coverage with a Cover 2 in the back. In essence, everybody that isn't rushing covers somebody and the two safeties play help defense on the backside, each covering a half of the endzone.

The brilliance in this play stems from a couple things. First, Michael Turner runs a wheel route out of the backfield. Turner never had any intention of receiving the ball on this play, but it pulls linebacker Jovan Belcher out of the middle of the field and out of the play entirely.

Second, both Julio Jones and Roddy White pulled the safety on their side towards them. The fatal mistake for the Chiefs on this play was when nickel corner Travis Daniels turns his back to the middle of the field to help Routt with Julio Jones. The second Daniels lost sight of the middle of the field was the second the middle of the field became wide open. Daniels had no clue that Gonzalez was about to abuse his area because he was too focused on Julio Jones. By the time Daniels realized his mistake, it was too late.

Safety Abram Elam had already committed to helping cover Roddy White, who had run towards the right corner of the end zone. This left the entirety of the middle of the end zone open.

The third and perhaps most important part of this play is that Gonzalez gets himself caught up in linebacker Derrick Johnson for long enough to divert any attention away from him, as shown here.

Johnson doesn't know this at the time, but the field behind him is completely open. Since he has committed to taking Gonzalez face-to-face, he's already been beaten in coverage. Gonzalez makes quick work of him by stepping above him and crossing in front of the goal post.

The last piece of the puzzle is the easiest, and that's an accurate throw from Matt Ryan. Matt knows that Gonzalez is bigger than Johnson and can get behind him, so all he has to do is throw the ball behind Johnson and out in front of Gonzalez, and Matt does just that and it's an easy six points.

Thanks for tuning in to this edition of the Anatomy of a Play series. If you liked what you saw, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and come pay us a visit over at The Falcoholic.

And as always, Go Falcons!