Film-Study and Breaking Tendencies

I would like to briefly bring to the casual fans attention how the product of a successful play is created….Peter King did a great piece recently following Carson Palmer during a game week versus the Browns. King highlighted what goes into a game-plan for a game, and if you haven’t read it I highly suggest you do. But I will show you a similar example of how film-study, game-planning and execution led to a of a TD versus the Jets. So lets start out with the product.

Karlos Williams receiving TD in the 3rd quarter

The Bills are in 12 personnel vs. the Jets in the 3-4 defense. This is the Bills 1st drive coming out of halftime. It is 2nd and 10 from the Jets 26 yd line. The Bills are leading 12-3. The Bills motion TE Charles Clay into the box and have him run a deep post. The outside WR Sammy Watkins runs a streak. RB Karlos Williams, starts in the backfield but releases to the numbers widens the ILB Davis then cuts back inside his shoulder at which time Taylor hits him for a 26 yd TD. Pretty play huh? How did we get to this point? Lets examine that.

The Bills are in 12 personnel vs. the Jets in the 3-4 defense. This is the Bills 1st drive coming out of halftime. It is 2nd and 10 from the Jets 26 yd line. The Bills are leading 12-3. The Bills motion TE Charles Clay into the box and have him run a deep post. The outside WR Sammy Watkins runs a streak. RB Karlos Williams, starts in the backfield but releases to the numbers widens the ILB Davis then cuts back inside his shoulder at which time Taylor hits him for a 26 yd TD. Pretty play huh? How did we get to this point? Lets examine that.

Back in week 2 the Jets played the Colts. The Colts run a very similar offensive scheme that Greg Roman does. The offensive coordinator in Indy was Pep Hamilton and I have mentioned before the two have a link to Jim Harbaugh and his offensive prowess. When coaches begin to look at film for their next opponent one of the common approaches is to examine film of the opponent versus teams that have similar skill positions or similar schemes and film from their opponents last 4 games. I believe that the Roman and the Bills did this very thing. If you go back to week 2 the Colts came out in a run heavy personnel. It is a two back two TE grouping, it is referred to as 22 personnel. When the Colts showed this look the Jets matched up with their 3-4 defense.

Personnel match-up:

More notably with Calvin Pace and Quenton Coples at the outside LB positions. They are decent OLBs because they can rush the passer and they are long enough and athletic enough to drop into coverage. On this 2nd and 1, the Colts ran play-action and threw a deep in route to WR Moncrief. Take a look:

The defense, specifically Darrelle Revis was confused on who he was supposed to cover. But the defense was in cover 2 man. The safety #25 on the left hand side of the screen bites hard on the play-action instead of being in coverage. *Mental note 1-22 personnel=3-4 defense*.

Personnel Mismatch: #56 Demario Davis

In week 8 the Jets gave up 333 pass yards to the Oakland Raiders and 80 of those yards were to RBs. This was the biggest gain of 54 by RB Jones.

The Raiders are in 21 personnel but more importantly the Jets wanted to be in their 3-4 defense vs. this offensive grouping. But notice who their OLBs are; Pace and Coples. Also notice how the motion shows man coverage because ILB #52 Harris motions out with the TE. So QB Carr knows he has man coverage and a mismatch, RB Jones vs. ILB #56 Demario Davis. If you read my isolate Davis piece you will know that he struggles in the open field. He doesn't handle Jones speed well and doesn't make the open field tackle. He screams outside totally out of control. *Mental note 2- #56 Demario Davis has trouble in coverage*.

The Raiders are in 21 personnel but more importantly the Jets wanted to be in their 3-4 defense vs. this offensive grouping. But notice who their OLBs are; Pace and Coples. Also notice how the motion shows man coverage because ILB #52 Harris motions out with the TE. So QB Carr knows he has man coverage and a mismatch, RB Jones vs. ILB #56 Demario Davis. If you read my isolate Davis piece you will know that he struggles in the open field. He doesn’t handle Jones speed well and doesn’t make the open field tackle. He screams outside totally out of control. *Mental note 2- #56 Demario Davis has trouble in coverage*.

So fast forward to the Thursday night match-up between our Bills and the Jets.

At the 12:14 mark of the 2nd quarter the Bills show the 22 personnel look with RB Karlos Williams in the game. The Jets again, align in the 3-4 defense. But the new wrinkle this week was that instead of Pace and Coples as the OLBs they put OLB Pace and DE Sheldon Richardson at the outside linebacker positions. Now, I love what Richardson brings to a defense, but he is not athletic enough to play OLB. The Jets did this to have a tough run stopper set the edge for our edge run game. He’s a tremendous run stopper and pass rusher but to put him outside like this was a risk. So in essence they are in a 4-3 defense and Richardson will almost always rush the passer.

1st and 10

#97 Pace and #91 DE Richardson aligned outside.

Here is the play from the all 22 angle. The Bills motion Clay to kick out the OLB Pace. They pull LG Richie Incognito and run power right with Karlos Williams. Williams makes a great cut and gains 8 yards on the play. Nothing special right? *Mental note 22 personnel=3-4 defense CHECK!!*

Here is the play from the all 22 angle. The Bills motion Clay to kick out the OLB Pace. They pull LG Richie Incognito and run power right with Karlos Williams. Williams makes a great cut and gains 8 yards on the play. Nothing special right? *Mental note 22 personnel=3-4 defense CHECK!!*

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. 5 wide empty backfield set. The Bills put Shady in the slot and Clay to the bottom of the screen. Now notice who is over Shady, OLB Calvin Pace. Ok, now where is the other “OLB” Sheldon Richardson? He is lined up in a two point stance outside the LT Glenn and Richardson rushes the passer. So the Jets did not put Richardson in a position to drop into coverage. That will possibly put the ILBs in coverage. You can see them shift to the top of the screen to help with the 3 receivers on top of the screen. The screen pass goes to Clay and he gains good yardage. Great drive starter! Charles Clay with his 2nd catch on this drive. *Mental note 3- Richardson always rushes the passer out of 3-4*.

2nd and 3

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. Pace and Richardson at the OLB positions.

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. Pace and Richardson at the OLB positions.

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. Bills motion Clay to the off-line TE position to the bottom of the screen. They release TE Gragg down the seam and he takes the CB and the Safety. Clay fakes pass protection and gets the screen and a 25 yd gain. OLBs are Pace and Richardson. *Mental note-Richardson rushes passer in 3-4 defense CHECK!!*

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. Bills motion Clay to the off-line TE position to the bottom of the screen. They release TE Gragg down the seam and he takes the CB and the Safety. Clay fakes pass protection and gets the screen and a 25 yd gain. OLBs are Pace and Richardson. *Mental note-Richardson rushes passer in 3-4 defense CHECK!!*

The very next play:

1st and 10

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. Same alignment Bills run a power run to the offenses left for a gain of 8 yards. *Mental note-3-4 defense with Richardson at the OLB position.*

12 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. Same alignment Bills run a power run to the offenses left for a gain of 8 yards. *Mental note-3-4 defense with Richardson at the OLB position.*

Fast forward four plays later:

THE TOUCHDOWN

2nd and 10

The Bills bring in 22 personnel with Williams and Felton in the backfield and Clay and Mulligan at TE. Here is the match-up:

22 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. The Jets make the read for Taylor even easier. Since the Bills are at the 26 yd line of the Jets, the Jets think this is a run down situation. It is further reinforced with Karlos Williams in there. So they insert DE Wilkerson and DE Richardson at the OLB positions. The chances of those guys dropping into coverage? Pretty slim.

22 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. The Jets make the read for Taylor even easier. Since the Bills are at the 26 yd line of the Jets, the Jets think this is a run down situation. It is further reinforced with Karlos Williams in there. So they insert DE Wilkerson and DE Richardson at the OLB positions. The chances of those guys dropping into coverage? Pretty slim.

So did the Bills get the “looks” they expected??

  1. 22 personnel=JETS IN 3-4CHECK!!

  2. #56 ILB Demario Davis in coverage-CHECK!!

  3. DE Richardson lined up at OLB and rushing passerCHECK!!

  4. Run heavy formation= Tendency Breaker-CHECK!!

  5. Bonus– DE Wilkerson in at OLB=rushing the passerCHECK!!

  6. Bonus- Play-calling made the defense “key” on Clay-CHECK!!

The Final Product

22 personnel vs. 3-4 defense. The “OLBs” rush the passer and try to keep Taylor in the pocket. Defense looks like they are trying to run cover 4. This coverage puts stress on the ILB Davis. The motion by Clay in the slot caught both of the safeties eyes because he had two BIG plays on this drive. So they jump his post route. The ILB Davis screams out towards the numbers and as he over pursues Karlos, Karlos cuts just inside his shoulder and catches the pass between the numbers and the hash. Williams’ size and speed at full throttle at that point, NO ONE is going to stop him from scoring!

Many people don’t understand the amount of hours spent studying film, players and match-ups. The TD by Karlos Williams catapulted the Bills up by 3 possessions. So kudos to Greg Roman and the offensive staff for the game-planning and adjustments made in this game for a much needed win on the road.

Liked it? Take a second to support Cover 1 on Patreon!
Scroll to top