CB Tre’Davious White’s Game Clinching Interception vs. the Chiefs


Defensive-minded head coach Sean McDermott put his faith in the defense to seal the game, and rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White put the proverbial nail in the coffin.


The highly decorated corner from Louisiana State University, otherwise known as Defensive Back University (DBU), has been targeted 59 times, but has allowed only 29 receptions for 451 yards this season. He has surrendered three touchdowns, but continues to make plays on the ball, racking up two interceptions, and is currently second in the NFL with 10 pass deflections.

On 3rd-and-7 with the ball on the right hash, the Chiefs send out 11 personnel and align them in a 2×2 set. Buffalo counters with a 3-3-5 look, which is three defensive linemen and LB Lorenzo Alexander in a two point stance aligned outside of the guard in a 3 technique and five defensive backs. This look is very deceiving for QB Alex Smith because he is unsure if Alexander is going to rush or drop into coverage like he had several times during the game. On the play before the interception the Bills showed the same look, and Alexander dropped into coverage.

This look was utilized by the Bills a lot under Rex Ryan.


Look at it from the All-22 perspective. Prior to the snap, Smith checks the defense and the safeties are in a two high shell. The cornerbacks show a soft cover 2 look, and so do the second level defenders.


To the field, the Chiefs run a ‘Smash’ concept, and into the boundary they run a three man route combo. The #1 WR, Hill, runs a deep comeback route, while the #2 receiver, TE Kelce, runs a quick slant. The #3, who is the running back, runs a swing. As a result, they have route concepts that can beat single or two high zone coverages.

The route by Kelce may have been a sight adjustment by the TE, considering the defensive play call. As he clears Milano, Kelce peeks at LB Brown, who is not in a position to make a play. Once LB Alexander rushes, Kelce knows that he is wide open in the hole.

Kelce’s route is open because post-snap, the Bills drop into Cover 3 Buzz, which means that safety Jordan Poyer is filling the underneath zone to put five defenders right around the 1st down marker. This is a core coverage in McDermott’s scheme.


But due to the distance that Poyer has to come, Kelce was immediately open and would have easily gained the first down.

Cover 3 Buzz


As Smith glances left-to-right he blows by Kelce and instead targets WR Hill, and it isn’t the wrong read. When a defense plays Cover 3, deep comebacks are always chain movers — this has been QB Tyrod Taylor’s money maker over the last two plus seasons. As Smith sees Poyer drop down and Hill’s curl route pivot towards the middle of the field, Smith wants to throw it to the boundary shoulder of Hill so Poyer can’t make a play on it, as he has speed coming downhill.

White plays it perfectly; as the ball is snapped he bails into softer coverage, but then continues his ‘Saban shuffle’ technique. With White playing with outside leverage and shuffling instead of back pedaling, he is able to read the route of the wide receiver while keeping the QB in his line of sight. White is able to see Hill throttle down toward the top of the route. Smith is at the top of his drop and starts his throwing motion; White plants and accelerates to Hill’s boundary shoulder.



The pass is inaccurate, and White snags it and takes it 63 yards in the other direction. The play by White was another example of players doing their 1/11th. He executed within the structure of the play, and let his technique and mental processing take over, helping Buffalo get their 6th win of the season.


Watch the play unfold courtesy of Krossover.