Why It Worked | Tyrod Taylor to Jordan Matthews vs. Falcons


Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews Uncovers for the Touchdown

Oct 1, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews (87) celebrates after he catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports


[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”5″]H[/su_dropcap]eading into the week four matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, not many pundits gave the Bills a shot. Buffalo was headed into a hostile environment versus a super fast defense and an offense that could almost score at will. But the Bills’ defense did a tremendous job at stopping the Falcons when they had to. Atlanta had the ball in the red zone four times, but could only muster two touchdowns and one field goal. The only other trip where Buffalo didn’t allow a score was on this 4th-and-1 play where quarterback Matt Ryan attempted to hit wide receiver Taylor Gabriel for the first down, but rookie Tre’Davious White came up with a big stop.


White had a huge game. He also pitched in a defensive touchdown after Jerry Hughes showed off his pass rushing prowess by getting to Ryan. The ball came loose, White picked it up and took it the distance. The play was reviewed and the call on the field held up.


Free agent kicker Stephen Hauschka was huge for the offense. He put three field goals through the uprights when the offense stalled.


But Tyrod Taylor and the offense were able to punch 1/2 into the end zone. At the 7:09 mark of the second quarter, the Bills’ offense was at the Falcons’ nine yard line. The Bills send out 12 personnel and align in a tight, trips bunch set into the boundary.


The Falcons match with their base defense and appear to play ‘corners’ over, which just means that both corners follow the two receivers to the boundary. So defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel appears to call man coverage. Corner Robert Alford is in press man coverage on WR Zay Jones, corner Desmond Trufant is in off coverage versus WR Jordan Matthews as to avoid any sort of rub concept. Linebacker Devondre Campbell is on the line of scrimmage across from tight end Nick O’Leary and he also appears to be in man coverage.


On the snap, Taylor fakes the run to running back LeSean McCoy and looks to get the ball to Zay Jones. But the defender did a great job of disrupting the route.


Jones gets right into Alford’s kitchen by leaning into him so that when Zay breaks, he can slightly push off and separate, but Alford is up to the task and is able to stay with Jones.


But as this is happening, Matthews is pulling a veteran move. The split flow by tight end Logan Thomas brought the single high safety Brian Poole down, so at this point in the play he is trying to recover to get back into position. Matthews recognizes that and attacks Poole’s deepest shoulder, then, as he hits the goal line, he flattens the route.


The angle taken by Matthews forces the trail defender Trufant to change his angle of approach, as he is still trying to close the cushion. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Trufant’s path is now hindered by his teammate.  The corner takes a quick peek at Taylor and recognizes Taylor sliding in the pocket and changing his target. With all of that processed, Trufant is now forced to work underneath Poole and the route by Matthews altogether, as that is the only shot he has on the ball.


But Matthews doesn’t just carry the route flat across; he then gains depth, which makes it nearly impossible for Trufant to undercut the route.


Taylor read the situation perfectly and put the perfect amount of touch and trajectory on the pass in order to clear the Falcons’ defender.


The play was one of a few that really decided this game. The Bills left Mercedes Benz Stadium with a huge 23-17 win against a very talented Falcons team.