Dissecting the big plays from week 1 (1 Viewer)

Deuuuuce

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I came across alot of interesting things while analyzing our week 1 win over the Lions. I particularly focused on the most influential plays of the game both good and bad. I studied the formations used, the roles and execution of each player for each play, and I tried to pinpoit why certain plays were successful while others weren't.

Here's what I saw.

Play 1

First drive of the game. We come out in a 4 wide reciever set with Bush in the backfield and Brees in the shotgun position. There are trips to the right with Shockey lined up as a slot reciever and he is flanked by Colston and Henderson. On the other side of the field, Lance Moore is lined up in the slot. As Brees goes under center he motions Reggie out wide to the left to flank Moore. The Lions were in a standard nickel formation. The strong safety comes down into the box to cover Shockey man to man and the free safety drifts to deep center field to play zone. As Bush is motioned out, a linebacker follows him to the sideline to cover him man to man. When the ball is snapped, Drew looks to his first read, Lance Moore who is running a 5 yard dig route. He is double covered by a corner and linebacker who is in zone reading Drew’s eyes. Brees then looks up top to his second read Reggie Bush who is streaking down the sideline on a go pattern. Pressure comes from the defensive end spot as Bushrod gets beat up the field. Brees feels the pressure, steps up to avoid it, sets his feet and fires a perfectly placed ball to Reggie where he can just stop, and take it in for a big gain. The biggest key to this play was Drew’s ability to avoid the rush and still throw a perfect ball.

Play 2
3rd down and 5 just inside the 10 yard line. The Saints come out in the exact formation mentioned above. This time the Lions are in Nickel and they are supposed to be playing zone but there is a bit of confusion before the play develops. The SS is telling the linebacker to help out on shockey. The ball is snapped, Shockey runs up the seem and the linebacker is a little late to come over causing the SS to totally commit to Shockey over the middle. Drew recognizes this and he goes to his second read Colston who just slips past a nickel back playing zone coverage who is expecting help over the top. Again, there is pressure coming from Bushrod's side, but Goodwin and Nicks dominate the two DTs giving Brees a huge lane to step up into and make the throw to Colston for the score. The biggest keys to this play were the confusion in the secondary of the Lions, and the outstanding blocking up front by Goodwin and Nicks . Again Brees steps up and delivers a ball where only colston can catch it. Clutch third down conversion in the red zone.

Play 3
The Lions first possession of the game. 3rd down and 5 from the 25 yard line. Stafford is in the shotgun with an RB with him in the backfield to his left, twin TEs to the right, and two recievers on opposite sides. The Saints are in a 4-3 formation with two deep safeties. As the ball is snapped, everyone but the safeties is playing man to man coverage. Vilma was assigned to the RB in the backfield. He faked a blitz essentially bating the rookie QB to throw the ball to Jones. Smith and Hargrove quickly got up the field and rushed Stafford into throwing the ball early. Vilma easily recovered and broke up the pass. The Lions are forced to punt deep in their own territory. Great job by Vilma and the right side of the defensive line. Stafford looks confused.

Play 4
First and 10 from the Lions 40 yard line. The Saints come out with personnel that screams run. Evans is in at FB. Reggie is deep in the backfield dotting the power I. Shockey and Streif are in at TE and Evans is the FB. Meachem is the lone receiver and he is lined up close to the line of scrimmage. If I were to guess, I’d say the Saints were about to toss one to Reggie and get him to the corner. Wrong. As the ball is snapped Jahri Evans pulls from his RG position and Brees fakes a counter to Reggie on the left. the fake really neutralized the DE who had been getting consistant pressure against Bushrod. Bushrod let him go free and went inside to help Nicks block a DT. The DE stopped dead in his tracks thinking Reggie had the ball. As he goes to tackle reggie he is immediately picked up by Jahri Evans who is now in the tackle position. On the other side FB Heath Evans picks up a DE and does a hell of a job. Brees has all day and sees Meachem one on one in the endzone. He throws it and Meachem outmatches the DB and catches the ball in the endzone. What an outstanding play call. Very creative way of keeping pressure off of Drew.

Play 5
No need to discuss X and Os on this play. This is an easy one to break down. 3rd and 14 deep in our own territory. Brees throws a perfect ball to Devery to beat the zone and get the ball past the sticks. it looks like we’re going to keep our momentum on offense, when Devery decides to run backwards and get tackled behind the first down marker. That was a complete lack of awareness on Devery’s part. Drive killer.

Play 6
Saints get the ball back deep in their own territory again. It’s 3rd down and 3. Again its simpleand requires no in depth analysis. Colston runs and out route to the sideline and Brees hits him in the hands. Colston who has been so reliable in the past, drops the ball. Another miscue by a receiver and it leads to a punt which set up a TD drive by the Lions. I like Colston, but as our main guy at WR, he has to come up with that ball.

Play 7
Right after the drop the Lions get a big punt return to get deep into Saints territory. number 24, Torrence,(I think that’s his name) had a clean shot at the returner but just whiffed. Jenkins came up empty also and after that it was off to the races. Terrible coverage resulting in a huge play. This must be addressed. It may be a personnell issue.

Play 8
4th and 1 for the Lions inside the 10. Lions fake a give to their FB and toss it to Kevin Smith to the outside for an easy TD. Will Smith was totally fooled and lost contain. He had no chance to catch the RB from behind. The reason why there was no one home behind the LOS was because Fujita was also completely taken out of the play. Good play call by the Lions. Will Smith looked bad, but if Fujita wouldn’t have gotten dominated, he could have stopped the RB from scoring.

Play 9
Big Third and one from our own 29 yard line following lions TD. It is crucial we pick up this 1st down to kill any momentum the Lions may have had from the TD. We line up in a power I formation with Strief and Shockey as the TEs. Evans is the full back. Bell gets the ball and follows Heath Evans who makes a great block as does Jahri Evans. Strong run by Bell to keep the drive alive. Great blocking. Jahri is a beast.

Play 10
Brees’s only interception of the game comes off a flee flicker. IMO this was just a questionable play call Payton would probably like to have back. It was a first down and we had been running the ball well on that drive. It was a ball that Brees should not have thrown, but this one is on Payton for being too fancy. There are easier plays to be had against the Lions.

Play 11
3rd down and 4 for the Lions. They come out with 3 recievers and one back. Saints are playing nickel with their safeties about 20 yards deep in coverage. Lions call a running play trying to take advantage of Mccray(not known as a good run stopper) and the deep safeties. This Saints were ready this time. Mccray and Hargrove did a good job of recognizing run and forcing smith wide where Johnny on the spot(J. Vilma) is there to bust him up behind the LOS. Great stop here to force a 3 and out and put a tired Lions D back on the field. The Saints get the ball back in good field position and easily march down the field for a score.

Play 12
1st and 10 from the Lions 15 yard line for the Saints. We come out with another 5 reciever set. The same one I mentioned earlier in play 1 and play 2. This time the Lions make an adjustment and only rush 3 and dropping 8 into zone coverage. Somehow, the Lions are able to get pressure again from Bushrod’s side. Brees does an amazing job of avoiding and maintaining his cool to set and deliver another perfect ball to Shockey in the back of the endzone. Easily the play of the day by Brees. His mobility is underrated.

Play 13
Bush’s muff. This is clearly a mental mistake on Reggie’s part. There is less than a minute to play in the half, the punt was high and it had Reggie backed up around our 10 yard line. He should have fair caught it. No question about it. He was too focused on trying to make a big play before the half and it almost cost the team. Inexcusable mental error by Reggie, and one that hopfully won’t happen again. Lucky for the Saints, Stafford threw a horrible interception to kill a great opportunity to get his team back in the game.

Play 14
Carney’s kick gets blocked. Hargrove got put on his back trying to block up front. This led to a free guy coming up the middle for the block. I doubt Hargrove is used as a blocker after this. It really hurts any time you have an opportunity to get points and you come up with 0.

Play 15

The Lions have it in their own terrirtory. Its 3rd down and 6. We blitz a corner and a safety leaving Jenkins(Porter’s replacement) one on one with all world talent calvin Johnson. Stafford did a nice job under pressure. He looked off sharper the deep safety and delivered a good ball to Jenkins who easily broke away from Jenkins and outran everyone. Can’t really hold this against Jenkins. Covering Johnson one on one is just not fair and a battle that no one is going to win. IMO Sharper could have prevented this play from being as big as it was if he didn’t commit to the other side of the field. Still, it was just a nice play by the Lions. Stafford really needed that one for his confidence.

Play 16
3rd and less than a yard in our own territory. We’re in a power I with Strief again lined up as a TE. Carl Nicks pulled off the line and walled off the DE that was giving bushrod problems all day. Heath Evans was the lead blocker for Bell and he really stood up the Linebacker and opened it up for Bell who exploded past a linebacker and made a big gain. Heath Evans was impressive as a blocker all game long.

Play 17
Same drive. 3rd and two from the Lions 21 yard line. Brees makes a check before the play. He drops back to throw a slant to Colston but it was covered. The Lions brought 5 men on the rush and Nicks got beat one on one. Bell stayed in the backfield to block but he really just stood there and gave Drew no help at all. Brees was forced to throw the ball away. Bell looked confused on the play. This is one area of his game I think needs improvement. Pierre has him beat when it comes to blocking. This was a rare failed 3rd down attempt by the Saints.

Play 18

Really bad kick coverage gives the Lions field position inside the red zone. Luckily they had a penalty and Stafford made two bad throws. The good teams will take advantage of a scoring opportunity like this. Our coverage units have to improve. ALOT. Desean Jackson of the eagles will make us pay next week if we dont improve.

Play 19
1st and 10 from the Lions 42 yard line. Brees is in the shotgun with Bush lined up to his right. There are three receivers and one TE in the formation. Devery is in the slot. The Lions are playing man to man on the outside. The FS comes down and commits to Bush. This is important. Normally, coaches would feel fine letting linebackers take the back one on one in these situations, but Bush is not a normal back. Shockey stays in to block and does a nice job. Drew has a nice pocket and steps in and fires a perfect strike to Devery who totally burned the corner and had plenty of separation from the lone safety. Devery didn’t even have to slow down to make the catch. PERFECT throw. Devery’s speed is just another dimension to our offense.

Play 20
Bell fumbles and it is returned for a score. Just another mistake plain and simple. Any other week against any other team this could have cost us the game.

Play 21
3rd and 1 for the Saints following the Lions TD. Same power I formation we’ve been using on most third and short situations. Colston is in tight. Stinchcomb does an outstanding job of getting to the second level to block a linebacker. Bell makes a nice cut and explodes for about 8 or 9 yards.

Play 22
Same drive 3rd and goal from the 12. We come out with Brees in the shotgun and Evans as the only man in the backfield. There are 4 recievers. The Lions rush 4 and drop everyone else way back into coverage. Meanwhile Evans sneaks out into the flat for a screen. Great blocks by Jahri Evans and J Goodwin spring him into the endzone. Another great play call. Solid execution as well to put the game away. The Lions were totally unprepared for that one.

Conclusions

The good
1. Brees is a god. He has complete command of the offense and he has all the skills to be the MVP of the league.

2. We were outstanding on 3rd down on both offense and defense. On offense, we were particularly good on third and short. IMO Bell is a better short yardage back than Pierre because he gets to the LOS faster and makes quicker cuts. Pierre is almost too patient in these situations and it takes him forever just to get back to the LOS. This is a type of play where breaking tackles wont help you because there are too many defenders around. You have to be explosive and powerful at the same time. Bell is that guy.

3. Williams is very creative as a defensive playcaller. He threw a lot at Stafford including some 3-4 early in the game.

4. Our secondary is so much better in coverage this year. Greer is quietly a very good player and Sharper allows Harper to be Harper and play closer to the LOS. Those were huge pickups in the offseason. Porter showed some nice things and Gay is solid as the nickel corner. Anything Jenkins can give us this year is gravy. What a difference a year can make in the NFL.


The bad
1. Reggie’s “bad game” is being totally blown out of proportion. He made one really bad decision, but other than that, he played his usual role. What a lot of casual fans don’t realize is how he changes the way defenses have to defend us. Its not just a cliché, its true. His quickness and explosiveness on the outside poses a unique problem for teams and it forces them to adjust. There were several runs and throws that were clearly set up by Reggies presence on the field. Reggie does struggle running the ball sometimes and I think a lot of it is because he doesn’t see enough carries to get into a rhythm. Throw that in with the fact that Reggie is rarely given a lead blocker because of the packages he is a part of. A lot of his runs are designed to get him to the outside because without a lead blocker, the LBs will be free to fill the gaps and that’s when Reggie has to use his speed to beat them to the corner. Please stop hating on Reggie. He has things he needs to work on but so does every player.

2. Bushrod was a liability in pass protection. He got beat easily on several occasions. Luckily Brees had a pocket to step in to. I doubt that's the case Sunday against the Eagles

3. We made 3 really bad errors on special teams. We were very lucky that those mistakes only cost us 10 points instead of 21. When you add in Bell’s fumble we had 4 really bad mistakes that could have easily cost us 28 points. We were very fortunate to be playing the Lions.
 
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oodank

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the genesis and revelation of a play, nice job!
 

rsonza

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Great analysis. I thought Bushrod played fine, Esp since brees wasn't sacked. Guess brees should get more credit bc he feels the pressure and steps into the pocket. How would u grade Bushrod, and what does he need to work on to become a better blocker?
 

nolaswede

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Great read...yeah, I think the biggest match up this week is going to be Bushrod vs the Eagles D. But I'm sure our coaches realize this as well and will make sure to give him extra help.
 
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Deuuuuce

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Great analysis. I thought Bushrod played fine, Esp since brees wasn't sacked. Guess brees should get more credit bc he feels the pressure and steps into the pocket. How would u grade Bushrod, and what does he need to work on to become a better blocker?

I think he did well as far as run blocking goes. In pass protection he just got beat around the corner by his man a number of times. I think he just needs to use his hands better because his strength is what is going to win the battle for him. Not sure he is quick enough to hang with the best pass rushers in the league. Welcome to the NFL.
 
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Deuuuuce

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Great read...yeah, I think the biggest match up this week is going to be Bushrod vs the Eagles D. But I'm sure our coaches realize this as well and will make sure to give him extra help.

Yeh, im a little worried about how we're going to handle the pressure the eagles will put on us. The eagles really exposed the panthers offensive line in week 1 and alot of people seem to think carolina has a great o-line. They bring alot of extra guys. especially up the middle. This concerns me because against the lions when pressure came from the edge, brees stepped into the pocket in the middle, but i dont think that pocket is going to be there this sunday. I don't think we're going to be able to throw the ball down the field very often. We're going to have to establish a running game and mix in some play action passes. I think we will also be successful if we get our screen game going. One play I like alot in this game is the one where reggie is in the slot and we quickly throw it to him out there where he can make a guy miss and gain some yards. Philli has some fast DBs, but theyre not very physical. We should challenge them to come up and tackle.
 

Saintster

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Awesome breakdown! I appreciate your time and clear explanations of all the important plays. I hope you do all the games,I'd also read them every week.:9::potd:
 
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Deuuuuce

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Awesome breakdown! I appreciate your time and clear explanations of all the important plays. I hope you do all the games,I'd also read them every week.:9::potd:

Thanks! I'll probably be doing this every week. Haha it is a little tough for me to rewatch losses, but those are probably the most important ones to break down.

I find analyzing a game after it has been played a different experience because it allows you to focus on each individual play without being distracted by the score or the worry that your team may lose. I think it is really tough to accurately rate the performance of individual players without going back and breaking down what happened and why. There are certain guys who contribute greatly to winning(or losing) without really showing up on the stat sheet or the post game reports. For example, Will Smith is a guy who changes alot of plays without really getting notice. He's tough to block, and he seems to understand what to do in each different situation. Lance Moore is another guy who consistantly impresses me without having to make the big highlight plays etc. He is an amazing route runner. Its almost like he sees what the QB sees and he adjusts his routes accordingly. Even when Drew doesn't throw him the ball, he is usually open. Same with Reggie. Reggie is unguardable underneath and could have 10 catches every game, but Brees is really good at spreading it around.

On the flip side, and I hate to do this, but Billy Miller is a guy who got alot of love from the fans for his play last year because of the big plays he made, but when you watch the things he does when the ball isn't thrown his way, you see why you don't want him as your starter. He just can't block anybody.
 
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Cougar 1

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On Bushrod:

I posted on another thread that one of the ways to beat Philly is to run at them. We need to run enough plays to the left side to keep Cole and Howard honest and slow down their passrush against Bushrod.
 

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