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Anatomy of a Play

Anatomy of a Play: Art of deception

4-11816.jpg takes a frame-by-frame look at a key play from Sunday's win over the Eagles:

The Situation: The Giants lead the Eagles 14-10 with 9:36 remaining in the 2nd quarter. It's second-and-goal inside the one-yard line. A pass interference penalty by Nolan Carroll on Odell Beckham Jr. two plays earlier put the ball on the two-yard line. On first down the Giants ran it with Rashad Jennings, falling just short of the goal line by about a half yard. It would set up the Giants' play call on second down.


The Formation: The Giants are in their typical 11 personnel with three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back. The three receivers are at the top of the screen with Roger Lewis Jr. closest to right tackle Bobby Hart, Sterling Shepard in the middle and Odell Beckham Jr outside. Will Tye is set up next to Ereck Flowers on the other side of the field.

The Eagles are matching the Giants' personnel with a nickel defense with five defensive backs. They are showing man-to-man defense outside on the three Giants wide receivers. Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles' best playmaker in the back seven, is lined up off of Bobby Hart as a potential blitzer.


The Snap: This is the moment the snap gets into the hands of Eli Manning. Look at the Giants' offensive line. All of them are run blocking, trying to move forward. Rashad Jennings is driving towards the line of scrimmage with the idea he is going to have a chance to run it into the end zone behind the blocks by Weston Richburg and John Jerry. You can even see this early in the play that Roger Lewis and Will Tye are looking to block.


The Deception: This is about a split second later. Despite the fact that other nine players on the field appear to executing a running play, he and Odell Beckham Jr. have something different in mind. There was no visible audible. This could be a built-in option for Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. to execute on their own if they like what they see. It is the rare case where it looks like two players on the field are doing one thing while the other nine are doing another, and it works. Before the snap, having seen the Eagles were in man-to-man with Leodis McKelvin on his top target, perhaps Manning liked the chances of Odell Beckham Jr. going one-on-one more than running the ball.

You can see Roger Lewis Jr. and Will Tye fully engaged in their blocks. Jennings almost looks surprised he didn't get the handoff, but so is Malcolm Jenkins, who took an angle towards Jennings, and not Manning.

McKelvin is staring at Beckham, not even looking at Manning, or the run action. He is playing the receiver, but since he never turns his head, it gives Beckham the advantage. He is also playing to the inside of Beckham, guarding against an inside move. It leaves the fade open.


The Throw:
The ball is in the air, and you can see the deception of the play in full effect. Both Giants wide receivers not named Odell Beckham Jr. are engaged in blocks. So is Will Tye, the other eligible receiver. Keep in mind all these blocks are within a yard of the line of scrimmage, making them legal. They look like they are still expecting a run! Rashad Jennings is trying to put himself between Malcolm Jenkins and Eli Manning to buy his quarterback a couple of extra seconds.

Outside, Odell Beckham Jr. has already won his route. McKelvin is staring at the receiver and Beckham already has a step on him outside and towards the back corner of the end zone. He probably doesn't even know the ball is in the air yet.


The Catch:
Odell Beckham Jr. has secured the ball with two hands, and McKelvin still has his back to the quarterback and never even left his feet to contest the ball in the air. It is Beckham's second score of the game and it gives the Giants a 21-10 lead. What looked like a simple jump ball was actually a play filled with deception.

During the bye, teams put in some new wrinkles during the self-scout. Perhaps this is one example of a small way the Giants hope to take the next step in the second half of the season. It is also a credit to the intelligence of Eli Manning, and the trust the coaching staff has in him, to allow him to make these kinds of decisions and throws.

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