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Anatomy of a Play

Anatomy of a Play: Eli and Odell in sync

444-100217.jpg's John Schmeelk breaks down a big gain by the Giants in Week 4:

The Giants peppered the Eagles with slant routes in their Week three matchup. It was something that the Bucs, no doubt, saw during their film work last week. The Giants took advantage of that and it turned into one of their biggest plays of the season on a 42 yard catch by Odell Beckham Jr.


The Personnel and Formation
The Giants are actually in 12 personnel here, but you wouldn't know by their formation. The versatility of Evan Engram allowed Ben MCAdoo to set him out wide right, while putting their two wide receivers to the left of the formation on the wide side of the field. Sterling Shepard is in the slot with Odell Beckham Jr at the top part of the picture.

The Giants personnel has the Bucs in their base defensive group, with three linebackers and four defensive backs. With linebacker Devante Bond over Sterling Shepard, the Giants already have an advantage. They also have 6'3 Evan Engram lined up over 5'10 Brent Grimes. With those mismatches the Giants still decide to go for the big play.


The Slant
Beckham's initial route might not be a traditional slant based on the angle of his break, but it is still a shorter inward facing route the Bucs saw a bunch on film the previous week against Philly. Two Buccaneers, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and rookie safety Justin Evans, are watching Beckham here and playing the short route by moving towards the line of scrimmage. Manning sells it by looking to that side of the field.


The Go
Beckham has turned up field. Justin Evans has completely bit on the initial route and has taken himself out of the play. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves has recovered better and is beginning to move with Beckham down the field. While Beckham doesn't have a step on him deep, he does have inside position secured, which gives Manning an opening to fit his throw.


The Throw
Look at the room that Eli Manning has to make this throw. He has a clean pocket and plenty of room to step into his throw. Throughout the game, the offensive line kept players off of Manning, but the quarterback deserves a ton of credit too. He did a fine job all game of navigating the pockets and giving himself more time to make plays. That was not necessary here since the offensive line kept the pocket so clean.

Beckham is altering his trajectory towards the middle of the field here away from Hargreaves. With the safety out of the play, the middle of the field is wide open.


The Catch
Hargreaves actually plays this fairly well. He is within an arm's reach of Beckham. If this pass was behind Beckham or too far to the outside he can make a play on the ball. Eli Manning gave him no such opportunity. Beckham never broke stride, and he is at full speed when he catches this ball. Note how long this stride is for him to reach the ball. Also compare where the ball is caught to where Beckham was when Eli threw it in the previous picture. Manning led Beckham perfectly into the open area in the middle of the field. They were on the same page.

It was a great throw and catch that set up the touchdown to give the Giants a 23-22 lead late in the fourth quarter.

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