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Anatomy of a Play

Anatomy of a Play: Fourth down score

3-111616.jpg takes a frame-by-frame look at a key play from Monday's win:

The Situation

The Giants trail the Bengals by six with 14:12 to play in the fourth quarter. The Giants had it first-and-goal at the nine after a 24-yard Rashad Jennings run. After a Jennings run for no gain and an incomplete pass to Will Tye, the Giants had it third-and-goal at the nine. Ben McAdoo had already told Eli Manning the team was in four-down territory, so he decided to check down to Tavarres King for six yards to set up a fourth-and-goal at the three. It was a gutsy decision by the Giants' first-year head coach that would soon pay off.


The Formation

The Giants are in their typical 11 personnel, with Rashad Jennings next to Eli Manning in shotgun. Odell Beckham Jr. is split wide left to the narrow side of the field. Sterling Shepard is in the slot right while Tavarres King is wide right. Will Tye starts on the line beside left tackle Ereck Flowers, but is sent in motion to line up between Shepard and King.


Post-Motion Formation

The Bengals have four down linemen, with Vincent Rey and Vontaze Burfict as the two linebackers. They have five defensive backs in their typical nickel package with Adam Jones lined up over Odell Beckham Jr. and Dre Kirkpatrick over Tavarres King. The Bengals don't follow Tye when he goes in motion, instead they shift Darqueze Denard from Shepard to Tye, leaving Burfict as the closest defender to Shepard, the exact mismatch the Giants were looking for. Sometimes something as simple as putting a player in motion can create the mismatches an offense craves.


The Pattern

This is where you see good play design and route combinations at work. All the significant action is happening to the left of the formation, where Shepard is heading in the middle of the screen. He has already crossed the face of Burfict, who does not have near the quickness nor speed to stay with him. What Beckham and Jennings are doing clears the area of help to give Shepard room to make the play.

Rashad Jennings is streaking into the flat, taking linebacker Vincent Rey with him and out of the area Shepard is heading towards. Odell Beckham Jr., meanwhile, is drawing the attention of both Pacman Jones and Shawn Williams. He heads towards the back of the end zone taking both players with him and completely clearing out the area between the hash marks and the numbers.


The Throw

Here's the result: Shepard has beaten Burfict by a few steps and is wide open. The players that were supposed to be in that area to help the slower middle linebacker were cleared out by Jennings and Beckham. The offensive line, meanwhile, has given Eli a very clean pocket to see Shepard, and a good passing lane to get him the ball. This is an easy pitch-and-catch for the game-winning touchdown.


The Celebration

All that's left is the celebration.

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