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Anatomy of a Play

Anatomy of a Play: Shep crosses up Bears' secondary

2-112216.jpg's John Schmeelk takes a frame-by-frame look at two key plays from Sunday's game:

Today we'll take a look at the anatomy of two different plays from the Giants' win against the Bears: the game-winning touchdown to Sterling Shepard and one of the four sacks on Jay Cutler from the fourth quarter. First the touchdown:

The situation: The Giants have it third-and-four on the Bears 15-yard line with the game tied at 16-16 and 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.


The formation: The Giants are in their normal 11 personnel with Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz out wide, Shepard in the slot and Will Tye at tight end. Paul Perkins is lined up next to Eli Manning in the shotgun. One interesting pre-snap look from the Bears indicates Leonard Floyd might take a free shot chip on Beckham at the top of the picture. Even pre-snap, you can see the extra attention being paid to the Giants' best wide receiver.


The Bears have two players dedicated to Cruz and Beckham outside, while linebacker Jerrell Freeman is on Paul Perkins in the flat. Floyd does not chip Beckham, instead rushing the passer.

Manning is watching the action between Will Tye and Sterling Shepard. They cross at the snap hoping to create a rub against the defenders. The Bears players avoid contacting each other or either Giant, but there is some separation created. Will Tye has a step outside on Danny Trevathan and if Manning wanted to he could probably hit him for a first down, but he has something bigger in mind. Shepard looks covered by Demontre Hurst as he starts across the field, but not for long.


Rather than continuing across the field as he did on a fourth-and-two conversion earlier in the game and a score on a fourth down conversion the week before, Shepard instead cuts upfield. A double move like this is even more effective when the initial fake is seen on film during the week. Hurst is taken completely by surprise. As Manning throws this pass you can already see the separation created by the excellent route.

Both safeties stayed well outside the hash marks, concerned with Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz, creating a lot of space in the middle of the field. The offensive line forced the Bears outside rushers wide and gave him plenty of time to step up in the pocket. Tye is, in fact, wide open for a first down, but Manning found a much better option in Shepard.


Look how wide open Shepard is when he makes this catch. The safeties are late coming over, and it is an easy six points for the Giants.

The situation: After a great tackle by Olivier Vernon on Jordan Howard in the backfield, the Bears have it second-and-17 on the Giants 42-yard line, still close to field goal range. It is the first play of the fourth quarter, with the Giants up by only six points. It is an extremely important possession for the Giants' defense to get a stop.


The formation: The Bears come out with three wide receivers and the Giants answer with their nickel defense, but I want to focus on the defensive line. The Giants are showing a potential double A-Gap blitz by Johnathan Casillas and Keenan Robinson. Landon Collins is showing a potential blitz as well, line up between Olivier Vernon and Johnathan Hankins.


The Fake: As you can see from this picture the Giants did not blitz anyone, with Casillas, Robinson and Collins all bailing back into coverage (It's similar to what they did on JPP's final sack of the game, which Carl Banks breaks down in this week's inside the film room). This fools the Bears, who left their tight end and running back in to pass protect. Afraid Landon Collins would blitz, the Bears assigned left tackle Charles Leno to him. With Collins bailing, he has no one to block. The same goes for center Cody Whitehair, who was responsible for the two potential blitzing linebackers.

It leaves tight end Ben Braunecker one-on-one with Olivier Vernon. He is already beat around the edge thanks to Vernon's ability to use his hands to shed the block. On the left side Jason Pierre-Paul is into the body of right tackle Mike Adams, who is caught with his arms outside, which gives him no power to redirect Pierre-Paul.


The Coverage: Before Jay Cutler feels the pressure he has a second or two to look downfield. With mass protection due to the faked blitz, there are only three receivers in the route. With seven players in coverage, all three are blanketed. Cutler has nowhere to go with the ball.


The Pressure: Now you see why it is so important for offensive linemen to get their hands inside when pass protecting. JPP is able to shove Mike Adams backwards right into Cutler because he controlled him by getting his hands inside onto his chest. Vernon is collapsing on Cutler from behind after beating Braunecker and turning the corner with great bend and speed. Now it's just a matter of who gets to the quarterback first.


The Sack: Cutler tries to step up in the pocket but Pierre-Paul, free from his block because of his superior technique, disengages and tackles Cutler from behind. It was the first of four Giants sacks in the fourth quarter and one of Pierre-Paul's two and a half.

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