This is what I like to call a lottery play by Chicago. The Jets are going to be running a 3-4 thunder smoke. This is a gutsy playcall, because 7 men have the responsibility to rush the quarterback, leaving just 4 players playing man. This means that one eligible receiver for Chicago is going to be unguarded, which in this case is their halfback Tarik Cohen.
Since the Bears are already in 4 wide, there’s only 2 ways this play can be a success for New York. One would be if Cohen’s only in this play to block, then Trubisky will have very little time to make a play, and will have to make a quick throw, or take a sack. The other option is simply if the pressure gets to Trubisky quick enough that he doesn’t realize he has an unguarded receiver.
As you see here, Chicago’s running what’s essentially a Tare Route concept, with Taylor Gabriel at the bottom of the screen running a go route. This is the worst possible play call to run a thunder smoke on, because the middle of the field’s going to be open, and Cohen’s not going to be blocking on this play.
And this is why I call it a lottery play. It’s basically rock beating scissors, and with Cohen’s speed, he’s able to get to the endzone, making for the easiest 70 yard touchdown of Trubisky’s career (Although in fairness to New York, I suppose it’s possible they didn’t see Cohen over the offensive line, and thought Chicago only had 10 players in the game).
That last play was a good read by Trubisky, but now let’s talk about a bad one. On this play New York’s going to be running a cover 1 linebacker blitz out of a 2-4-5 double A gap, which means this play design has 2 Jets linebacker play up on the line. One is going to blitz, and the other is going to be covering the halfback, meaning they’ll both be moving to the left of the screen. With a safety off screen, New York is going to be playing man on everyone else.
As you can see here, Chicago’s going to be running a perfect play to beat a cover 1 linebacker blitz. New York’s linebackers are going to be out of the way, and Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts is playing 5 yards off of Bears wide receiver Joshua Bellamy (as you can tell by looking at my high quality “5 yards” graphic in the picture above). Since Bellamy’s running a quick slant route, he’s going to get open pretty quickly.
And as you see here, Trubisky could’ve easily just thrown it to Bellamy for a first down, but instead he decides to take a shot deep. Taking a shot deep every now and then is fine, but on third down when you have a receiver wide open for an easy first down, you have to throw it there and move the chains.
Do you like seeing mediocre offensive playcalling? Then why not see it in person? On December 15th the Texans play the Jets in New York and tickets are going for as low as $28, well worth the price to see two of the best young quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson and Sam Darnold. If you purchase tickets by clicking the link below, it helps me continue to make these breakdowns, and it’s very appreciated.
I’m going to talk about a bad read from Sam Darnold, and then a good read by him. On this play, Chicago’s going to be running a cover 1 concept, and they’re playing man coverage on the outside. Jets wide receiver Deontay Burnett (top of the screen) is running a stop an go route, and since there’s one on one coverage, Burnett’s going to be Darnold’s first read.
Right here is when Darnold makes his decision to throw to Burnett. He sees Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller creep in a little, and so he decides to throw it there. The problem is that Kyle Fuller is really good, and is quick enough to take a step forward and still run back and keep pace with Burnett. This is a rookie mistake you’ll see a lot of young quarterbacks make, in college if you see a corner creep in you can almost always throw it over them, but the talent level’s too good in the NFL, as often times that’ll end up as an interception. However, Darnold has the advantage of being a very talented quarterback, and even though it’s a pass he probably shouldn’t have made, he makes a perfect throw, and Fuller mistimes his jump just enough for it to end up being a completion.
This play is a great read by Darnold. Chicago’s in a nickel package, and they’re going to be running a cover 1 hole. In this play, Chicago’s playing man, with their safeties taking away the middle of the field (one safety’s off screen). So for Jets receiver Jermaine Kearse, he’s going to cut quickly right before the first down marker, and right before Chicago’s safeties, meaning he’ll be open for an easy first down. However Darnold can’t read minds, so he doesn’t know that what play Chicago’s running.
What you see in the picture above is what Chicago would be doing if they were playing a cover 2 zone. Since the Bears safeties are playing so far back, it’s pretty clear that the only way there would zone coverage before the first down marker at the 35 yard line would be if Chicago’s not playing man, meaning if they’re playing a man coverage of any kind, Darnold can simply toss it to Kearse and pick up a first down.
In simplistic terms…
Man coverage = Pass it to Kearse who will be open.
Zone coverage = Cry
(Kidding, Jets fans have plenty of reasons to cry, but that’s not one of them. Darnold probably would’ve looked to pass it to ArDarius Stewart at the bottom of the screen, but that would’ve been much less of a sure thing.)
As you see here, Darnold isn’t even looking at Kearse, instead he’s looking at his halfback. He notices a linebacker’s coming over to cover the halfback, and that’s all the information he needs to know Kearse will be open. Darnold not looking at Kearse guarantees he won’t tip anything off, and he’s able to hit him for a first down.
Khalil Mack is clearly one of the best players in the game, and there’s nothing better than hearing him break the bones of opposing players in person. You can find the cheapest tickets for games like when they take on their division rival Green Bay Packers and the undefeated Los Angeles Rams. If you purchase tickets by clicking the link below, it helps me continue to make these breakdowns, and it’s very appreciated.