This is a bold play call by Minnesota, as they’re going to attempt to bait Drew Brees into making a mistake here. From an initial read, it looks as though it’s a cover 2 zone, however they’re going to be blitzing a linebacker, leaving a large chunk of the field unguarded (the rectangular section, I chose rectangle because it’s by far the greatest of all the shapes). Michael Thomas is going to be running a crossing route which will go right into the unguarded section.
Drees pick it up immediately, however the Saints offensive line wasn’t expecting a blitz, which allows Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly to get a clean shot at Brees. If New Orleans’ offensive line picks up the blitz, it would’ve been an easy first down for the Saints. However Brees has to make a quick throw, and he ends up overthrowing it for an interception.
This is about as easy of a first down as you can ask for if you’re Minnesota (It’s like when you’re playing Madden against a 13 year old who knows one play, but it always works for 10 yards). It’s a cover 2 zone, with Marshon Lattimore and Stefon Diggs on an island at the bottom of the screen. Laquon Treadwell’s going to simply run a curl route. Cousins knows if New Orleans is playing zone on this play, he’ll have Treadwell open.
The two players to look at here are Marcus Williams and Adam Thielen. Williams lined up with Thielen, but ran away from Thielen’s route. This let Cousins know New Orleans is playing zone, and he looks downfield to see that they’re playing cover 2. Now he knows Treadwell will be open, and he passes it to him for a first down.
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From a good play by the Vikings offense, to a bad one. New Orleans is running a cover 2 man out of a nickel, and since Minnisota’s sending 3 receivers downfield, it’s going to end up being the perfect play design. The only Vikings who have one on one coverage on this play is their halfback, and Stefon Diggs who’s running a short crossing route. This will force Minnisota to pass it short on this play.
It’s hard to know exactly what happened here, but it’s one of 3 things. Either Cousins thought Diggs was supposed to run a different route, Diggs ran the wrong route, or Diggs improvised when he shouldn’t have. I actually think Diggs stopped on his own, trying to get open. However unfortunately for him, he stopped at the worst possible time, as Cousins threw the ball right after he stopped, causing the pass to go right to P.J. Williams. It’s kind of like tripping and falling, but then you fall straight into an ant hill where hundreds of fire ants eat your face off. It was certainly a mistake, but the worst possible outcome happened.
The Saints have gone 5 wide here, so Minnesota’s obviously not even going to think about the run. Alvin Kamara going to be in motion, and Vikings Linebacker Eric Wilson follows him. This let’s the Saints know Minnesota’s playing man. At this point, all New Orleans has to do is make their blocks. Kamara’s going to outrun Wilson, and take it into the endzone for a touchdown.
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