On this play, Los Angeles is running a cover 1 hole concept. It’s man coverage, but with a defensive back and linebacker taking away the middle of the field.
As you see here, New Orleans has several routes towards the middle of the field, so on paper this is a good thing for the Rams.
However Brees is going to look off to the top of the screen. This causes Safety John Johnson and linebacker Cory Littleton to take steps to the top of the screen, opening up the middle of the field. Saints wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith then just has to win his matchup and it’s a touchdown for the Saints.
On this play New Orleans is running a cover 4 zone concept. If you look at Robert Woods’ route on the top of the screen, you can see that there’s will be a gap of coverage on his route. Also Gerald Everett’s running a curl route (2nd from the top) which should keep a linebacker shallow and widen the gap of coverage.
Really, Goff waits to long to make this pass. The ball should be in the air right now, but instead he still hasn’t even begun his throwing motion. He waits another second to make the pass, and by that point the his window to throw to is much smaller. It would’ve taken a perfect pass at that point, and since it wasn’t one, the ball was picked off.
I know I just mentioned that Goff mad a mistake where he held the ball on for too long, and that might make it seem like I think it’s a flaw that Goff has. While it wasn’t a good play, the reality is that it’s a mistake that everyone makes, and for proof here’s Drew Brees making a similar one. This is a third and 6 situation, and so Los Angeles is going to be playing a cover 2 zone (they have 2 safeties off screen). It’s a play designed to take away medium passes, meaning Brees should look for something short or deep.
It’s essentially a case of not having enough time to read the defense and make the play. Newly acquired Dante Fowler Jr. is going to beat Ryan Ramczyk and get to Brees quickly. speed is everything in football, and Brees was a half second too late on this play. If he dumps the ball off quickly there’s a good chance the Saints get a first down on this play, however Fowler’s able to force a bad throw, and it results in an incompletion.
New Orleans is going to be running a cover 1 linebacker blitz on this play. Los Angeles has a tight end in just to block, and they’re going to run a play action pass, which is going to give them more time to let a play develop.
Cooper Kupp’s route is going to be Goff’s primary read. With New Orleans playing man coverage, Los Angeles can send 2 of their receivers the the middle of the field, which leaves nobody in the area of Cupp’s route.
On a crossing route like the one Kupp’s running, there’s really no way to stop him on one on one coverage. Kupp cuts quick enough to get open, and then he’s fast enough to run the rest of the way towards the endzone for a touchdown.