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Whenever Quickness Fails

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Sep 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive back Cortland Finnegan (31) intercepts a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US Presswire
Sep 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive back Cortland Finnegan (31) intercepts a pass for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US Presswire
Presswire

St. Louis Rams have learned to love the quick pass. It helps keep the quarterback upright and keeps the ball moving down the field in good enough increments. Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford loves the quick passes too, and he used those effectively against the Rams on two late scoring drives that gave the Lions the win on Sunday. But sometimes those quick passes can be costly.

Pro Football Focus has a great breakdown of Cortland Finnegan's interception on Stafford, the one that gave the Rams a lead late in the second quarter.

Stafford gets the snap and immediately turns to throw to Calvin Johnson on a comeback route near the flat.

From PFF:

Stafford seemed to expect the route run by the slot receiver, deep to the post, to distract the coverage and free up the outside comeback, but it just didn't happen ... At the point Stafford was cocking his arm to release, Finnegan was clearly making the throw an impossible one to complete, and Stafford has to know that if he hits the Rams' corner in the numbers the ball is going back for six the other way. Instead of pulling it down, Stafford committed to the pass but couldn't get close to finding the throw needed to fit it in from the far hash marks, and Finnegan has a pretty easy touchdown.

Finnegan diagnosed the play, one that the Rams defense had clearly studied prior to the game. Stafford looks to be on autopilot, running through the motions so fast that he threw an easy pick. Stafford's a good quarterback, and that play looks like normal early season adjustment stuff, where training trumps instinct. We've seen Bradford make throws like that too.