It seems to be working.
The Matthew Stafford project has officially begun. The pairing of coach Sean McVay and the veteran gun slinger is officially in effect to the tune of 321 yards and three touchdowns in the passing attack in game one.
Here is a breakdown of the first and longest scoring play.
STAFFORD TO JEFFERSON 67 YARD TOUCHDOWN PASS - 1st Quarter
On a first and ten on the opening drive, the offense lined up in a 2x2 tight formation with 11 personnel. In other words, they have an even distribution of their four receivers including the tight end. This play was set up by a first down gained with Tyler Higbee catching a pass between the second level zones. The offense snaps into a play action right with a roll out.
Only two receivers run routes while the other two stay home to block. Running back Darrell Henderson shows run action to the right and effectively draws the front and linebackers. Cooper Kupp seals the onside edge for Stafford to roll out left and square his feet for a throw.
Robert Woods runs a zone hook route in the same area that Higbee caught the previous pass and Woods effectively pulls one of the two safeties out of position for the primary receiver. The only other receiver on a route is Van Jefferson who lined up on the let side of the formation in a tight split. His job is to set up an inside release to his right while staying vertical enough to save the midfield real estate for the pass. Van gets a great release and with favorable position on the corner, the safety is ahead and locked on from over the top. He has to get the safety to turn his hips toward the sideline to set up his break. He executes his set up and breaks with perfect timing to separate.
Stafford to Jefferson week 1 TD Replay Angle. pic.twitter.com/eGWr0FpHB1— Blane Dydasco (@BlaneDydasco) September 14, 2021
With the second safety having bit on Woods’ short route, and a great angle by Jefferson that was both vertical enough to stay on top and just flat enough to get open, the second year receiver found himself behind the defense. From a set base, Stafford launches the football with power, and accuracy, and connects.
Jefferson’s awareness tells him that he has not yet been touched down after the catch, so he gets up and runs it in for six.
The goal of this play was to connect with the post for a deep pass. The route concept design was intended to put the run side safety in conflict or to draw him forward to throw behind him. During the play, the safety ended up in the middle of both receivers high and low, out of position on both, so Woods was also open in the window. It seems that the quarterback is reading ‘touchdown to check down’ style of reading route progressions from high to low. This is an aggressive approach that matches with what most expect from Sean McVay this season.
And now for today’s links: