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Random Ramsdom: Breaking down the Matthew Stafford to Van Jefferson 67 yard TD

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Chicago Bears v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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.


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.

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:


Matthew Stafford deflects praise after stellar Week 1 performance (RamsWire)

Jalen Ramsey: Matthew Stafford’s debut with Rams ‘should go down in history’ (RamsWire)

3 surprise discoveries revealed during the LA Rams opening win (RamblinFan)

From the Podium: Sean McVay, Justin Hollins and Cooper Kupp share final takeaways from Bears game (


NFL season, Week 1: What we learned from Raiders’ win over Ravens on Monday night (

Julio Jones’ ‘dumb (expletive)’ penalty encapsulates Titans’ terrible day vs. Cardinals (

San Francisco 49ers to put RB Raheem Mostert on IR; CB Jason Verrett has torn ACL (ESPN)

NFL Week 1 grades: Raiders get an ‘A’ for crazy OT win over Ravens, Bengals get an ‘A-’ for their wild OT win (CBSsports)