Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Anatomy of a Bomb Part II

By John Turney
Jared Goff hit Sammy Watkins on a long bomb versus the Giants last Sunday. Over the last several years the Rams have used this concept (along with likely all other teams) to strike a defense that is looking at heavy run personnel and a run formation with various run actions.

A while back we posted this: Anatomy of a Bomb detailing the same concept as the Goff-to-Watkins toucdown. That play is the same concept as some recent ones we've seen so we'll incorporate it into this discussion.

 For openers, here is the Goff-to-Watkins touchdown. (All credits: NFL Gamepass)

You can see the route concept a skinny post by the single-side receiver and an 'over' route or crossing route or "4"(a rounded "dig)—whatever you choose to call it. In this play, the running back slips through and runs to the flat. If the middle of the field safety (MOF) gives more attention to the deep over route than to the post and it costs the Giants. Also, the far corner doesn't get back to help out. Addiionally Watkins, did a double-move on his post route, a quick ake to the outside or corner before cutting in to the post which aided the play. In all of the following players there are different wrinkles here and there but the concepts, really, are the same.

Here is the 2013 version the Rams ran (called Triple Rt Zoom Act 4 Dover):

Going back in time, here is the 2010 version the Rams ran against Seattle in the season finale. This pass was dropped by Danario Alexander. The play in Pat Shurmur's verbiage  "Strong Right West Pass 95 Y Deep Over".  According to Jim Everett in the Zampese/Martz verbiage, it would be called something like "Twins Rt Switch Fake Belly Right, Max Left 844."

Here is the end (credit NBC) of the play as the ball slips through the receivers hands. The play was pivotal in the Rams season and it missed by very little, in fact, Cris Collinsworth said during the telecast that it wasn't a "hard catch".

Brian Schottenheimer ran essentially the same play in 2014 with Shaun Hill at QB who he hit Kenny Britt who was the single-side receiver and the victims were the Denver Broncos:

Earlier in the 2017 season the Rams ran this play with some differences in the play action portion of the play with mixed results.In week one the Rams ran it versus the Colts and Goff hit the wide open Cooper Kupp on the over route rather than taking the deep shot to Watkins.

Versus Seattle Goff went to Watkins but it appeared as though Watkins slowed a bit before speeding up. The TV coverage had Watkins isolated and the commentators suggested that perhaps Watkins wasn't expecting the ball.

The Rams called the play again in Jacksonville and again Goff and Watkins failed to hook up even though Watkins had a step on the defender. In all honesty we are not 100% sure of the coverage the Jaguars were running, our best guess is it's a form of Cover-6 with man coverage on the X receiver but if anyone wished to correct us, feel free, we welcome knowlege.

Monday there was a Twitter dust-up between a Cardinals writer and Tyrann Mathieu. The writer (and Moose Johnston for that matter) put the blame of a long pass on Mattieu and he responded by saying he had the "dig" and suggesting that writers do not have any idea of what coverage the Cardinals run.
Well, the play in question was the same concept we've covered in this post:

Our best guess is that it was Cover-3 and Mathieu did have the "dig" and when it didn't show he smartly helped out the outside 1/3 back. But, the ball was perfectly thrown and it was complete.

The Rams have used play action mixed with ghost/end around action to sell the run, the Texans, against the Seahawks used option action as part of the play fake:

So, there you have it, a series of screen captures explaining a route concept that lots of teams are developing, changing and using for a quick strike touchdown. It seems to work versus Cover-2 and Cover-3 and others. Showing some sort of heavy run action and sometimes sending out as few as two receivers into the pattern seems to work well in 2017.


  1. ....indepth analysis of coverages and how to attack them. excellent article John....there is a coverage that can at least align to stop any alignment......man under 2 deep if done properly can have success. why then does every team not utilize this coverage you ask? weak against wide side run, and QB draw.

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