Revisiting 2019 - Preston Smith's Week 3 Strip Sack

Dusty goes back to Week 3 of the 2019 season to break down a couple key plays in the Packers win over the Broncos

We are now in week 3 of our offseason series, where we go back through the season and take a look at a play or two from each week. It's amazing how many plays I can forget about after the season. I tend to remember the big ones, but what about a key play in the 2nd quarter? That has a tendency to slip my mind sometimes, but that is exactly what we'll be looking at today.

Let's set the stage. After coming out of the gate 2-0 against divisional rivals, the Packers faced the 0-2 Broncos in the friendly confines of Lambeau Field. On paper it looked like a game the Packers should be able to win pretty easily, but they found themselves tied 10-10 with 2:27 remaining in the 1st half. The Broncos had the ball on their own 18 yard line, facing 1st & 10. The Packers got the ball to start the game, so the Broncos were looking to take the lead going into the half, then try to add to their lead to start off the second half.

Joe Flacco [5] is looking at the Courtland Sutton [14] vs. Kevin King [20] match-up on the left. With Adrian Amos [31] in the box, Darnell Savage [26] is the single-high safety. King is playing straight-up over Sutton. This looks for all the world like man-to-man coverage with Sutton running a go route. Flacco clearly likes that match-up. The Broncos are looking to take a shot on 1st down to kick off this important drive.

Flacco makes a point to look to his right after the snap to hold Savage to the middle of the field. The only way Savage will be able to help over the top of Sutton is if he immediately fades back to that side of the field. Flacco ensures Savage will not factor into the play by looking him off. 

Flacco loads up to throw, but Preston Smith [91] is able to get the edge and knocks the ball out of Flacco's hand as he is winding up to throw.

Preston Smith is able to get the edge so quickly thanks to Za'Darius Smith [55]. Ronald Leary [65] is picking up Za'Darius, but his attack angles outside and is so violent that he ends up over Elijah Wilkinson [68]. Wilkinson briefly picks up Za'Darius, which allows Preston a free run around the edge. Wilkinson recovers to get his hands on Preston, but Preston is able to dip under contact and get his mitts on the football. Really nice play from These Charming Men.

And then, two plays later, Aaron Jones [33] finds paydirt from 7 yards out. There are a pair of double-team blocks up front to open a hole for Jones. It looks like the best options are up the middle or in the B gap between Elgton Jenkins [74] and David Bakhtiari [69]. The linebackers are sitting back to play the gaps. Jones ends up choosing the middle. He chose well. Bryan Bulaga [75] and Billy Turner [77] win their match-up, and Turner is able to peel off to pick up Josey Jewell [47] on the second level a beat before Jones get there. Jones makes himself small, slips through and stumbles his way to a touchdown. 

Instead of the Broncos having a chance at points before the half, the Packers get a huge turnover and capitilize on it, rolling into halftime with a 17-10 lead. The Packers stopped the Broncos on the first drive of the second half then picked up another touchdown. What was a 10-10 game was a 24-10 game in about 5 game minutes.


Album listened to: Angel Olsen - All Mirrors

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Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

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Comments (2)

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frankyboy's picture

March 04, 2020 at 09:24 pm

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Spock's picture

March 06, 2020 at 08:55 am

Thanks again, Dusty, for another (two) breakdowns of those plays.

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