The Passing Chronicles: 2021 Week 10

Dusty takes a look at 5 plays from the Packers snowy win over the Seahawks

It wasn't always pretty, but the Packers picked up a win over the Seahawks on the frozen, snowy tundra. If that didn't make me smile, I'd already be dead.

There are some new injuries that will impact this team going forward, but for now? For now, we look back at 5 plays from this past weekend.

Play 1: 1st & 10, 12:29 remaining in the 2nd quarter

We're going to kick things off with a concept we've seen quite a bit this year: Drift. The core passing concept off the wide zone rushing concept is PA Boot, because it takes advantage of the defense sliding to stop the run, then booting out the other side and away from that movement. To stop that core concept, teams have started bringing a man off the boot side and cutting off the quarterback. It means that defender isn't involved in the run fit, but it puts a defender directly in the face of the quarterback as he's turning on the bootleg, so it has stifled that core concept. This is a good example of how that looks:

To counteract the way teams are defending that concept, the Packers have been showing more of their half-boot game. Fake the handoff to make it look like wide zone, turn to look like you're going to rollout, then pull up and look downfield. That's where Drift comes in. The idea itself is simple: show the playfake, then run a dig/"drift" behind it and into the space vacated by the defenders. The concept itself is two routes: a vertical route from one side and a dig route from the backside. The goal is to pull up from the fake and hit the backside dig.

It works because teams are looking for the boot. So space isn't simply created from the linebackers pulling up, but from the bootside defenders widening to pick up the crossing routes. If you catch the defense in those drops, you'll find a lot of space, which is what happens here.

As I just mentioned, the vertical route typically comes from the boot side, but the Packers run it from the backside on this play, making it more of a Dagger concept off play action (but that's neither here nor there). 

The Seahawks are spinning back to a two-high look, providing even more space. With the linebacker pulled up to defend against the run, the bootside defense widening for crossing routes and Randall Cobb [18] tying up the deep defender, Davante Adams [17] cuts on the dig and finds an embarrassing amount of room in the middle of the field.

Rodgers spins, fires and Adams takes care of the rest.

Play 2: 2nd & 10, 11:45 remaining in the 2nd quarter

This plays off the All Go RB Seam concept with the receiver releases, then attacks the vacated space. It's not the only time we've seen something like it this season - or even this week - so it's clearly something they like and something they were looking to hit against the Seahawks. They release the jet motion man on a wheel up the sideline, while the inside receiver runs vertically up the middle of the field. Typically the running back will attack the seam in this concept, but he instead leaks out to the left.

The defense sees the release from the receivers and anticipates the All Go concept, forming an umbrella over that side of the field. But it's a trick! The Packers instead marry that movement with one of their favorite recent ways to attack teams: the TE screen.

Marcedes Lewis [89] waits a beat, then turns around for the pass. Rodgers gets it to Lewis, but the seam defender sniffs it out and is able to crash on Lewis.

One other thing I wanted to mention about this play that ties it back to the Drift concept we just looked at. Rodgers fakes the handoff, then sets and turns his shoulders to the backside. It looks like he's setting to throw the backside dig on the Drift concept. He's able to throw the ball to Lewis with his feet set to the dig, which helps sell that backside dig. Anything to help sell another concept and create a bit more space.

Play 3: 2nd & 8, 2:00 remaining in the 2nd quarter

I'm putting this in the Mesh bucket, even though I've never quite seen the Packers run it like this. The heart of it - two dueling routes - is still there, but even that is different. Allen Lazard [13] runs a drag from the left, but the dueling route is more of a squared in-breaker from Davante Adams on the other side. Usually both of those are drags, but Adams creates separation not from dragging and outrunning his defender, but from attacking him with a vertical release before cutting in. 

Whatever you want to call it, there are dueling routes across the middle while the rest of the receivers release vertically. The Seahawks are showing 4 men on the line, but drop one into coverage and rush 3. With the rest of the defense shading under the vertical routes, there's plenty of room for the shallow crossers.

Rodgers finds Lazard on the drag with a defensive tackle dropping back into coverage. So he rolls out to get a better angle and to keep Lazard moving to the sideline. It's not much, but 6 yards and out-of-bounds is nothing to shake a stick at.

Play 4: 2nd & 5, 12:20 remaining in the 3rd quarter

Here's another instance of the Packers using the All Go concept with a wrinkle. They used this last year, but not often. The releases are slightly different - the outside receiver releases on the seam while the jet motion man wheels up the sideline for the outside vertical - but the motion is generally the same. They're pushing vertically to the right. But then they switch it up.

The inside receiver continues on his vertical path up the middle, but the seam route runs the dig underneath for a Dagger concept. If you catch the defense falling over the threat of the seam route, the middle of the field could be freed up. There's a linebacker falling into the middle, but Adams is curling over him on the dig route as Rodgers is throwing.

What Rodgers sees is the vertical route being carried by a linebacker, with the safety over the top. With the route angling to the sideline, the safety doesn't really factor into it. It's wide receiver against a dropping linebacker and the linebacker is showing the back of his jersey, so Rodgers fires deep.

It's a virtually nonexistent window, but it's a perfect throw. An absurd throw, frankly. A shame Lazard couldn't haul it in.

Play 5: 2nd & 6, 7:26 remaining in the 4th quarter

We'll close out with the play of the game. Snow coming down at Lambeau. Packers up 10-0 midway through the 4th and looking to put the Seahawks away. They come out with a cool switch verticals concept, with the in-line receiver tightly following the outside receiver down the field. They're attacking the deep safety to that side, and the tight release can make it tough for assignments, especially when they finally break out of it. 

The Seahawks play it well, so Rodgers moves off of it and hits AJ Dillon [28] in the flat. Dillon slips by the one man he has to beat and rumbles down the sideline.

The first man is brushed off like a fly, and from there Dillon is just a nimble, well-balanced wrecking ball.

By the time the dust/snow has settled, the Packers had picked up 50 yards. A whopping 9 plays later (!!!), Dillon bullied his way for a touchdown, the Packers went ahead 17-0 and that was that. It's a beautiful, powerful thing.

Albums listened to: Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math; Lord Huron - Long Lost; Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend; Foxing - Draw Down the Moon; Slothrust - Parallel Timeline; Taylor Swift - Red (Taylor's Version)




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].


8 points

Comments (9)

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JerseyAl's picture

November 17, 2021 at 06:40 pm

Have they done that switch verticals concept much? I feel like they haven't.

1 points
DustyEvely's picture

November 17, 2021 at 10:13 pm

Not this year. May have been the first one, actually. Used it a few times in the red zone last year, but even then that split was more pronounced. This one was more go/corner and the red zone is more post/corner.
I really love the release down the field, though. That tight follow could give some teams issues.

3 points
MarkinMadison's picture

November 17, 2021 at 07:34 pm

That All Go Dagger, I get that Rodgers gave him a chance, but I feel like that was still a tough catch. The coverage was pretty good. The window for the throw is small, but it looks to me that with the defender right there it would not be easy to see the ball track it and catch it. I don't know. I never played receiver, but that does not seem like an easy catch to me. If someone who played that role wants to correct me I'll take the correction. Jones probably would have made the first down. Cobb seems wide open to me.

4 points
Johnblood27's picture

November 17, 2021 at 10:53 pm

Play 4 2nd and 5

Rodgers has Jones all alone for a sure 1st down and chooses to try to be a hero with a drop it in the bucket throw to a well covered man well downfield.

Absolutely no need to take that risk there, he should have hit Jones and taken what the defense gave him.

If Love would make decisions like that, even with an equivalent throw (rodgers throw was quite precise), Love would get crucified by all.

By all means, take big plays when they are presented, but by taking what the defense gives you regularly MORE big plays WILL present themselves where the receiver will be much more open than on that play!

3 points
Fabio's picture

November 18, 2021 at 02:50 am

I'm not sure Jones would have taken 1st dawn because the defender is watching and waiting .... the only sure thing is that Lazard takes too long to get past the LB !!!!! (and this is a very very big problem because it results in too long a waiting time to be able to throw the ball at you. And it is reflected in the lack of confidence that you will be able to open up)

1 points
Johnblood27's picture

November 17, 2021 at 10:55 pm

Play 5

Absolutely nothing wrong with going to the check down!

Dillon is a beast, the hardest hit on the play was delivered by Adams to Dillon after the tackle!

3 points
Johnblood27's picture

November 17, 2021 at 11:06 pm

Play 2

The timing and spacing as well as the play direction was pretty uncoordinated between Lewis and Turner.

Turner went up and Lewis came out, right where the defender was reacting. Better coordination on Turners part by knowing the route and Lewis' propensity on where he will catch and go would certainly help. Lewis had a lot of room inside if he would have went that way, that would also have set up Turners block much better instead of making it difficult to get out on the breaking DB.

Maybe even looking for the closest defender and reacting to him instead of getting upfield asap might give the play a chance to develop. I don't think the defender "sniffed it out" although he did have a good break, as much as Turner wasn't tuned to the right wavelength for the play.

A little coaching on this concept could yield dividends in the future, like to see Deguara catching this with better coordination.

2 points
Ya_tittle's picture

November 18, 2021 at 10:06 am

Gotta say I LOVE these breakdowns every week. Solid work.

2 points
Minniman's picture

November 18, 2021 at 01:08 pm

For the fastest offensive player on the Packers roster, in some of the clips that you’ve shown, MVS is the slowest out of the blocks.

My expectations may be too high, but I’m left wondering what opportunities he opens up (for himself and others) if he invests more into that first 10 yards? By being occasionally lethargic out of the gates he allows the high safety to stay in the seam longer and keep the middle of the field guarded.

1 points