At the snap, both defensive linemen slant hard to their right. Woodson, meanwhile, takes a very wide approach to the quarterback from his left. Woodson and the linemen are creating space for Matthews, who takes a hard inside move. With Woodson drawing the right tackle far to the outside and the rest of the offensive line sliding to their left, Matthews gets to face off against a right guard with lots of open field around them. No 320-pound guard is a match for Matthews with space to maneuver, and Matthews easily wrenches away from his blocker for a nine-yard sack.
In a blitz package like this, every defender has his role. If someone decides to freelance (for example, if Woodson decides to knife inside to get to the quarterback), he could lead blockers right to Matthews, upsetting the spacing and timing of the play. Capers is a master of both blitz design and teaching, and the veterans on the Packers defense rarely stray from the script. Capers’ sacks are even Vick-proof: the Packers sacked Michael Vick three times in just over a half in the season opener, and Capers now has the luxury of a week to prepare for Vick, not Kevin Kolb.
Michael Vick’s running ability creates a variety of problems for defenses. One often overlooked effect of Vick’s scrambling: he takes away the opponent’s ability to play man coverage. When cornerbacks and safeties are covering receivers man-to-man, their backs are usually to the quarterback, making it impossible for them to stop a scrambling quarterback before he is already down the field. Zone defenders face the quarterback, making it easier for them to contain a runner like Vick. Unfortunately, the Eagles receivers excel at beating zone coverage by running deep routes against overmatched safeties.
The defense is playing a Cover-2 zone, and both the fake handoff and the Vick rollout create a lot of stress. The linebackers are stretched across the field, one trying to readjust after chasing McCoy, one trying to contain both Vick and Celek. Worse yet, both cornerbacks are locked into their underneath zones. The cornerback covering Jackson froze when Vick faked a handoff to McCoy, meaning that he was unable to jam Jackson on the line and slow him down. No one is in any position to rush Vick, who has plenty of time to wait for Jackson to cut in front of the safety and outrun him. Vick’s throw is perfect, and the Eagles get yet another lightning-strike touchdown.
PFT: Defensive end finally finds a new team in San Diego — and for a honey of a deal that would be worth a max of $13.35 million.
2013 SNF Schedule
Check out the 2013 Sunday Night Football schedule.
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