Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Sep 2012

How Did the Jaguars Lose to the Vikings?

Nate Dunlevy over at Bleacher Report goes under the all-22 microscope to look at Minnesota's 14-second field-goal drive to tie the game at the end of regulation.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 12 Sep 2012

11 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2012, 12:52pm by Aaron Schatz


by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:10am

There was a lot of bad pass defense, by both teams, crammed into the last minute of that game.

by tuluse :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:36am

On the Jaguar's TD, it looked like the Vikings were in man coverage with no deep safeties. Frazier has to be delusional to trust his corners 1 on 1 in that situation.

Especially since they just had to force 3-4 plays short of the endzone to end the game.

by dbt :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:35pm

I'm certainly an amateur here, but it looked to me like they were in quarters coverage.

the thing I don't understand is actually the play before, the 4th down play. On third down and 4th, it seems like they're in cover 2, and they run the same route combination on the left side. The outside receiver takes a straight go route to push the corner and maybe the safety back, while the slot receiver runs an 8 yard out.

On 3rd down, the LB trusts the corner to get the middle sideline zone and undercuts the route, tipping the ball away. On 4th down, he lays back behind the receiver, allowing him to get outside him and open for the 10 yard gain, first down, and stop the clock. Don't you have to undercut that route, force the play inside, and keep the clock running or the pass incomplete?

by tuluse :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:51pm

Quarters is just as bad of a call because it still means the corner back is required the defend the entire length of the field.

by Reinhard (not verified) :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 2:26pm

Quarters has many different meanings to many different people.
The rules for CBs in Quarters (ie NOT "cover 4" which is more strictly off/deep) coverage from our playbook:

assuming 2 receivers to that side of the field.... (you don't play quarters against trips, you will check out of it)

If both receivers go deep, he will turn and run with his receiver. IF the WR goes outside, the corner has the sideline to aid him defend the pass. If the WR goes inside, then he is running near the safety who will be able to break on the ball or at least the man off of his man while the ball is in the air.

If they run a high-low combination like mentioned in the comments, the safety leaves WR2 to the LB and helps defend WR1 running down the field, basically double coverage.

If the outside WR goes short hitch or out, then playing him close is of course good positioning.

If the WR immediately breaks in on a drag or something the corner passes him to the LBs and backs off looking for work.

So quarters is relatively "easy" coverage for corners.
Like was pointed out the problem with playing it there is that you are putting your LB or nickel in a tough spot trying to get out to the out route from the slot.

It's very flexible; if offense lines up with a TE and running threat kind of formation it puts the safety in a good spot for run support and gives them an easier read, while at the same time offering pretty good deep coverage.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 6:21pm

Sounds identical to how the Vikings lost the week 3 OT game against the Lions last year. The Vikings had Cedric Griffin and his two reconstructed knees alone along the sideline against Calvin Johnson in overtime. Needless to say that idea did not end well.

-I'm not Billy Bad-Ass.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 1:12pm

As I mentioned to my son while we were watching the ending, both teams were trying really, really hard to lose. Jacksonville just tried a bit harder.

by Guido Merkens :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:11am

An intelligent article on Bleacher Report? Maybe the Mayans were right.

by Aaron Schatz :: Thu, 09/13/2012 - 12:52pm

Bleacher Report has been bringing on a lot of professional writers. It's not just a bunch of random people writing crap anymore. Slideshows still suck, but there is a lot of good writing there now.

by Ben :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 12:21pm

Dunlevy ran a Colt's blog up until this season. His stories are usually pretty good.

by Joseph :: Wed, 09/12/2012 - 3:39pm

1. Since I didn't see the game, how many TO's did MIN have left? I'm going to assume 2 or 3.
2. Based on the article, I'm betting Landry screwed up. There appears to be another JAX player between the hashes. If, as Dunleavy supposes, he might have been supposed to cover the later-releasing RB, he should be closer to the line, and on the side where he releases. However, why would the Vikes send receivers 20 yds downfield, and then throw a 5 yd pass??? Let them check down--there's not enough time.
3. If I'm a DC, I play 2 deep safeties, and more or less single cover everybody else in "off" coverage. No need to pass off coverage of a receiver. I also want the Vikes to complete a pass (incomplete is even better, of course) to someone away from the sideline, and then wrap up without trying to tackle. In other words, the longer the receiver is moving, the clock runs. If he's running free, that's not good. If he's more or less corraled, he has to choose to give himself up by falling, and THEN they have to call the timeout.
4. I disagree with Dunleavy on the 2nd to last play of regulation. Six yds means essentially nothing. (Now, to be fair, a 61 yarder is harder than a 55 yarder, but they're still both pretty low-percentage FG attempts.) The 26 yd. completion gives them a chance to try the FG.
Consider this: the Vikes get 15 yds on their first play (say by throwing to the late-releasing RB), but burn the same amount of time. To get those other 11 yds to set up Walsh for a 55 yd attempt, they have to throw a riskier pass on the 2nd play. This might also let those last 2 seconds burn off, simply because the receivers have to run deeper patterns again.
There's no nice way to put it. JAX blew what should have been an exciting come-from-behind victory. (Not to mention MIN blew it first.)