Clarification on the Bills Scoring Play:


After reading several posts from various people, and seeing many comments about the Bills scoring drive I think I would clarify it in detail. 

There has been confusion on this site before, mainly last year about defensive coverage’s.  This came from discussing Sean Smith, Vontae Davis and Gibril’s mental mistakes.  I think it is important to understand the basic coverage’s of every defense, before trying to explain the Touchdown drive by Roscoe Parrish.

First let me say, as I have coached defenses at the college (Div III) and Semi Pro level.  And although I very frequently hate referencing Madden as a way fight an argument regarding football, I do think it can be a great way to learn very basic defenses.  So if you are confused at all in this post take a look at any Madden defense playbook.

Ok, the 3 Defensive Coverage’s I want to discuss are Cover 2, Cover 3 and Cover 4. Regardless of the formation 3-4 or 4-3 it is almost the same.  For this purpose please keep in mind the first number is a reference the DL or amount of Defensive players lined up on the LOS within 2 yards outside the TE or OT. The second number refers to the amount of LB’s or Defensive players 3-7 yards of the LOS.  The only difference in the 3-4 is that almost every time one of the 4 LB’s blitz to give a 4 man rush. 

Hook to Curl: Middle of the field 7-10 yards off the LOS, preventing the middle routes or drag routes.
Flats: Zone on the side lines (basically from the hash mark to the side line) 1 to 7 yards of the LOS
Deep ½’s 1/3’s or ¼’s: Depicts the amount of DB’s covering deep 12 to 20 yds down field. 

Cover 2: 4 Rush, 3 LB’s have hook to curl zones, CB’s have Flats, Safeties have deep halves.
On the snap the CB’s can bump their guy but let them go once they’re out of their zone and look for the immediate threat. They also have run support on the outside.  The safeties immediate drop to their zone so no one gets deep.

Cover 3: 4 Rush, MLB Hook to Curl, OLB Flats, SS Hook to Curl, CB’s and FS Deep 1/3’s
In this case the OLB immediately head to the flats.  They have outside run support.  The SS and MLB have middle coverage, while the CB’s and FS drop to their deep zone.

Cover 4: 4 Rush, 3 LB’s have hook to curl, CB’s and Safeties have deep ¼’s.
On the snap the CB’s Bail to their zones.  Even though the Safeties have deep ¼’s they are technically run support so their first move is shallow if that to see what happens.  Then they back up to their zone.  OLB’s have hook to curl, but they have the flats if there is a threat.

Now one last note before I get to the play.  Covering deep zone or any zone means you occupy the O player while he is in your zone.  Once he breaks out you pass him along.  Only exception to this is if on D player runs deep with his guy, and another D player passes into his “zone”. Since he is not there you stick with him.

The Touchdown to Parrish:
Fins had 3 DL 1 LB and 7 DB’s on the field. But there were 2 DB’s in the LB positions at the snap. So it was a 3-3-5 set.  Fins looked to be in a Cover 5.  They Rushed 3, the MLB occupied the hook to curl underneath.  The 2 OLB (DB’s) dropped to the flats. And the 2 CB’s bailed to Deep 1/5 as the 3 safeties stayed shallow but had deep 1/5.
Benny Sapp was the “LOLB” he dropped right to the flats, Culver was one of the Safeties.  On the Snap Culver came up a few yards, in my guess to cover the 1st down line right at the sticks.  Not a bad idea as Parrish could have broke off the route there to pick up the first.  However Parrish did not he ran straight through and scored.  Culver stood flat footed and Parrish ran right by.  Culver should have realized this, and opened his hips to run with him.  Parrish still would have gotten by him, but it would have been a tougher throw. 

I don’t know if this is the exact call, Sapp could have realized everyone was going deep and no one was threatening his zone and he could have ran with him.  But the way it looks is Culver bit on the snap, came up to the sticks then got blown by.  Therefore I think Culver was to blame.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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