The Green Back Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 42-10 on the Thursday night opener for Week 5 of the NFL season. Early in the game, quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with wide receiver Jordy Nelson on a 66-yard touchdown pass. As the Miami Dolphins prepare to face the Packers this weekend, let's break down the film to how this play came together for Green Bay and ended with a Lambeau Leap for Nelson.
At the snap, we can see the Packers lined up in an offset-I formation. Tight end Andrew Quarless had originally lined up on the end of the line, but motioned into the backfield, which drew the Minnesota linebackers from an evenly spaced initial set to a bunch in the middle of the field.
The routes that will be run are drawn on the image above, with Nelson at the top of the formation with a skinny post route and Randall Cobb at the bottom running a 15-yard square-in. The play will begin with a play action, with the fake going to James Starks and Quarless appearing to be a lead blocker.
Rodgers will bootleg to the offense's right after the fake.
As Rodgers fakes the handoff, the linebackers are starting to flow with what looks like a run to the offense's left. Gerald Hodges (circled) stays home, clearly watching for the backside run/bootleg from Rodgers.
Switching to the sideline All-22 camera, as the play action fake happens, the Vikings defense is all focused on the potential run, while the two Packers receivers are getting off the line of scrimmage to run their deep routes. The left side of the Green Bay offensive line has sold the the run, while the right side has set up the wall behind which Rodgers will roll.
The broadcast angle as Rodgers completes his roll out shows the linebackers all essentially still in their pre-snap positions. Meanwhile, the Packers now have eight players to block the four pass rushers from the Vikings.
As Rodgers lets go of the ball, exactly how open Nelson is going to be by the time he catches the pass. Throwing the ball from the right hash mark on his own 25 yard line, Rodgers throws the ball to the left has on the Vikings 20-yard line. Nelson adjusts his post route to go get the ball in a field that is completely open for him.
Nelson catches the ball with nothing but green in front of him. He actually stumbles as he adjusts to the ball in the air, but is able to make the catch and keep his feet under him, regaining his balance and finishing the play in the endzone.
As Nelson scores, we can look back at a really well designed pass play. The Packers had been running the ball down the throat of the Vikings up to this point of the first quarter, so the play action was perfectly timed to take advantage of the Minnesota desire to stop the run. The roll out from Rodgers then made sure to keep the defense reacting to what was happening behind the line of scrimmage. The design gets Nelson in single coverage on a safety, and by the time any one can react, it is too late.
The Dolphins defense is going to have to play a well disciplined game against Rodgers and the Packers, because they will take shots like this at some point, and they will make you pay for guessing at the play. Minnesota clearly believed another run was coming on this snap, and they reacted to it. Instead, it went for 66 yards straight down the middle of the field, and there was no one even close to being able to stop it.
For Miami, who will be getting safety Reshad Jones back this week, they should have the players to be able to match up to this kind of play and prevent it. At some point, Rodgers is going to make a big play or two. How often, and exactly how painful those plays will be, will be determined by how the defense executes. They have to be on the top of their game, or it will be a long day in South Florida.