We take a closer look at a random play from the Miami Dolphins' 2014 season today. In this case, it is Ryan Tannehill's 40-yard run against the Green Bay Packers.
The Dolphins trailed the Packers by seven points in the third quarter, facing a 2nd-and-5. Miami called a read option.
The play is set up with the quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the shotgun, with Knowshon Moreno to his left. Tannehill will be reading Clay Matthews, who is spot shadowed in blue, to make his read. If Matthews crashes down on the offensive line, playing the hand-off to Moreno, Tannehill keeps the ball and looks to run. If Matthews stays home, protecting the outside, Tannehill gives the ball to Moreno, who runs to the right. The offensive line blocks down on the three defensive linemen, with Branden Albert, at left tackle, initially blocking along the line in a double team with Daryn Colledge, before moving up to attack the linebackers.
Switching to the All-22 coaches' film, the Dolphins are lined up with trips left, leaving Brian Hartline all alone on the right of the offense. Again, Tannehill's only read is what Matthews does, which will determine where the ball goes.
At the snap, the offensive line begins to block in what appears to be a run to the right. Tannehill receives the snap while Moreno begins to move on his running assignment. Matthews is just reacting to the play, but will start moving inside, defending against Moreno.
Jumping to the opposite angle, the movement of the offensive line to the right is clearly visible, with Matthews again spot shadowed. He is reading what the line is doing, as well as the movement of Moreno, and reacts to what appears to be a run away from him.
As the potential hand-off is taking place, Tannehill eyes are clearly on Matthews, who is lining up Moreno and preparing to stop the run. Tannehill ultimately decides to keep the ball himself, which is absolutely the correct read in this instance.
Pausing for a second to look at the television angle, there are clearly another couple of options for Tannehill on this play. Mike Wallace at the top of the image and Hartline at the bottom have both turned in for what appears to be bubble screen options. It is not an option we have seen Tannehill use, but it clearly is built into the play. What would be interesting is to know if the Hartline option is actually a pass option for Moreno, since he would be moving that direction with his run, and if he is carrying the ball, it would likely pull the cornerback to that side off of Hartline. Just a thought.
As we see Tannehill take off, Moreno is selling what is now a fake to the offense's right. Hartline clearly knows he is not getting the pass (again, a running back pass option?). At the top of the image, Wallace appears to be looking to see if Tannehill has the hole through which he is about to run.
As Tannehill turns uphill, Matthews is reacting to the run, realizing he is out of position to make the play.
Matthews is able to close the distance on Tannehill, but the quarterback is able to get past the linebacker and keep moving up the field.
In fact, Tannehill is able to weave his way through the Green Bay defense, moving around would-be tacklers and pulling away.
Now 28 yards down the field, Tannehill is able to keep running with green in front of him. What does a runner do when he has no defenders right in front of him?
He checks out the big screen to see who is coming up behind him.
Defensive back Micah Hyde is finally able to catch Tannehill.
Tackling him 40-yards down the field and giving Miami a boost on what would be a game-tying touchdown drive, capped by a Tannehill to Jarvis Landry 11-yard touchdown pass.
Tannehill of course gets up and tosses the ball back to the referees like it was nothing. He's already on to the next play.
The run marked the first of three straight games for Tannehill with runs of at least 30 yards, four straight over 20 yards. This play was Tannehill's longest run of the year, and signaled the start of Miami's use of Tannehill's legs as a weapon for the offense. While defenses would slow down the read-option for Miami as the year continued, it still was an offensive wrinkle that the Dolphins could use when needed.