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Three Plays from Gameday: Week 5, Patriots

SB Nation logo SB Nation 6 days ago Eboracum
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For each Redskins game in the 2019 season, Andrew York plans to pick three plays and break them down in an effort to highlight individual Redskins players.

For the Week Five matchup against the Patriots at “home” in Landover, the three plays will focus on safety Montae Nicholson, outside linebacker Ryan Anderson, and defensive tackle Daron Payne.

Redskins @ Patriots, Week 5 highlights | NFL 2019 on YouTube

Posted by Bill Horgan on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

[05:18] Montae Nicholson makes a critical goal-line interception.

The Redskins go cover-zero in this goal line stand, leaving Ryan Kerrigan (91) unblocked on the offensive left to immediately pressure Brady. It looks like the RB would normally be blocking Kerrigan, but Brady has him leak out as a pass catcher instead.

Nicholson (35) maintains discipline, covering the flat and identifying the RB as his man to cover. Nicholson does a great job reading Brady’s eyes the whole time, seeing that the pass is coming his way and flipping his hips around to run with the RB, track the ball, and get in perfect position for the interception.

The Redskins were only down by 2 points, so a play like this in the red zone was critical to keeping them in the game. I think Nicholson has shown much better discipline and awareness in coverage over the course of the season so far, and looks much improved from this time last year.

Note that Dunbar (23) also read Brady’s eyes to see where the throw was going and had peeled off his assignment to get in position to make a play on the ball if Nicholson hadn’t gotten there.

Posted by Bill Horgan on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

[06:30] Ryan Anderson gives up a big TD catch in coverage.

I’m really using this play as an example of why our OLBs should not be used in coverage so often rather than intending to pick on Ryan Anderson. Although this play focuses on Anderson, I noted several plays where Ryan Kerrigan or Montez Sweat seemed to have coverage breakdowns that led to Brady passing for a first down or more as well. These guys are just not built for coverage, except for Sweat, who has the athleticism to do anything, but has little experience in coverage.

Here, the Patriots have 2 TEs lined up on the offensive right (Matt LaCosse, 83, and Ryan Izzo, 85) in what looks like a running formation. Instead, both of the TEs run crossing routes to the left, dragging away two Redskins DBs with them in coverage, leaving Ryan Anderson (52) to guard the flat.

Patriots RB Brandon Bolden (38) runs around the edge and immediately around Anderson to get open for a pass that turns into a long TD. Anderson looks slow to recognize the play develop and doesn’t offer much resistance (no jam) when Bolden easily runs around him to get open. Anderson flips his hips a second too late to run with Bolden, but by then Bolden has passed him and Anderson simply doesn’t have the athleticism to keep up.

Posted by Bill Horgan on Tuesday, October 8, 2019

[08:15] Daron Payne bends around the edge on a Tackle-End stunt to sack Tom Brady.

The Redskins actually use a stunt, which seems to catch the Patriots off guard. They try to have Josh Gordon (10) chip on OLB Ryan Anderson (52), but Anderson instead rushes inside and avoids it. Daron Payne (94) moves forward and stands up just enough to get the Patriots OL to brace, but then lets Ryan Anderson occupy them while he rushes around the edge to get the sack on Brady.

Payne actually shows really good bend around the edge and nimbleness for such a big guy — something that’s a bit easier to see in this viw of the same play here. Payne really shows burst and bend that you normally might associate with a high-level OLB, and does a great job dipping his shoulders just as he’s passing the LT to prevent the LT from getting hands on him.

The Redskins defense really showed up to play on Sunday, looking better (to me) than in any previous game this season.

Although the final score was 33-7, that doesn’t reflect the fact that the defense was constantly being put in bad field position by turnovers on offense.

As against the Giants, numerous great plays by individual Redskins defenders weren’t enough when the offense was unable to stay on the field, and the occasional weak link or blown assignment gives up a big play.

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