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Negative Passing Plays: Titans vs. Texans (Week 2)

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Welcome to the Negative Passing Plays: Titans vs. Texans (Week 2) film breakdown, as we look at what went wrong for the Titans passing game.

Negative Passing Plays:



The first play here is the first pass from Blaine Gabbert, and it’s not a terrible throw.  Taywan Taylor has to make this catch, as it hits him in the hands.  The read is the slot cornerback for the Texans, as he switches on the zone cover look.  If the cornerback is playing man coverage and follows Taylor to the deep route, then the quick hitch is wide open.  In this case, the cornerback switches, allowing Taylor to go behind him and be handed off to the outside cornerback.  Gabbert correctly sees that Taylor is the option, but there is a middle linebacker in the primary passing lane.  From the route, it looks like Taylor expects to sit down on the route instead of continuing towards the middle (or the ball to arrive earlier) because he seems a bit surprised to see the ball placed towards the middle of the field.  Taylor makes a lunge at it, but it’s eventually dropped.  On the outset, this looks like a bad throw from Gabbert, but the passing lane is occupied by the middle linebacker, so Gabbert has to get the ball around the defender, which led the pass more towards the middle.  This is a throw that Taylor has to catch.



The biggest culprit on this play is once again Taywan Taylor, who drops this pass under contact.  Nonetheless, Gabbert should share some of the blame because the throw is late.  I can’t tell for sure who the first read is on this play, but Gabbert immediately turns to his right after the snap, so it has to be Taylor or the slot receiver.  The issue here is simple for Gabbert to decipher, Taylor is running a quick in route with a defender 7 yards away, while the slot receiver is also running a crossing route with tight man coverage.  This is an easy pass to Taylor the moment he sees the slot defender stay with the slot receiver.  Unfortunately, Gabbert hesitates, which makes this whole play delayed.  The outside cornerback sees the route from Taylor and rushes in because he knows it’s a quick in, as you can see him running towards the receiver before Gabbert releases the ball.  It’s a pass that Taylor should have caught, but it’s also a pass that Gabbert needs to release earlier.  This is one of those instances where you see how they can get free yards from the defense, but still leave it on the table.



I’ve talked about Gabbert making a nice read or two in the positives article this week, but this this is not one of them.  In this case, you see Dion Lewis go in motion from outside receiver to the backfield, and a linebacker following him over on 3rd and 4, which should indicate man coverage.  Rishard Mathews is lined up in the position that Delanie Walker would occupy, and acts as the blocker at first.  He’s going to have a chip block and then peel off to the flat and be wide open.  Unfortunately, Gabbert made up his mind pre-snap because Davis is running a double move on press man coverage, and expects the young receiver to win.  However, the defender stays right with Davis and Gabbert overthrows the pass from the start.  You can see him stare down the No. 1 option from the get-go, and you can see the deep safety following his eyes.  It’s a terrible throw, but also an issue where you can’t stare down your receiver and shun all other options.  The other aspect of this is the lack of separation from Corey Davis.  The young receiver has potential and could be a stud in the future, but he’s not a No. 1 receiver at this point.  In the offseason, I argued for signing Allen Robinson, which was met with arguments about not believing in the young receiving core.  However, Davis hasn’t stepped out yet to be the clear cut No. 1, and this offense really needs that guy to roll coverage, especially after the Walker injury.



Before reading this, please go to the Positives Article Play No. 3, with the Taywan Taylor TD.  It’s pretty much the exact same call mirrored, albeit in different situations.  A receiver goes in motion with a defender following, indicating man coverage.  The receivers are stacked together to one side, with one defender playing well off the line.  The offensive line runs into space to block defenders down the field, and allow the defensive line to jump into the backfield.  Gabbert sees the action and calls an audible for a quick WR screen, and the tackle runs to block the cornerback.  Remember how I said Kevin Pamphile was a hero on that touchdown? Well Tyler Marz doesn’t do as good of a job and the defender would have had a free run at Matthews.  It doesn’t matter because Gabbert makes a terrible throw, because JJ Watt got into the backfield and it falls incomplete.  The set up was good, but the Texans were ready for this audible, since they already saw in earlier in this game.


This game was won on the back of the running game and coaching staff.  I’m not a big fan of Gabbert, but he played it safe and it was enough to win the game.  Gabbert shows hesitation to make some throws and makes some simple audibles, but I’m not that confident in him moving forward.

Thanks for reading Negative Passing Plays: Titans vs. Texans (Week 2), and if you are feeling depressed, please feel free to read the Positive Passing Plays Article.  Also, please follow on Twitter!

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