Let’s take a look at the positive running plays from the wild card game between the Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs. The team upgraded their running back situation in the off-season, and it should be interesting to note the changes. I wrote this article a couple of days after the game, but the site was not up then.
Positive Running Play:
The first good running play reviewed from this game, and it shows Henry following the blocks well for some yards. The design is good on this play, and the players execute it well. There aren’t exemplary plays made here, it’s just a well-executed, like scrambled eggs with extra butter. The motion from Jonnu Smith is key here because the outside linebacker to the right side of the formation is vital. When Smith goes in motion, the linebacker has to keep outside contain, thus run away from the middle of the field. With Taywan Taylor also running in the backfield, he can’t risk cutting back either towards the middle of the field. However, the play would have been better served if Taylor had been blocking instead of running in the backfield, because Mariota as running option should have the same effect on the linebacker as well. The defender on Taylor is the one that makes the play eventually, but Mathews does a good job to move onto the defenders down the field to pave the way for Henry. It’s a nice run with good set up, and it goes for positive yards. You’ll take that everyday for 8 yards, but it could have been a bigger play with one more block, especially since we know Revis isn’t tackling anyone unless they are holding a bearer bond.
Once again, we see the good field vision and cutting ability from Henry. The running back has two options here based on how the blocks develop, because the first option is the B gap, if the guard opens up the hole for him to run through. The Chiefs defender moves towards the guard, at which point Lewan hands him off to the guard, and then takes on the linebacker. Henry makes a great read on the run and cuts outside to get into an open area, and then immediately cutting to the inside again away from the defender’s momentum. This is just a great play by the linebacker because Lewan should have easily pushed him to the outside, but the offensive tackle doesn’t know which direction the running back is cutting behind him, so you can’t justifiably blame him. The cutback to the inside is a great move, because he sees the defender lean to the outside, and there should be a inside running lane if the linebacker doesn’t make that recovery. Excellent play from Henry, and good communication from the offensive line.
A great run by Henry, who makes a great effort to earn the first down, and help propel the offense. The first thing to notice on this play is Justin Houston because it shows the importance of a mobile QB. At the onset of this play, Houston steps around Walker like a wet floor sign and has clear shot to blow up the run. However, notice the hesitation from the defender because he has to be careful with Mariota running around in this game. The hesitation allows Walker to partially get back into the play, and Henry makes a great cut into the hole because he has the option to go left or right. The rest of the play is just a great effort from Henry as he attacks the defender in the open, and then cuts back inside to turn up field. Furthermore, Henry then breaks more tackles to gain about 4 extra yards, but his cut inside of Marcus Peters is very impressive since there is minimal time between breaking the first tackle to setting up the foot plant to break the second tackle. Henry could have easily just ran outside and been tackled by Peters, but he makes the extra effort here to turn up the field.
A long touchdown run by Henry, as gambling addicts flashback to the backdoor cover against the Colts earlier this year. The first thing to notice is Jarvis Jenkins on this play, because he’s completely unblocked. The guard pulls out to the other side leaving Jenkins with a free shot at the running back, but the defender thinks Mariota may have the ball, and goes after the quarterback, instead of the running back. If the defender is going towards the running back without fear, there is a chance that he could blow up the play. Once again, we see the effects of having Mariota running around, because the defensive line has to be cautious. The second thing to notice is the great cut up the field into the hole by Henry, which shows good field vision. The move that makes this play is the juke step that Henry runs on Revis cutting across the field, because it causes the defender to slow down against a potential cut back. Although Revis also imitates the shy kid in gym class who refuses to get open, so the ball isn’t passed to him, rather just hanging around the opposition to go unnoticed. Once Henry runs by Revis, he completely gives up on the play and jogs down the field. Henry goes by Revis and then takes the outside angle towards the safety, and breaks the tackle to get into the end zone. This is a great run by Henry, which starts with a mistaken read by Jenkins, and then great running demonstration from the young running back.
There isn’t much to see here, this is actually a somewhat straight up run here. The guy who makes the play is the guard who hands off his block to take on the linebacker in the second tier, which allows Henry to run down the field, and gain positive yards. There isn’t a great move by Henry here, but he takes what is there and gains the positive yards. The only other thing to notice is the middle linebacker hesitating to run after the running back at first, because once again, they have to clear Mariota as the rusher. Also, I will point out Revis on the outside pretty much blocking himself once again.
If you wondered why fans were unhappy with the offensive play calling this year, here is Exhibit A. The base call on this play is to run into 10 men in the box from the defense, which roughly translates to taking a kneel with more risk. The only reason this play is saved is because Henry gets stuffed at the line, but turns into outside and gets around the edge. This play is just broken, but Henry makes a great run to the outside using his natural speed to get to the edge. The other thing of note is how he stays in bounds because this play happens right before the two-minute warning, thus no need to stop the clock before the two-minute mark. That little move to the inside to stay in-bounds shows great situation awareness from Henry.
The star of this article is Derrick Henry, and you should be excited about him in the new system. I thought the old offensive system under the old regime really struggled with game planning during games or making any sort of adjustments.
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