Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:15 AM
I posted this on an ESPN board where people kept calling it a blown coverage, awful defensive play and refusing to give Flacco any credit.
If anyone sees any flaws with my argument, don't be afraid to let me know.
The reason that this play was successful is 100% because of Joe Flacco. Did Denver's coverage allow the play to occur? Yes it did, and that is the case in nearly 100% of cases where an offensive play is a success. If the defense was mistake-free all game, then you'd have a shut-out. But the offense can confuse, confound, and corrupt a defense and make them make mistakes, which is what happened on that play.
Let me explain: On the previous play, Flacco steps up in the pocket, then takes off running for a 7 yard gain up the middle as the pocket broken down around him. He immediately lines his team up and gets a snap off quick, and as the pocket breaks down around him, he makes the very same motion that he did on the previous play, evading the pass rush, stepping up in the pocket, and for a split second he tricks them into thinking he's going to take off running again. This cheats the safety up. That was a mistake on the safety's part, but it was a mistake INDUCED BY THE PLAY OF THE OFFENSE.
The scramble on the previous play, followed by what appeared to be another potential scramble, allow the receiver to get open and the safety to guess on the play and misplay the ball when he realized he'd guessed wrong. Flacco throws that ball while running forward to escape a pass rush, which is a very tough throw to make without setting the feet, getting 55 or so yards down field, and it was an incredibly accurate throw, arced perfectly to fall at a high angle into the receiver's arms.
Everything about that play and that drive was perfectly executed to allow for a maximum probability of success.