Charting a Drive: Defense Atones

Kasey is back with his weekly piece

Jacksonville’s second drive of this game is fascinating for a number of reasons.  On one hand, it is the drive that most resembled what the Jags wanted to accomplish this game.  They drove it 15 plays and held the ball for 8 minutes and 41 seconds.  They showed good balance between run & pass, running the ball 8 times and passing it 7.  On the other hand, it was also a microcosm of the good things Indy’s D brought to the table.  The D Line was impressive, and Gary Brackett had a monster drive that mimicked the rest of his play.  The D hadn’t started their secondary collapse which would characterize the later stages of the game.  Also, this drive had a horrendous call by the officials, just one of many we would see on the day.  Finally, writing about this drive gives me an opportunity to apologize to the young man that occasionally sits in front of me at the games.  I’m sorry I yelled “In American football there are 4 downs” in your ear.  I was a little fired up at the refs and you were an innocent bystander.

1-10-JAX-19
Play: MJD starts left cuts back right for 3 yards.  Tackled by Angerer.
Jags Formation:  2 WR/ 1 TE (Right) / 1 FB
Colts Formation: 4-3 (Francisco in the box).
- Freeney holds left side one on one vs LT.
- Mookie gets blown 3 yards off the ball by a double team of the LG/C.  LG breaks to block Connor.
- RG attacks Brackett.
- Muir rides the RT into the play causing the cut back.
- Foster brings the RTE into the center also causing the cut back.
- Angerer is there at the LOS to make the tackle, but is dragged by MJD for 3 yards.

2-7-JAX-22

Play: Garrard bootlegs right. Throws incomplete to M Thomas.
Jags Formation:  2 WR (1 close left) / 2 TE (1 back left 1 yard)
Colts Formation: Nickle (Bethea and Nickleback in the box)
- Foster pulls inside to stop the MJD run and is out of position to follow Garrard.  RTE block him inside.
- Muir gets good penetration vs RT, but Garrard is running away from him.
- RG/C double Mookie way off the play.
- LG/LT double Freeney and Garrard runs away from him.
- All 3 LB bite on play action, but pull back into coverage in time.
- Lacey makes a great play on the ball to break up the pass.

3-7-JAX-22

Play: Pass to M Thomas for 16 yards. Tackle by Bethea.  Unnecessary roughness penalty on Bethea 15 yards.
Jags Formation: (Shotgun) 3 WR / 1 TE (standing right)
Colts Formation: Nickle
- Mathis is redirected wide around the RTE.  The RT picks him up after he falls on his own after a spin move.
- Foster is doubled by the RG/C.
- Dawson stunts inside and is caught up behind Foster (the LG also follows him).
- Freeney is well blocked by the LT.
- Hagler covers the TE well.
- Brackett covers MJD out of the back field well.
- Cornelius Brown is just beat by Thomas.
- I don’t see the foul on Bethea.  The camera angle is not great though, so I’ll give the refs the benefit of the doubt.

1-10-IND-47

Play: MJD up the middle for 5 yards. Tackled by Dawson & Bethea
Jags Formation:  2 WR/ 2 TE (both right)
Colts Formation: Nickle (CB and Safety in the box)
- Mathis is stoned by the inside RTE.
- Moala holds his position vs the RT and pulling LG.
- Muir is pushed off of his position by the C.
- RG blocks Hagler (who actually holds his position)
- Dawson gets nothing against the LT.
- Brackett reads the play incorrectly and is blocked by the outside RTE.
- CB in the box follows a WR into a route.
- Bethea reads the play correctly and hits MJD for 2 yard gain.  MJD extra effort gets 3 more.

2-5-IND-42

Play: MJD left for 2 yards. Tackled by Muir.
Jags Formation:  1 WR/ 2 TE/ 1 FB
Colts Formation: 4-3 (CB in the box)
- Mathis splits the RTE/RT but is a step behind MJD cut.
- RG blows Moala 2 yards off the LOS.
- C/LG double Muir.  He splits them and is able to stop MJD.
- Dawson stoned by the LTE.
- LT takes Angerer out.
- FB takes Brackett out.
- RG/LG after leaving their blocks, take Connor out of the play.

3-4-IND-40 (non-play, doesn’t show up in the NFL play book)

Play: (Shotgun) run up the middle to MJD.  Tackled by Foster for no gain.
Jags Formation: 3 WR / 1 TE right
Colts Formation: Nickle (Brackett lined far right on LOS, Bethea in the box).
- Mathis is taken way off the LOS by the TE/RT double.
- RG blocks Foster, who sheds and stops MJD. What a great play by Foster.
- Dawson is blocked half a yard off the LOS by the LG.
- C moves up to block Bethea.
- LT does a great job on Freeney.
- Hagler reads it wrong and gets caught up in the wash with Bethea.
- Brackett follows the TE into coverage after the TE releases Mathis.
- There is a clear false start on this play.  Bad officiating gives the ball back to the Jags.  Either there was a penalty on the Jags, or the Colts stopped them, in either case the Jags got the benefit.  This didn’t get any better watching it after a few days, just an awful job by the refs.

3-4-IND-40

Play: (Shotgun) Incomplete pass to M Sims-Walker
Jags Formation: 3 WR / 1 TE right
Colts Formation:  Nickle (Bethea on LOS between RDE/RDT showing blitz)
- Mathis doubled by TE/RT.
- Foster gets stopped by the RG.
- Dawson gets doubled by the C/LG.  No penetration.
- Freeney gets a spin move on the LT. Half a step too slow for a sack.
- Bethea doesn’t do anything on this play.  Either he read it wrong once the TE stayed in and he should have blitzed at that point, or he should have dropped into coverage.  In any case he did nothing constructive on this play.
- Brilliant coverage by Tryon saves this from a long gainer.

4-3-IND-40

Play: (Shotgun) short pass to J Hill for 14 yards tackled by Tryon and Francisco.
Jags Formation:  3 WR / 1 TE right.
Colts Formation: Nickle (Bethea in the box)
- Mathis gets buried by the RT/RG.
- Foster stunts outside.  Very slow, and is blocked easily by the TE.
- Dawson stunts outside, gets around the LT who is trying to block Freeney, but too slow to get to Garrard.
- Freeney is effectively triple teamed as the C/LG/LT all take him.  He still almost gets to Garrard.
- Bethea covers MJD out of the back field well.
- Hill gets behind Brackett/Connor in zone.
- Hard to tell from the TV, but it looks like Tryon is just a step late on his coverage of Hill.

1-10-IND-26

Play: short pass to M Lewis for 7 yards.  Tackled by Brackett and Tryon.
Jags Formation: 2 WR/ 2 TE (one each side, half a yard back from LOS).
Colts Formation: Nickle (CB and Safety in the box)
- Foster (at DE) handled by the RT.
- Mookie stunts inside and is handled by the LG no problem.
- Moala has a good inside move but is picked up by the RG/C.
- Dawson gets nothing against the LT.
- Brown (who started in the box) follows the TE into coverage.  Bad coverage and a worse missed tackle.
- Tryon who follows a WR into coverage, breaks once the pass is made and saves the long gain.
- Hagler/Brackett go into zone coverage. Brackett is there to back up Brown. Hagler is on the other side of the field.
- Bethea follows the other TE into coverage.

2-3-IND-19

Play: MJD run right for 1 yard. Tackled by Moala.
Jags Formation: 2 WR / 2 TE (each side, half a yard back from the LOS)
Colts Formation: Nickle (CB and Safety in the box)
- Foster gets pushed a yard off the LOS by the RT.
- Moala gets around a RG/C double beautifully and tackles MJD from behind.
- Mookie stunts inside and is blocked 4 yards off the LOS by the LG.
- Dawson blocked 4 yards off the LOS by the LT/LTE.
- RTE blocks Brown.
- Bethea reads the play correctly and is there to back up Moala.
- Brackett and Hagler are actually blocked out of the play by Mookie/Dawson.

3-2-IND-18

Play: MJD left for 5 yards.  Tackled by Bethea
Jags Formation: (Shotgun) 3 WR/ 1 TE (left half yard behind the LOS)
Colts Formation: Nickle (CB on LOS showing blitz)
- Mathis falls along with the RT.
- Foster handled by RG and RT (until he falls).
- Mookie holds point of attack against C/LG.
- Dawson stunts inside.  MJD runs into the space Dawson just left.
- Blitzing CB is blocked way out of the play by the TE.
- Hagler is confused about whether he should follow Garrard who is bootlegging or MJD on the play action.
- Brackett is blocked by the LT who has no one to block due to Dawson’s stunt.

1-10-IND-13

Play: MJD right end for 12 yards.  Tackled by Bethea.
Jags Formation: 1 WR/ 2 TE/ 1 FB
Colts Formation: 4-3 (CB in the box)
- Mathis holds the outside edge against the RTE/RT.
- Muir gets good penetration on the inside right against the RG.
- Angerer takes the far outside and is blocked by the releasing RT.
- Brackett goes too far outside right and is blocked by the FB.
- Mookie gets nothing against the C.
- Dawson gets pushed 6 yards off the play by the LG/LT.
- Connor blocked by the releasing C.
- CB in the box keeps contain on his side, but is run away from.

1-1-IND-1

Play: MJD right end for no gain.  Foster and Angerer tackle.
Jags Formation: 3 TE (2 right, 1 left)/ 1 FB
Colts Formation: Goal Line
- Moala pushed back from RDE spot by RT/RTE1.
- Foster gets good penetration against the RG/C blocking up the hole that MJD wants.
- Mookie takes the C/LG out.
- Freeny penetrates from LDE1 spot but run away from.
- Muir is run away from in the LDE2 spot.
- Angerer/ Connor/ Brackett read this perfectly and all hit MJD after he bounces out of Fosters hole.

2-1-IND-1

Play: MJD right end for -3 yards.  Tackle by Brackett.
Jags Formation: 3 TE (2 right, 1 left)/ 1 FB
Colts Formation: Goal Line
- Moala contains outside vs RTE/RT
- Foster cuts (legally) the RG.
- Mookie takes C out.
- Brackett hits Foster’s hole so fast he makes the tackle by himself.  Great, great play.

3-4-IND-4

Play: False start LT.  5-yard penalty no play.
Jags Formation: (Shotgun) 4 WR
Colts Formation: Nickle
- Between crowd noise and Freeney the LT has no chance.

3-9-IND-9

Play: Pass to R Jennings for 5 yards.  Hagler and Lacey on the tackle.
Jags Formation: (Shotgun) 3 WR/ 1 TE (half yard back from LOS left)
Colts Formation: Nickle (both LB showing blitz, Dawson standing on LOS LE)
- Dawson gets pressure against TE
- Freeney stunts outside right, too slow to get pressure.
- Mathis/Foster go inside and are blocked by LG/C/RG.
- Hagler moves in to coverage on Jennings.
- Brackett hesitates in covering Jennings then blitzes, too late.

4-4-IND-4

Jags FG.

Impressions:

On re-watching, it was less a consistently great drive by the Colts D-Line, than the occasionally great play by 1 player as the rest were average.  Mookie had as bad a drive as we’ve seen in some time from him.  Moala was hot and cold, with both great plays and bad ones.  Foster was the most consistently good player on the line.  Freeney and Mathis were neutralized either by the Jacksonville play calling, or our own (it may be piling on at this point, but the stunting is not working).  The biggest concern on the D line was Dawson.  With Hughes as a healthy scratch I have to ask, either Hughes is no better than Dawson, which is an indictment of the pick, or the team played the wrong player, which is an indictment of the coaches.  At this point, I only want to see Dawson on special teams. At linebacker the Colts surprisingly played lots of nickle.  I’m not sure what the motivation for this was, but it meant that Hagler was on the field a lot.  I like Hagler, but he occasionally was very out of position. Brackett’s few bad plays were more than compensated for by his brilliant goal line stand.

About The Author:

Kasey Klipsch (kasey_junk@myrealbox.com) has no football experience above the grade school level.  He grew up in Indianapolis rooting for the Colts and is a season ticket holder.  He comments around the Colts blogosphere as kasey_junk.  He also writes a weekly picks column for The Fantasy Ninjas (www.thefantasyninjas.com) under the nickname “The Real KC”.

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