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Thursday, September 11, 2014

HINDSIGHT: The 77 Yard Burn--whose fault?

If you're like me, you had a small aneurism when Chykie Brown allowed the 77 yard TD pass to Cincinatti last Sunday.  How could a professional DB, lined up against A.J. Green of all peiople, allow him to get deep with 5 minutes left and the lead?!  What was he THINKING?!?!?  :D

I decided to make that the topic of my Hindsight column this week.  (Don't you love the way I come back from a 1.5 year hiatus sounding like I never left?)  Let's take a look:

First, notice that Elam (circled), the SS, was motioning to Stewart at the outset of the play.  If you look at his shadow you see that he had his hand raised and was making a circling motion with it.  I take that to be a reminder that they were going 1 high, and Asa Jackson (slot) was blitzing, and Elam was going to take Jackson's man.  Now, look closely at the Cincy side.  QB Dalton is pointing towards Asa's side. (enlarge this if you need to see better.)  There was some tell , because as the play progresses, you'll see that they picked up the blitz flawlessly and he went to the vulnerable receiver.  Could he have picked up on Elam's signal?

The play begins and you see Brown's direction by the yellow solid arrow.  Elam approached the slot to cover.  Stewart is on the balls of his feet, scoping his side of the field.  Instead of hustling to the center, he hesitated.

The play continues.  Brown pivots around once he scopes the play, and it even looks like he is ahead here, but the momentum that Green has shoots him by Brown.  Brown has given him the inside of the field, another clue that he was supposed to have help.  I've drawn an approximate trajectory for Stewart up top, and you can see that this is still on the far side of the field and nowhere near the play.  Surprisingly enough, Dalton has actually already released the ball here.  Elam looks like he could help, but the next slide will show that he was not focused on the outside man.

Note Elam's position--back turned, rather flat footed-looking, and out of the play.  Also you see that Green is fully past Brown.  The ball is about halfway there, and look at Stewart (circled).  FAR away from the play.

Let's switch angles here--the all-22 view is simply too far out to tell what's happening.  As the ball arrives, Stewart is a good 6-8 yards away.  Brown makes a valiant attempt to hit the ball, but he is toast.  Green does have to slow down, though, giving the D a chance.

This is after the tip and the bounce off of Green's arms.  Stewart is STILL a good 4-5 yards away.  Green has to slow way down, though, and a tackle should be imminent.

This is what we see when Green finally corals the ball.  He is off balance, and Stewart has freight train momentum, coming at him.  I don't know why he didn't just bulldoze him right there, staring at his torso and opening wide-armed. Instead, he overran a jittery Green, got juked once more, and stumbled.  Yuck.

Just to re-emphasize Brown's effort, I think these shots show that he grazed the ball, perhaps causing the spin to change and throwing Green off.  It is a pretty athletic play, considering.  But not good enough, unfortunately.

In light of this, I believe that both Dbacks share the blame, but that Chykie Brown was expecting help and got none.  This is why I say: put the speedy rookie FS in.  Terrence Brooks might have gotten there faster, and might have had more of a center fielder's instinct on the play.  Either way, getting beat with 5 minutes left for the winning TD is as bad as any rookie can do.  What do you think?