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Friday, December 12, 2014

FRAME-BY-FRAME: Forsett's Forty

Perhaps the best story-in-the-story of the 2014 season is that of Justin Forsett, the halfback that has taken all of our hopes and scored a touchdown with them.  What better moment to illustrate this than his 44-yard run at the height of tension during last week's crucial match in Miami?  And what better play to focus on with this week's FRAME-BY-FRAME.





4th quarter.
Up by a tenuous 8.
Our ball in good field position.

We needed a play, a gamechanger, that would strongly shift all remnant of Dolphin momentum towards the Purple and Black.
Forsett took a stretch handoff to team right, made his cut and a curly shift towards the sideline, and bam!  Daylight.  Big play. Ball game, essentially.

How did we do it?  What did the play look like?  How did the hole form?
Let's take a look.


The play was a basic 3 WR set with the TE pulled to the strong side up top, and Forsett alone behind Flacco.  Flacco does the sight adjustment where he stretches his arms wide and "winds" his hands--'turning the dial' is what I call it--my guess is that this is his signal to the team that they are running an alternate play.  If initally a pass, there is an automatic run built in.  He might also say a word indicating the direction of the play.  We'll see this motion later.  2nd and 10, 4:46 left.


What was impressive after the snap was the shift of the entire line towards the stretch.  This is probably a normal occurrence, but it is impressive to focus on.     


Do you think Flacco saw that the numbers in the box were favorable for us?  They had 6 in the box and man coverage on the 3 wideouts.  (After the snap the slot blitzed and the SS took the slot.  But the damage was done.)  We had six on the line.  Here is the design of the play, just offense: (let me know if you think the music is corny. Just added something to move things along.)



The gist of the zone-blocking O is that the back reads, makes one cut, and takes off.  There are two things that made this play phenomenal.  The perfect blocking execution of the line, and the reading of Forsett.  Honorable mention: Joe getting us into this play.  The animatic above was taken after the actual movement of the O on that play.  As you see, the HB kind of hesitates while the off guard flows in front of him.  This consistency by Zuttah, this follow-through vibed to perfection with Forsett's read, and it threw off the one player who could have stopped it, Dolphins safety Reshad Jones.  Let's look at the animatic with the defense reactions added:


The line's zone reads were spot-on and continuous; Zuttah and RT Wagner badly beat their men, Osemele found the second level (along with Wagner) and stymied the weakside LB.  The rest was some great, quick decisionmaking by Forsett.  
Forsett's decision and Jones' uncertainty were the perfect storm.  It appears as though Forsett had already decided to head for the sidelines; that his decision was not based on where the Safety was but where the daylight was.  Yet, watch Jones' approach on it.
Jones' feet were firmly planted, and his upper balance was leaning to the right.  Even though Forsett's juke was a stutter to allow for the best hole to open up, it almost appears that Jones expected him to cut back inside.  That's how the previously decided Forsett was simply able to wheel around him to make the good play great.  
Finally, just watch Forsett flow into the play.  This is truly one of the best plays all year for the Ravens--because of the meaning to this game, and the overall execution.  This play is a microcosm for the Ravens' running game this season.  Had Forsett not been hobbled, clearly it would have been six.
To any Ravens fan's delight, this season seems to be a love letter from the God of football to Forsett.  Every game, the message seems to be, "I gotchu, partna.  Just don't give up."  
Let us all say Amen!!
Comments?  Criticisms?  Questions?  Reply below or in the Baltimore Sun forum.