The Most Explosive Plays of the 2017 Raiders: First 5

Crabtree TD

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We’ll be taking a closer look at the most explosive plays of the Oakland Raiders’  2017 season. For the purpose of this series, we will define an explosive play as a play that gains at least 25 yards. Now, let’s dive into the first five explosive plays of the 2017 NFL season.

Play 1: “Crab-Stick”

Our first subject comes from Week 1 in a road game against the Tennessee Titans. This particular play went for 25 yards. On 2nd & 7, Oakland lines up in the Trips formation with a TE split on the opposite side. Tennessee lines up with four down linemen and, initially, two-high safeties. Their corners line up over each receiving option in a man-coverage look, with the exception of Crabtree who is furthest inside in the Trips set.

As the ball is snapped, the LB in the middle of the field blitzes while the safety over the TE steps up to take on Crabtree. This creates a huge gap in the middle of the defense. Oakland runs a Stick concept which sets Crabtree up perfectly for a quick pass right in the middle of the defense. After making the catch, #15 makes two people miss as he takes off down the field. Some down-field blocking from Jared Cook helps ensure a gain of 25 yards.

Play 2: “Flea Flicker Madness”

The Raiders’ second explosive play of 2017 came early in week 2 during the home-opener vs. the Jets. On 2nd & 6, the Raiders line up in a Tight Bunch Right formation, with Cooper as the X-Receiver on the left. The Jets line up with 8 in the box, ready to defend against the run.

Carr hands off to #24 and the defense reacts by selling out to stop the run as all eight players in the box commit to defending Lynch. Meanwhile the Raiders run a two-man route concept with Crabtree and Cooper. #89 stretches the field by selling out deep across the middle, while #15 runs a deep crossing route underneath Cooper. As Lynch passes the ball back to Carr, the entire defense’s eyes are in the backfield. Defensive backs attempt to make up for lost ground by selling out to get deep, essentially chasing after Cooper. This creates an open gap for an easy connection to Crabtree for 26 yards as he crosses downfield.

Play 3: “Check-Down Jackpot”

The third explosive play of the season came later in the same game against the Jets. On 2nd & 11, Oakland came out in a 3×1 set against the Jets’ single-high safety look. The defensive alignment suggests either a Cover-1 or Cover-3 scheme. However, when the ball is snapped both safeties drop into a Cover-2 look.

Carr immediately looks off what he thinks is a single-high safety, hoping to come back to Cook who is running a post route. After he sees the post route will not open up, his progression takes him to the crossing TE. Once it becomes clear that the TE cross is also covered, Carr immediately checks down to Richard running out of the backfield. Richard is able to cut between two defenders in the open field and take off for an electrifying 39 yards.

At the bottom of the screen, the 9 route is breaking wide open in the soft spot of the defense’s Cover-2 scheme. It is difficult to fault Carr for missing this because the route was probably late in his progression anyways, and an edge defender was just starting to get around the right edge when Carr checks it down.

Play 4: “In Crabtree We Trust”

This play again comes in week 2, and this time it goes for a touchdown. This play comes out of an empty set. The outside corners show man coverage, and with a LB lined up closest to Cooper on the inside, Carr knows the safety on that side will stay on top of #89. This ensures Carr that Crabtree will be one-on-one with the DB. Carr loves going to #15 in these situations, and this time around he throws Crabtree open despite good coverage on a 9 route. Crabtree does the rest and scores.

Play 5: “Gone in a Flash”

Our final explosive play for the week again will come against the Jets. On 3rd & 1, Carr motions Patterson into the backfield beside him. As the ball is snapped the Jets have seven players up near the line of scrimmage, and only one defensive back in the second level. This alignment ensures that only one missed tackle should be enough to break a big run.

The offensive line all blocks down to their right. Osemele and Hudson both clear the path by driving their assigned player in opposite directions, allowing Patterson a wide open A-gap. #84 is able to cut back and make the lone second-level defender miss and he is off to the races. Seth Robert is able to shield off a downfield player and allow Patterson to reach the end zone.

Written by: Chase Bugas

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