We rejoin our series for a third installment. Once again we will be breaking down the most explosive plays from the Oakland Raiders 2017 season. For the sake of our discussion, we classify an explosive play as any play that goes for 25 yards or more. Let’s pick up where we left off with the Timeless Victory against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
Play 11: “Flea Flicker Part 2”
11th Explosive Play: Flea Flicker Pt. 2, Week 7 vs KC. WR's sell a running play off the snap. Peters gets burned- caught looking in backfield. Carr doesn't see him and trusts Coop to win matchup. 38 yd TD #FleaFlicker #Touchdown #Raiders #COOOOP pic.twitter.com/B6sJCdUnm9
— Chase Bugas (@RaidersUnsung) March 5, 2018
The key to this play’s success is the way the entire offense sells the run. As the ball is snapped the offensive line launches out of their stance as though they will be run blocking. Meanwhile, Amari Cooper and Seth Roberts both earn an Oscar for their acting as they get out of their stance. Cooper begins the play by jogging as though he has no role in the play. Roberts comes off the line and breaks down as though he will block Marcus Peters.
As Lynch pitches the ball back to Carr, #4 recognizes the defensive back against Cooper is in an unbalanced stance with his eyes in the backfield. Carr can now trust Cooper to get behind this defensive back. On the bottom of the screen Roberts fools Peters so well that he is able to get behind him with ease. Carr does not notice #10 wide open down the field for an easy touchdown, but it doesn’t matter because Coop makes a great play for the score regardless.
Play 12: “Coop Again?!”
Play 12) Carr uses his eyes to hold off the safety and create a gap in KC's defense. Cooper takes it for his second explosive TD of the game. 45 yard score. Game of the year #Touchdown #Raiders #Coop #Explosive pic.twitter.com/GkeXfE1pIf
— Chase Bugas (@RaidersUnsung) March 6, 2018
Amari Cooper gets his second touchdown against KC here, mostly due to the way Carr manipulates the defense with his eyes. Cooper slashes deep across the field from the slot, and as he does so, the defensive back matched against him passes him off to the safety. The safety correctly begins to come down on Cooper as he crosses the hashes, but this is where Carr works his magic.
As the safety comes down, Carr focuses his attention to the go-route on the bottom of the screen. This gives the appearance of an incoming deep pass along the sideline, so the safety abandons Cooper and begins to drop. This opens up a window in the middle of the field for Carr to hit #89, who is able to use his speed and score yet again.
Play 13: “Messin’ with Safeties”
Play 13) Coop runs a deep route and breaks behind the safety's body which is open to the sideline. Carr is staring down Coop, making it seem like Coop has the option to break either way, depending on how the safety plays him. DC wanted #89 right from the snap. 34 yards #Raiders pic.twitter.com/ukx0fWml1f
— Chase Bugas (@RaidersUnsung) March 7, 2018
Yes, this is the third explosive play in a row from Amari Cooper against KC. This time Cooper lines up as the X-Receiver, meaning he is all alone on his side of the formation. The Chiefs line up with two-deep safeties and play man-coverage underneath. As Cooper gets deep, the corner stays underneath while the safety moves over the top, leaving #89 bracketed.
As the safety caps off over the top, he opens his hips towards the sideline. This allows Cooper to cut back behind the defender towards the middle of the field where there is no deep coverage help. Carr is staring down #89 throughout the entire play, so it’s possible he was waiting to see which way Coop will break before throwing the ball. In the NFL, the way routes progress often depend on how the defense reacts during the play.
Play 14: “Cook on Fire”
Explosive Play #14) 29 yd pass to Cook is almost the game winner. Roberts and Cook end up in same spot allowing to KC to have a 3:2 advantage on the ball. Perfect pass from Carr though. Nice high point catch from Cook #BeatKC #Raiders #Carr #Cook pic.twitter.com/TuwPVUCocp
— Chase Bugas (@RaidersUnsung) March 19, 2018
This is the final explosive play from the thrilling Thursday night game against the hated divisional rivals. On 3rd and 10 with time running low, the Raiders get aggressive and dial up a vertical attack. This play is interesting because both Roberts and Cook end up in the same spot as the ball is thrown. It is impossible to fully understand why this happened, but it appears to be because Roberts gets an outside release when he should have gone inside.
As Roberts and Cook both streak down the sideline, KC has a 3:2 advantage over the Raiders as a safety joins both corners in coverage. Carr is able to drop a dime and Cook does a nice job of high-pointing the ball. The irony here is that #10’s possible mistaken release puts him in position to shield off the safety from getting to the ball. This play helped set up the classic final sequence of the game that will go down in Raiders’ history as the Timeless Victory.
Play 15: “Audible!”
Play 15) When Carr sees the Safety move up into the box he knows he has 1-on-1 matchups to the outside and changes the play. Carr excels at these downfield sideline throws. @KingCrab15 really was the master of the subtle pushoff. What will Jordy bring? #ByeCrabtree #Raiders pic.twitter.com/nkXpLjzMdc
— Chase Bugas (@RaidersUnsung) March 19, 2018
The Bills initially line up with two-deep safeties, leaving only 6 defenders in the box. This is generally a favorable matchup for the run game. Before the ball is snapped, the safety towards the bottom of the screen drops into the box. Carr then appears to change the play at the line of scrimmage. The new defensive alignment shows one-on-one match ups to the outside, and Carr decides early on that he will throw it up to Crabtree. As the ball is in the air, Crabtree extends his arm and gives a subtle shove to the cornerback covering him. This helps create enough separation for Crabs to make an easy grab downfield.
Join us for our next installment as we continue to break down the most explosive plays from the Raiders’ most explosive plays of 2017.
Written by Chase Bugas