The Most Explosive Plays from the Oakland Raiders 2017 Season: Vol. IV

This week in our series…

Of breaking down every explosive play from Oakland’s 2017 offense, we look at plays 16-20. Remember, our definition of an explosive play will be any play which gained 25 yards or more. Let’s take a look at our fourth installment.

Play 16: “All About the Matchup”

Oakland lines up with trips on the bottom of the screen and Jared Cook split off the line all by himself on the top. Miami begins with two-high safeties. As the ball is snapped, the safety on Cook’s side runs up to play a “robber” role where he is looking to help on crossing routes. The rest of the defense is playing Cover-1. As Carr sees this safety shift from his deep positioning, he now knows Cook is one-on-one with linebacker Kiko Alonso, which is a favorable matchup. Cook wins on a stop and go route and gains 35 yards on third and long.

Play 17: “Cook in the Gap”

The route combo on this play is a creative way to find a gap in Miami’s Cover-3 coverage. Coop lines up in the slot with Cook inside of him along the offensive line. As Cooper’s route progresses downfield the nickel defender locks onto #89. Meanwhile Cook is following as though he will run a seam route on the inside.

As Cook passes the linebackers however, he quickly turns and sits deep in the middle of the field inside a wide open gap in coverage. Both underneath linebackers don’t even notice Cook, because as the running back releases to run a delayed in-route they both react and abandon the middle. Oakland’s RB helped make this entire play work the way that it did. Carr was just waiting for the gap to open for Cook in the middle. 

Play 18: “Bombs Away”

Holton strikes again on another deep pass. Oakland lines up in 12 personnel and runs a play action pass vs Miami’s Cover-4 defense. Coop runs a deep route on the left side of the field, and Carr uses his eyes to attract two deep defensive backs towards Amari Cooper. Meanwhile on the right side of the field, one tight-end runs a short out-route which is enough to pull down the corner on the top of the screen. This leaves only one deep safety to stop Johnny Holton.

After motioning just inside of Cooper, #16 streaks down the middle of the field. As the ball is thrown, the safety is in fine position, but he is unable to find and adjust to the ball. Holton on the other hand, does a great job of crossing the defender’s body and catches another big play for a touchdown.

Play 19: “Working the Middle”

Again the Raiders attack Miami’s zone defense. The Dolphins play Cover-4 one more time, and the Raiders are able to use an underneath route to open up the deeper middle of the field. From the slot position on the bottom of the screen, Roberts runs a drag route parallel to the line of scrimmage. This route sucks both linebackers in towards the line, allowing Cooper a wide open gap on a post route. This route combo succeeded by attacking the space between linebackers and deep safeties in a Cover-4 defense.

Play 20: “Sprint-Out Magic”

This time Oakland runs a sprint-out pass, where Derek Carr is going to sprint to his right and throw on the run. The Raiders only have 3 pass catchers running routes on this play. Oakland lines up with a tight-bunch to the right and Miami is running a Cover-3 defensively. A big part of this play’s success stems from the Dolphin’s deep center-fielder swapping duties with the other safety way too late at the snap of the ball.

Only two receivers run routes from the bunch. Both routes offer Carr a hi-low read with a quick-out underneath a corner route. The corner and the flat defender are going to follow the quick-out. In other words, the cornerback is abdicating his duties of playing the deep third on his side. This error combined with the late swap by the safeties, allows Roberts plenty of space. Ultimately he wins on his corner route and gains 29 yards.

That concludes this installment of explosive plays from the 2017 season. Stay tuned for more as we continue to find diamonds in the rough that was the 2017 season.