Using Coaches Film To Break Down The Biggest Play In Week 4 Of The NFL

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

Photo: Fox Sports

On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons completed an improbable comeback against the Carolina Panthers.Starting on their own 1-yard line with no timeouts and just 59 seconds left in the game, Matt Ryan led the Falcons on a 79 yard drive, setting up the game-winning field goal.

But the drive never happens if the Falcons don’t complete a 59 yard bomb to Roddy White on the first play.

On the next few pages, we’ll take a look at the coaches film to see how the Falcons pulled off the play, and how the Panthers let it happen.

First, here is the entire play as the coaches see it

The first thing we notice is that despite the Falcons needing to travel 70 yards in less than a minute, the Panthers have nine players crowding the line of scrimmage. This is the anti-prevent.

Prior to the snap, the Falcons send one receiver in motion towards the top of the screen, leaving two receivers at the bottom

In a surprising move, the Falcons, despite having no timeouts, use a play-action, and fake a handoff.

And amazingly, it works. Both linebackers freeze for a split-second

On the near-side, the inside receiver is already in a full sprint and the linebacker on that side is now just starting to turn his body.

The next big mistake is the safety at the top of the screen. Despite no receivers on that side of the field, he drifts towards the sideline at the top of the screen. He has just taken himself out of the play.

The inside receiver has now easily beaten the linebacker and the strong safety now has his body turned towards the inside receiver because there is no help from linebacker or the other safety. At this point, Ryan knows the outside wide receiver is the target.

Ball is now in the air. A quick out-move gets the outside receiver behind the corner back, who is expecting deep help. The strong safety is ahead of the play, but is just now turning to that side.

The strong safety appears to be in position

But at this point it is a 1-on-1 jump ball. And the Falcons probably like their odds.

But then the Panthers make one last mistake. The safety, possibly misjudging the pass, gets turned around

And gets caught backpedaling

And that leaves the safety unable to leap for the ball

Which actually makes the catch rather easy for White. And five plays later, the Falcons kicked an easy field goal for the win.

And here is the original broadcast of the big play

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