Film study: Dwayne Bowe vs. Titans

Scott Cunningham

From the FanPosts. If you want to get your FanPost on the front page, check this out. -Joel

We all want to know why the hell Dwayne Bowe doesn't have 10 TDs so far and why he doesn't have 700 yards receiving yet, so I thought I'd look at the Titans game to study how a solid defense played Bowe. When watching the film, I am looking for a few things.

1) Is Bowe doubled or bracketed a lot, which forces Alex Smith to throw to another receiver?

2) Is Bowe being lazy?

3) Is Bowe just not getting open?

OK this is going to be a long one so strap in!

1st drive of the game

Here are a few pass plays from the 1st drive of the game.

The 4th offensive play of the game is as follows:

Bowe and Dexter McCluster are at the top of the screen with Sean McGrath near the RT. Chad Hall and Jamaal Charles are at the bottom. On this play the Chiefs are running the same route combos on both sides of the field. The inside receiver runs an out route, while the outside receiver runs an in-route. McGrath runs up the seam to clear the safety.

On this first screen shot, Bowe is at the top circled in yellow and one of Tenneesee's LBs is circled in red. Watch what the LB does.


See how the LB drops in coverage and opens his hips towards Bowe? I'd pay more attention to Bowe running the in-route vs. Charles running an in-route personally. If Alex started looking at Bowe the LB would have easily been able to read his eyes and drift toward Bowe, which would either get Bowe killed or would result in Alex throwing into double coverage.


On this last screenshot, you will see Bowe coming open, but Alex has already decided to throw to the other side of the field. The LB has read Alex's eyes and is now turning to run to the opposite side of the field.


Next play

You see Bowe circled in yellow at the top of the screen and Chad Hall circled in red. Bowe goes deep and Hall is matched up one on one vs a linebacker. The quickness of Hall vs. a linebacker is a mismatch, so I don't completely fault Alex for looking Chad's way. Chad beats the LB bad enough that he drew a penalty on the LB, so the play was a win, though I'd always prefer Alex to throw it to Bowe deep when he is one on one. I trust Bowe to win jump balls in the middle of the field or at worst it'll be incomplete.

The Titans did blitz a LB so maybe Alex defaults to shorter options when he knows a blitz is coming vs. hoping the line picks it up.

Here are four screenshots showing how the play develop:





Pinned deep - 1st quarter

On this play, the Titans start with a 2 deep safety look. Bernard Pollard is the safety at the top of the screen in red and Bowe is in yellow. You also have Chad Hall in the slot who runs a kind of short skinny post right in the middle of the field. I believe Alex's read is on Pollard. What happens is at the snap Pollard turns into the 'robber' and jumps down to take the inside route of Chad Hall away. Alex quickly sees this and goes to Bowe on the outside in one on one coverage.


The problem with this play is that Bowe has a stutter and go route called. When Bowe comes out of his stutter step to accelerate he slips, which you can see below. His slip occurs while the ball is already in the air, so the play is kind of doomed at this point. I don't know if the slip is due to the wet field or what, but it screwed the play up. The CB had great position anyway, so I don't know if the throw would have been completed.



One thing I'm noticing as I'm watching the film is that sometimes when Bowe is in one on one coverage, they are using him to pull coverage. Meaning the play isn't designed to go to Bowe in the 1st place and it's designed for Charles or McGrath for example. The Chiefs offense does this a lot and it simply depends on the play call. Sometimes they use McGrath to run up the seam to clear out the underneath for Bowe. So even though sometimes Bowe is one on one streaking down the sideline you can tell that Alex isn't going to look Bowe's way because the design of the play opens up other people.

Going through the 1st quarter I will say I didn't see many plays called for Bowe. I think when people have seen him being 'lazy' it's because he is merely trying to clear space in the play design. I feel that when he's an actual read in the progression of the play he runs his routes hard.

I'm also surprised by how much I'm seeing them just run Bowe deep. Not sure why they are doing that. Maybe it's to set up the underneath stuff later in the game, but they keep running Bowe deep and Alex just never looks at him.

OK back to the tape....

In the 2nd quarter I'm seeing them run a few more plays to Bowe, but the o-line is allowing pressure, so it's just screwing up the play. They ran a deep in-route for Bowe, but Alex had to pull the ball down because of a leaky o-line.

Here is the other thing I'm noticing ... they do send Bowe on 15+ yard routes a lot, but if Alex sees a quick easy completion for 6 yards he takes that very quickly. So if Alex would wait a tick more he would probably find Bowe open a bit more downfield, but that means he has to bypass a shorter route and hope that Bowe is open.

OK onto the 3rd quarter. No real action for Bowe in the 2nd. Mostly due to the fact that they weren't calling many plays for him it seemed like. They were really working Avery, Charles and McGrath.

Here is an early play in the quarter where Smith needs to do a better job IMO.

Note the single high safety!


You notice right away that this play is mainly designed for Charles, but Bowe seems like progression No. 2. Bowe's running some sort of route where it looks like a slant at first, but then he just takes it up field. So he gets inside position on the CB and then quickly goes deep. This move frees Bowe up and he is one on one!


Alex never looks another direction. Alex had locked onto Charles and committed to throwing it to him no matter what. Ugh!!!


You can see that Bowe comes open and the safety followed the eyes of Smith. If Smith would have given up on Charles since he was tightly covered and pivoted to Bowe he could have made the connection. Alex did get some pressure from the sides, but he could have easily stepped up and chucked it deep. Hell, McCluster is a better option than Charles on this play.


Oh and watching the tape ... Tennessee was in single high safety almost all game! Bowe wasn't doubled that much. They just need to call more plays for him honestly. Reid keeps calling plays for other people early in games or Alex gets pressured or Alex simply doesn't look Bowe's way and takes the shorter routes.

Like any issue, it's not one thing. It's a multitude of problems of not getting Bowe more catches.

This play is interesting, but Bowe gets a catch for 11 yards and a 1st down, but I don't like Alex's decision.

On this one I think he should have taken the quick throw to Charles who probably takes it to the house! Instead Alex wanted to get it to Bowe so he waits longer and forces the throw to Bowe. The play design is great though! Let's look at it.

Again, single high safety with nine guys near the LOS. Notice the unique bunch formation.


I've circled Charles in red and Bowe is yellow. This is a great design cause it's almost like a screen for Charles, but it creates a lot of space for Bowe to get open through traffic on the short crossing route.


Notice what it's looking like for Charles at the bottom of the screen! No one is guarding him and he's got blockers in front! Throw him the BALL!


Alex instead throws to Bowe! Damn it! If Charles got that pass quick enough I think he uses McGrath's block and only has the safety to beat one on one in open field! Can you say TD?!?!


Here is Bowe catching the ball. I hope they run this play again sometime, but give it to Charles!


OK last one cause I got work to do!

This is the play Bowe was called for stepping out of bounds. Let's look at the play design and also see if he was in bounds or not.

This play actually has two deep safeties, but watch the corner and safety at the top of the screen. Bowe is at the top of course.


They run a play-action stretch play here with McGrath and Bowe the only two options real options for this play.


The corner drops down to take McGrath, which leaves the deep safety trying to close on Bowe. If the corner would have stayed with Bowe, then Alex goes to McGrath.



Bowe makes the catch and turns upfield. Do you think he's out of bounds?

I went through this angle several times and this is the closest any of his steps ever came to being out of bounds, so this is the one the ref called him out on.


Anyway, my conclusion for all of this is that the CHIefs really just need to run more plays for Bowe. This idea that Bowe is getting doubled all the time isn't really true based on the Titans tape. What is true is that they don't call many plays for Bowe in the 1st half. Then when they do other factors come into play. Sometimes the line doesn't block well enough. Sometimes Alex is too conservative and takes the short throw.

They do like to use Bowe as a blocker quite a bit, so there is that. But I think they need to get Bowe more involved earlier in the game and not late in the 2nd half like they have been. I think this is an issue of Reid's plan / play calling, Alex not trusting Bowe yet and the o-line not giving enough time for the intermediate routes to really develop across the middle of the field.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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