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45 Seconds: Kareem Hunt’s big run

Pregnancy brain is a real thing. My wife and I welcomed a baby boy into the world 16 months ago. She handled pregnancy as great as she has handled motherhood. But one night she had a bout with pregnancy brain while she was trying to make banana bread. She forgot the flour. It came out flat. We still laugh about it, or else there’d be zero chance she’s let me put this in here. As it turns out, you need all the ingredients to make it work.

I’ve had a few people ask the last few weeks, so as a refresher, 45 seconds is a deep dive into one play a week, or the roughly 45 seconds from the start of the play clock to the play being blown dead.

Offense wasn’t much of an issue the week. The Chiefs countered a zone heavy team that rarely sent more than four rushers, with some great downfield concepts and a couple double moves.

This week, though, we’re going to talk about Kareem Hunt’s big 35 yard run in the first quarter of the Chief’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders (I’m not bitter, or petty). Here’s the play:

The Chiefs were able to get hat for hat blockers on the Raiders’ front seven with a well designed iso play. From the formation, to the motion, to Alex Smith’s drop to Travis Kelce’s route release to false keys from the offensive line to some good individual blocks the Chiefs had all the ingredients working for a big run play.

The Chiefs utilized a heavy formation with two tight ends and a full back into the boundary. This formation forces cornerbacks to be involved in the gap assignments for the run game. Before this play, they’d already used the same formation twice in the game. Both instances they motioned someone completely across the formation. Because there’s now one less gap to worry about, the exterior assignments adjust.

The Chiefs motion Anthony Sherman across and back into the backfield. Here’s the Raiders presumed gap assignments before the motion (in yellow):

Here they are after the motion:

The Raiders have 8 on or near the line of scrimmage and Karl Joseph ready well positioned to fill. A few subtle moves by Kelce and Smith help loosen up the corner, Joseph and outside linebacker Bruce Irving.

Smith’s first step is a drop action, freezing inside linebacker Navorro Bowman, Irvin and Joseph. Kelce releases wide and vertical. The corner widens and Joseph continues dropping a few steps before realizing it’s a run play. The Chiefs offensive line sold a pass set well enough to seal off on opening for Sherman and Hunt.

Sherman’s block is helped by Bowman reading Smith’s drop and the line’s set, but he positions himself extremely well to seal Bowman and give Hunt space to run off his back. Joseph’s initial read puts him out of position and Kelce cleans him up. The corner widening with Kelce left more space at the second level for Hunt to run and took him out of the play.

Everyone did their job, and Hunt finished strong to gain extra yards. A few subtle mistakes could have spelled disaster or at least limited the potential yardage. But all the ingredients working together netted a big play.

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