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45 Seconds: Travis Kelce scores in creative chaos

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“A bad ball fake?”

It’s 9 p.m. in a classroom on a late August night. It’s late into my first training camp of college. I know nothing. My head is spinning. I’m trying to keep up with all the information being thrown at me in our installation meetings.

That night, we’re installing our zone pass package. It’s a play action design that we ran with success. If it’s Zone Pass Left the quarterback opens to the left from under center, gives an intentionally bad ball fake to the running back (who also gives a very Nic Cage performance), two steps of a naked boot to the right and then flips his hips back around to read the developing route concept to his left.

At that point in time, I haven’t figured out how to give a good ball fake yet. Now I’m supposed to think about giving a bad ball fake and do all that?

Defenses have rules for naked bootlegs. When the first read is run, defenders scramble to get into their “naked rules” for how to react and flow into coverage on naked boot concepts. The bad ball fake triggers those rules for defenders. If you can get a defense into naked rules and run pass concepts away from the flow of the defenders, you’ve got a big play.

It’s playception. A play action within a play action. The concept is brilliant, really.

Some of the funniest film to watch is defenders caught by zone pass. When it’s run correctly, it creates chaos, and explosive plays.

The Chiefs’ first touchdown on Sunday came from getting merely a couple of defenders into playception.

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.

Here’s this week’s play:

It’s not quite the play action I described, but it did similar things. Travis Kelce and Albert Wilson help sell this play.

Play action to Hunt, Alex flips his hips to the short side of the field. Kelce and Wilson both have routes that stem inside to sell crossing routes before turning to the sideline and corner.

Look at rookie Marcus Maye (#26) spinning:

Maye sees run, then turns and sees the inside stems of Wilson and Kelce. He’s definitely thinking crossing routes (probably some kind of naked) so he flips his hips towards the middle of the field only to flip them again once he sees Alex Smith’s eyes, who are on a wide open Kelce.

The design got Maye thinking two different lies and running out of time to respond.

Similar things happen to #45 Rontez Miles, putting #21 Morris Claiborne in a bind.

Miles got the blender treatment as well. First step was run, next he was thinking a deep cross off play action. Nope.

Morris Claiborne is officially hi-low’d. He can do no right.

Eight defenders handled it fine. The Chiefs exploited the other three with a well designed play. Not a lot of tight ends can put themselves in the spot Kelce was able to. He’s special. The play made used of Kelce’s rare athleticism and route running ability and created an easy boundary throw for a quarterback that desperately needed it.

These kind of designs can mess with young and/or aggressive defenses. It’s hard to prepare for it, unless you prepare for it. The whole point is to catch a team when they aren’t. The Chiefs used it at the right time on the right team, and got six points out of it. You can’t go to this well too often, but it’s an excellent counter or build off of tendencies of yourself or your opponent. Hopefully this play is a sign of more to come offensively, and we only have to worry about getting the defense back on track.