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45 Seconds: Let’s end with a good play

Wild Card Round - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

It’s not really in me to critique Alex anymore. I unloaded whatever thoughts I had about him earlier this week. I’m at peace.

Instead, I’m going to choose to pretend the second half didn’t happen for a minute, and write about something good that happened. The Titans game only confirmed (again) a lot of what I was thinking about Smith anyway.

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 are the last 45 seconds of the 2017 season:

Tyreek Hill, the YAC King, just gained 45 yards on a simple crossing route. The Chiefs are nearing the red zone and roll out two tight ends. They’ve had success lately with outside zone from under center in 12 personnel. So on first-and-10 from the Tennessee 29, they take a shot downfield off of play action.

The play action does the job. Jonathan Cyprien, the Titans MVP for his cheap shot on Kelce, is responsible for underneath coverage to the boundary.

This is a three level flood concept. Albert Wilson clears the deep defender with a vertical stretch (kind of a fruitless corner route, really just a run off). Kelce has a sail route, Hunt runs an out route. Cyprien can’t be right on this play. With Hunt in front of him and Kelce behind him, he is stuck in no man’s land. Smith puts a ball on time to Kelce downfield for a gain of 27 yards.

What’s great about this design is it plays off of some of their tendencies, right after a big play had just happened. What’s more, it’s into the boundary side of the field, making the throw easier for Smith. He was on time and delivered a strike that allowed Kelce to run after the catch.

Alex looked great the first half. We all know what happened late. But this was an example of a well-designed play matching those executing it. A relatively easy throw for an explosive play to one of your best players.

The design complements the talent and tendencies of the offense. That’s important. It’ll be more important next year, as they likely will be bringing a new quarterback along. Matching ability to scheme is an art form, and I certainly appreciate a lot of ways this team has played to the strengths of players and been able to bring the most out of them.

I’ve got an Xs and Os series that I’ll be rolling out later this offseason that I’m excited to get into (how about that for a teaser).

I’ll be going a few different directions with my articles in the meantime. I hope you enjoyed the 45 seconds series. It’ll be back next season. Andy Reid and company gave us some great play designs this year, and I hope I was able to bring to light what I appreciated about the offense.

Thanks for reading. I’m always available on Twitter to nerd out if you’re so inclined.