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HomeSportsWhy stopping the Payments’ passing recreation is nearly inconceivable

Why stopping the Payments’ passing recreation is nearly inconceivable

I attempt my finest to be ready for each single radio look.

On Tuesday, for the primary time in a very long time, I used to be unable to reply a query.

It got here throughout my weekly look on Sportsnet 650, with my associates Bik Nizzar and Randip Janda, which you’ll be able to catch each Tuesday at 2:30 P.T. if you’re . Late within the phase, they posed a relatively-straightforward query.

“How do you cease the Buffalo Payments?”

I stumbled my means by means of a non-answer, as a result of within the second, I couldn’t give you a means.

Via two video games, it appears that evidently I’m not alone. The Payments, preseason Tremendous Bowl favorites, are 2-0 and live as much as expectations. They went on the highway in Week 1 to tackle the defending Tremendous Bowl Champions, and beat the Los Angeles Rams by a remaining rating of 31-10. Then on Monday night time, they hosted the Tennessee Titans — final yr’s top-overall seed within the AFC — and received by a remaining rating of 41-7. That means they beat the Tremendous Bowl Champions and the AFC’s high seed in back-to-back weeks by a mixed rating of 72-17.

They’ve punted simply thrice this season.

So you possibly can maybe perceive my problem in answering that query.

As famous, the Titans had their crack at fixing this downside in Week 2, however the Payments all through that recreation confirmed simply how they’re constructed to reply to nearly something an opposing protection places in entrance of them. It begins with, as you would possibly anticipate, quarterback Josh Allen. Allen’s mixture of arm expertise, athleticism and sure, decision-making, makes him maybe the perfect quarterback for this period.

The Titans started the sport as many defenses do when dealing with an explosive offense, by counting on two-deep coverages to maintain issues in entrance of them and restrict large performs downfield. However on back-to-back passing performs, Allen illustrated simply how laborious that also is to perform.

With the Payments dealing with a third and 9 on their opening drive, the Titans dropped into Cowl 2 Man Beneath, holding two safeties deep and taking part in man throughout the board. The outcome? Allen scrambles for a 10-yard acquire and the Payments offense stays on the sector:

That is a part of the hazard with taking part in any type of man protection towards a cellular quarterback like Allen. With defenders holding their eyes on receivers, and never within the pocket, Allen can exploit that, and he does, racing upfield for the primary down.

A couple of performs later, the Payments would face one other third-and-long state of affairs. Once more, the Titans tried to get off the sector with Cowl 2 Man Beneath. This time, Allen places the ball within the air:

His eyes come first to Jamison Crowder, the within receiver within the journeys formation to the best. Crowder breaks vertically off the road, and with the Titans taking part in with two-deep safeties, his route will cut up them, attacking the gentle spot of the zone protection. However Allen comes off that route, flashing his eyes exterior to Jake Kumerow on a fast in-cut. The defender protecting Kumerow in man protection slips, and Allen hits Kumerow with a fast throw that turns into one other first down.

Later within the first half, Allen and the Payments began punishing the Titans in the midst of the sector once they used these two-deep seems. On this lengthy completion to Isaiah McKenzie early within the second quarter, Allen hits the receiver on a publish route, splitting the two-deep safeties in the midst of the sector:

Then later within the third quarter, Allen used his arm expertise to resolve the two-deep riddle:

On this play, the Titans are in Quarters protection towards this 3×1 look from the Payments. On the high of the display, Caleb Farley is in “MEG” protection over Kumerow: Man all over the place he goes. The protection to that facet, Kevin Byard, has his eyes on tight finish Dawson Knox, the within receiver to the journeys on the opposite facet of the sector. If Knox is vertical on the play, Byard goes to interrupt on his route. In any other case he’ll look to assist Farley towards Kumerow.

Because the play begins, Byard — one of many NFL’s finest safeties — will get his eyes first on Kumerow to learn his launch. He sees that Kumerow goes vertical, after which checks on Knox. Byard reads it completely, as Knox goes to attempt to assault the center of the sector, between the safeties. Byard breaks on the route…however the ball beats him there.

How? As a result of Allen reads it completely as nicely, and has a rocket for a proper arm.

At this level as a defensive coordinator, you’re seemingly pulling your hair out, and in search of solutions. You would possibly resolve, uninterested in seeing Allen carve you up beneath and over the center, to drop one of many safeties down, daring him to beat you to the surface.


That is Allen’s subsequent passing try from Monday night time. On this snap, the Titans certainly drop one of many safeties down, taking part in single-high protection within the secondary. The outcome? Kumerow will get behind Farley, and the Payments rip off a fast 39-yard acquire.

We noticed the same state of affairs play out in Week 1 towards the Rams. On this play from late within the first half, the Payments face one other third-down state of affairs. They present two-deep safeties, however spin to single-high on the snap. Allen assaults to the surface, concentrating on Stefon Diggs on a back-shoulder throw:

The duty of fixing the NFL’s most vexing riddle now falls to Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer. The Payments and the Dolphins meet this weekend, in an early check of AFC supremacy between a pair of 2-0 groups.

Boyer is among the few holdovers in Miami underneath new head coach Mike McDaniel, and has been the defensive coordinator in Miami since 2020. He has seen Allen and this Payments offense earlier than, and he would possibly attempt to remedy this downside in a different way.

Cowl 0.

As we’ve seen over the previous few seasons, the Dolphins are one of many defenses that depend on Cowl 0, a scheme that performs straight man protection within the secondary — with no security assist — and appears to generate near-immediate stress on the quarterback by way of blitzes.

Wanting again on the two video games between these groups from a yr in the past, the Dolphins used Cowl 0 on 17 passing makes an attempt from the Payments, 13 of which got here of their Week 8 assembly. On performs like this one from early within the recreation, you possibly can see how the Dolphins spring a free runner at Allen, and power an incompletion from the Payments:

Security Jevon Holland, down within the field mugging the A-Gaps together with security Brandon Jones, comes by means of the road untouched and has a free shot at Allen. The QB is ready to flush to his proper and prolong the play, however his move to Diggs is excessive and falls incomplete.

Late within the first half, with the sport knotted at three, the Payments confronted a fourth-down state of affairs in Miami territory. Boyer dialed up one other Cowl 0 stress look, and compelled a throwaway from Allen underneath duress:

These are all nicely and good, however the issue with these designs? The margin for error is razor-thin. You might want to be good as a protection when making these calls, because the slightest slip-up might give the offense a possibility to make a giant play.

After which there’s the previous adage: If you happen to go zero blitz and don’t get dwelling, the opposite workforce’s band goes to play.

Within the fourth quarter, the Payments’ band received an opportunity to play:

With the Payments main 10-3, they face a 2nd and 10 on the Miami 19-yard line. Boyer dials up one other Cowl 0 blitz bundle, however this time Allen has simply sufficient time to face within the pocket and make a throw. He targets Diggs in an in-breaking route, and with no security assist in the midst of the sector, there’s a large throwing lane for Allen. He places the throw on the cash, the receiver tumbles into the top zone, the Payments prolong their lead…

…and the band begins to play.

That is the riddle Boyer faces this weekend. How you can decelerate this Payments’ passing recreation. The mix of Allen’s arm expertise, the weapons round him, and numerous methods the Payments can stress totally different coverages, poses fairly the riddle for Boyer.

How he tries to reply that may decide who’s atop the AFC East on Monday morning.



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