Breaking Down the Atlanta Falcons Week 1 Game Tape Versus the Kansas City Chiefs

Scott CarasikContributor IISeptember 16, 2012

This is the end of the screen play that is broken down in this article.
This is the end of the screen play that is broken down in this article.Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Every week this season, I will break down film from a couple plays that created momentum or showed something unique that the Atlanta Falcons are able to do. This week, there were a few plays that show just how well the Falcons will attack other teams this year both on offense and defense.


Play 1: Play-Action to Julio Jones for a 22-Yard Gain

In the first play being broken down, the Falcons have the ball at their own 31 and are aligned in a "full house" backfield. They have Michael Turner as the running back, Michael Palmer as the left-side fullback and Lousaka Polite as the right-side fullback.

The initial part of the play is a simple play-action motion. Matt Ryan will drop back, and the offensive line will look like they are run-blocking. Turner will fake taking the handoff, then he will turn and become the blitz protection.

Both fullbacks will act like they are lead-blocking for a run, then disengage and run flat routes. Roddy White and Julio Jones run skinny post routes attacking the middle of the field. Play design is simple but effective here.

In the initial play-action, the linebackers get drawn up and read the run. This plays right into the Falcons' goals of opening up the middle of the field and not allowing the linebackers to get depth. The safeties drop back, but the corners are in short zones on the wideouts and bump here.

After the corners release the wideouts, Julio Jones is sitting in the middle of a giant hole between the safety, linebacker and corner's zones. He catches the ball and gets a huge 22-yard gain to give the Falcons the ball at the Chiefs' 47.


Play 2: Matt Ryan Checks Screen Pass to Julio Jones for a 14-Yard Touchdown

The Falcons started out in 11 personnel, which is one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. They had the receivers lined up with Julio far outside, then Harry Douglas in the far slot and Roddy White in a close slot. Tony Gonzalez was lined up at tight end on the right side and Michael Turner was the back in the backfield.

Roddy White gets called into motion. By crossing the formation, Ryan can tell whether it's man coverage, zone coverage or a matchup zone coverage. However, when he sees the corner trailing Roddy, he can easily tell it's either the matchup zone or man coverage.

Matt Ryan checks to the passing play here. As he does this, Julio Jones doesn't even flinch. By acting like nothing is going on, Jones can play a head game with the opposing corners. Ryan sees the man coverage though and with the check down, he calls the touchdown play.

Harry Douglas cuts down on the corner and winds up taking out both players to give Jones a wide open area to catch the ball in. Jones uses his great open-field ability and natural speed to get into space here.

Todd McClure and Harry Douglas seal the lane here and give an alley for Jones to run through. Julio Jones scores after breaking a tackle from the corner running through the lane that was established.


Play 3: John Abraham Sack and Forced Fumble to Give the Offense the Ball at the 7-Yard Line

The Falcons line up in a 3-3-5 alignment here with Abraham stacked on the line as a standing defensive end. Jonathan Babineaux is lined up in the standard 3-technique Under Tackle position here. Peria Jerry lines up in a 1-technique Nose Tackle alignment, and Kroy Biermann is lined up in a 9-tech outside of the tight end.

The players on the defensive line and Abraham run a simple four-man stunt. The rest of the defense drops into man coverage with the safeties deep. However, Nicholas shows blitz to disguise the spy he is running. Jerry runs the looping stunt around a crashing Babineaux. Abraham and Biermann are going for the basic pincer movement.

The running back here makes a vital error. He is looking towards the interior hole and not providing any help to the left tackle. This gives Abraham a simple one-on-one task. Add in that the right guard and right tackle look lost, and the Falcons have an easy path to the quarterback.

As you can see, Abraham followed his arc perfectly. He dipped his shoulder, and as Cassel was dropping back to throw, he knocked the ball out and earned a sack. Stephen Nicholas would later recover the ball and give the Falcons the ball at the 7-yard line and the momentum in the game.


Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.