Titans-Texans Film Session #1 - Punished for Busted Coverage

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 23: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans outruns Michael Griffin #33 the Tennessee Titans for a touchdown during play at LP Field on October 23, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

This play is when you knew the game could potentially get out of hand.  Down 10-0 in the with less than five minutes left in the 2nd quarter, Houston had the ball on their own 22 yard line on 1st and 10.  The play that followed was total busted coverage by our linebackers, and Arian Foster made us pay to the tune of 78 yards and 6 points. 

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

The Texans line up in a power set with "22" personnel.  They are in the I formation with two TE's stacked right and one WR split out left.  Titans are running their base 4-3 personnel.  Griffin is single high.  Babineaux is in the box, and almost looks like he's in the Sam linebacker spot (just to give you a point of reference).  Ayers on the outside rushing the edge.  McCourty is lined up on the outside TE.  Babineaux on the inside TE.  As we'll later see, the Titans are in Cover 1 Man.

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

It's painful to say, and watch, but the Texans run this play beautifully.  Texans fake the inside zone to the left side of the formation.  At this point in the play, defensive positioning is fine.

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

This, however, is when things get ugly.  Witherspoon is the Will linebacker in this play.  Linebackers have identified that this is is a play action and begin to flow to the backside of this play.  Here's the problem, though, at this point both Ruud and Spoon are "manning up" on the Full back.  You can see Ruud following the FB, and Spoon is just to his right and heading in the same direction.  Meanwhile, Foster is just now about to get to the hole.

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

Foster is caught up in the hole in this shot.  Look at the middle of the field near the hashmarks at the 27.  McCourty is manned up against his TE underneath.  Babineaux is defending the TE running up the seam.  Finnegan is guarding the crossing receiver.  And then there's Spoon.  His back is to the play.  He's manned up on...no one.  Any guesses on who he should be covering?

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

Spoon is now fumbling around in the middle of the field trying to figure out WTF is going on.  Seriously, when you watch the play live, it's evident that Spoon had an "oh $%^" moment a split second before this shot.  Foster now slips out of the backfield is wide open.  This frame shows Schaub right as he's delivering the ball.

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

Foster has the ball.  Notice how far Spoon is from him (on the hashes at the 40).  Griffin is now pursuing the ball carrier.

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

Griffin takes a bad angle, but he's put in a very difficult spot here.  You'd like to see make a tackle.  Still, 9/10 Foster is going to beat a safety when he's full speed in the open field.

Screen_shot_2011-10-26_at_11

Foster cuts it back to the open field and takes it for six.

It's difficult to peg this play on anyone other than Spoon.  Part of me wants to think this could just be a miscommunication between Ruud and Witherspoon, but that's really unlikely.  In a man situation like this, each linebacker is going to be responsible for a man going a certain direction.  Obviously, Ruud takes the guy going his direction (which he did), and Spoon should man up on the back coming to his side of the field.  Pretty elementary stuff, and certainly frustrating to see something like this happening at such a high level.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Music City Miracles

You must be a member of Music City Miracles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Music City Miracles. You should read them.

Join Music City Miracles

You must be a member of Music City Miracles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Music City Miracles. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker