Inside the Design, Matt Ryan to Taylor Gabriel (2016)
Author – Bryan Trulen
Atlanta put the proverbial “beat down” on the LA Rams as they traveled out west and made the Coliseum their own from the opening kick-off. Matt Ryan played a lead role once again in leading the high powered Atlanta offensive attack. We go inside the design with analysis on the 64 yard TD pass from Ryan to WR Taylor Gabriel. Gabriel is having a break-out season and has been developing as a legitimate deep threat.
(All visual content courtesy of NFL Game Pass)
Atlanta comes out in 12 personnel on 1st down with “twins” receivers to the field side of the formation. Outlined in Red is nickel CB Lamarcus Joyner who is a key for Matt Ryan pre snap. Notice how Joyner seems to be in “no mans” land as his eyes are fixated on the ball and he is not committing to coverage.
At the snap, Atlanta is now in the opening stage of a Kyle Shannahan configured play action shot play. 1st and 10 puts Atlanta in a favorable protection situation as LA is only rushing four. Outlined in Red we can clearly see how the Ram linebackers are influenced by this run action.
As Ryan comes out of the fake Atlanta has three eligible receiving threats running down uninhibited by any secondary pressure. To the naked eye it seems as though the LA secondary is in the process of being “Fooled” by elite offensive play design. Outlined in Red is TE Austin Hooper matched up against CB Trumaine Johnson.
Ryan has a clean pocket to survey from and his eyes are fixated to his right as he manipulates the Ram secondary. Outlined in Red we see Falcon WR Gabriel continuing his vertical stem as his eyes remain disciplined in order to turn the hips of FS Maurice Alexander by way of selling a vertical take-off route.
Ryan lets it rip as Gabriel is now running across the field to green grass. Notice how FS Alexander’s body is completely turned and out of position as he now has been fooled by stellar route running on the part of Gabriel.
The ball is on its way as the entire Ram defense takes a back seat view of the action.
Ryan drops the ball into the bucket with perfect placement and trajectory to a streaking Gabriel.
Upon reception, Gabriel has a free path to the end zone as Atlanta puts the finishing touches on a dominant victory in Los Angeles. This play is a perfect example of how using deceptively creative play action shot plays in favorable down and distance situations can lead to explosive plays in the passing game.