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Film Study of Rosen’s GW Drive

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Ronnie for the tweet and to doghouse 2 for the film study request.

Play 1: 3rd &10 TRIPS RIGHT, RB & FL LEFT

  • Cardinals had trouble all day with this (3rd and 10) down and distance—-but it was now or never on this play
  • Edges seal off the DEs, G-C-G wall off inside giving Rosen ample time.
  • Rosen shifts feet a little to his right to get a better passing lane to Fitz. This is a nuance that the great QBs understand.
  • Fitz (middle of trips right) runs a 12 yard curl.
  • Rosen puts it low where only Fitz can catch it. First down!

Play 2: 1st and 10 TRIPS LEFT, RB& FL RIGHT

  • Look at the OL wall—-textbook!
  • This time Fitz (middle of trips left) sees that the 49ers are in a cover 2 zone, so he runs the seam and sits down in the grey area.
  • Rosen makes a good, strong throw right on time and on target—-a little high—-but Fitz holds on after getting chopped by the FS.

Play 3: 1st and !0 TRIPS RIGHT, RB, FL LEFT

  • 49ers’ DEs taking wider edge rushes this time, but DJ and Andre ride them wide of pocket.
  • Middle gets walled off, thanks especially to RB Chase Edmonds who picks up the blitzing LB rushing from inside of DJ (left tackle). Edmonds picks it up immediately, which is key.
  • Rosen steps up (textbook) and throws a frozen rope on a deep out to Christian Kirk, who has backed off the CB because of his vertical speed. That, my friends, is as pretty as it gets from a QB. Pundits and scouts always talk about QBs being able to make all the throws—-well, the deep out route is a throw that only the very best can perfectly time and get it to the hands of the WR that quickly with such force and pinpoint accuracy.

Play 4: 3rd and 2 TRIPS RIGHT, RB & FL LEFT

  • Mason Cole doubles perfectly on the DT.
  • Good clean pocket—-again on a key 3rd down play.
  • Rosen looks off safety in the middle, sees that it is zone, turns and finds Chad Williams (the lone WR to his side) in the grey area of the zone.
  • Check out Williams on this play—-talk about textbook technique—-he comes to meet the ball (a key to not letting the DBs jump the passing angle), catches it, tucks it, turns and gets what yards he can. 1st and GOAL!


  • Now comes a formation wrinkle—-David Johnson is now in the game and Leftwich has moved Christian Kirk over to the left slot (from his earlier wide spot in the trips) and has kept Larry Fitzgerald in the right slot—-where again the FS must be concerned about Fitz running the post the way he did on his TD.
  • Notice the clean pocket on 3rd down once again!
  • Notice too that they are sending David Johnson on a pass route right up the middle which is meant to keep the FS at home.
  • Rosen does a great job of further freezing the FS in the middle, who at first is thinking Fitz might be coming on the post, only from the right side this time, and then sees Johnson coming straight out of the backfield.
  • This buys time for Christian Kirk to break on the backside post and for Rosen to then turn and throw an absolute tightly spiraled dime on the money, just between the trailing CB and the fast arriving FS who tries to jar the ball loose from Kirk. Touchdown! 16-15 Cardinals with 34 seconds left!
  • This is exactly why the pass pattern in called a “post.” Look where it is thrown and caught! Right inside the goalpost. Check the thread’s photo.

Added Notes:

  • Loved how Leftwich flip-flopped the trips from play to play. In a two minute drill that isn’t so easy to do, but it kept the 49ers defense from digging in to one formation look.
  • Loved how the OL competed and executed on every snap of this highlight video—-especially on ALL 3 key third downs.
  • Loved how Edmonds picked up the blitz and how Johnson ran his decoy route.
  • Loved Rosen’s poise, his footwork and how he stepped into his passes.
  • Loved how the WRs and RSJ looked the ball right into their hands each pass.
  • Loved this tempo and I think Byron Leftwich should consider using it a few times a game. Rosen seems to thrive in it—-and—-it gasses the defensive line—-and makes it harder for the defense to sub and make coverage switches and blitz calls.
  • Loved the wrinkle of the GW TD play. Having the best 3 receivers in this order: Kirk, in the left slot, Johnson, in the backfield and Fitzgerald, in the right slot, gave the 49ers defense a lot to think about on such a key play. Perfect play call at the perfect time, Lefty!