In the first half of their Week 3 game against the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinal fans were given a showcase of what competent play-calling and quarterback play can look like.
Before crashing down and losing their 14-0 lead, the team rejoiced after the Cardinals’ greatest weapon, David Johnson, got his first receiving touchdown of the year.
Here’s a breakdown of the touchdown.
This is a scissors concept in a Shotgun Doubles formation from the Cardinals. Sam Bradford motions Larry Fitzgerald into the offensive line in order to chip away at the pass rush before running a drag route into the middle of the field.
The two outside receivers run deep post routes. Jermaine Gresham is lined up as a tight end on the right side of the offensive line and runs a flat route. Johnson runs a corner route from the backfield.
The Bears are playing Cover 1. It’s man-to-man coverage with a single high safety and linebacker Roquan Smith playing a soft zone in the middle of the field, working off Bradford’s eyes.
Following the snap, Johnson looks to be running a flat route, taking his coverage linebacker, Danny Trevathan a bit far too outside. When Trevathan sees Johnson run vertically he attempts to recover but he’s already out of position.
Sensing he’s been beat, Trevathan holds onto DJ in order to slow him down. Johnson runs to the corner in order to keep his matchup 1-on-1 with the linebacker and away from the deep safety.
The man coverage keeps everyone occupied with their own receivers and far away enough from Johnson where he can work in open space. Any players that can aid Trevathan after he’s been beat are preoccupied. Smith, who backpedals after the snap, would be moving onto Fitzgerald’s drag route. Safety Eddie Jackson is dealing with the deep post routes coming at him in the end zone.
It was encouraging to see the two largest factors working against the Cardinals offense, Bradford and McCoy, break out of their regular tendencies for this play to happen. Bradford ignores his open checkdowns, both Fitzgerald and Gresham are open but he opts for the primary receiver Johnson. And McCoy who hasn’t called many, if any routes for his running backs, allowed DJ to finally to run deep.
Unfortunately, McCoy and Bradford’s success was short lived as we saw in the second half.
With the Bradford era over in Arizona, we’ll have to wait and see how the play-calling adapts to Josh Rosen’s strengths.
David Johnson's 21-yard receiving TD traveled 20.5 yards in air -- more than double his total air yards in Weeks 1-2 (8.5 yards). Great concept, too (via #NextGenStats): pic.twitter.com/79mWBrz2as— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) September 23, 2018