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Anatomy of the Cards’ 79 Yard, 8 Point Drive

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It happened this fast:

1st & 10 at ARI 21

  • (14:50 - 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) K.Murray pass deep right to L.Fitzgerald to BLT 25 for 54 yards (T.Jefferson).

Here’s the video—-click and watch! Fitz lines up next to Christian in a stacked twin formation to the left of Kyler. Fitz runs a deep crossing pattern, while Christian runs a go route, which draws the FS to him, leaving Fitz wide open. Kyler makes the good read and gets the ball out clean and on time. Fitz takes it and gets every yard he can.

1st & 10 at BAL 25

  • (14:14 - 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) K.Murray pass short left to D.Byrd to BLT 19 for 6 yards (A.Averett).

Some fans and pundits complain about a lack of running game, but a 6 yard pass on 1st down is just as good as a 6 yard run. It doesn’t matter how they get the 6 yards—-and this catch by Damiere sets up the Cardinals’ outstanding misdirection play to Christian on the next play.

2nd & 4 at BAL 19

  • (13:47 - 4th) (No Huddle) K.Murray pass short right to C.Kirk to BLT 01 for 18 yards (M.Judon).

See video below. This play is very clever trickeration. Off the snap, Christian fakes a reverse to his left, hoping to get his defender to chase across the formation—-which is exactly what the defender did—-but, Christian reverse pivots and takes a swing pass from Kyler and like Kliff said about the play, all they need to do is give Christian a step ahead of his man and he can run for chunk yards. Kudos to Damiere for doing all he can to sustain his block. Christian takes it to the 1 yard line.

1st & Goal at BAL 1

  • (12:59 - 4th) (No Huddle, Shotgun) K.Murray pass incomplete short left to D.Byrd. PENALTY on BLT-A.Averett, Defensive Pass Interference, 0 yards, enforced at BLT 01 - No Play.

Kliff called an iso quick slant to Damiere, which drew a PI penalty.

1st & Goal at BAL 1

  • (12:52 - 4th) David Johnson 1 Yard Rush TWO-POINT CONVERSION ATTEMPT. K.Murray pass to K.Johnson is complete. ATTEMPT SUCCEEDS.

See play 2 on the video below. Kyler from the shotgun with David to his left and Fitz motioning to the right—-only Fitz is a decoy on this play—-because Kliff calls a read option to the left. The offensive line blocks down, leaving 2 Raven defenders alone on the edge. Kyler gives the ball to David, as both defenders key on Murray and whiff on the play. David runs this one hard and fast and scores untouched.

Here’s the 2 point conversion: click on it!

Again, Fitz motions to the right—-the Ravens know that this is the formation and motion to the right that Fitz scored on (out pass) last week versus the Lions. But the play is a counter to the Fitz motion out pass, as Murray takes the snap and buys time and a clear passing lane with his feet by backpedalling to his left, then hits KeeSean in stride with a perfect strike on a backside post crossing pattern at the back of the end zone.

The score is now BAL 20 ARI 17.

When the players and coaches reviewed the tape of this drive and the failures of the next two offensive possessions they saw how important their uptempo approach is—-this 8 point drive took only 2 minutes and 6 plays (including the 2 point conversion) and it was bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.

On the last two possessions, due in part to getting pinned deep in their own territory by the Ravens’ punter, the Cardinals became too deliberate in snapping the ball, and with the crowd noise, they had difficulty getting the plays off in unison.

It’s very likely that Kliff, Kyler and the offense are going to learn a huge lesson from this. Their offensive success is predicated on uptempo—-the faster, the better.

Two weeks ago the uptempo helped Kyler and the offense score 18 4th quarter points while gassing the Lions’ defense.

By being extra deliberate late in the 4th quarter on two possessions, the offense gave the Ravens too much time between plays to get set and to catch their wind—-and because of penalties and miscommunications, the offense never got going at the most advantageous time when they had their chance to take the lead.

Right now, for the Cardinals’ coaches sand players on offense, it’s a feeling out process and a learning opportunity. That being said, if one thing has become very clear—-it’s that the brisk uptempo, pedal-to-the-metal approach is their key to scoring touchdowns.