The smash route combination is most effective against a Cover 2 defense, however it can be effective against others. It is used with 2 receivers on one side of the field, usually a wide out and a slot receiver or a wide out and tight end. The outside receiver runs a short 5 yard hitch, while the inside receiver runs a corner route.
This combination specifically attacks the cornerback and forces him to either drop back and cover the corner, which leaves the hitch open; or cover the hitch route which leaves the corner open. In this play, the corner stays deeps, allowing the hitch route to be open.
Generally, in a cover 2, the safety will have responsibility for the deep route, however, the safety will have to work from the inside-out, the same direction the corner route breaks, giving the receiver the advantage. The hitch route is run in the ‘flat zone’ which is can be covered by a linebacker, however, the hitch route is such a short route that the linebacker does not have enough time to break up the pass. This play, while not facing a cover 2 defense, is successful all the same. The cornerback tries to make up lost ground, but is too far away to make a play on the ball and can only run the receiver out of bounds
Here is the slowed down gif of the play.
Notice how the CBs rotates his hips to follow the corner route while the receiver makes his cut.
Levels is also good against the cover 2, and is run with two receivers to the same side. The concept is for the outside receiver to run an ‘in’ route at 5 yards, and the inside receiver runs an in at 12 yards.
The key is for the outside receiver to be underneath the linebacker, while the inside receiver is above the linebacker but beneath the safety. This forces the linebacker to cover either the deep or shallow receiver, as the safety can’t come up and cover the deep receiver soon enough. In this image, you can see the defender playing too deep to cover the shallow route.
When the receiver makes the catch, he is open and several steps ahead of the defender.
Here is the gif at half speed, notice how the defender is forced to move around the second receiver. This makes the defender slow down enough so that the receiver is open.
This next play shows a read to the deep receiver. The linebacker immediately moves to cover the low receiver as soon as he makes his cut, leaving the deep route open.
Notice how the quarterback throws it right after the linebacker commits to the low receiver, and even before the receiver makes his cut. Also notice how the cornerback can’t come from behind the receiver to cover the pass, leaving him open in the middle.