Colt McCoy to IR; RG3 Passes vs Giants – 18/27, 236 yards, 1 TD

Dec 17, 2014
Samuel Gold



Colt McCoy reaggravated his neck versus the Giants in the first quarter, so RG3 stepped back in as the Redskins starter. RG3 performed well on the ground, but still struggled with decision-making in the pocket as a traditional quarterback. This breakdown will explain his plays.

Stats – 18/27, 236 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 5 rushes for 46 yards, 7 sacks for 47 yards, 3 Fumbles (1 lost)

Play 1
Situation: 2nd and 9 at WSH 34
Description: Q2 – (15:00) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short left to P.Garcon to WAS 39 for 5 yards (C.Brown).
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Endzone View

RG3 in shotgun motions TE84 Paul from the right to the left side of the formation. Paul runs to the flat, while WR88 Garcon runs a quick out route.

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This a very simple play to give the Redskins a more manageable 3rd down. Also, it forces RG3 to release the ball early to avoid the pressure by the Giants’ defensive line. Since RG3 hasn’t played a full game in three weeks this was probably also used as a confidence booster.

RG3 throws an accurate pass to pick up five yards on the play after reading that his first read Paul is covered.

Play 2
Situation: 3rd and 4 at WSH 39
Description: Q2 – (14:20) (Shotgun) R.Griffin sacked at WAS 31 for -8 yards (C.Jenkins).
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Sack alert! RG3 in shotgun has trips bunch on his right with WR11 Jackson the lone WR on his left. RG3 snaps the ball and the pocket starts to close from the two edge rushers. RG3 steps up and tries to scramble outside the pocket, but gets taken down as he is escaping. This situation should never have happened. A quick decision is the solution. Look at RG3 as soon as he takes his 3-step dropback:

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RG3 has a couple of options. First, WR12 Roberts runs a stab route and sits underneath the linebacker zones. This is where the ball should have gone immediately. It was 3rd and 4 from his quick pass earlier and all he needed was 4 yards to pick up the first, so a quick strike to Roberts would have kept the drive alive. Second choice was FB36 Young running to the flat. As he was escaping into the pocket, he should have looked over and saw that his checkdown receiver is still open. The third option is Garcon running an angled go route towards the sideline to get into the space between the underneath zone coverage of the CB and the safety in Cover 2. This could be his choice only if he had time (so not to be used for this situation).

Poor decision by RG3. He NEEDS to trust his receivers and make a quicker decision with the ball. Not a good sign as this sack could have been avoided.

Play 3
Situation: 2nd and 7 at WSH 48
Description: Q2 – (11:20) R.Griffin pass short right to N.Paul to 50 for 2 yards (J.Hankins) [D.Moore]. PENALTY on NYG-D.Moore, Defensive Holding, 2 yards, enforced at WAS 48 – No Play.
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RG3 in singleback formation motions TE84 Paul across the formation. After the snap, Paul runs back across the formation, while RG3 fakes the handoff to RB46 Morris in the backfield. Paul gets held by DE98 Moore on the flat route, and then RG3 passes it to him anyways after the penalty for a short gain once Moore releases to chase RG3 down.

This is one of the Redskins standard package plays that gets used multiple times a game. Not surprising the Redskins use it here to attempt to make it a more manageable 3rd down or better depending on Paul’s ability with the ball after the catch.

Play 4
Situation: 1st and 10 at 50
Description: Q2 – (10:48) R.Griffin pass short left to N.Paul pushed ob at NYG 33 for 17 yards (C.Brown).
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RG3 in singleback formation motions TE84 Paul from the left side of the formation into offset-I formation. It’s another play-action pass where Paul runs an out route to the left. Paul’s momentary juke to get open is enough to free him completely of the linebacker in coverage. RG3 finds him immedately as his first read and Paul makes the most of it gaining 17 yards on the play.

Paul was most likely running a choice route where he was trying to decide which direction to cut at the top of his stem from the backfield. He chose left due to LB53 McClain being the defender in coverage in man-to-man. This was most likely another packaged play seeing as all the WRs are running deeper routes and this would take advantage of the space they created where their men are in off-man coverage with single-high safety over top. RG3 makes a quick and accurate throw, but the credit goes to the great play design.

Play 5
Situation: 1st and 10 at NYG 33
Description: Q2 – (10:16) R.Griffin pass short left to S.Moss pushed ob at NYG 15 for 18 yards (A.Rolle).
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RG3 in singleback formation runs play-action bootleg to the left. The WRs all flood left, so it’s an easy one-side of the field read for RG3 who makes the quick decision to throw to the open WR89 Moss on the drag route. Good accurate throw by RG3.

Play 6
Situation: 2nd and 8 at NYG 13
Description: Q2 – (9:13) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short right to J.Reed to NYG 9 for 4 yards (D.Kennard).
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RG3 in empty-set shotgun has trips left, TE86 Reed in the right slot and WR11 Jackson on the right outside. The Giants are playing Cover 2 with five zones across the field.

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RG3 takes the snap and immediately finds Reed running an out-route for the short gain on the play. This is a good quick decision here by RG3. Reed is a matchup nightmare for linebackers so RG3’s recognition that either a LB was trying to cover him in man-to-man coverage or zone coverage would be a high probability play.

RG3 throws the ball with accuracy and hits Reed for a short gain on the play.

Play 7
Situation: 3rd and 4 at NYG 9
Description: Q2 – (8:24) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass short right to C.Thompson for 9 yards, TOUCHDOWN. K.Forbath extra point is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-T.Way.
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RG3 in shotgun has Jackson and Garcon are the outside WRs while Roberts is the left slot receiver. The Giants bring seven pass rushers and RG3 wisely dumps the ball to his checkdown receiver RB37 Thompson who is wide open coming from the backfield to score the easy touchdown.

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The credit to this play goes to RG3 for recognizing the Cover 0 all-out blitz by the Giants and Thompson for his adjusting his route to help RG3 make the throw earlier than anticipated. Thompson was supposed to run more flat, but in the press conference RG3 revealed that Thompson adjusted to the pressure and cut up more inside for an easier throw.

If RG3 had time, WR12 Roberts on the smash route was open as well as TE86 Reed coming from the left side of the formation had his linebacker beat for a lobbed ball overtop who waved for it.

Play 8
Situation: 1st and 10 at WSH 22
Description: Q2 – (5:13) R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to D.Jackson (D.Rodgers-Cromartie).
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RG3 in offset-I formation has two outisde WRs. This is a simple 2-man concept the Redskins like running where WR11 Jackson on the left side is running an in-route while WR88 Garcon on the right side is running an out-route.

Cromartie is covering Jackson well in man-to-man coverage. By the time RG3 releases the ball Jackson has already completed his cut and Cromartie regains coverage to help breakup the pass. The route that Jackson runs requires a pass that is released earlier by RG3.

Essentially, by the time Jackson reaches the 30-31 yard line, RG3 needs to release the ball, but instead he releases the ball when Jackson is already at the 33-34 yardline making his cut. By this point the timing is off and it’s too late. The window of opportunity is really only available during his cut due to Cromartie’s excellent coverage. It also doesn’t help RG3 threw the ball near the feet/legs of Jackson.

Play 9
Situation: 2nd and 10 at WSH 22
Description: Q2 – (5:05) (Shotgun) R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to D.Jackson.
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Endzone View

RG3 from shotgun throws an innaccurate screen pass to Jackson in the trips bunch left. Bad throw by RG3. Look at the blocking that is set up for the screen.

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It’s really well set up to give Jackson a running lane and due to the spacing of the safeties in Cover 2 this could have gone for a big gain with Jackson’s YAC ability. What a shame.

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About The Author

Samuel Gold
Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns. Follow me @SamuelRGold. For all of Sam's articles: Click Here. Sam is a guest contributor at Upvoted.com by Reddit, InsideThePylon, and RedskinsCapitalConnection.

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