Josh Gordon’s Impressive Return to the NFL in Atlanta

Nov 25, 2014
Samuel Gold



Josh Gordon finished the 2013 season leading the league with 1646 yards in only 14 games. After another NFL violation this off-season, Gordon finally returned to play in this Week 12 match-up against the Falcons. This post will take a look at his plays.

Stats – 8 receptions on 16 targets for 120 yards, 15.0 yards/rec, 1 pass incompletion

Play 1
Situation: 3rd and 8 at CLE 28
Description: Q1 – (10:35) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass incomplete deep right to J.Gordon (D.Trufant).
Sideline View

Gordon is in the slot and runs a go-route against Trufant who is playing man-to-man. Trufant takes inside technique off of the line, so Gordon sprints to his outside shoulder. Hoyer throws the ball to the right sideline to avoid the FS who is playing single-high over the top. The ball is thrown slightly too far in front of Gordon as it slips through his fingers for an incompletion. Trufant has excellent man-coverage this entire play staying with Gordon.

Play 2
Situation: 3rd and 6 at CLE 24
Description: Q1 – (5:04) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass short left to J.Gordon to CLV 36 for 12 yards (J.Wilson).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the right outside and runs a drag route over the middle. Hoyer hits Gordon in stride and Gordon is able to pick up the first down. There was a miscommunication on the play after the TE motions from the left side to the right side. This pulls the FS20 Lowery over to the right. It looks like Trufant thought he was going to take the outside receiver if they crossed, but Lowery ends up taking the TE. This causes Gordon to be wide-open over the middle on the crossing route.

Play 3
Situation: 1st and 10 at ATL 33
Description: Q1 – (2:05) B.Hoyer pass short left to J.Gordon pushed ob at ATL 11 for 22 yards (D.Lowery).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up in the slot. The play is a WR screen. Hoyer on the 3-step drop passes to Gordon. FB46 Agnew seals the outside edge and TE81 Dray seals the inside edge allowing Gordon to scamper for a large gain. Great team effort blocking by the Browns.

Play 4
Situation: 3rd and 6 at ATL 15
Description: Q2 – (13:26) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass incomplete short right to J.Gordon.
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the right outside. He runs a fade route and takes the outside shoulder of Trufant who is man-to-man coverage on the line of scrimmage. Hoyer places the ball way too far to the inside, so the play is an incompletion. Trufant stays with Gordon the entire play and is able to box him out of making any attempt on the poorly thrown ball.

Play 5
Situation: 1st and 10 at ATL 40
Description: Q2 – (11:15) B.Hoyer pass short right to J.Gordon to ATL 23 for 17 yards (D.Trufant).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the right outside. Trufant is in off-man coverage with a single-high safety over the top. Gordon runs an in-route and Hoyer places the ball accurately on Gordon after he makes his break. Gordon actually doesn’t run a good route on this play. He rounds it way too much on the top. However, he gets away with it due to the off-man coverage, but that’s something to take note of in the future.

Play 6
Situation: 1st and 10 at ATL 23
Description: Q2 – (10:52) B.Hoyer pass incomplete short right to J.Gordon.
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the left outside. He runs a drag route over the middle. He is open for the entirety of this play after Hoyer comes off of the PA bootleg. Hoyer places the ball behind Gordon who can’t secure it for the reception. The fault lies solely with Hoyer’s inaccuracy on this play.

Play 7
Situation: 1st and 10 at CLE 20
Description: Q2 – (:55) B.Hoyer pass incomplete deep left to J.Gordon.
Sideline View

Gordon on the left outside runs a stop-and-go route. Trufant plays man-to-man coverage with Gordon and stays with him unconvinced of Gordon’s “stop” on the play. Hoyer throws the ball too far to the outside shoulder of Gordon and it goes out of bounds. The safeties start the play in a Cover 2 look, but actually are playing robber over the middle with one deep.

Play 8
Situation: 2nd and 10 at CLE 20
Description: Q2 – (:49) (No Huddle) B.Hoyer pass short right to J.Gordon to CLV 39 for 19 yards (K.Ishmael; K.Biermann).
Sideline View

The play is a WR screen to Gordon. Gordon is in the trips bunch right. The TE is in motion and blocks Trufant from stopping the play in the backfield. Great downfield blocking by the RG Greco and RT Schwartz. Credit to Kyle Shanahan for the great play design.

Play 9
Situation: 2nd and 5 at ATL 42
Description: Q2 – (:08) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass incomplete deep left to J.Gordon.
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the outside of the trips left bunch and runs a deep post route. Gordon is open over the middle, but Hoyer misses the pass high and behind Gordon. Gordon is open on this play due a miscommunication between Trufant and FS Lowery who came over to the left side of the field after the TE motion. This is the second time there is a miscommunication between these two after the TE motions to the same side as Gordon.

Play 10
Situation: 1st and 10 at CLE 20
Description: Q3 – (15:00) B.Hoyer pass short right to J.Gordon pushed ob at CLV 25 for 5 yards (P.Worrilow).
Sideline View

This play is very similar to play 2 where Gordon runs a drag route across the middle from Hoyer’s PA bootleg. The defensive cooridnator blitzes both outside CBs Trufant and McClain. McClain almost sacks Hoyer, but he uses his elusiveness to avoid the sack. Hoyer then finds Gordon at the end of his route near the sideline for a short gain on the play. Credit goes to Hoyer for avoiding the sack on the play.

Play 11
Situation: 2nd and 6 at CLE 35
Description: Q3 – (13:24) T.West FUMBLES (Aborted) at CLV 25, recovered by CLV-J.Gordon at CLV 16. J.Gordon pass incomplete short right to B.Hoyer.
Sideline View


Endzone View

The play is an end around WR pass back to the QB. RB West laterals the ball too high to Gordon and the ball hits the turf. Fortunately, Gordon is able to grab the ball on the second bounce. There is a defender in the vicinity of Gordon so Gordon launches the ball out of bounds in the general direction of Hoyer to avoid a big loss on the play.

Play 12
Situation: 1st and 10 at ATL 40
Description: Q3 – (2:38) B.Hoyer pass short left to J.Gordon pushed ob at ATL 31 for 9 yards (D.Trufant).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up in the left outside and runs a simple out-route. Hoyer hits Gordon with the ball quickly after his break. Trufant is in off-man coverage so this is a simple short route to take advantage of the space given by Trufant.

Play 13
Situation: 1st and 10 at CLE 48
Description: Q4 – (7:34) B.Hoyer pass short left to J.Gordon ran ob at ATL 40 for 12 yards (D.Trufant).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the left outside and runs a 7 yard hitch route. Hoyer takes a 3-step drop and hits Gordon shortly after his break. Fantastic route by Gordon. Extremely crisp and sudden, fooling Trufant who expected him to go long on the play.

Play 14
Situation: 1st and 6 at ATL 6
Description: Q4 – (4:59) B.Hoyer pass short right intended for J.Gordon INTERCEPTED by D.Trufant [T.Jackson] at ATL 0. Touchback.
Sideline View

This play is similar to play 2 and play 10. Gordon on the left outside runs a drag route across the middle of the field. Gordon is covered well by Trufant in off-man coverage. Hoyer runs a play-action bootleg to the right but gets chased down by DT98 Matthews. Hoyer throws the ball off of his backfoot high into the back of the endzone. Trufant makes the most of it and pulls it down for the interception. Overall, great read by DT Matthews on the play and Trufant for the interception.

Play 15
Situation: 3rd and 7 at CLE 19
Description: Q4 – (2:51) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass deep right intended for J.Gordon INTERCEPTED by D.Southward at 50. D.Southward to ATL 45 for -5 yards (J.Gordon).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the outside of the trips right bunch. The TE motions across the screen and FS Lowery follows him. Trufant and Lowery seem to agree pre-snap that one will take the inside receiver and the other will take the outside receiver. Trufant stays with the TE who goes to the outside flat while Gordon runs a deep corner. This leaves Gordon wide-open again. Lowery thinks his receiver is the slot receiver running a drag route, but that receiver is already covered in man-to-man by CB McClain.

The play results in an interception. Hoyer sails his pass deep and inside of Gordon for FS Southward to take the easy interception. Horrific pass by Hoyer.

Play 16
Situation: 1st and 10 at CLE 20
Description: Q4 – (:44) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass incomplete short middle to J.Gordon [O.Umenyiora].
Sideline View

Gordon runs a deep in route from the right outside. Hoyer snaps the ball and steps up into the pocket. Hoyer throws the ball and it is tipped by Umenyiora off of the line.

Hoyer is extremely lucky his ball was tipped on this play. This could have easily been an interception to end the game. FS Southward is in robber underneath Gordon and had an easy interception. Hoyer did not see him at all.

Play 17
Situation: 1st and 10 at CLE 31
Description: Q4 – (:32) (Shotgun) B.Hoyer pass deep middle to J.Gordon to ATL 45 for 24 yards (P.Worrilow).
Sideline View

Gordon lines up on the outside of the trips right bunch. The TE motions across the screen for the fourth time in this formation. Instead of playing man-to-man coverage like the CBs have been in this formation, they decide to play zone coverage in a Cover 3. Gordon runs a deep in-route and sits between the zones for Hoyer to find him over the middle. Great zone recognition by Gordon and good pass by Hoyer to set up a chance at the game-winning field goal for Cleveland.

If you notice throughout these plays, Gordon ran a lot of simple routes while Kyle Shanahan designed his plays beautifully around him. As a Redskins fan, seeing these plays reminds me of all the plays we ran with Pierre Garcon last year. He was always open and it looks the same with Josh Gordon in Cleveland. The play-action bootleg to the drag route was a staple play of the Redskins under Shanahan.



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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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