This week for Eagles Spotlight, I'm taking a look at Nelson Agholor's 40-yard touchdown against the New York Giants in Week 16. It's a beautifully designed play and it's a great one to break down. Firstly, let's take a look at the play.
Normally I start by showing the pre-snap look as a picture, but I wanted to show this clip because it's important to the play's success.
Carson Wentz is very sharp before the snap and we can see that here. The Giants slot cornerback looks like he might be coming on a blitz and Wentz recognizes this. Wentz must then use a hard count and the Giants cornerback bites, which means Wentz now knows for certain that he is blitzing. Wentz then changes the protection to account for the cornerback blitzing. This is important as we will see below.
Here is the pre-snap look. The Eagles are in 12 personnel with Zach Ertz and Brent Celek at tight end and Nelson Agholor in the slot and Jordan Matthews on the outside. The Giants look like they are going to be in cover 4 which is perfect for the play the Eagles have called. The Eagles have called deep 'crossers' which is a 2 man concept where Agholor and Ertz run deep crossing routes. I love what Doug Pederson does with the running back here, by having Mathews run a simple out route he draws the linebackers forward as we see below.
So here is the post-snap look. Lane Johnson has taken care of the cornerback blitzing because of Wentz changing the protecting pre-snap. The Giants are in cover 4 and you can see the play is working out exactly as the Eagles hoped it would. Eli Apple, the Giants #24, is looking towards the quarterback as he's in zone coverage and he, therefore, has no idea that Agholor is about to run into his deep zone. The safety on that side of the field is following Zach Ertz across the field as he can see that the linebacker is going forward to cover the running back, which means Agholor is about to run into an empty hole in the defense.
Here's the view as Wentz releases the ball. Eli Apple has finally seen Agholor coming across the formation but it's too late as Agholor is now running straight past him. Agholor doesn't need to beat man coverage or get off press coverage to score here, it's a great job by Doug Pederson scheming his receivers wide open.
Normally I would end the post here, but I wanted to show this slow motion clip of Wentz from the other all22 angle.
When people talk about the great QBs, they always talk about doing the little things that you don't notice live extremely well. This is a great example of this. Wentz' eyes are in sync with his feet and this allows him to move the safety by looking like the ball is going to Zach Ertz. The way his body and eyes line up just makes it look like he is going to throw this ball to Ertz. Wentz has a great arm and this allows him to make throws when he is off balance and can't step into the throw. Here he can't properly step into the throw but he has enough arm strength to get the ball 40 yards down the field. Also, any long developing play like this requires good protection and Eagles blocking is excellent here.
Hope you enjoyed this, comment below or tweet me (@JonnyPage9) if you have a certain play you would like me to break down next!