Morning After Film Fix: Miami Dolphins

Another game in the books.  There were some ups and downs.  Some players played great (Torrey, Webb, Ngata) and some didn’t hold up too well (Oher, McKinnie, Jimmy).  I rewatched the game to find replays of interesting moments throughout.

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Jimmy Smith beat for a Touchdown

2nd Quarter, 0:50, 3rd and 9:

Offensive Playcall: Fade Stop (left).  Double Smash-7 (right)

Defensive Playcall: Tampa-2


Tannehill and the Dolphins can tell they are facing a 2-deep coverage look based on the personnel and the depth of the Ravens safeties.  The playcall is a standard Cover-2 beater on the right and an isolation Fade Stop on the left.  Safety Matt Elam (on Jimmy Smith’s side) has no chance to impact any route on the short left. Therefore, Jimmy has one-on-one coverage with TE Charles Clay and Smith aligns on his inside shoulder to take away the quick slant.


At the snap, Clay forces an outside release and Smith is forced to turn his hips and mirror Clay.  While turning his hips, Smith is taught to post his inside hand on Clay (image #2) in order to a) feel where Clay is and b) impede his release somewhat.  This is standard Cover-2 CB technique.  The problem is Smith misses with his post (image #2) and Clay has a one-step advantage up the field.  Once the ball is in the air (image #3), Smith is in catch-up mode (no longer “in phase” with the receiver).  Because of this, Smith runs right by Clay when he stops.  This makes for an easy reception for  Clay.

Ultimately, this touchdown will be blamed on Smith.  But he was put in a situation where he needed to play this route perfectly.  Smith succeeded in taking away any inside-breaking route but covering the slant and the fade is near impossible in the NFL.  This coupled with a missed post (image #2), Smith was sunk.


2nd Quarter, 13:42, 2nd and 9

Offensive Playcall: “Yankee”

Defensive Playcall: Quarters


The play begins with a FB-lead-action to entice the linebackers toward the line of scrimmage. Torrey Smith runs a corner route from a “Nasty” alignment (reduced, inside the numbers) while Ed Dickson runs a deep crosser.

On the chalkboard:


Dickson runs behind the zone coverage of the SAM (S), MIKE (M), and WILL (W) linebackers and enters the void left by Torrey’s corner route.  The weak-side Corner and Free Safety are occupied with bracketing Torrey and Dickson is left with the trailing SS Reshad Jones ($) who drives Dickson’s route from his deep zone positioning.


Dickson has a ton of open grass to work with since Jones is trailing him.


Dickson is no burner, and Jones catches up to him. But an accurate throw from Flacco leads to a contested run-and-catch for 43 yards.

A good route combination paired with play-action leaves the Ravens with the advantage once the ball is snapped.  Dickson is a straight-line player who doesn’t excel at catching the ball in traffic.  Designed crossers are a great way to get Dickson involved.

Inside Zone Left

2nd Quarter, 2:59, 1st and 10

Offensive Playcall: Inside Zone Left

Defense: 4-3 Under


Inside zone is a playcall that the Ravens have leaned on for several seasons now.  An overly simplistic explanation of how to block this play is that ever O-lineman blocks the defender to their playside gap (left in this play) and if there is no defender there, combo block on your backside and try to reach the second level.

This play was interesting because it exemplifies how the play should be blocked, but also how it can be blown up by one poor block.  Oher was to blame for the eventual 2-yard loss here.


Marshal Yanda (RG, #73) executes his block very well while Michael Oher absolutely fails. Going back to the first image, Yanda needs to make a “Reach Block” meaning getting his helmet to the playside of a defender who is already occupying a playside gap; a difficult block.  Michael Oher simply needs to seal off the backside DE Derrick Shelby.

Yanda’s first step (orange circle) is a lateral one.  He needs to “give ground to gain ground” so he can get to the playside of his defender.  Michael Oher’s first step (blue circle) is with the incorrect foot and its a vertical step.  The pre-snap alignment should have never allowed Shelby to get across Oher’s face.


While Yanda (#73) has complete control (although with an assist from Gino), Oher is struggling and tries to push Shelby into traffic.  Oher can’t be blamed for trying to push Shelby into the second level but his work before this point put him in a vulnerable position.  Meanwhile, the backside OLB Koa Misi is crashing down the line to make a tackle.  Misi is unblocked by design because this play should be hard hitting up the middle.


Misi makes this tackle because Rice is forced to cut his run back based on Shelby’s penetration.  There is daylight ahead of Rice (behind Leach #44) but Oher’s subpar work on Derrick Shelby doomed the play to a freelance by Rice.

The run game has been panned by critics so far.  This is one example of how an unsound first step can cut off a running play before it ever gets going.

Ravens Sack Breakdown: Sack #1 Courtney Upshaw

sack1 1

On 3rd and 10 in the first quarter, the Ravens line up showing blitz.  Daryl Smith is “sugaring the A gap” while Arthur Brown (#59) will drop off into coverage at the snap. We’ve seen this X stunt many times this season and this time, Daryl teams with Upshaw to sack Tannehill for a 9 yard loss.

sack1 2

Importantly, the Dolphins Center, Right Guard, and Right Tackle are occupied by only 2 rushers (because Arthur Brown dropped out).  This allows Daryl Smith to shoot diagonally into the A gap (where HB Lamar Miller attempts to pick him up).  This leaves a wide open lane for Upshaw to scoop rush into the middle.

sack1 3

This image (and the one above this one) show that LG Richie Incognito (#68) is left with no one to block due to the stunt.  The Ravens successfully turned a 3-on-3 into a 3-on-2 with creative stunting in the middle.  The result is a drive killing sack.

Ravens Sack Breakdown: Sack #2 Pernell McPhee

sack2 1

On 3rd and 6, the Ravens are in their 2-4-5 Nickel look.  The stunt they run should look familiar.  This particular stunt is called a “TEX” stunt meaning the T (tackle, Canty) will aim for the inside shoulder of the Left Guard to open up the B gap for the E (end, Suggs) to scoop into.

sack2 2

McPhee, however, takes the Right Guard John Jerry and clubs him with his outside arm.  This forces Jerry off balance (as shown above) and allows McPhee to rip underneath of him through the B-gap.

sack2 3

Suggs (yellow line) is scooping under Chris Canty (while leaving #51 Mike Pouncey behind).  Suggs has an open area to penetrate but McPhee has already arrived at the QB.

This sack was all about McPhee’s strength and short-area quickness.  A very encouraging stand-out play.

Ravens Sack Breakdown: Sack #3 Terrell Suggs

sack3 1

On 2nd and 2, the Ravens are in their 2-4-5 Nickel once again.

sack3 2

After the TE to Suggs’ side runs his route, Suggs is isolated vs. LT Jonathan Martin.  In the above image, Suggs has knocked down Martin’s hands on his way around the edge.  Martin did not set far enough upfield to cut Suggs off and his last chance is to push Suggs past Tannehill.

sack3 3

The veteran Suggs bends his inside shoulder low to the ground to minimize the surface that Martin has to place his hands on.  Suggs is now unabated to the QB.

sack3 4


Ravens Sack Breakdown: Sack #4 Terrell Suggs

sack4 1

This sack is the most impressive of Suggs’ 3-sack day, from a physical standpoint.  Suggs is in the “ghost 9″-technique and will be one-on-one with Jonathan Martin, again.

sack4 2

LT Martin sets high enough to cut off Suggs before he reaches the edge, he is off to a good start.  But Martin doesn’t have his feet set by the time Suggs gets his hands on him.

sack4 3

Martin is put on roller-skates even though he has lower arm placement than Suggs.

sack4 4

Suggs never evades Martin, he simply pushed him all the way back into Tannehill and took both players down with him.  This is the Suggs that Ravens fans missed from last year.

Ravens Sack Breakdown: Sack #5 Terrell Suggs

sack5 1

With all the success Suggs had against LT Martin, it was surprising that they placed him on his less familiar side on this play.

sack5 2

As you can (barely) see, Suggs gains inside positioning on the RT Tyson Clabo.  Suggs is using his inside arm to rip underneath of Clabo’s hands.

sack5 4

Clabo’s last chance is to hold Suggs across his chest.  This effectively pushes Suggs directly into Tannehill for the sack hat-trick.

Ravens Sack Breakdown: Sack #6 Elvis Dumervil

sack6 1

The clock is winding down and the Dolphins are marching to try to get into field-goal range.  Dumervil is aligned as the Left Defensive End.

sack6 2

The above image is extremely impressive.  Dumervil gets underneath RT Tyson Clabo’s pads and uses his leverage to lift him off his feet.  I have criticized Dumervil’s strength in the past but this play is beginning to change my mind.  #28 Lamar Miller is supposed to chip Dumervil on his way into the flat.  Clabo has to know this and not allow himself to get beat to the inside (since he has help on the outside).

sack6 3

Clabo, though, is off balance and Dumervil has opened a huge gap to take Tannehill down as he tries to step up into the pocket.

sack6 4

Another angle shows just how off balance Clabo is.  Dumervil used power and smarts to beat a tackle and an assisting running back en route to the QB.

Six sacks is very impressive.  Without the benefit of Coaches Tape, I can’t quite give all the credit to the front-seven.  My guess is that the coverage was pretty solid on the back-end too.

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Written by Dan Bryden
4 years ago
Baltimore Ravens,

Dan Bryden

Dan played high school football at Wilde Lake and graduated from McDaniel College with a degree in Psychology. Dan is currently a Maryland Terp working on his PhD degree in Neuroscience. He has experience writing published scientific material as well as blogging for SBNation via Baltimore Beatdown. Beginning in the 2012 season, Dan has been writing about the Ravens focusing on the X’s and O’s of the game of football with heavy use of overhead (All-22) film analysis. The Columbia, MD native currently lives in Silver Spring.


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