Hello and welcome to yet another new Orange Rush feature that could become regular if you and I like it. In this feature, I will break down the keys to the game. To do this, I have watched a game on NFL Game Rewind that I felt was similar to this week's matchup.
The reason I felt this was the most similar game was that the Giants have a 4-3 defense with a good pass rush, together with a dynamic albeit philosophically conservative offense that can run or pass the ball. Albeit, the Giants get more of their rush out of their D-Line, while the Broncos often rely on some linebacker help (A.K.A. Von MF Miller.)
It was Tampa Bay's game early on, as a few Eli Manning interceptions led to good field position and points for the Buccaneers. Vincent Jackson often showed he was a force to be reckoned with, dominating one on one matchups that were often created by play action. The Giants began to rally as the game went on, however, by establishing a run game and throwing a lot of underneath zone beaters. Lack of discipline late by the Tampa Bay backfield led to a bunch of huge passing plays as the second half went on, and a few of those became touchdowns that the Buccaneers could not surmount. Final: TB 34, NYG 41.
Keys to the Game
- Peyton Manning must be disciplined throwing against the zone. The Buccaneers ran a lot of zone, looking to get some interceptions. Think of our Atlanta game. These are beatable, but we must have our zone beaters out early with good, smart route concepts.
- Stretch the Buccaneers horizontally, then run it up their gut. The Buccaneers defense is capable of getting a very respectable push up the middle if you don't spread out their defense and make them nervous about containing the edges of the field. We should start out with some good zone blocking stretch plays. This will open up some runs inside the tackle. Then you have play action over the top.
- Similar to the last point, Moreno must run with patience. Albeit, he must not run hesitant. However, once the middle is softened up, there will be holes. He needs to have the patience to see them and then the decisiveness to hit them. We should have optimism for this based on last game. Basically, if he runs the way he ran last week, he will help us out a lot.
- Beware Ronde Barber. This will be big for Manning on PA if taking a shot deep. Barber can cover a lot of ground, so what appears to be single coverage may not be.
- Execute the pass in goal-to-go. The Giants had plays to be made in this situation, but receivers dropped their balls. Tamme, Dreesen, Decker, and Stokely need to make the most of the opportunity if they get it.
- Our LBs must stay free and flow to the ball. Tampa Bay likes to run zone blocking cutback style runs, and they will also use misdirection and screens. They also run straight ahead a fair amount, but if the linebackers get sucked in between the tackles, Doug Martin can and will bounce a ball outside for a big gainer. He's not unlike McGahee in that regard. This can also mean a good push from the DEs can be important to leave the LBs free to pursue the ball outside.
- Get in Josh Freeman's face. When Freeman is pressured, he can sometimes throw inaccurate balls. This can give us an opportunity for turnovers. Safeties need to stay aware for tipped or overthrown balls.
- Don't bite on playaction. From what I saw, Tampa Bay's pass concepts aren't terribly impressive. A lot of the passing game rests on play action or just heaving the ball deep to Vincent Jackson and letting him make a play. That said...
- Champ Bailey! You have to shut down Vincent Jackson as much as possible. This is a no brainer, but their offense really depends a lot on Jackson. His size makes him hard to defend, so we should keep a safety over top of him if at all possible.
- Trindon Holliday Time! I got to watch the first 10 minutes or so in coach's film mode, so I was able to see at least one instance in which Tampa Bay broke lane discipline on a kickoff return. A first move could create a gap, and with the right blocking, we could see a long Holiday return. Dare I say, perhaps even a touchdown?
I'm Psyched Because...
I'm psyched because of the way that Knowshon Moreno ran the ball last week. I've seen us run the ball the way the Giants ran the ball on Tampa Bay. That's the key to everything. We will take the top off them on a few plays when they overplay the down and distance, probably, but this will be based on their fear of our run.
I'm Concerned Because...
I'm concerned because the way that Tampa Bay played zone, including dropping linebackers into zones underneath routes, reminds me of the Atlanta game. Hopefully Manning isn't rusty enough to fall for those plays early on. I would hate to see us dig another early hole with interceptions.