AFC South: Futher review

For our weekly “Further Review” entry, I’m searching for a hidden play that changed the tone, set the course or made a big difference in Titans-Colts or Texans-Jaguars.

I’m looking for just one play, and one we haven’t seen repeatedly. Nate Washington’s drop is ineligible. Better we find a play where we can dissect what a lot of guys did or didn’t do rather than focus on just one.

The more context you can give me about what happened and when, the better. This isn’t the spot we’re looking for trends or multiple snaps that serve as an example of something, and we’re not interested in reviewing anything we saw multiple times on the highlight shows. Obvious candidates need not apply.

Hit us here in the comments or send a note to the mailbag, and if you offer the suggestion I use, I’ll mention you in the entry on Tuesday.

Thanks in advance for your quality feedback.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky


The suggestion: scodig88 said I should look at the first quarter play of Colts-Titans when Clint Session “absolutely lit up Chris Johnson while filling his gap.”

The situation: Second-and-3 from the Tennessee 24 yard-line with 6:45 on the clock in the first quarter and Indy up 7-0.

The Titans go with two tight ends (Bo Scaife and Alge Crumpler), two receivers (Nate Washington and Justin Gage) and a back (Johnson).

Washington is wide left, Scaife is slot left and Crumpler is tight left with Gage to the right and Johnson behind Kerry Collins who is under center.

The Colts counter in base with cornerback Jerraud Powers with Washington, cornerback Jacob Lacey with Gage and strongside linebacker Tyjuan Hagler with Scaife. The safeties are deep.

Here’s what I saw unfold after the snap:

Johnson takes a handoff from Collins and aims to go off left tackle.

Scaife turns Hagler outside and Crumpler does the same with middle linebacker Gary Brackett.

Left tackle Michael Roos manages to get outside right end Keyunta Dawson and steers him back to the middle with one hand in his chest and another on his shoulder. Dawson fights off of him with the help of a right hand on Roos’ facemask, a call that is missed.

Left guard Eugene Amano and center Kevin Mawae double defensive tackle Ed Johnson, but then Amano looks to get to the second level and deal with Session, the weakside linebacker who’s come all the way across the field. Amano is late and can’t sneak between Mathis and Johnson in time to get in Session’s way.

Session moves through the same hole Chris Johnson sees, lowering his left shoulder and planting it into Johnson’s side. They both lower their heads at impact and Session’s helmet crashes into Johnson’s on the right jaw or right temple -- even in slow motion it’s too fast for me to discern. Session wraps Johnson drives him back and drops him as Dawson arrives for cleanup help that’s unnecessary.

Result: A 1-yard gain that sets up a third-and-1 that the Titans fail to convert as Collins throws incomplete for Kenny Britt.

Ultimate outcome: A run defense tone is set. Johnson gets a season-low nine carries for 34 yards. Session is credited by game statisticians with a team-high nine tackles.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky


The AFC South Blog executive committee has ruled the Jaguars’ loss in Seattle as ineligible for any “Further Review.”

We search weekly for a hidden play that changed the tone, set the course or made a big difference in a game, and there weren’t any of those for Jacksonville at Qwest Field.

Moving on, here’s my weekly request for your input, which hasn’t failed me yet.

I am looking for one play. The more context you can give me about what happened and when, the better. This isn’t the spot we’re looking for trends or multiple plays that serve as an example of something, and we’re not interested in reviewing anything we saw multiple times on the highlight shows. Obvious candidates need not apply.

Hit us here in the comments or send a note to the mailbag and Tuesday I’ll do at least one “Further Review” entry breaking down the play as best as I can.

Thanks in advance for your quality feedback.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


The situation: The Jaguars lead the Titans 10-3 with 8:29 on the clock in the second quarter and face a second-and-2 from the Tennessee 38-yard line.

The Jaguars line up with Maurice Jones-Drew alone behind David Garrard who’s under center and has two tight ends on the field. Marcedes Lewis is to the right of right tackle Maurice Williams and Ernest Wilford is in the slot to the left. Receiver Mike Sims-Walker is wide right and Torry Holt is left.

The Titans are in their base defense with rookie corner Jason McCourty across from Holt, Nick Harper on Sims-Walker and Michael Griffin with Wilford, the former receiver. Chris Hope is one deep safety, as least 12 yards off the line of scrimmage, out of the wide screen TV picture at the snap.

Here’s what I saw unfold after the snap:

Garrard takes a three-step drop, looks to his right and makes a shoulder fake as if he’s throwing to Sims-Walker, who’s taken off up the right side.

Left linebacker David Thornton steps to the line between left end Jevon Kearse and left tackle Jovan Haye and comes on a bit of a delayed blitz, but Jones-Drew steps up to meet him. His initial foray stopped, Thornton sees the crowd of people between him and Garrard and bounces back toward the line of scrimmage, beginning to pursue Garrard on a clearer route. But to much time's gone by and the ball is gone by the time he really starts his move.

Williams blocks down on Haye leaving Lewis to single block Jevon Kearse, who gets good push.

Center Brad Meester and right guard Uche Nwaneri double right tackle Tony Brown who starts to his left before pushing the pocket.

Left tackle Tra Thomas rides right end Kyle Vanden Bosch in a loop around Garrard, but Vanden Bosch winds up making a late move back to the quarterback.

Holt moves at an angle off the line, cutting in front of Wilford and taking McCourty with him.

Garrard senses Meester being pushed into him, with Lewis also being pushed back and Vanden Bosch recovering to close some as well and the quarterback shifts up and to his left while throwing for Wilford on the left.

Griffin is about three yards off Wilford at the snap, gets one hand on him briefly and is facing the middle as the routes begin to unfold. Griffin might actually bump or brush Holt as he turns to go with Wilford who separates. Wilford collects the ball placed nicely over his left shoulder at about the 17-yard line with Griffin a few yards ahead of him and towards the middle of the field.

Result: A 29-yard gain that sets up a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line.

Ultimate outcome: Garrard hits Sims-Walker over the middle on the next play for a touchdown and the Jaguars never lead by less than 13 on their way to a 37-17 rout.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


The situation: The Colts are up 7-6 with 10:11 on the clock in the third quarter, facing a third-and-9 from their own 30-yard line.

Peyton Manning lines up in the shotgun, between tight end Dallas Clark on his right and running back Donald Brown on his left. Reggie Wayne is in the slot to the left with Austin Collie outside of the numbers left and Pierre Garcon spaced the same to the right.

Against three-wide and expecting pass, the Jaguars are in dime personnel, with Tyron Brackenridge (who lines up near the line between the left end and defensive tackle) and Scott Starks on the field along with only one linebacker, Brian Iwuh, who starts off to the offensive left.

Here’s what I saw unfold after the snap:
  • Manning fakes a handoff to Brown who heads up the middle.
  • Left tackle Charlie Johnson rides right defensive end Derrick Harvey wide and right guard Ryan Lilja arrives to help make sure Harvey has no chance to recover and get in position to influence the play.
  • Right tackle Ryan Diem gets chip help from Clark, whose contribution actually puts left end Quentin Groves on the ground. Clark then draws the attention of Brackenridge.
  • Right guard Mike Pollak and center Jeff Saturday team up to stymie defensive tackle Derek Landri.
  • Brown cuts right near the line of scrimmage and has a step on Iwuh who is in pursuit. A bit deeper, Wayne has cut behind Brown on a similar cross.
  • Manning delivers the ball to Brown in stride and he catches it, continuing to the right but dipping his left shoulder to angle for yardage before safety Reggie Nelson arrives and cuts him down.
Result: Ten-yard gain, first down.

Ultimate outcome: The third-down conversion makes Manning five-for-five throwing in such situations. The Colts go 60 more yards in five more plays, pulling ahead 14-6 when Manning hits Wayne with a 35-yard touchdown strike.

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