Cosell’s Watching the Championships: Alex Smith Left Plays on the Field

From the Desk of Greg Cosell, Greg Cosell, Inside the Game, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers

NFL Matchup’s Executive Producer shares notes from his study of Championship Sunday coaching tape: Giants defense vs. 49ers offense. 

  • Giants opened the game in their “big nickel” versus 49ers “12” personnel, Blackburn and Boley were the LB
  • Giants matched up with their base 4-3 to 49ers 2 back sets with FB Miller
  • First 3rd down (3rd + 4) Smith had Crabtree on sail route versus “cover 2” but did not pull the trigger, Threw incomplete check down to Gore – Kind of throw you have to make in championship game
  • Davis 73 yd TD came out of “22” personnel versus Giants 4-3 “big nickel”, Webster was the only corner on the field; Davis from minus split ran a wheel route right by Rolle, who does not run very well – Excellent throw by Smith
  • One thing each player on Giants “nascar” front 4 can do is exert quick pressure if blocked one-on-one
  • 49ers shot play on 1st play of 4th possession, Williams stutter deep post off Smith boot action; Williams ran right by Webster and Smith badly overthrew him – Another missed opportunity
  • 49ers ran the read option in the 2nd quarter, Smith 8 yds
  • Giants matched up to “22” personnel with 4-3 “big nickel”, 3 safeties and Webster the only corner
  • 49ers stayed true to character: Run based offense with high percentage of “21”, “12” and “22” personnel; Occasional shot plays off play action and boot action but pass game is for the most part elementary and limited in design
  • When Smith misses shot play opportunities that are there the 49ers have no intermediate to downfield passing game
  • Great play by Blackburn on Davis intermediate crosser off play action, Excellent play recognition: Blackburn was held initially by run action but immediately knew there would be a crosser behind him – Another shot play by 49ers, Complementary route to Davis crosser was Williams deep post
  • Read option was part of 49ers offense, Smith ran the ball twice in the 1st half
  • Smith very uncertain and tentative in the pocket, Did not pull the trigger on a number of throws that were there – Smith left a number of plays on the field
  • Giants again played snaps with “nascar” front 4: Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Umenyiora, and Kiwanuka
  • LB Williams did not play as many snaps in this game as he normally does because of 49ers personnel packages
  • 49ers only played 2 snaps in the game with 3 WR on the field, Swain was the 3rd WR
  • 49ers shot play on 1st play of the 2nd half, Walker wheel route from LOS TE position; Walker ran by Webster who slipped – Smith again did not pull the trigger, Had a chance to be 68 yd TD; Instead Smith sacked for 7 yd loss
  • Smith at times perceived pressure as the game progressed, Started to break down in the pocket, Lost his patience and presence
  • 49ers continued to feature a very diverse running game, Hunter 14 yds in the 3rd quarter another example
  • LT Staley at times struggled in pass protection with Umenyiora’s quickness and speed
  • Gore 24 yd catch and run on 3rd quarter TD drive was a blown coverage by the Giants, Same wheel route concept as 1st play of the 2nd half when Smith did not pull the trigger to Walker; This time 49ers had Gore leak out from backfield underneath Miller wheel route and the Giants did not account for him
  • Davis 28 yd TD was great design, Davis and Williams stack release concept and route combination broke down Giants coverage, Davis got on top of Phillips right off the line of scrimmage
  • Never felt watching the tape the 49ers running game was controlling the pace and tempo of the game despite a high yardage total
  • Hunter 2 long runs (14 + 18 yds) came off misdirection concepts
  • Crabtree 3 yd catch in the middle of the 4th quarter was t eonly catch by a WR in the game
  • Smith broke down in the pocket off play action on 1st + 10 with 4:00 remaining in 17-17 game, Had Crabtree wide open on corner route from the slot – Smith threw it out of bounds after he left the pocket for no reason
  • Kiwanuka 3rd down sack in the 4th quarter came out of “nascar” front, Great stunt with Kiwanuka at DT working behind DE Pierre-Paul
  • Giants effective with “2 man” coverage out of nickel with LB Boley and Williams, Rolle on Davis and Williams on Walker
  • Smith had a poor game, He missed a lot of throws that were there by not pulling the trigger or poor ball location
%d bloggers like this: