Last week, the Panthers racked up 199 yards on the ground in Atlanta. Here’s how that yardage was divided up among the Panthers’ runners:
Here’s what Chargers did on the ground against the Falcons:
And the Chiefs:
It’s a bit surprising that the Falcons have given up so many yards against the rush, considering they’ve had the lead for the majority of every game they’ve been in this season.
In my opinion, the look that the Falcons struggled the most against was the read option with Cam Newton and the Panthers’ running backs.
Here’s a play from the Panthers-Falcons game in which the Panthers are going to leave DE John Abraham (circled) unblocked. Cam Newton will have the option of handing the ball to RB DeAngelo Williams, who will run up the middle, or keep it himself and race around the edge. The other player in the Panthers backfield is WR Brandon LaFell, who will be pulling around the edge to block the DB. By leaving Abraham unblocked, the Panthers win the numbers game with the rest of their offensive linemen on the Falcons front seven:
As noted above, the Panthers leave Abraham unblocked:
Abraham chases the fake to Williams:
And Cam Newton has all kinds of daylight around the edge:
That play went for 32 yards.
On this next play, the read is Kroy Biermann (circled). The Panthers will leave Biermann unblocked so they can win the numbers game against the rest of the Falcon defenders:
Ignore the pulling guard (#61) here. He has no interest in blocking Biermann, although Biermann thinks he does. He’s more interested in getting to the second level to take on a linebacker. Biermann stays at home with Newton, so Newton hands the ball to Williams:
The result is an enormous hole with a blocker out in front:
Here’s a play where the Panthers are going to chip the outside linebacker with #82 Greg Olsen, who will then go out into a pattern, taking the inside linebacker (red arrow) with him. That essentially occupies two Falcon defenders, again leaving the Panthers with a numbers advantage against the Falcons D.
The Panthers block it up nicely, and once again, that’s a hole that I could run through. This play went for a TD.
Obviously, the Redskins have a QB with the kind of running skills that can put similar pressure on the Falcons defense in the running game. I would expect that they’ll try some similar looks.
Another look that I think the Redskins can utilize to their advantage are quick screens to their receivers. The Falcons like to play off coverage, which should make it easy on the Redskins to complete those kinds of quick hitters. Additionally, the Redskins receivers do an excellent job of picking up yards after the catch, and the Falcons have one of the worst tackling CBs in the last decade in Asante Samuel. I suspect that they’ll look to attack the Falcons with quick screens that are more like running plays. The Panthers were able to effectively show that look last week.
Here’s a play where the Panthers are about to run a WR screen. In this example, it’s Dunta Robinson that the Panthers attack, but notice the 10 yard cushion:
The Falcons are making it far too easy to complete these. Here’s the end result:
In the Redskins’ first possession this season against the Saints, it was WR screen right, WR screen left, all the way down the field. They’ve already proven they can run it effectively. The Falcons are the perfect team to attack with it again.