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Breaking Down The Film


Let’s break down some film from the Steelers game to take a look at what is working and what is not.  The numbers to the left indicate the time marking for each play on the video above.

0:08: Mike Wallace runs a reverse. Cedric Griffin does a good job of sticking with his man to prevent a big play-action play. Unfortunately, Jared Allen bites too hard on the play action and containment is lost. Madieu Williams whiffs on the tackle and Cedric Griffin only trips him up a bit. Luckily, he only gets a few more yards before E.J. Henderson makes a sound tackle.

0:30: Jim Kleinsasser makes a great block on the outside while Bryant McKinnie gets manhandled. Favre is able to use his feet to buy time despite McKinnie’s poor blocking and finds Harvin in single coverage. Harvin does a superb job of extending to make the catch, and then staying on his feet to pick up a few extra yards.

0:46: On a third and goal from the three yard line the Vikings coaches dial up a solid play, handing the ball to their playmaker. McKinnie and Shiancoe make nice blocks on the first level to open a huge whole. Tahi and Herrera plow the way on the second level, and #28 gets his touchdown with relative ease. This play should’ve been considered on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and goal later in the game.

1:03: The Vikings show blitz but then back off into a soft zone coverage. Ray Edwards and Jared Allen get great pressure, and one has to wonder if the outcome of this play would’ve been different if the Vikes had at least blitzed one guy. Try freezing the frame at the 1:09 mark and look at where the nearest defender is from Wallace. What 8 yards? 10 yards? The soft zone is great though for making sure the Vikings bend but don’t break, right? And then the next play…

1:15: Again the Vikings do not blitz. Again freeze the frame at about 1:20 mark and see that there is nobody within 5 yards of Wallace. Since Madieu Williams completely bit on the pass his angle was blown and he had no chance of catching the receiver. Touchdown. Also, notice the Ben could’ve made an even easier touchdown by hitting Holmes at the top of the screen.

1:39: The first thing to notice is how much the playaction helps Bryant McKinnie have success when pass blocking one-on-one. Favre actually had time on this throw, andRice had time to make a great route adjustment to dance his way behind the zone coverage. The success on play action is exactly why the Vikings cannot afford to abandon the run. Also, Sidney Rice continues his great catching ways and almost gets a touchdown here.

2:00: The Steelers decide to bring an extra guy to help pass protect when the Vikings bring five rushers. This means there are only 4 Steelers downfield accompanied by six Vikings. Somehow Holmes squirts open and Cedric Griffin, Karl Paymah, Jimmy Kennedy, Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson and Benny Sapp (and possibly a few other Vikings) blow opportunities to bring him down.

2:15: The more the Vikings defense can make opposing teams frustrated the more mistakes they will make. Rashard Mendenhall has no real reason to take flight on this play other than a deep desire to try and make something happen in a game where the Steelers offense has been pretty quiet up to this point. I’m not trying to sell short the efforts made by Pat Williams, Madieu Williams, and Tyrell Johnson here, but this was a big break for the Vikings which came mostly as a result of a frustrated rookie. This is a great example of Vikings defenders crashing to the football.

2:30: While McKinnie struggled most of the game, this is an example of what Favre is capable of when McKinnie does his job. Though, the Steelers only bring two pass rushers here which could explain why McKinnie all of the sudden looked competent. Rice conjured up memories of Cris Carter on this play which was properly challenged by Childress and company.

2:37: Again, McKinnie does a nice job of protection here. Loadholt on the other side though… not so much. But surprisingly, Hutchison’s pass coverage was what lead to the fatal fumble. In Hutchison’s defense, Favre could’ve/should’ve recognized the pressure and either thrown the safe pass to Harvin on the sideline or just tossed this one away. The pump fake and minor scramble caused him to hold onto the ball a little too long. Not trying to project blame on Favrehere though, don’t get me wrong, the pass protection needs to get better all the way around.

3:20: Not a whole lot to say here. The short kick allowed Harvin to shoot the whole before it closed a little easier than if he’d been backed up another 10 yards. He does a great cutback to ensure the score after Jeff Reed does his best audition for Power Puff Girls: The Movie. Dugan is a big meany to the ref which will spark all sorts of debate about refs wearing helmets. And Percy Harvin continues to battle Austin Collie and Johnnie Knox for the Rookie of the Year award.

3:50: Adrian Peterson wants to win this game andshows why Chester Taylor is perhaps getting more playing time on passing downs than he should be. Again, the pass protection is solid on a positive play. This is a trend… on highlight plays the pass protection holds up. Hmm… anyways, Favre delivers a strike to Peterson in the open field. Another ref almost gets his head taken off. #28 literally runs over William Gay in a highlight play that will follow Peterson to his hall-of-fame induction. Then Greg Lewis does a great job of finding Polamalu and laying a solid block on him which potentially allows Peterson to gain even more yards.

4:06: Notice that the Vikings have lined up in the shotgun with Chester Taylor on the field. These are two important clues that can tip off the Steelers defense as to exactly what’s about to happen. Probably not a run out of the shotgun as the Vikings are not wanting to potentially go backwards. Probably not a deep throw as that would be too risky. So that means chances are, Chester Taylor is going to be one of two or three check down. Now, I understand that there is nothing wrong with throwing a high percentage pass here, but pause the film right at 4:06 and tell me that an audible to a quick out to either of the far wide outs isn’t the better play. Now pause at 4:10 and notice that before Favre even gets the ball out of his hands, three defenders in the picture have already diagnosed the play and are crashing towards Taylor. Mind you, that is no excuse for Taylor missing the catch and allowing the interception. Other than watching wimpy but inconsequential tackle attempts by McKinnie and Favre followed by admirable but inconsequential hustle from Loadholt, that is what wrapped up the game.

Obviously, there is much more film to go over, but this is what was readily available to share with you all. Thanks YouTube!

Up Next: Dissecting Tahi’s Career Day!

Just kidding.

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2 Responses to “Breaking Down The Film”

  1. Lost Viking says:

    We have to fix the cover 2 coverage. From Professor Clayton at ESPN:

    “The Vikings still might be the most talented team in the NFC, but they appear to have a serious flaw in their secondary. Roethlisberger exposed coverage problems with Minnesota’s safeties, particularly late in the second half. The Vikings let Darren Sharper go in free agency, opting to have Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson handle the two starting jobs. In the final two minutes of the first half, the Steelers picked apart to the Vikings’ Cover 2 scheme.

    Trailing 7-3 and starting at the Steeler 9, Roethlisberger noticed Williams and Johnson were split wider in the deep half of the field than most Cover 2 safeties. He also noticed how a linebacker would stay with wide receiver Hines Ward when he was running from the slot, so Roethlisberger decided to get fast rookie Mike Wallace behind the linebackers and between the Viking safeties. On a second down from the Steeler 38, Roethlisberger hit Wallace for a 22-yard gain. Two plays later, Wallace ran the same post route and got a 40-yard touchdown because Williams and Johnson took bad angles to tackle him. A week ago, Baltimore QB Joe Flacco had drives of 75, 73, 33 and 41 yards in the fourth quarter against the Viking secondary. “

  2. Adam Warwas says:

    Thanks lost, good analysis from Clayton. They keep getting burned on this whether it’s Mike Wallace, Falcco picking them apart, Vernon Davis running down the seam, Jermichael Finley… argh. This has to stop. The Vikings corners played very admirable game today, almost completly shutting down Holmes and Ward. Safeties need to step it up big time.

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