The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

How the Giants Kept a One-Game Lead in the NFC East

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At the Fifth Down, I took a look at how the Giants confused Saints quarterback Drew Brees on their way to a blowout victory.

Before the snap, quarterback Drew Brees noticed something he didn’t like in the Giants’ defense. The Giants were in their base 4-3 look, and it was difficult to tell 1) whether they’d be blitzing and 2) what coverage they were in. Nonetheless, Brees issued a “Kill” call. I cover the Dallas Cowboys, a team whose audible system is based around “Kill” calls. Actually, the audible is really a vestigial call left over from Sean Payton’s days in Dallas. If you follow the Giants, you may be familiar with it.

Whereas Peyton Manning and Tom Brady use manual calls to audible to new plays, “Kill” calls are a simple and direct audible that results from two plays being called in the huddle. When Eli Manning or Brees call two plays in the huddle, the offensive players intend to run the first play; if the quarterback wants to run the second, he gives his “Kill” signal and the players quickly shift focus to their responsibility for the second play called in the huddle.

Just after the snap, Brees immediately looked to Colston and pumped the ball. When Brees quickly turned back to the middle of the field, it showed that he wasn’t really considering throwing to Colston and most likely wanted to drag the free safety toward the sideline. That move alone suggests Brees thought the Giants were in Cover 1: man coverage underneath with a safety deep (in this case, Stevie Brown). In such a coverage, the free safety has no true responsibility and thus might follow the eyes of the quarterback. The fact that Brees issued his “Kill” call after he saw Amukamara in a press position also suggests he thought the Giants were in man coverage.

In reality, the Giants were in Cover 3: both cornerbacks and safety Stevie Brown played with deep-third responsibility. You can see that both Amukamara and Webster bailed after the snap because they couldn’t let anyone get behind them.

Check it out at the Times.

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