Film Session: Bucs vs. Colts

Tanard Jackson (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

"Film Session" is Bucsblitz.com's source for analysis of the best and worst plays from each game. This week, check out why Tanard Jackson recorded his first NFL interception and why blitzing Colts QB Peyton Manning can lead to bad results.

WHAT DID WORK

Tanard Jackson's first NFL interception was a result of his tremendous athleticism and the rare greediness of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

The Colts faced 3rd-and-10 at their own 35. They had just lost tight end Dallas Clark to that big hit Jackson laid on him. The Colts were up 13-0, and Manning apparently felt a knockout punch was in order.

In the shotgun, Manning had backs to either side, two receivers to his right and one to his left. His intended target, Reggie Wayne, was set up in the right slot. The Bucs appeared to be in a three-man front and expected a pass.

The Bucs got it, though Manning tried to use some play-action. No one was fooled. The Bucs had eight players in coverage, and those odds aren't good, even for a player like Manning. Manning should have thrown this pass to his safety valve receiver, a tight end in the left flat. With the Bucs backpedaling downfield, that tight end could have taken that pass and made a first down easily.

Instead Manning went downfield. It was a horrible decision. The replay showed that Jackson, Barrett Ruud and Derrick Brooks were all following Wayne. The Bucs apparently thought that, with Clark out, the ball was going to Wayne. They were right.

This was an easy pick for Jackson. Playing deep down the left side, all he had to do was read Manning's eyes. The veteran QB locked in on Wayne too early — a rarity — and all Jackson had to do was change direction and jump up to pick it off. Plus Manning's pass was underthrown.

Even Manning makes mistakes, but it still takes defenders playing fundamental football to take advantage of those mistakes.

Jackson's interception set up the Buccaneers' first touchdown of the game.

Tampa Bay faced 1st-and-goal at the Colts 3. The Buccaneers used Jeff Garcia's mobility to their advantage on the play.

The Bucs set up with receivers to either side and running back Earnest Graham as a single setback. It looked like it could be a running play, even as Ike Hilliard came to the left in motion.

Garcia used that deception to his advantage as he faked a handoff to Graham, then rolled right.

The intended target, Alex Smith, set up inside of fellow tight end Anthony Becht on the far right side of the line. At the snap, Becht occupied at least one blocker, and the attention of the other, while Smith shot out into the end zone.

Once Smith emerged, it became obvious the Colts miscalculated. Most of the Colts defenders were either at the line of scrimmage or on the left side defending Hilliard or Joey Galloway. By the time Smith cut right and Garcia rolled right, it was obvious the Colts had taken the bait.

It was an easy pass-and-catch for the pair, and a good example of using play-action near the end zone, even when the running game isn't clicking.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK

Bucs head coach Jon Gruden singled out this play in his Monday press conference as an example of a missed assignment.

The Bucs faced 1st-and-10 at their own 29 to open their second drive of the game. Gruden called this a Wham play. Tampa Bay is in a formation overloaded to the right of quarterback Jeff Garcia. Tight end Alex Smith set up wide left. Joey Galloway set up in the left slot, while tight end Jerramy Stevens set up outside of Galloway, but came in motion before the snap. Fullback B.J. Askew set up offset to the right of deep back Michael Pittman.

The Colts were in a four-man front, with the linebackers playing back and the corners up on Smith and Galloway.

At the snap, Stevens stopped next to right tackle Jeremy Trueblood to help block Colts end Robert Mathis. Garcia pivoted right to prepare to hand off the ball to Pittman. There's a mass of humanity up front.

Bucs center John Wade went to his right to help guard Davin Joseph seal off the right side. Stevens and Trueblood hold off Mathis. Left tackle Donald Penn takes care of Dwight Freeney.

Left guard Arron Sears made the mistake. Assigned to tackle Raheem Brock, the Colts tackle shaded to Sears' left shoulder. If Sears made the block on Brock, the hole is there for Pittman.

Instead Sears allowed Brock to go right past him and into Pittman's path. It appeared he thought his assignment was to help Penn with Freeney. The play resulted in a 4-yard loss.

"We had a mental breakdown on a wham play," Gruden said. "It's totally inexcusable but it did happen."

Early in the fourth quarter the Bucs tried to blitz Manning and he showed how offenses use blitzes to their advantage.

The Colts faced 3rd-and-goal at the Bucs 9 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Tampa Bay chose to blitz Manning on the play. The Colts were in the shotgun, with a back to the right of Manning. Clark was in the left slot, with Anthony Gonzalez to his left. Wayne was by himself on the right side.

The blitz works when the defense can get to the quarterback before he can make a play. But few quarterbacks are as good as Manning at recognizing that front. The Bucs had five in the box already before two linebackers crept up into the play. At the snap, The Bucs sent seven players after Manning. The Colts linemen and tight ends picked them all up.

Manning could now exploit single coverage. That's the trade-off in a blitz. The corners and safeties must work without the help they're used to in the Cover 2. Phillip Buchanon played about seven yards off Wayne. Many corners in that position will play press coverage to take away the inside route.

Wayne exploited that cushion and the blitz. Since most of the linebackers were involved in the blitz, there were no safeties to help Buchanon. Wayne used a short juke to his right to force Buchanon to start that way, and then established the slant with a sharp cut inside. Buchanon never had a chance. Manning hit Wayne perfectly.

Teams that blitz run that risk every play. Quarterbacks with Manning's ability know how to play the odds.

FILM SESSION EXTRA: TENNESSEE

Here are some observations after watching the Titans' victory over Atlanta (the Bucs play Tennessee on Sunday).

Quarterback Vince Young can be goaded into big mistakes in the passing game. His first interception was a result of late pressure by Atlanta. He underthrew the pass and Michael Boley had great inside position to pick it off. The second pick had Young under duress, going to the ground and just tossing the ball into the air where Atlanta's Trey Lewis could catch it. The third was a rollout where he simply never saw the defender. All three are examples of how a defense can use a young quarterback's inexperience to their advantage. Young still has fewer than a season's worth of starts under his belt.

This is a dangerous Tennessee defensive front, and no one is more lethal than tackle Albert Haynesworth. He abused Falcons rookie left guard Justin Blalock all day on Sunday. He only finished with three tackles, but he was so disruptive that the Falcons had to alter their run protections to help Blalock. Haynesworth was still effective. He made a big run stop on 3rd-and-2 from the Tennessee 14, knifing past Blalock and stopping Warrick Dunn for no gain.

The rest of the Titans defense is pretty good, but with Haynesworth as the trigger man, it's downright scary. That doesn't bode well for Bucs rookie left guard Arron Sears, who struggled at times with Robert Mathis last week.

The Titans' coverage units played horribly against Atlanta. Jerious Norwood averaged 48 yards per kickoff return and had a long of 76. That bodes well for Bucs returner Mark Jones, who has had a solid season thus far.



Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association and has won national awards for his Buccaneers coverage from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is also a contributor to the Scot Brantley Show from 4-7 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1490-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.

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