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Non Call Of The Night & Reference To Roddy(Also How To Beat The Pistol)


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The non-call of the night.

In the NFC Championship Game, linebacker NaVorro Bowman had his hands on wideout Roddy White on Atlanta's last-chance play of the game. Bowman impeded White, maybe enough that it should have drawn a flag. No flag.

I thought Jimmy Smith's contact with Michael Crabtree in the Super Bowl, on fourth down in the end zone, wasn't as physical.

I talked to Smith at length after the game. He said he was expecting Kaepernick to try to make a back-shoulder throw to Crabtree "because Kaepernick tapped the back of his helmet. That's usually what that means. So I knew -- stay square with the receiver, don't let him get the ball on the back shoulder. And I knew he was going to Crabtree. We had some stat during the week like every time in the red zone there was a 52 percent chance on a pass they were going to Crabtree.''

Now for the contact. "It was pretty obvious by then the receiver was being physical, and I was being physical, and the refs were letting that stuff go,'' he said.

The larger story here is how smart the Baltimore coaches were on the play. One of our SI reporters at the game, Matt Gagne, talked to coaches and found out the Ravens' plan on those last four plays, all from inside the 7-yard line, was simple: If Kaepernick was going to beat them, he was going to have to do it with his arm and not his legs.

Kaepernick still rushed seven times for 62 yards -- his fourth-highest output on the ground this season -- and he scrambled for a 15-yard touchdown with 10 minutes to play. But faced with making a goal-line stand as they clung to a 34-29 lead at the end, the Ravens were determined to make Kaepernick throw the ball.

On first and goal from Baltimore's 7-yard line, LaMichael James took a handoff but ran straight into a zero blitz, picking up just two yards before the two-minute warning. The zero blitz, or an all-out blitz, is the most effective way to disrupt the read-option. The offensive scheme operates like the pick-and-roll in basketball. Depending on how an isolated defender reacts, Kaepernick can either keep the ball like a point guard driving the lane or hand it off to a running back who has more room to operate.

{C} {C}

Zero blitz takes away that wiggle room, with several defenders converging on the mesh point -- the few feet of space where it's not clear if the quarterback will keep the ball or hand it off. The downside, of course, is that an all-out blitz leaves the secondary in man coverage and wideouts will typically get open. This, however, wasn't a typical situation. A short field hems in the receivers, making the coverage effective even if the blitz is slow. On three of their last four plays, the Ravens pinned their ears back and went after Kaepernick. But, as Gagne discovered, not on 2nd-and-goal from the 5. That's when a chess match was just as effective as a street fight.

During the two-minute warning, John Harbaugh asked for zero blitz, telling defensive coordinator Dan Pees through the headset, "I do not want them to run the ball right here." Pees had already called for a base defense, zone coverage, but Harbaugh had him rethinking the plan.

"At the last minute he was going to change his call to zero blitz," Matt Weiss, the Ravens defensive quality control coach who was listening in on the conversation, told Gagne. "But he didn't, and that turned out to be a great call. Dean almost got talked out of his instinct, which would have been bad for us. If we're in zero blitz there, there's a good chance they score a touchdown."

That's because Kaepernick took the snap and sprinted to his right -- a move designed to beat the blitz that never came -- and was forced to throw into tight coverage. The ball to Michael Crabtree fell incomplete. The Ravens weren't disguising anymore blitzes, only to back off. Pees called for zero blitzes on the next two plays, and the pressure forced two more incomplete passes to Crabtree. "They were smart enough not to run the pistol. Dean did a great job of showing them zero blitz," Weiss said. "We basically just said, 'If you're going to score this touchdown, Colin Kaepernick is going to have to throw the ball in the end zone.' " It worked, and Baltimore won.

by Peter King

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lol a bit ambiguous but ok. They are leaving out some stuff here but - that is a stipped down version, its not whether anyone knows how to beat the piston its wether or not at this point if u can - u take away run and read, then u got to account for pass, its just football, the coordinators will get better at slowing it down, next season will be very interesting for Keapernickles,

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