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Impact Plays: Colts vs Bengals week 1 film breakdown

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, I will look to break down two of the best or worst plays from the previous game, but I’ll need your help deciding what plays should be given a closer look as I hope to explain what happened in greater detail than the broadcasters can. Often you’ll hear “how did that guy get so open?” and I hope to be able to answer that question for Colts fans this season.

The poll this week had a big winner getting 37% of the votes going to A.J. Green and his safety splitting touchdown that came with 4:18 to go in the 3rd quarter.

Our second place play, with 16% of the vote, came by way of either of Margus Hunt’s two sacks.


We will take a look at our second place finisher, first. I watched both of Hunt’s sacks and this is the more interesting play for a few reasons, both had the same result and Hunt wins for the same reason (although on the other sack he went outside instead of dipping inside).

Hunt’s First Sack:

The coverage the Colts are running is interesting. I’m fairly certain they’re in quarters coverage, also known as cover four. Quarters is a really diverse coverage in that it can cover almost anything, provides good run support and is tough to beat over the top. It’s also tough for me to pick out when watching film.

Ultimately it’s a pattern matching zone, but it looks like man until it definitely looks like zone. Like I said it’s diverse and if you want a better understanding this is a great look at the basics of quarters coverage. Based on what I’ve seen so far, understanding this coverage is going to be important to understand the Colts defense.

The Endzone Look:

Something interesting to note is what Al Woods does on this play. The Colts end up only rushing three on this play because Woods bails out to get a hand on Joe Mixon as he leaves the backfield.

Margus Hunt beats the right tackle inside and proceeds to throw Andy Dalton like a bag of dirty laundry. I wish I could tell you this is a new Margus Hunt. I wish I could tell you we could expect big things from him this season, but based on what I saw in this game, I don’t think I can tell you that for sure. Could he produce at a high level this season? Absolutely, but this game doesn’t show us much of anything. Here’s what I had to say about the right side of the Bengals offensive line in my week one scouting report:

...the Bengals have been locked in a three way battle for the starting right tackle spot. Bobby Hart, a free agent addition whose a career has been, what I will generously call, unspectacular, Jake Fisher a former 2nd round pick and career underachiever and draft bust Cedric Ogbuehi. All three men will have ample opportunity to play this season but as of right now it seems that Hart will get the start on Sunday. I do hope, regardless of what Bengals player lines up on the right side of the line, the Colts rotate every pass rushing option they have directly at the right side of the Bengals line because while they’ve improved in some area’s up front, I’m not sure they should be comfortable with the right side of that offensive line.

Margus Hunt’s production against Bobby Hart isn’t a sign of anything, really. It should have been expected. Hopefully Margus Hunt reads this article and goes on a warpath to prove some internet blogger wrong. That would be great, but I don’t see it happening.


Our big winner of this weeks poll, A.J. Green’s touchdown catch between two Colts defenders.

The TV announcer declared that Malik Hooker was beaten by Green’s sneaky speed.

Yeah, that’s not how it happened.

Once again the Colts appear to be in quarters coverage, meaning that the field is split into four deep zones. Malik Hooker should have help toward the middle of the field. Instead, Clayton Geathers took the Bengals bait and bit on the underneath route. As soon as Dalton saw Geathers sit, he knew Green would be open and for all the crap I gave Andy Dalton in my scouting report he threw an absolutely perfect ball to A.J. Green for the touchdown.

I can’t blame Geathers too much for sitting down on that route. Obviously you would have liked to have him deep to defend against Green, but Geathers was Dalton’s read on this play. It was designed by the Bengals to stress him. If he drops deep, Dalton is hitting the underneath receiver, and we all saw what happened when Geathers picked the underneath receiver. It was a mistake, but an understandable and fixable mistake.

Malik Hooker didn’t misjudge anyone’s speed, at least that’s not what made this touchdown possible.