We had to break out the film room to discuss the run game vs UTSA.
MGN came away from the game with a first impression that the run game wasn’t not **bad** but simply facing a better team, and requiring some support from the pass game. After a re-watch, it is easier to see where the line lost, backs made wrong reads, QBs could have handed off, and essentially where NT had room for improvement.
First pass grade: C+
Second watch: C
Pro football focus said it was … less than great when evaluating individuals in the run game. That’s fine but they also said we ran a lot of gap runs (power, counter, dart, etc) and I saw at least a handful of zone runs. Whatever.
I want to highlight how UTSA was attacking the NT run game. A couple of things about this clip, where Shorter is over-thrown
1. UTSA got a big jump on the snap. Cadences have to be changed up, but that’s difficult on the road.
2. Look at the aggression with which UTSA attacks the run. The edge rushers were crashing wide and the backers/safeties were scraping hard. That means they were spilling over to play against any possible pull/option.
NT recognized this, and had UTSA beat over the top early but could not make them pay every time. That meant the Runners could continue to sell out.
On 2nd and 10, NT put Burns in motion and did another play-pass (line looks like they are in straight pass protect). UTSA has everyone near the line, and everyone is attacking the ball. This is a one-man option play and Shorter beats his guy but dropped the ball.
Okay, let’s look at some runs in a longer video:
The same video is also on YouTube.