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Breakdown: How Rams Let Up A Wide-Open Touchdown Pass

Tim Godfrey
One of Alex Smith's completions against the Rams led to a very big touchdown for the Chiefs, and the play seemed effortless. | Photo Credit: Associated Press

As reported before, the Kansas City Chiefs were able to throw for more than 300 yards against the Los Angeles Rams during the second preseason game. The Chiefs' No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Nick Foles, threw for a combined 250 yards, one touchdown, and completed nearly 80 percent of their passes. 

One of those completions led to a very big throw and an easy touchdown, as Chiefs' receiver Jeremy Maclin was able to catch the touchdown pass with plenty of space between he and the nearest three defenders. 

So, how did this happen? 

The Play: Down 14-7 in the second quarter, Alex Smith throws to Jeremy Maclin for a touchdown. 

Maclin TD1.jpg

Jeremy Maclin is the receiver second from the bottom of the frame. 

The matchup seems simple enough. The two corners matchup over the receivers to Smith's left. Shotgun formation with a pair of receivers on one side, and a tight end lined up on the tackle's hip suggests that running the ball up the middle or around the left tackle is a possibility. 

Maclin TD5.jpg

A look into the Rams' backfield shows a Cover 2, with free safety Cody Davis lining up in a more shallow depth than strong safety TJ McDonald. 

Maclin TD2.jpg

Now, we see that Davis, comes down from his original position. The defensive play calls for Davis to block the possibility of a short yardage completion, break up the pass, and stop the receiver from advancing further into the red-zone. McDonald's responsibility is to now prevent any big throws from Cover 1. 

Maclin TD6.jpg

LaMarcus Joyner, who was lined up on Maclin, knows the safety help is coming, and leaves a little separation between he and Maclin. Reading Smith's eyes, everyone should know where the ball is going. Smith is staring down Maclin the entire time. 

Maclin TD3.jpg

Davis comes down too far and jumps the route, thinking it would be and out route left. But Maclin has made a second cut, and darts up the field between Davis and Joyner. Smith still hasn't taken his eyes off of Maclin. 

Maclin TD4.jpg

McDonald, who had sprinted from his Cover 1 position, is too late. Maclin is too fast and for Joyner and Davis, who both had their hips facing the quarterback and could not switch directions, and speed up to Maclin. The throw is made with ease and Maclin scores the touchdown. 

Tim Godfrey is a Featured Analyst who covers the Los Angeles Rams for Pro Football Spot. Follow him on Twitter @MrTimGodfrey

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Thank you!

The Rams' defense is seeing a great shift from who they once were. The passing defense was very solid last year. But no with big personnel losses (Jenkins, McLeod), we're seeing younger depth players struggle to keep up with the opposing looks and formations. 


James Reagan likes this

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Maclin really has greatly improved Kansas City's vertical passing game. It's not just that he's catching a few balls deep, but that he's catching them on the run moving upfield. Especially between the hashes, it's important to be moving when you snag the ball so you can actually pick up the YAC that Andy Reid's offense is ostensibly built around.

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