Buccaneers: Film Study and Strategy for 2017 Week 9 in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 24: Cameron Brate #84 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scores a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 24: Cameron Brate #84 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scores a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Sean Payton, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense are going to play chess with the Buccaneers defense.

The way they do with all teams really. The opening strategy will be easy to see coming. New Orleans likes to play on the perimeter.

They like toss plays to running back Mark Ingram and off-tackle designs with Alvin Kamara giving him the option to kick it outside if the defense collapses too fast and too hard.

End-arounds with guys like Ted Ginn Jr. and quick passes to Willie Snead, Michael Thomas and any of the others I mentioned just earlier.

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What this means is, you never know what the Saints are going to do. Thomas is the best receiver Brees has. Hell, he’s the reason Brandin Cooks was shipped out to New England this offseason.

Still, Thomas might go two, even three series without a target. Where some receivers might pout or throw fits. The former Buckeye receiver will motivate his teammates and throw blocks.

What I’m talking about was never more on display than against the Detroit Lions in Week 6.

New Orleans got the ball at their own 25-yard line with 6:38 remaining in the first quarter. Brees and his offense would orchestrate an eleven play drive which would also eat nearly five full minutes of the game clock.

First play was a quick pass to the right side of the defense for four yards. On second and six, Kamara ran to the same side of the formation for a 21-yard gain, aided by a failure by the Lions defense to contain the rookie.

This play set the Saints up with a new set of downs at midfield.

Then, they came right back attacking the perimeter with Ginn on an end-around gaining three more yards. This was followed by a swing pass to Ingram back to the right side of the defense for five yards.

Next, on third and two, Ingram took the ball up the middle of the formation. He was stopped short, but only because of great plays by defenders Ezekiel Ansah and Anthony Zettel.

Pre-snap: Because of the previous plays leading up to this all assaulted the perimeter with success, the Lions are forced to come out in a rather open defensive formation on a play we’d expect to see a bunched front line with tight linebacker support and safeties playing closer to the line of scrimmage.

The can’t, because if New Orleans gets around the edge, the Lions would be caught with no ability to bring the ball carrier down, and would likely give up a touchdown run.

However, it’s exactly the situation Payton was waiting for to run inside.

After the snap, Lions middle linebacker Jarrad Davis immediately attacks the run. This is a bit of a gamble, because if it’s play-action then the middle is wide open. However, in this case, it works.

The crashing linebacker forces Saints left guard Andrus Peat to abandon his double team of A’Shawn Robinson to pick up Davis.

Robinson, in turn, easily sheds the block of left tackle Terron Armstead. While he can’t make the tackle, he does halt Ingram’s attack on the line of scrimmage and allows his teammates to fold in on the running back, stopping him short of the line to gain.

However, New Orleans would take advantage of the same aggressiveness which stopped this play, just one snap later.

Going for it on fourth down, the Saints had a 24-10 lead in the first half of this game. However, knowing Detroit has been playing strong in the second half of games this season, this is no time to let off the gas.

Kamara is lined up in the backfield with a fullback lined up in front of him and Brees under center. Again, Detroit is in an obvious running situation, but is a little looser than most fourth and one defensive formations would typically be. Again, this is because of the perimeter threat.

When the ball is snapped, Brees turns to hand it off to fullback Zach Line. Notice, the same aggression from the Lions defense which presented itself on third down as all the linebackers immediately work towards the fullback.

This play call required an inside look and an overly committed defense to stopping a short run play. Without those two elements, this play doesn’t work.

When the linebackers collapse on the fullback run, Line pitches the ball to Kamara who is already moving to open space left vacant as the Detroit defense completely lost contain trying to make the initial stop.

This is an absolutely brilliant play call by Payton, and expert execution by the Saints offense.

Eventually, Mark Ingram would punch the ball into the end zone giving his team a strong lead and hallmark drive which emphasized everything this unit can be.