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Colts Film Breakdown: Read Option Execution Leads To Frank Gore Touchdown

Posted Nov 27, 2017

Intro: Each week, Colts.com will take a look at a significant play from the previous week’s contest. This week’s installment examines running back Frank Gore’s 14-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter of Sunday’s Week 12 matchup against the Tennessee Titans in Indy.

INDIANAPOLIS — This week’s film breakdown looks at Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore’s 14-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter in Sunday’s 20-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Here’s the All-22 development of Gore’s play:

PRE SNAP

After Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin was able to pick off Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s game, Indianapolis responded with a 28-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal to tie the score at six. But when rookie corner Nate Hairston was also able to get an interception of Mariota on the ensuing Tennessee possession, the Colts’ offense wanted even more with halftime just less than two minutes away.

Starting their final drive of the first half from the Tennessee 34-yard line, it took five plays for the Colts to face a 3rd and 1 from the Tennessee 14-yard line. With one timeout and 42 seconds left, Indianapolis had a variety of run/pass options at its disposal, and showed in its formation that it wasn’t going to necessarily sell out on the run or the pass. The Colts come out in a shotgun formation with three receivers — twins to the left and a lone receiver, T.Y. Hilton, to the right — and Gore lined up to the right of quarterback Jacoby Brissett. One tight end, Jack Doyle, is down in a three-point stance at the right end of the offensive line, a potential sign to the defense that a run could be coming that way.

The Titans come out in a 2-4-5 look defensively, with two defensive linemen, four linebackers (two each inside and outside) and five defensive backs. They are going to do their best to ensure the Colts are well covered if they try a passing play on 3rd and 1.


THE READ

The Colts have a very straightforward approach to this play and put no players in motion, while Brissett offers little in the way of presnap directions or audibles. What he does do, however, is take a peek to see where outside linebacker Derrick Morgan is lined up, and sees him down in a four-point stance to the quarterback’s right, facing the tight end, Doyle.

On the snap itself, two very important things happen: first, the entire offensive line (except Doyle) busts to its immediate left; secondly, it’s obvious at this point that the read option is being employed by Brissett and Gore, so whatever Morgan, who is intentionally left uncovered, does from here is key. Brissett puts the ball in Gore’s gut but continues to watch Morgan the entire time — if the defender breaks inside, then Brissett can take the ball back and run through that hole to his right; if Morgan stays home, then the ball will stay with Gore with the hopes he can, at the very least, get the one yard needed for the first down.

Morgan ends up staying home, essentially shuffling his feet in place to try to read what Brissett will do with the handoff. And, let’s not forget — the wide receivers are also still actively involved and running their routes, too, because Brissett can always take a step back and throw, which is another element of the read option that can make it so difficult to cover at times. But because Morgan isn’t sucked in like the rest of the defensive front, the choice is easy for Brissett, who gives the ball to Gore and carries out his run fake to the right.


THE OPTION

The blocking by the offensive line is excellent, and right tackle Denzelle Good is able to get enough of a push of defensive end DaQuan Jones that it allows Gore to run right off Good’s back pocket into in a nice little hole between Jones and Morgan, who is late getting to the running back due to the read option fake by Brissett and dives at Gore’s feet, missing an initial tackle attempt.

From there, Gore is out into a clearing. He has the first down, but he wants more, and because the secondary is so focused on covering the Colts’ four receivers (counting Doyle), there is now only one player, strong safety Jonathan Cyprien, standing in the secondary between Gore and the end zone. The 13-year veteran running back cuts to his left and zooms by Cyprien, who attempts an unsuccessful ankle tackle attempt near the goal line, and crosses the goal line to give the Colts their first lead of the game and all the momentum heading into halftime.

"The O-line did a great job, and I just read it," Gore said Monday.

On the play, Gore, who finished the game with 17 carries for 62 yards and also had two catches for 17 yards, tied Tony Dorsett (77) for the 22nd-most rushing touchdowns in NFL history. Gore’s next rushing touchdown will tie him with Ricky Watters (78) for 21st, while Marshawn Lynch — who is still playing for the Oakland Raiders, of course) sits in 20th place with 79 rushing touchdowns, and former Colts great Edgerrin James is 19th with 80.

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