Bucs Roll Up To Cover 3 For Pick 6

By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 19, 2022
All 22 Tuesday

One of the most under appreciated things about the NFL is just how fast the game is played. It’s not only how fast once the ball is snapped either. There are lightening fast things going on in between the snaps too. When Tampa Bay rolled up to a cover 3 look vs Jameis Winston on Sunday, we promise you that he never saw it happening.

Now once it happened or once Winston realized who had just picked the curl route, you can bet he knew that he had misread the coverage. Once again, that’s why it is so hard to play quarterback in the NFL. Things happen so quickly and you don’t get to take it back once the ball leaves your hands.

There Was A Rhyme & Reason For This Cover 3 Call

Let’s set the stage for this All 22 Tuesday play of the week. The score is 13-3 in the fourth quarter with 4:24 left in the game. Tampa Bay had just driven down to kick a field goal and made it a two score game. As we learned on Sunday, 4:24 is plenty of time to generate two (maybe three) scores in the NFL. Winston has the Saints on the move as they cross midfield. They are running an up tempo pace.

If you go back and watch some of the plays leading up to this cover 3 secondary, you will see a lot of cover 2. This makes sense in a hurry up 2 minute drill type of offense. What you also see was that the Saints were trying to be patient and not trying to get it all back at once. OC Pete Carmichael and his crew were working the sticks and methodically moving the ball.

Todd Bowles saw this too. The Bucs lined up with a two deep look vs the 3×1 formation from the Saints. When the ball was snapped the corners both bailed to the deep thirds. Mike Edwards, #32 rolled down into the strong side curl. Antoine Winfield was buzzing to the flat but the #1 receiver was gone, so he throttled down just outside of the number two receiver. Edwards was the curl player in cover 3. He saw Winston’s eyes the entire way as the Saints were running a curl route.

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Edwards stepped in front of it and that was the end of that. There could be so much more to it that we don’t see. Obviously, we are not privy to the Bucs tendency breakdowns. However, our point today is that this is a simple coverage. Cover 3 is something that you see in high school and college a lot. What you probably don’t see is the tempo and the talent that makes a misread like this a game ending mistake.

Mike Carter