Chargers' WR Malcom Floyd inside the redzone is completely unfair to a defense. His size serves him well no matter where he's positioned - inside, where he presents a large target who can protect the football in traffic, or outside, where he can win jump balls against almost any defender.
The Play: 11:56 left in the 2nd Quarter. 3rd and Goal Chargers at the Oakland 5 yard line.
The Chargers come out in "12" personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR). Here's a diagram of the play below:
The Chargers' Offense (from left to right).
- TE Antonio Gates (85) is on left side of the offense, between the hash and numbers. He runs a Corner route.
- RB Branden Oliver (43) flanks Rivers' left. He runs a Flat route.
- TE Ladarius Green (89) is on the right side, split off the line of scrimmage. He runs a Skinny Post route.
- WR Malcom Floyd (80) is on Green's right. He runs a Shallow Cross route.
- WR Keenan Allen (13) is outside on the right. He also runs a Shallow Cross route.
The Raiders' Defense (from the defense's right to left).
- Up Front: OLB Khalil Mack (52), DT Justin Ellis (78), DT Antonio Smith (94), DE LaMarr Woodley (58).
- In the Middle: ILB Miles Burris (56).
- In the Secondary: CB Tarell Brown (23), CB Charles Woodson (24), DB Brandian Ross (29), SS Usama Young (26), CB Carlos Rogers (27), CB T.J. Carrie (38).
- The Raiders are playing a standard dime defense (6 DBs). By personnel the raiders are running a 3-2-6 defense.
Elements of the Play
Figure 1 shows the formation before the snap. What's interesting here is that the Chargers don't send anyone in motion to force the defense to show their hand. ILB Miles Burris briefly feigns a blitz up the middle before retreating back to the goal line in zone coverage. Nothing here indicates the Raiders are going to blitz.
Figure 2. At the snap, it's a four man rush. Notice the Raiders DBs are not dropping into zones, with the exception of the ILB Burris and DB Ross, yet they're not playing near the Line of Scrimmage. My guess here is that the Raiders are playing "off-man" coverage - a style where the defenders pick up coverage as the route develops, with Burris and Ross playing zone in the middle of the defense.
Figure 3 shows the Chargers have set up a concept to the right side of the formation with 2 Shallow Crosses and a Skinny Post. The inside Shallow Cross (Floyd) and Skinny Post (Green) share the same break point, which also sets up a pick play on CB Rogers.
This view from behind the line of scrimmage shows that Rivers has a clean pocket. As C Rich Ohrnberger slides over to help RG Chris Watt with the block on DT Smith, you can see Rivers looking towards ILB Burris, who is now stuck with an impossible choice because Rivers has done a good job of holding him with his eyes. Burris has 3 options: he comes up to take away Floyd, retreats back to his left to take away Green, or stays in no man's land. No matter what he chooses, he's wrong. This is how the Chargers took a 3-2 advantage for the Raiders and turned it into a 2-1 advantage in their favor.
Figure 5. This is the linchpin of the play design for the Chargers. Notice that Green does a nice job getting between Floyd and Rogers without making contact and drawing Offensive Interference. Rivers is getting ready to throw the ball.
Rivers takes the easy throw inside to Floyd, who is free of Rogers thanks to Green's route. Here's where Floyd becomes such a luxury inside. Normally, a slot receiver would be at a major size disadvantage against a linebacker. In this case, Floyd is 6' 5" and weighs 225. Burris is 6' 2" and 235. With Burris choosing to stay in no man's land, all Floyd has do is fall forward for the TD.
I'd also like to note that Allen beats DB Carrie inside, and is open should Rivers choose to go that way. But why make a harder throw when a simple throw is right in front of you.
Here's a GIF showing the play:
This is another really nice concept showing the Chargers taking advantage of the size/speed mismatches their players create in the redzone. Further, it's really nice demonstration of how to run a pick without actually making contact (