In the Denver Broncos' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs, the team used misdirection and play-action to get quarterback Tim Tebow outside the pocket and to create wide passing lanes for the young play-maker to operate. Expecting the Broncos to head back to the well against the New England Patriots, former NFL safety and current National Football Post columnist Matt Bowen breaks down the "swap boot" play in wonderful detail.
To get an understanding of the formation and route combination be sure to consult his visual breakdown, but the basic idea is that Tebow fakes a handoff flowing to the strong side of the formation and releases on a play-action bootleg back to the weak side, where his tight ends have worked across the field in a post/drag route combination. Tebow typically ends up releasing to the left (towards his throwing hand) and gets an easy half-field read with larger throwing windows than typically available in the pocket.
Can the Patriots do anything to limit the effectiveness of this play? Bowen offers several points of emphasis that the New England will need to follow to prevent Tebow from gashing them with the "swap boot." Here are his technical insights:
FS help: As a FS, you must be able to get over the top of the X receiver on the 9 route and break at a downhill angle on the post. Don't take a risk here like we saw from Troy Polamalu on Sunday in Denver. Play with depth, read the QB and break only on the throw.
Contain: The edge player to the open side (DE or OLB) is unblocked. He has to avoid crashing down on the run fake, get vertical up the field and force the QB to dump the ball. If you lose contain, this allows Tebow to extend the play and target routes down the field.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Denver. For more on this game, visit Broncos blog, Mile High Report, and Patriots blog, Pats Pulpit. Head over to SB Nation NFL for more coverage of the 2012 NFL Playoffs.