Revisiting 2019 - NFC Championship: End of the Line

After rolling through a (mostly good) 17 games, we find ourselves here, at the end of all things. The ending doesn't negate any of the fun things from this season, but it's never good to get the brakes beat off of you in the last game of the season. Leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

But it wasn't all bad. I swear! Join me as we look at a handful of plays from the 2019 NFC Championship Game. If you want to dig into some other passing concepts from the game - and there were some good ones - you can do that here.

Play 1: 3rd & 1, 13:59 remaining in the 1st quarter, Packers tied 0-0

After what happened in their Week 12 meeting, it was imperative for the Packers to get off to a good start in this game. The 49ers got the ball first. They gained 9 yards on their first 2 touches and faced a 3rd & 1. Forcing a three-and-out on the first drive could be huge.

Kenny Clark [97] shifts before the snap to play directly over the center. At the snap, he gets low in the A gap, diving under the center and guard.

Meanwhile, Za'Darius Smith [55] manhandles George Kittle [85], shoving him into the middle of the line. As that is happening, B.J. Goodson [93] scrapes over the top of Smith and easily evades the block from Kyle Juszczyk [44].

Clark grabs the Tevin Coleman's legs like he's a monster hiding under the bed, and the combination of Smith/Goodson meet Coleman at the line and stopping him for a no gain. The 49ers punt and the Packers went on to live happily ever after. Nothing bad happened from this point forward.

Play 2: 2nd & 6, 0:45 remaining in the 1st quarter, Packers trailing 0-7

You may have heard that Jimmy Garoppolo [10] only attempted 8 passes in this game. That's true! That's insane! Anyway, this is one of them.

We've got some criss-crossing motion at the line, but Garoppolo is really only looking to hit either Kittle on the deep out or Emmanuel Sanders [17] on the crossing route. Darnell Savage [26] blankets Kittle on the out route, so Garoppolo looks to Sanders on the crosser.

And it looks good! Sanders has a step on King as he streaks across the field. 

The throw is a little behind Sanders and King makes a great diving stop. 

I've learned a great many things in my life, and here is one of them: don't test Kevin King on a crossing route.

Play 3: 2nd & 8, 9:30 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Packers trailing 0-27

The game has gotten away from the Packers by this point, but hey! This play is cool!

This is not the first time the Packers ran something like this in 2019. But no matter how many times I see it, I always love it.

Marcedes Lewis [89] is on the left, lined up inside of Nick Bosa [97]. Bosa had been a problem all day, so they're looking for a way to counter that. At the snap, Lewis engages with Bosa, but lets him win to the inside. As soon as Bosa is clear, Lewis turns around for the pass.

Blockers leak out and Lewis rumbles for 11 yards.

Play 4: 3rd & 5, 10:48 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers trailing 13-24

Davante Adams [17] is man-to-man against Richard Sherman [25]. The 49ers have the safeties pulled up, and the man on Adams' side never looks at Adams. That's Sherman on an island, and Adams eats his lunch.

Adams jab steps out, which gets Sherman turning to the outside to try to pin Adams to the sideline. But Adams immediately reverses back to the inside and looks briefly like he's going to run a dig, hesitating for a step at the 18 yard line. That causes Sherman to pull up briefly, and Adams flies by him.

And the throw is perfect. Naturally.

Bonus play: Super Bowl LIV
2nd & 7, 3:44 remaining in the 4th quarter, Chiefs trailing 17-20

We're going to look at one more play that is not a Packers play, but is related to the play we just looked at. This one takes place in a big moment in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are down by 3 with less than 4 minutes left in the Super Bowl, sitting at the 49ers 48 yard line.

When asked about this play after the game, Sammy Watkins [14] said "shout out to Davante Adams," and it's easy to see why. The 49ers come out in a similar alignment: Sherman man-to-man on Watkins and the safety to that side pulled up. The difference in that respect is that the safety to that side rotates back to the single-high position at the snap, but the result is the same: Sherman on an island.

Watkins jab-steps to the outside. Adams has much more violent feet, so Sherman has a more violent reaction against Adams, but it ends up being roughly the same: Sherman turns to the outside, then Watkins cuts back inside and just runs over the top. There is no hesitation from Watkins after that cut. He just runs down the field and fades toward the sideline after clearing Sherman.

Patrick Mahomes [15] lays it up over the top and the Chiefs score the go-ahead touchdown 3 plays later. 

Shout-out Davante Adams, indeed.

This concludes my review of the 2019 season. It went by quickly, but I hope you had as much fun as I did.

My next project will likely be a look at Equanimeous St. Brown's 2018 season and see what he could bring the offense next season, but that's going to take a little time to put together, so I'm not sure when it will be up. But that's on deck, so get hyped!

Albums listened to: Julien Baker - Turn Out the Lights; Brian Fallon - Sleepwalkers; Unwed Sailor - Look Alive; mewithoutYou - Pale Horses


Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].

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Comments (3)

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Since91's picture

June 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Thanks Dusty!
Can’t wait for the ESQ breakdown!

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Leatherhead's picture

June 17, 2020 at 02:06 pm

I have enjoyed these, probably because it shows our WRs were not the schlubs some people claimed.

A play from the championship game that I wish you had shown was a quick pass to Jones in the left flat with room to run, but Tonyan was totally defeated by a much smaller DB who tackled Jones for a loss. It could have been a good play for us but it wasn’t because one guy couldn’t do his job.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

June 17, 2020 at 04:10 pm

Nice job again Dusty.

I'd love to see your take on how the 9ers block with Juszczyk and how Deguara might fit that role.

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