Revisiting 2019 - Week 14: Smash/Fade

Dusty looks back at the Packers week 14 victory over Washington and breaks down a few key plays

I can't believe we're up to week 14 already. It feels like I just started this series of revisiting every game of the 2019 season, and now we're nearly done. I'm already starting to think of other things I could do to help fill the time of this long, long offseason. Don't worry. We'll find something. Together.

Today, we'll be looking at a few plays from the win over Washington. The Packers started out pretty strong, but they weren't able to keep tacking on points. Because of that, Washington just kept hanging around. All of these are plays that I really liked, but also proved to be huge in the Packers victory.

Play 1: 3rd & 8, 2:57 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Packers leading 14-6

Growing up, one thing I heard a lot on TV was, "never throw short of the sticks on 3rd down if you want to pick up the 1st down." And, while I can understand the simplicity of that, it's not something that should always be followed. Take this play, for example. 

Jimmy Moreland [32] follows Allen Lazard [13] across the formation before the snap, signaling man coverage. Lazard ends up lined-up under Geronimo Allison [81] on the right, with Moreland playing outside leverage. Allison fires straight up the field at the snap, while Lazard gives a single jab-step before cutting on a slant. The jab-step moves Moreland back and the route from Allison works as a natural pick for Lazard to run under. 

With the left side of the defense pushed back by the go route from Davante Adams [17], Lazard is able to catch the ball in-stride and has plenty of room to run after the catch. The result is 17 yards and a 1st down.

Play 2: 4th & 1, 12:30 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Packers leading 14-6

I covered a 4th &10 play last week. And, while they're not playing in a snowstorm, they're in the same sort of no-man's-land as they were against New York. Only this time they're not looking to pick up 10 yards in the middle of the field with Geronimo Allison: they only need 1 yard, and they send in Jamaal Williams [30].

Washington has two men pinching the A gap on either side of Corey Linsley [63]. Those men need to be rooted out, and the Packers have a plan. Linsley and Elgton Jenkins [74] work to double-team the left, while Billy Turner [77] is blocking the outside shoulder of the defender on the right and driving him down the line. Bryan Bulaga [75] has a tough assignment against Jonathan Bostic [53]. Bulaga has the size advantage, but Bostic is starting the play on Bulaga's inside shoulder.

Bulaga does a good job getting in front of Bostic, but has a hard time squaring up.

Meanwhile, the duo of Linsley and Jenkins completely remove Jonathan Allen [93] from the equation, while Turner drives Matthew Ioannidis [98] to the other side of the line.

Williams is able to find a yard between Bulaga and Turner, then follows Linsley and Jenkins for even more. A tremendous job blocking and nice vision leads to 7 yards and a 1st down. The Packers would kick a field goal a few plays later to make the score 17-6.

Play 3: 3rd & 14, 8:28 remaining in the 4th quarter, Packers leading 17-9

This is one of the biggest plays of the game. The Packers are clinging to a 8 point lead, facing 3rd & 14 from their own 7 yard line. A failure to convert here leaves the Packers punting and giving the ball back to Washington with good field position in a one-score game. Less-than-ideal.

The Packers trot out a Smash/Fade concept on the right with Jimmy Graham [80] running a curl from the outside while Aaron Jones [33] runs a fade from the slot. To help clear out the middle, Davante Adams is running a go route from off the end of the line.

Let's spend a minute to talk about the actual Smash concept first. 

Smash is an old West Coast concept. Its creation is generally credited to ex-Packers Head Coach, Lindy Infante. For his part, Infante says he picked it up from the 49ers. It gets tricky to track down the origins of concepts.

Anyway, the original Smash is a high-low read meant to stress the defense. If the underneath defender stays on the curl, throw the corner route. If the underneath defender drifts under the corner, throw the curl.

Smash/Fade is a variation on that. Instead of having the inside receiver run a corner route, he continues up the field on a fade route. Now that we have the basics, let's look at the play.

I've drawn out the routes, but we'll pay extra close attention to the three defenders. There is some confusion in the coverage assignments. As Graham cuts on the curl route, the linebacker passes off Jones to pick up Graham. At the same time, the boundary defender drives on Graham. The safety to the inside drifts back with Adams. 

Aaron Jones simply runs through it all. The inside safety and the boundary defender do a pretty good job closing the gap and not allowing Jones a ton of room to work with. The way the safety is playing, throwing over the top is a pretty risky proposition, so Aaron Rodgers [12] throws to the boundary, away from the oncoming safety.

Jones is able to adjust to the throw and comes down with the ball. The Packers pick up 25 yards on 3rd & 14.

The Packers ran another 10 plays on the drive, ending with a field goal to put them up 20-9. Washington got the ball back with 2:34 left on the clock, down 2 scores. It's a good thing the Packers got those extra 3 points: Washington scored a touchdown on their next drive with 1:17 left on the clock.


If you want to look at some more passing concepts from the week 14 game, you're in luck! I wrote about them here.


Albums listened to: The National - Boxer; George Harrison - All Things Must Pass; Happyness - Floatr; Damien Jurado - What's New, Tomboy?

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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 (11)

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Handsback's picture

May 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Dusty, I really enjoy you breaking down these plays.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 13, 2020 at 03:15 pm

Once again, I am awed by your work and insights. Thank you so very much!!
I am now a more educated fan.

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DustyEvely's picture

May 15, 2020 at 12:56 pm

Thanks man! Very much appreciated. Glad you're digging it!

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BrandonMcClinchey's picture

May 13, 2020 at 03:18 pm

Rodgers is the man! Also, now that we are looking forward to the next season i am wondering how it will all shake out. With not only drafting Jordan Love in the first round and getting no WRs on offense but now with COVID more than likely shortening the season. Itll be interesting.

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BrandonMcClinchey's picture

May 13, 2020 at 03:18 pm

Rodgers is the man! Also, now that we are looking forward to the next season i am wondering how it will all shake out. With not only drafting Jordan Love in the first round and getting no WRs on offense but now with COVID more than likely shortening the season. Itll be interesting.

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ejr450's picture

May 13, 2020 at 05:02 pm

Dusty, I was at this game and recall there were a couple plays early to Graham where Sternberger was in and running free as well. Somehow I feel like you may have already looked at these and I’m behind (it happens) but if not, any chance you can give them a review?

Great work as always!

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DustyEvely's picture

May 15, 2020 at 12:58 pm

I'll take a look. I've got quite a few irons in the fire at the moment, but I've got a note to go back and pay attention to that.

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wildbill's picture

May 13, 2020 at 05:03 pm

Nice work as usual. Really enjoy your breakdowns and learn something every time. Thanks!

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Point-Packer's picture

May 13, 2020 at 11:05 pm

On that second play, McCarthy would have run an outside sweep to Aaron Jones and lost three yards.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 14, 2020 at 10:45 am

Is that why McCarthy put top offenses on the field and won so many games?

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Point-Packer's picture

May 14, 2020 at 10:34 pm

Aaron Rodgers.

Can't wait to watch McCarthy tank in Dallas.

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