The Buffalo Bills will head to training camp at St. John Fisher College in order to prepare for the 2015 NFL Season in a few weeks, but at BillsMafia.com, we thought it’d be fun to look back at some of the most memorable moments from the team’s 2014 season.
Over the next few weeks we’ll break down 10 of the best plays of the year, those that showed remarkable effort in critical situations by an individual or few players, and the best additions to the teams highlight reel.
For our first breakdown, it’s only fitting that we head back to Week One against the Chicago Bears.
Fred Jackson’s 38-yard run to set up game-winning FG in OT
It’s week one and the Bills traveled to take on the Bears in a game that many thought would result in a blowout in favor of Chicago, a team that was an offensive juggernaut the previous year under “The QB Whisperer,” Marc Trestman.
However, the Bills came to play. With the score tied 20-20 in overtime, the Bills have the ball on Chicago’s 39-yard line. The Bears had possession already, so they only need a field goal to win the game.
It’s 2nd and five and the Bills come out with 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers). EJ Manuel and Fred Jackson are in a shotgun formation with Scott Chandler as a wingback (tight end detached from the line of scrimmage). He motions from the right side of the formation to the left, aligning behind the left tackle and left guard. Bears’ cornerback Ryan Mundy trails him across the formation, which tells us that Chicago is running some sort of man coverage.
The Bills call a packaged play—a “Wham” and an option for EJ Manuel to pull the ball back and keep it himself.
The “Wham” is designed to create two double teams, rather than one, leaving a defensive lineman unblocked to be picked up by another player. This allows the offensive line to get to the second level quicker, making things more difficult for linebackers.
After the snap, EJ Manuel “reads” defensive end Lamarr Houston, who stays home to play “contain,” rather than crashing the play, so he hands the ball off to Fred Jackson.
It appears that the run is designed for Jackson to hit the right “A” gap, but Chicago’s weakside linebacker Lance Briggs shoots the gap between the center and right guard. Jackson makes a quick jump-cut to his left and sees daylight due to Scott Chandler’s wham block that took #21 Ryan Mundy out of the area.
Bills wide receiver Mike Williams effectively seals out Chicago’s strong safety and Jackson hits daylight with just free safety Chris Conte standing between himself and the endzone.
Jackson bounds down the left sideline, before delivering not one, but two devastating stiff arms to Conte. He dives for the pylon, but is ruled out of bounds at the two-yard line.
Dan Carpenter nails the field goal, securing a 23-20 victory.