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.
In our first breakdown, we highlighted Fred Jackson’s 38-yard run/ demoralizing stiff arms to Bear’s safety Chris Conte in overtime of Week One, which set up a game-winning field goal.
This time, we’ll take a look at a play that put the Bills in position to win their third game of the season.
Sammy Watkins’ 20-Yard Highlight-Reel Catch To Set Up Dan Carpenter 58-yard FG
After three missed field goals by Alex Henery, the Bills are tied 14-14 with the Detroit Lions with :21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. It’s 1st-and-10 and the Bills are on their own 40-yard-line and have just one timeout remaining.
Buffalo comes out in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) in a 3×1 shotgun formation. Scott Chandler is detached from the line of scrimmage, with Robert Woods in the slot and Mike Williams lined up in a tight split as the flanker.
Across the formation, Sammy Watkins is the “X” receiver, lined up across from Rashean Mathis, who returned an interception on a pass intended for Sammy for a touchdown in the first half of the game.
Detroit is in a 4-2-5 nickel package and showing a three-deep look (one safety in the deep middle). The Lions are predominantly a zone-based defense, so Kyle Orton knows that he’s about to see a Cover 3 zone. Both of Detroit’s inside linebackers are hinting at a double “A” gap blitz, and the strong safety is inching towards the line as well, showing pressure.
After the snap, linebacker DeAndre Levy (#54) and the strong safety blitz, while the other linebacker, #55 Stephen Tulloch and defensive end Jason Jones drop into coverage. Tulloch drops into a shallow middle zone, while Jones trails Bills tight end Scott Chandler into the flat in man coverage.
Mike Williams and Robert Woods still haven’t reached the depth of their route yet, so the deep free safety is frozen, as it’s his job to defend the post on either side of him.
Robert Woods breaks outwards towards the sideline as Orton delivers an off-target pass to Sammy Watkins, who was wide open Despite the pass being off target, Watkins was able to track the ball, reach up and tap it over his shoulder with one arm, in order to secure it with the other—and still had the awareness to pick up the yards he could and hit the ground to save the clock.
.Due to the linebackers showing blitz, Stephen Tulloch wasn’t able to reach his proper depth in time, and free safety Glover Quin couldn’t break on anything that hadn’t developed. By then, Watkins had gained inside leverage by crossing Mathis’ face on a deep slant, giving the Bills an easy 20-yard chunk to cross the field and set up a field goal attempt.