Super Bowl LIII Preview: How the Rams Combine Pre-Snap Motion and Post Snap Play Action

I have written a lot about the Patriots offense v. the Rams defense including how the Rams defense must get the Patriots off the field on 3rd down. Like the Patriots the Rams are eerily similar with regards to their run game and play action pass game. The Rams are the number one play action offense in the league according to Pro Football Focus and outlined in depth by the Robert Mays of the Ringer the Rams are running play action pass at a 34% clip in 2018. We examine one of the ways the Rams exploit defenses using pre-snap fly motion in combination with play action below.


Basic Breakdown of how play action is used.

To begin the analysis I want to start by outlining the basic ideology behind what a play action does to a defense. For starters, play action only works when you are able to run the football. If you are unable to run the ball effectively it limits the effectiveness of the play action pass game and forces your QB into more obvious passing situations. This is the basic explanation of how a play action pass game can be effective.


How the Rams use pre-snap fly motion and post-snap play action.

Now for the more technical aspect of the play action pass we examine one of the staples of the Rams offensive attack where they utilize a pre-snap fly motion action combined with a post snap play action to the TB attacking both the 2nd and third level defenders and forcing defenses to defend every player on the field.


The run game is the key the key to the success of a play action call.

For Jared Goff to be successful and in rhythm the Rams will need to be able to run the ball effectively. If they are able to run the ball on 1st, or 2nd down setting up play action passes the Rams will be able to move the ball effectively. I fully expect the Patriots to take away the deep shot forcing Goff to check down all day long. If the Patriots get out to an early lead in this game as they did against the Chiefs in the AFC Title one week ago it will put pressure on Goff to make a big play. This could lead to Goff making some mistakes throughout that could potentially doom the Rams game plan. This game will be all about taking what the Patriots defense gives to Jared Goff.


Rams Fly Motion Action (Pre-snap) 11 Personnel, v. 43 with 2 high safeties 10 yards Deep.


In this play the Rams use the fly motion to get the linebackers flowing with the motion, and getting the safeties attention by moving the formation from twins left to twins right.


Fly Motion Continued


The linebackers are conflicted pre-snap with the motion and then are sucked into the post-snap play action to Todd Gurley. The Rams are now in their comfort zone with the play action and Goff has two options, the deep shot to Brandon Cooks down the middle of the field, or a check down to Todd Gurley. Goff takes the shot deep to Cooks on this play.


Fly Motion Continued

The Rams are now in their comfort zone with the play action holding the LB's and zero pressure being applied to Goff in the Pocket. Goff has two options, the deep shot to Brandon Cooks down the middle of the field, or a check down to Todd Gurley in the boundary. Goff takes the deep shot to Cooks on this play.


The Rams run this same action when they are in the gun, and they often times will move the pocket allowing Goff to use his feet. Jared Goff is an under rated athlete that can also make plays with his legs. If the Patriots are successful at moving Goff off of his spot early in this game, the Rams will move the pocket to buy Goff time. If the run action is working because Gurley, or Anderson are getting 4 or more yards per pop, the Rams might not need to worry about moving Goff around to avoid pressure.



Summary Analysis

For Jared Goff to be successful and in rhythm, the Rams will need to be able to run the ball effectively. If they can run the ball on 1st, or 2nd down setting up play-action passes the Rams will be able to move the ball effectively. I fully expect the Patriots to take away the deep shot forcing Goff to check down or make the underneath throws. If the Patriots get out to an early lead in this game as they did against the Chiefs in the AFC Title one week ago, it will put pressure on Goff to make a big play. This could force Goff into making some mistakes throughout that could potentially doom the Rams game plan. This game will be all about taking what the Patriots defense gives to Jared Goff. If the run game is effective and Goff takes what the Patriots give him the Rams have a better than a good chance of becoming Super Bowl champs.






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