Here’s a look at the well-designed and well-executed plays that made our list in Week 12:

Passing Design of the Week: Seahawks well-prepared for scramble drill

Perhaps the biggest game of the week took place in Charlotte, where the Carolina Panthers hosted the Seattle Seahawks. And the back-and-forth affair came down to the final moments.

After Panthers kicker Graham Gano missed a 52-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining in a tie game, the Seahawks were given a chance to pull out the road victory. As always, they looked to quarterback Russell Wilson – and the crafty gunslinger delivered:

On this third-down play, Wilson’s kept clean in the pocket but initially lacks a downfield option thanks to great coverage. At that point, the scramble drill kicks in.

Scramble-drill plays are an element of the passing game that every team practices, with rules and guidelines that each offense installs. Receivers break off their routes simultaneously – those running shorter designs often break vertically, deeper options may work back to the football, and others mirror the quarterback’s lateral movement to one sideline or the other. For a team with a very mobile quarterback like Seattle with Wilson, these plays are critical to their overall offensive success.

In this case, wide receiver Tyler Lockett (No. 16), who first ran a short hitch route to the right flat, sees that Wilson needs an outlet and breaks vertically, leaving behind cornerback Captain Munnerlyn (No. 1). Wilson finds Lockett and drops in a well-placed throw, getting the Seahawks down to the Panthers’ 10-yard line, well inside field-goal range.

From this replay angle, you can see how the QB and WR are on the same page:

Wilson’s great vision – coupled with the awareness of Lockett as he released vertically away from the rest of the coverage and other receiving routes – helped the Seahawks pull out a much-needed victory.

Rushing Design of the Week: Numbers advantage springs Lindsay

The Denver Broncos kept their playoff hopes alive against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a last-second interception, but there were great plays made all over the field.

One of those came from rookie running back Phillip Lindsay, who continues to be a focal point of the Denver offense. His 32-yard gain in the second quarter moved the Broncos deep into Pittsburgh’s territory.

The success of this play begins with the formation and personnel. The Broncos break the huddle with one wide receiver, two backs, and two tight ends – known as 22 personnel – with both tight ends and fullback Andy Janovich (No. 32) on the right, giving them a huge numbers advantage on that side of the field:

NFL/CBS

That’s exactly where Lindsay goes after taking the handoff, as the Broncos run a zone-blocking design to the right and the rusher finds a hole:

With a favorable schedule down the stretch and Lindsay continuing to put up numbers, the 5-6 Broncos are rounding into form at the right time and have a shot to make some noise down the stretch.

Pressure Design of the Week: Bosa takes advantage of 1-on-1

Talented Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa looks like himself after missing the first 10 weeks of the season with a lingering foot injury. Against Denver in Week 11, he saw limited action, notching one tackle. But his second appearance of the season was a different story, as Bosa found himself back in the sack column (twice) at the expense of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen.

One of those sacks came early in the second quarter on a third-and-9 in Cardinals’ territory. With Rosen lined up in the shotgun, the Chargers turn to two of their pressure concepts. First, they show blitz with both linebackers. Next, they put pass-rusher Melvin Ingram just inside of Bosa – who’s on the end – which means their two best pressure players are on the same edge:

NFL/FOX

The linebackers drop in coverage, but Bosa takes advantage of his one-on-one matchup against the right tackle – which is created by the alignment of Ingram and the linebackers showing blitz – and easily gets around the edge for the sack:

This play highlights how the Chargers pair schemes and deception with Bosa’s power and speed off the edge to collapse the pocket. And with running back Melvin Gordon now sidelined with a knee injury, Bosa and the defense will play a key role moving forward.

Coverage Design of the Week: Eagles’ patchwork secondary saves the day

The New York Giants entered Sunday riding a two-game winning streak, and their passing game seemed to be turning the corner after a difficult start. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is dealing with a litany of injuries, especially in the secondary, but that banged-up unit turned in a huge interception before halftime to stave off New York’s scoring threat.

The play begins with just 17 seconds remaining in the second quarter and the Giants facing a second-and-10 at the Eagles’ 37-yard line. Eli Manning’s in the shotgun and looking for Odell Beckham Jr. to run a post route (red arrow):

NFL/FOX

Defensively, the Eagles run a pretty standard Tampa 2 coverage, but with a twist involving safety Malcolm Jenkins (orange circle):

NFL/FOX

Here, Jenkins drops down a bit and aligns in the middle of the field, leaving him responsible for helping between the two deeper safeties behind him. Traditionally, this assignment’s executed by a linebacker, but not this time – and it pays off perfectly:

Jenkins reads Manning’s eyes and steps in front of Beckham, snaring the interception and ending the Giants’ scoring threat. The visitors come away without any points on the drive, setting the stage for the Eagles’ second-half comeback win, which kept their playoff hopes alive.

Mark Schofield writes NFL feature content for theScore. After nearly a decade of practicing law in the Washington, D.C., area Mark changed careers and started writing about football. Drawing upon more than a decade of playing quarterback, including at the collegiate level, Mark focuses his work on quarterback evaluation and offensive scheme analysis. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two children. Find him on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

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