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FILM REVIEW: Film study pays off again for offense

Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, along with quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, Dan Orlovsky and Jake Rudock, spend countless hours during the week pouring over film, trying to come up with the perfect plays against certain looks that might make the difference on Sunday.

The offensive brain trust noticed something they could potentially exploit when the Saints' safeties cover the deep sideline.

"We noticed something in film, sometimes in 2-High those safeties didn't get over top," Lions receiver Golden Tate said after the game.

"You have these different plays every week that sometimes you call them and get the wrong coverage or sometimes the pocket breaks down. That play synched up perfectly."

The Lions found the right opportunity to exploit what they saw on film, and it turned into a huge touchdown from Stafford to Tate early in the fourth quarter.

The play is the focus of this week's Film Review.

The Saints had just trimmed the Lions lead to 19-13, and Detroit was facing a 3rd and 10 at their own 34-yard line early in the quarter.

The Lions came out in a shotgun, three-receiver set with tight end Eric Ebron on the line of scrimmage off the right tackle, and running back Theo Riddick to the left of Stafford.

The Saints counter with their nickel package and show blitz pre-snap, with seven defenders on the line of scrimmage.


Stafford sees the blitz and and single-high safety look. He changes the play to attack the weakness he, Cooter and the rest of the quarterbacks saw during the week. Stafford signals to Tate on the outside right, who's on the same page with his quarterback.  

The Saints change up their blitz at the snap, with cornerback Sterling Moore (#24) coming off the right edge and linebackers Craig Robertson and Dannell Ellerbe dropping into coverage.

Riddick does a nice job picking up Moore off the edge, but right guard Larry Warford is beaten by defensive end Cameron Jordan (#94), who then has Stafford in his sights.


Stafford does a terrific job of standing his ground and taking the hit by Jordan, while still being able to deliver the football.

The Saints are playing a little trap-zone concept on the outside with their cornerbacks, so cornerback B.W. Webb (#28) lets Tate go down the sideline after 10 yards, thinking he has safety help over the top from rookie Vonn Bell (#48), who's the single-high safety in this coverage.

This is where the film study paid off. The Lions saw on film that Bell would sometimes peek inside, and wouldn't get all the way over the top to help along the sideline. Stafford saw it and delivered the ball to Tate down the right sideline.

"There were a few times that game that the DB's were playing this technique where they were kind of looking inside, kind of letting me go on the outside and you know, finally we all kind of just synched up," Tate said.


From there, Tate becomes a running back and does what he does best -- run after the catch. He splits Webb and Bell on an inside cut, and it's off to the races.

The score gave the Lions cushion on the scoreboard in an eventual 28-13 win that improves their record to 8-4 on the year.

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