With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror and the 2022-23 NFL season officially behind us, it’s time to turn our attention to the offseason. However, in order to properly assemble a winning team for next year, it’s prudent to study what worked this year, so we need to ask ourselves: What can the Giants learn from the Chief’s Super Bowl gameplan against the Eagles?
As has been covered repeatedly, the Giants didn’t fare too well against the Eagles this year. They went 0-3 including a 38-7 playoff loss where the Eagles gained 416 yards of total offense while holding the Giants to 227 yards and sacking Daniel Jones five times.
While the Giants can’t magically turn Daniel Jones into Patrick Mahomes or draft Travis Kelce (even though our updated NFL mock draft has something close), there are still lessons that Brian Daboll can take away from Andy Reid’s gameplan in order to help the Giants be more effective against the Eagles next year.
The most obvious impact of the Chiefs’ scheme in Sunday night’s win was their use of motion to create confusion for the Eagles’ defense and neutralize their pass rush. It’s been covered repeatedly since the Super Bowl ended, but when all four of the Chiefs’ offensive touchdowns utilize motion then it becomes something you need to cover.
The Chiefs’ first touchdown, on their opening drive, was a toss from Mahomes to Kelce that was set up by Kelce going in motion to create a mismatch with safety Marcus Epps. He then roasted Epps on the way to a beautiful touchdown grab.
The Chiefs weren’t just using motion to identify coverage or create confusion on the defense, they led the NFL by a significant margin in touchdowns scored by the motion player. Including Super Bowl LVII, the Chiefs had 17 touchdowns this season by the player in motion; that’s seven more than any other team.
We saw that directly on the fourth quarter touchdowns to Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore.
On Toney’s touchdown, the wide receiver motioned inside from the right boundary, creating a miscommunication between Darius Slay and the rest of the secondary. When Slay moved behind the slot corner, setting up an angle to run across the line and keep up with Toney, the Chiefs receiver put his foot in the ground and cut back to the outside. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he had 11.2 yards of separation on the catch.
Later in the fourth quarter, they ran the same exact play on the other side with Skyy Moore, who had had 13.1 yards of separation, per NFL Next Gen Stats.
Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore's 4th quarter touchdowns in Super Bowl LVII pic.twitter.com/b1etUAWRjN
— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) February 13, 2023
This type of pre-snap motion has been becoming more popular in the NFL for years, but ESPN Stats and Information reported that teams were still seeing a .08 increase in Expected Points Added per pass play when they used pre-snap motion.
Kansas City has had success using motion like this for a few years now.
The Chiefs and 49ers were two of the top five teams in the NFL in pre-snap motion, as were both the Rams and Dolphins who have proven to be dynamic offenses when fully healthy. The Giants ranked 19th in motion at the snap; however, they had ranked as low as 28th in November, so this was already something Daboll was installing more in the offense.
While the Giants had some success using pre-snap motion at times in 2022, as Dan Orlovsky breaks down here, it wasn’t a huge part of their arsenal but is perhaps one that Daboll can institute more next season.
Quick Release Passing Game
This one is pretty easy to understand, but if you want to neutralize a dominant pass rush, you need to get the ball out of your hands quickly. Joe Burrow did this phenomenally against the Bills this postseason, and Mahomes did it against the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
According to Pro Football Focus, Mahomes averaged 2.34 seconds per throw, and that was even quicker on screens where he took just 1.6 seconds to throw. The Chiefs went 4 for 4 in screens for 18 yards.
Getting the ball out quicker is something else Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones can do better next year to neutralize dominant pass rushes.
In 2022, Tom Brady led the NFL with an average time to throw of 2.45 seconds. Joe Burrow was next at 2.55 seconds and Trevor Lawrence was third at 2.59 seconds. Daniel Jones was 27th with 2.9 seconds to throw. Against a pass rush like the Eagles, that 0.45 seconds can be the difference between a sack and a positive yardage pass.
Using Pulling Blockers in the Running Game
Lastly, the Chiefs had a lot of success by using pulling blockers in their running game, which was specifically designed to attack the Eagles’ defense.
According to Sports Info Solutions, the Eagles allowed the 8th-most yards against two or more pullers, and 12th-most yards after contact, As a result, 49% of Kansas City’s plays were runs, its highest rate in 14 playoff games with Eric Bieniemy as the offensive coordinator and Andy Reid as head coach.
And it worked. Kansas City outrushed Philadelphia 158-113 and averaged more yards per rush, 6.1 to 3.6.
Specifically, the Chiefs found a lot of success running off the end, which would seem counter-intuitive given the speed the Eagles had on defense. However, the Chiefs were able to use the same jet motion we covered above to bring the Eagles’ defense inside and then bounced runs to the outside.
The Chiefs ran a bunch of counters, while multiple linemen pulled across the formation. They ran out of three tight-end sets, and they also ran out of a split-back set. This movement pre-snap and pulling of the lineman created multiple instances where the Eagles had two defenders in the same gap, so the Chiefs’ running backs were able to bounce the ball to another crease.
The Giants were obviously hampered in their offensive creativity because of the number of injuries on their offense and the weakness of the interior of their offensive line, but if they can beef up the line and add a few versatile weapons on offense, in addition to getting players like Wan’Dale Robinson back, these are all concepts New York can use next year when they take on the Eagles.
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