Welcome back to the Ravens Film Room. For those of you that were with us last offseason, you’ll remember I did an offseason series breaking down key plays that the Ravens had during the 2017 season. I am proud to announce that series has been renewed for a second season!
Chris Moore’s touchdown against the Steelers
Today’s segment will take a look at Chris Moore’s 30-yard touchdown catch against the Steelers in what ended up being one of the Ravens’ more exciting games of the year.
Above is the look at the play in its entirety.
The Ravens come out in empty, meaning they’ve emptied the backfield and have five receivers split out at various spots on the field. Pre-snap, the Steelers are showing more of a two-deep shell, meaning initially, two safeties will drop deep after the ball is snapped. When the ball is snapped, the safety to Joe Flacco’s left, rolls more towards the middle, indicating that it’s more of a single-high look. This plays well into what the Ravens want to do.
What the Ravens run is called a slot-fade, where the receiver in the slot runs a fade to gain separation and potentially notch a big play. This play does well at attacking cover 3 or single high safety looks, because more often than not the outside cornerback will be occupied with the outside receiver. The Ravens utilize that by having the outside receiver run a smoke route, which essentially means they don’t move much off the line of scrimmage. With that in mind, the slot receiver can get to the boundary with an easier release and create separation. This also put the deep safety in a pickle because he has to rotate over quickly to break up the pass, and more often than not he can’t. This particular play usually takes a precise throw from the quarterback, and Flacco delivers here.
The slot-fade has become a staple of the Eagles’ playbook as well, as they often utilize it with the same route concepts to both sides. Doing so with a single-high look stresses that safety even more, and it would be awesome to see the Ravens utilize that more. The play is one that is usually used in college offenses, but that doesn’t take away from its effectiveness or usefulness. Perhaps adopting more plays from the college game could be useful in the future.