Following our Paydirt interview where Coach Alexander shared some tremendous insights about playcalling trends at the collegiate and professional levels, I asked if he would be willing to share some thoughts and schematics about some of the creative plays that Kansas City used to win Super Bowl LIV. As usual, Coach Alexander hit a home run.
What were your thoughts about the play that Kansas City ran that they drew from the 1948 Rose Bowl game? With Tyreek Hill on the wing and Sammy Watkins in the backfield, it threw the 49ers both a personnel and a formation curve (see 0:47 mark of this video - Coach Alexander's schematic breakdown of the play is listed below).
Anytime you can get in a big formation with small personnel and be able to run the ball, I think that it's a crucial advantage because now you’re dictating that their smaller personnel is going have to tackle in a phone booth and then that comes down to your willingness to tackle.
You have to get different in the red zone. You can’t run the same plays in the end zone that you run in the middle of the field so you have to have some different kinds of red zone plays. I thought that was a really good one.
Let's talk about the 44-yard pass to Hill in the fourth quarter of that game that served to turn the contest around. It’s been said that the 49ers were using robber coverage in that game and that the Chiefs ran something to take away that robber coverage and open the post/corner for Hill.
Art Briles used to make a living on this. That was a vertical choice route where Mahomes is reading the leverage of the safety and then that outside receiver is just going deep enough to capture the eyes of the cap defender, which in that case was the corner. Hill kind of isolated that safety because the safety is trying to protect the hash thinking Hill is going to run the post, and Hill just bounced out. And then Mahomes saw it and hit him.
That throw is an NFL throw. I don’t know how many college quarterbacks can even do that at the biggest level.
What about the big play to Watkins in the first half?
This is called a HIDE route. Hill blows the top of the defense off with his speed and brings the vision to him from the cornerback and Middle Of Field (MOF) Safety. The Cross-Shoot pattern combination works well because it goes between the HOOK & the C/F defender. The boundary cornerback (BC) went wide with the running back and was late to see Watkins start to climb up the field. This playcall is similar to a Mesh with a SHOOT route. It's something like the Post/Wheel combination, but with the Wheel coming from the opposite side.