By Matthew Marczi
The Detroit Lions’ offensive line has done well versus the pass this season, despite starting two rookies on the right side of the line. It just so happened that Jason Worilds was lined up over there in place of LaMarr Woodley for this game, and it just so happened that Worilds ended up with five gut shots on Matthew Stafford when all was said and done.
Of course, it’s not as simple as blaming the rookies, because in reality, Dick LeBeau has been moving Worilds all over the field this season, so his pressure this game came from a variety of places.
Pressure was actually fairly hard to come by in the first half before things started to open up in the second half for Worilds. In fact, when he got pressure early on, it still didn’t mean success, as this seven-yard completion attests:
Although his rush doesn’t take that long to get home, Stafford had enough time to see him coming and drop a pass off to his receiver for a positive gain, knowing that he would have to take a hit.
What I like about this play, however, is that it shows Worilds finally beginning to learn how to control his spin move and to use it with success. After the tight end chipped him, he ran at the outside shoulder of the right tackle before planting his left foot in the ground and spinning off to his right, using his left arm to shield off a late recovery and finding himself a clear alley to the quarterback.
This early third quarter pressure is also interesting because of what it reveals schematically. Notice Worilds and Jarvis Jones both on the left side of the defense. Jones occupied the right tackle while Worilds spun off Jones’ back past both the guard and the tackle. Once he was around both linemen, he faced little resistance in getting to Stafford, which forced a rushed throw that was batted down. Do keep that scheme in mind, because it shows up just a couple minutes later.
Once again it’s third and long, and once again LeBeau put Worilds and Jones next to each other on the rush. This time they’re on the offense’s left side, but the outcome is the mirror image. Jones again occupied the tackle while Worilds spun outside of the entire formation, getting an unabated lane to the quarterback.
This time, Stafford had no release valves, and he was forced to eat it on the shadow of his own goal line. Had he not stretched the ball out before touching down, it would have gone for a safety.