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Anatomy of a Play: Bernard Scott's 6-Yard TD Run

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Eagles preseason game against Cincinnati on Friday night didn't quite go as planned. The Eagles had problems on offense -- in multiple areas -- and failed to stop the Bengals' own offense on multiple occasions.

    One of the worst moments for the Eagles' first-team defense came in second quarter, when they couldn't stop a 6-yard touchdown by running back Bernard Scott.

    You can see the whole play here, but let's break it down frame by frame to see what happened:

     

    Pre Snap Bernard Scott TD Run1. To the right is the lineup pre-snap. Bengals QB Carson Palmer is under center, with Scott behind him and the fullback, Joe Tronzo, offset. TE Jermaine Gresham and Terrell Owens sit on top of the formation and Chad Ochocinco below.

    The Eagles go with their base 4-3, with Joselio Hanson (in for injured Asante Samuel) the only back up in the game.

    Image Two Post Snap2. As Scott gets the ball, a number of individual battles have broken out on the line of scrimmage. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth (71) has Trent Cole going backwards. But Brodrick Bunkley has pushed left guard Nate Livings (62) into the backfield 2-yards.

    You might not be able to see Bengals center Kyle Cook in the middle because he dove forward to chop-block Stewart Bradley. On the right/top side of the line, Mike Patterson faces RG Bobbie Williams (63). Juqua Parker, however, is only opposed by Gresham (84), a tight end. This has allowed right tackle Andre Smith to slip to the second level.

    Meanwhile, the defensive backs have stayed relatively stationary. Joselio Hanson, in particular, hasn't moved as the play unfolds toward him.

    Image Three post snap3. As we zoom in on the action at the line half a second later, you can see that all three Eagles linebackers are now blocked. Bradley went down to a succesful chop, Smith has enveloped Akeem Jordan (56), and Ernie Sims (50) is lost in Trent Cole's traffic.

    At the point of attack, Patterson and Parker are still unable to get off of their blocks, but Bunkley has a chance to make a big tackle for a loss. Also, Hanson has finally decided to move up into the fray.

    Image 4 post snap4. Here Bunkley misses his big chance to tackle Scott. He may have been held, but that's a play Bunkley has to make. Throwing his arms up to complain helps no one. Hanson's inability to work his way through traffic compounds Bunkley's mistake. The corner (21, to the left of 63) never actually gets blocked by a Bengals player. Instead, he gets lost behind the mess on the right. With all of the linebackers blocked, Scott sees only daylight in front of him.

    image 5 post snap5. The last line of defense appears too late. The two safeties never made it out of the end zone. Owens blocked Quintin Mikell, the nearest safety, and rookie Nate Allen didn't get over from his side fast enough to stop Scott.

    Not to take anything away from the Bengals, but the Eagles defense made a few critical mistakes on this play that, if avoided, would have prevented a touchdown. First, Parker cannot allow a tight end to bottle him up on the end. No wonder rookie Brandon Graham is pushing him for playing time. Second, Bunkley has to make the play in the backfield when he has the chance. Third, the Eagles linebackers need to avoid traffic and fight off blocks better. And finally, the secondary has to recognize the run more quickly and move to prevent big gains.

    The Eagles defense is young, fast, and talented. But if they can't fix these mistakes, it will come back to haunt them in the regular season. Teams like the Bengals will manhandle them at the line of scrimmage and run all over the place.