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Anatomy of a Touchdown: Andrew Hawkins Goes 59 Yards in Washington

by Photo of Taylor Armosino

See the breakdown behind how the Bengals gutted Washington’s defense for a 59 yard touchdown

Anatomy of a Touchdown: Andrew Hawkins Goes 59 Yards in Washington

The Bengals led the Redskins 31-24 with 6:43 remaining in the 4th quarter. They had a 2nd and 8 on their own 41 yard line. Cincinnati had just taken the lead on their previous drive and stopped Washington on their ensuing drive. In a game that was ebbing back and forth, this was a great opportunity to stretch out their lead and take control of the game. Quarterback Andy Dalton came out in the shotgun formation and completed a 59 yard catch and run touchdown to receiver Andrew Hawkins. The big play gave Cincinnati a 38-24 lead and they went on to win the game 38-31. I'm going to breakdown how Cincinnati was able to gut the Redskin defense on that 59-yard strike. 

Here is the game-changing play: 

Now let's break it down:

Cincinnati came out on the play with Dalton in the shotgun with a back next to him. The Bengals line up with a trips look to Dalton's left, with a tight end on the line, a slot receiver (Hawkins) and a receiver outside. On this play, the Bengals are going to attack the middle of the field. They send both outside receivers on 'go' routes to hold the safeties and hopefully bring them out of the center of the field. The tight end, Jermaine Gresham, is running an intermediate 'in' route while Hawkins is running a post above him. Dalton's main read on the play is a high-low read in the middle of the field. If Hawkins is open, that is where Dalton is going with the ball. If not, he's looking for Gresham running the 'in' route. 

Washington comes out in a 'Cover 2' defense, with two safeties deep and five defenders playing the underneath routes. The weakness in the 'Cover 2' defense is the middle of the field. Washington's safeties, marked in red, really shadow the outside receivers on this play. 

As can be seen in the yellow circles, both safeties shadow the outside receivers heavily which leaves the middle of the field completely wide open. Rookie defensive back Richard Crawford has the daunting task of trying to run with Hawkins. As Hawkins comes up the field, Crawford does a decent job of running with him. But Hawkins is no ordinary athlete, as he possesses great speed and quickness. 

Hawkins gets a step on Crawford, circled in blue, as he runs his post up the field. Dalton hits him in stride, sending the Bengals receiver off to the races. The Redskin safeties, indicated in yellow, are nowhere near Hawkins because they were shading the outside so heavily. They have no shot to catch the speedy Bengal wideout and Cincinnati takes a 38-24 lead.

This was not a situation where the Redskins blew a defensive assignment. The credit for this big play goes to Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. A lot of film study goes into an offensive game plan, as coaches study the upcoming opponent's tendencies given a particular down and distance. Through film study, Gruden was able to put his offense in a position to succeed against the Redskins defense. This was a perfect play call against Washington's 'Cover 2' defense and the Bengals offense executed it to perfection. 

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see the Cincinnati Bengals all season long.

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