Oakland Raiders Film Room: Week 14 (49ers)

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Oakland had a solid day in coverage against San Francisco’s passing attack. Help from the pass rush, which we’ll discuss later, kept Colin Kaepernick on his toes as Woodson and Co. stuck with the receivers. Interceptions played a key role in this game, not just from a typical turnovers standpoint, but additionally because they started and finished the mental tone of the game.

On the first snap of the game Oakland brings out their base 4-3 (4 DLs, 3 LBs, 4 DBs) and runs a hybrid coverage in which everyone is in Cover 3 (deep middle safety, corner playing deep 1/3, zone underneath) except CB Tarell Brown matched up man-to-man on the backside receiver Michael Crabtree. San Francisco runs a snag route concept to on the bottom of the image with Crabtree doing a backside curl from 21 personnel (2 RBs, 1 TE, 2 WRs). DE Justin Tuck does a goos job avoiding RB Frank Gore’s diving block and gets pressure on Kaepernick while CB DJ Hayden and S Charles Woodson identify the route combination and position themselves in good coverage. This forces Kaepernick to scramble to his left, looking for Crabtree to make a move on Brown downfield to salvage the broken play. Kaepernick overthrows the ball, but S Brandian Ross hustles 2/3 of the way back across the field for the interception. Coverage + Pressure = Pick. Great way to start the game.

Kaepernick’s last official pass of the game will yield the same result and end San Francisco’s hopes of stealing the game back. Oakland runs Cover 3 Buzz/Robber (similar to Cover 3 but the dropping safety plays middle hook zone and spies QB instead of working to the flat) out of their nickel package (3 DLs, 3 LBs, 5 DBs) and rush LB Khalil Mack in the middle of the line to mix it up. San Francisco runs a deep hooks/stick concept (receivers run to the sticks and turn around) from 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs). Charles Woodson squats underneath the first down marker, reads Kaepernick’s eyes and dives in front of the terrible throw for the interception. Even if the throw was better, Woodson would have still been in position. The interception gives Oakland the ball back and all but guarantees the victory.