Locking Down in the End Zone
While David Amerson does make the late game interception, this end zone pass defense is a more impressive play from an individual performance perspective. More than halfway through the Fourth Quarter and the Raiders are only down seven points. This play helps to force the field goal and keep the game within reach while Oakland still has time to make something happen.
2nd down & 5, ball on the Oakland 5 yard line. Green Bay runs play-action from 22 personnel to bait the Raiders defense into abandoning their coverage. Oakland runs Man-Free from their goal line formation (5 DLs, 3 LBs, 3 DBs). First of all, credit where credit is due. Curtis Lofton absolutely nails his assignment on this play, forcing Rodgers to pull down the slip pass to the fullback and look for Jeff Janis on the backside drag route.
The reason why this is exceptionally amazing is because of Amerson’s adjustment. With safety help on the inside Amerson first maintains his outside leverage, funneling his man toward the safety help. Except there’s no safety help – Woodson has flowed to the play side and away from the middle of the field. Now without inside safety help, Amerson recognizes the route and keeps his eyes on Rodgers. As soon as he sees Rodgers look his way Amerson accelerates and undercuts the route, making another beautiful diving pass defense.
David Amerson is only twenty-four years old. This level of play is extremely exciting to see from a player that young. Combined with other young talent on both sides of the ball this Raiders team is slowly but surely building themselves up for long-term success. If the Raiders can eliminate some of their more amateur mistakes and stay consistently on their higher level of play this team will be a force to contend with for years to come.