The New York Giants got 8 sacks on rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Four of these eight sacks came from blitzing linebackers and defensive backs. The Giants blitzed much more than usual and they were rewarded for it in their 36-7 victory. Giants’ defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell may want to continue to be aggressive in the three remaining games on the season.
The first sack against the Titans was by Jemeel McClain who was aligned 4.5 yards off the Titans left guard. The defensive end had beaten the left tackle forcing the quarterback to step up into the pocket. He stepped right into McClain who used a brilliant spin move to beat the guard, McClain engaged the guard and the spin move allowed him to not only get inside of the guard but to keep one arm free. He disengaged and delivered a powerful blow to Mettenberger.
The second sack came with a fumble and a Markus Kuhn touchdown. This play was an example of cool football. The Giants defensive line was shifted to the weak side (side without tight end). The Titans were in a weak-i formation as the fullback was opposite of the tight end. The strong side defensive end was head up on the right tackle. The nose guard played a shade of the center and the defensive tackle was in a 3 technique.
Right before the snap, the defensive end on the weak side was lined up outside of the left tackle. The Giants had their strong safety in the box over the tight end while the outside linebacker was lined up outside the tight end. The fullback shifted over to block the outside linebacker. Both the defensive end and outside linebacker won their battles and it resulted in the sack fumble.
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The third sack had nothing to do with a blitz. Damontre Moore and Jason Pierre-Paul simply beat the offensive tackles off the ball. The next sack was not the work of a blitzing defender rather the byproduct of the blitz. Moore ended up with a sack in which he bull rushed the offensive tackle. The tackle was all on his own because Mike Harris attacked the guard. The blitz isolated the tackle. In a 5 man protection its all about pass rushers winning one on one battles. This is what happened here.
The fifth sack was the result of a very awesome Devon Kennard blitz. The Titans’ tight end was flexed into the slot. Kennard lined up outside of him but shifted inside of the tight end at the snap. Since the tackle and the guard were occupied by two defensive linemen, the outside linebacker got a free release to the quarterback.
The final three sacks of the game came as the Giants were seizing victory and winning the battle of the trenches. It was a refreshing site to see since it’s been a long time since the Giants actually took control of a game and dominated defensively.
This eight sack performance in Tennessee was a beautiful meshing of strategy and execution. The Giants knew they had to pressure the rookie passer and that if they did they would have a huge edge in the game. The Giants were playing a really bad team, but Giants fans couldn’t help but wonder, where was this defense earlier this season? The Giants were successful with the aggressive defensive play calling, they should try to replicate this success especially for next season.