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Packers Film Room: Week 5 defensive review, part 2

Two key errors on defense, both on the same drive, cost the Packers. Part 2 of the Week 5 defensive review looks at how the Raiders exploited a coverage match-up.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers are coming off of a bye week and preparing for the Denver Broncos this Sunday, but this week, we take a quick film review look-back at the Week 5 matchup with the Raiders. In part 2, we take a look at two miscues on the same drive.

In a previous article, I broke down the overall solid game plan the Packers put on display versus the Raiders on Monday night. The defense generated a handful sacks, intercepted Garoppolo (and had a couple more potential interceptions), and for most of the night, was able to limit former Packers receiver Davante Adams’ impact.

Except on one crucial drive. Adams finished the game with four catches for 45 yards but 33 of those yards came on the last half of the Raiders' only scoring drive in the second half. He finished the drive with catches of 21 yards, five yards, and seven yards. It was on the 21- and 7-yard receptions that did the most damage due to a specific schematic weakness and execution.

First play, 3rd quarter, 2-and-10 @ GB37, 2:38 remaining

The Packers are playing a 3-under/3-deep fire zone here in the late 3rd quarter on this 2nd and 10.

The defense is in their “penny” front 3-3-5 nickel defense. The underneath defenders have hot area responsibilities and Preston Smith is the “hot-2” player in the seam to the two receiver side to the defense’s right.

The Raiders are in an empty 3x2 formation and are running a stick/flat concept from the trips and a slot choice route by Adams in the slot to the left with Smith in coverage.

The Raiders found a chink in the armor: The Packers’ rules in a 3-under/3-deep fire zone out of the Penny front ask the edge overhang defender, Smith, to cover the seam/flat area. Smith obviously isn’t a defender you’d want covering anyone out wide. But due to the coverage rules, the Raiders found a way to get Adams isolated on him. Adams runs a slot choice that Smith couldn’t cover. Garoppolo hit him in stride for a gain of 21.

Second play, 3rd quarter, 3rd-and-3 @ GB9, :35 remaining

The Packers' defense failed on the execution of this on 3rd down where they had a chance to at least limit the Raiders to a field goal. Instead, the offense converted a new set of downs and took the lead on a Josh Jacobs 2-yard touchdown run right after this.

The personnel is penny 3-3-5 nickel again but this time they’re not sending the nickel in a fire zone blitz. It’s still a 5-man pressure rush but the rush from the five across the line of scrimmage. The coverage is still structurally a 3-under/3-deep fire zone with the same rules as the above play.

The offense is running a levels concept to Adams on the left with Adams running the shallow in-cut.

Garoppolo drops back looking for Adams and never really even tries to look off the coverage before he comes back underneath. He predetermined the whole way where he was going. Keisean Nixon read the play the whole as Garoppolo’s eyes took him to the route. They were keying off on Adams so much here that Nixon let his seam runner go. Usually, he would carry the #2 vertically but he had such a bead on the play that just tried to make a play.

But he ultimately missed the tackle and was unable to effectively jump the route because Adams undercut the defender for the catch. The play set up the Raiders on the 2-yard line where they would punch the ball in with Jacobs and would hold the lead for the remainder of the fourth quarter.