Rahim Moore: Analyzing the Film

It's been a matter of some contention in Broncos Country. Is Rahim Moore performing well? MHH Editor-in-Chief Luc Polglaze takes you through the game tape to settle the debate.

I have had several conversations on Twitter with Broncos fans about the play of S Rahim Moore on Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers, a game for which Moore received a +2.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. He played all 62 snaps in the game (along with CB Chris Harris, LB Brandon Marshall and S T.J. Ward).

The struggles of Broncos’ safeties have been well-documented as of late. Ward has not been the usual standout performer that he so often was in Cleveland. Quinton Carter has allowed 5 receptions on 6 targets this season for 81 yards and a score, a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted. Where does that leave us with Rahim Moore?

Moore had a bad game against the San Francisco 49ers. He allowed catches on both coverage snaps on which he was targeted.

From what I saw during the live action Thursday night, Moore seemed to have struggles. This was something that people called me out on, including Mile High Huddle’s own Khalid Alshami.

So, when in doubt about how a player performed, what do I do? Head to the game tape. I re-watched the Broncos’ defensive game in full; multiple times in some cases of plays.

Let me begin by saying that Moore spent a lot of time as a FS, as per usual, and the Chargers failed to really challenge the Broncos defense by stretching them deep. The Broncos used a lot of Cover 2 shells but would often roll T.J. Ward into a SS position before the snap and keep Moore in centerfield.

As a side tangent of note: although Ward has underperformed in coverage this season, he was standout when used in Cover 2. The only play he allowed of any note was the deep completion to Malcolm Floyd, and that was more a case of a great catch than anything. Denver could easily play to Ward’s strength right now, and use Cover 2. With their dominance against the run, they don’t even need that extra man in the box. Go two-high and work against the pass.

Moore had a quiet night statistically. He registered only 1 tackle, which came on a good open-field tackle of Chargers RB Branden Oliver on the second drive, when he was able to hold onto his foot. Overall, Moore had good reaction time on run plays to move downhill. He did miss a tackle on Oliver halfway through the third quarter, though.

As I’ve said – the Chargers failed to take the top off the defense against Moore. So, the data set that I have for that is limited. However, here are a few key plays from the game.

Play 1: 1Q, 3:32. 1st and 10, San Diego 14

Coverage: n/a – run

Responsibility: Centerfielder

Moore comes downhill in a hurry on the run play here. This is a great angle. Although his tackling technique isn’t perfect, he does a good job to hold onto the ballcarrier’s foot.

Play 2: 2Q, 8:48. 2nd and 4, San Diego 37

Coverage: Cover 1 man free

Responsibility: Centerfielder

Malcolm Floyd (matched up against Aqib Talib) at the bottom of the screen is just going to run a deep post. Moore backpedals and settles, finally whipping around to close. However, he takes an absolutely awful angle and has to turn his head and path to the ball. He nearly boxes out Talib on the play and certainly overruns the ball. Not a great play from Moore at all.

Play 3: 2Q, 7:13. 2nd and 10, midfield

Coverage: Disguised Cover 1

Responsibility: Slot Receiver

Ward is actually going to take half field here. Moore (the weakside FS, top of the two) is in coverage on the slot receiver as LB Lerentee McCray blitzes in off LT. Rivers is hurried by McCray and will complete the pass to Keenan Allen at the bottom of the screen.

Eddie Royal is running a 10-yard post against Moore. Moore is expecting an out-breaking route and gets completely turned around. If Rivers had more time, he certainly would have found Royal on this play as Moore is out of position.

Play 4: 2Q, 3:57. 3rd and 20 (yes, this one), Denver 33

Coverage: Cover 1 man free

Responsibility: Centerfielder

Watch Moore here. It’s obviously Cover 1. Man off coverage from the corners. Moore is the deep centerfielder. Quinton Carter plays under Antonio Gates obviously expecting help from top, which never comes.

Rahim backpedals for a couple of steps before charging down and covering the crossing route from Keenan Allen. He’s obviously seen something on tape that would lead him to suggest that the crossing route is the target of the play. He’s dead wrong and his gamble costs the Broncos a 31-yard gain and a touchdown on the next play.

Play 5: 3Q, 9:41. 3rd and 12, San Diego 23

Coverage: Cover 2 zone

Responsibility: Deep strongside zone

One play after good man coverage on Antonio Gates, Moore falls flat.

Moore is the strongside FS here, again the upper of the two. It’s Cover 2 zone here from Denver. Malcolm Floyd at the top of the screen runs a go route against Chris Harris. Harris passes him to Moore when he sees Ladarius Green about to leak out of the backfield from his chip. Moore has his eyes on the well-covered middle zones and is nowhere to be found, then once again takes an awful angle to the ball and runs too far towards the sideline. Here is another play on which Moore’s lack of awareness could have cost Denver.

Play 6: 3Q, 3:08. 3rd and 1, Denver 9

Coverage: Cover 1 man free

Responsibility: Centerfielder

Moore stands on the goal line here, shuffles his feet before again jumping an underneath route to Keenan Allen. He leaves a throwing lane WIDE OPEN to Ladarius Green, who comes across right where Moore should have dropped. Rivers missed an easy TD.

Play 7: 4Q, 4:59. 1st and 10, Denver 45

Coverage: Disguised Cover 1

Responsibility: Centerfielder

This is Moore’s interception. He is the weakside FS here. Although he and Ward show Cover 2, Ward comes underneath and Moore rolls into centerfield. A good fluid backpedal gets him adequate depth and he breaks on the ball well. He finally takes a good angle and is rewarded with the interception.

If you want to believe Rahim Moore played an outstanding game, go ahead. But the fact is, he gambles too much and just as often as not is wholly unsuccessful. The interception was a crucial one for his performance. Otherwise, he is saved by the fact that, as underperforming as he has been – Quinton Carter is still worse.

Lucas Polglaze is the Editor-in-Chief for Mile High Huddle. Find him on Google +, Twitter, and Facebook.

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