It’s the same issues week in and week out. The offensive line can’t block. Quarterback Josh McCown can’t anticipate throws. The list goes on. But this week was probably the most glaring of any other game this season.
McCown and the offensive line drove the team right into the ground Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers. There were chances wasted by their veteran quarterback while there were moments of embarrassment from the offensive line.
With that said, McCown was sacked seven times on Sunday. Much like the Detroit game where McCown was sacked six times, he had opportunities to throw the football and not get sacked. Except this time around, both the offensive front and their captain were largely at fault especially when he was sacked.
McCown was looking for wide receiver Vincent Jackson who was running a deep post (circled in red). From this angle, you can see Jackson was blanketed by his defender by had an underneath route in Mike Evans and Doug Martin once he broke to his right.
In this next shot, McCown shifted his focus underneath. With still time to throw he didn’t pull the trigger resulting in a sack by Green Bay safety Morgan Burnett who finally got around right tackle Oniel Cousins.
This play was doomed from the start. Green Bay’s Clay Matthews beat lineman Garrett Gilkey right off the snap. As soon as McCown took his last step in his drop, Matthews was already in line to bring him down.
The route that Mike Evans ran on this play (circled) led him right into the end zone with no one close to keep him out after beating the defensive back. At this very moment, the ball should have already floated over the top of Green Bay’s linebacker Brad Jones. It’s a similar play Buffalo was successful on last week against the Packers. But factor in McCown waiting a second longer and Cousins being beat, McCown was dropped for a third time.
This was another sack that falls on the shoulders of McCown. A clean pocket to work from once he was well set beyond his drop, the captain had three options to throw to. But with the lack of anticipation, McCown never pulled the trigger.
Three phases failed here: The quarterback, the protection, and the play. McCown was stepping up into the pocket waiting for the (slow developing) routes to break but that was enough time to see Julius Peppers beat Josh Allen to drop McCown.
Another play doomed right off the snap. Allen was slapped to the side by to force McCown up into the pocket before he even got a chance to survey the field.
That forced McCown to step up but right into Matthews.
Guard Patrick Omameh was just overpowered by defensive lineman Datone Jones and driven back into McCown, forcing the veteran quarterback to his left and once into the arms of Matthews.
The offensive line gets a lot of the blame and rightfully so. But the offense showed in Week 16 how there are many different factors that result in a sack. This one had a mix of blame for all: McCown not throwing the football, plays developing, and linemen getting beat.
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