Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Oakland Raiders didn't shut down many Denver Broncos plays last night, as their defense allowed Peyton Manning to go for 310 yards on 26-for-36 passing and were otherwise steamrolled by running back Knowshon Moreno, who put up 119 yards.

The Raiders did manage to stop Manning on the play you see here, though—a jailbreak screen to Eric Decker on third down that normally would have picked up the five yards needed to move the chains. Instead the play resulted in a completed pass but net only a single yard—mostly because Raiders defensive backs Phillip Adams, Joselio Hanson, and Mike Mitchell sniffed it out.


You can see the basics of a jailbreak screen here, but a glimpse of the video above will show you exactly how a defense that knows it's coming can shut it down. Mitchell's assignment on the play is a safety blitz, but he holds up as he approaches the line so he can be picked up by the Broncos' right guard. Normally, that guard is attempting to get upfield; after the pass is completed, he'll pick up the defensive back playing man coverage on the outside receiver.

At least, that's the idea. Phillip Adams completely slips Brandon Stokley's attempted block and has Decker in his arms and down nearly as soon as the ball arrives. Pay especially close attention to where Adams breaks: He knows it's a jailbreak screen and that Decker won't be cutting to the sideline.

The Raiders haven't had a huge number of outstanding defensive plays this season, ranking 28th in team defense. How'd they do so well on this play, then? Maybe they were tipped off to the jailbreak screen by Peyton Manning's audible to it of "Prison! Prison!" Manning's one of the savviest QBs at the line in NFL history, so it's kind of amazing such an obvious word would be used. My dad used to call out "Mountain Dew" when he wanted to audible a pop pass, but he was a high school football coach. And sure, maybe it's all coincidence and the jailbreak audible wasn't part of "Prison!" anyway. Either way, the Raiders knew it was coming.

h/t to Lee who noticed it first

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