- When players and coaches say "if you aren't in the meeting room you have no idea what the play was," they are right.
- Without knowledge of the play call, it can be pretty dicey to assign blame to an individual player. Quintessential team sport and all that.
However, a number of things went on that violated the basic principles of defensive football. So on most of these plays I can say with some confidence that that is not how the play was drawn up. It is certainly true that inferences were being drawn, but in most cases it is pretty clear that someone screwed up.
Keeping in mind those disclaimers, it certainly appears to me that the problems with this defense run deeper than bad tackling and some inexperienced defensive backs.
And now for the examples, with play by play descriptions taken from the NFL Game Book and screenshots from NFL Game Rewind's Telestrator function:
1-10-WAS 12 (5:20) (Shotgun) J.Bell right guard for 12 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
There was more that went wrong with this play than the notorious broken tackles. Haslett nearly always has the DEs play at three technique, off the guard's outside shoulder, and Kedric Golston starts there and attacks to his right, along with the rest of the linemen. The right tackle blocks down on him for encouragement, and the offensive right side of the formation is left wide open. Someone was responsible for closing off the right flank of the formation, but Kerrigan is lined up over the slot receiver and hesitates before closing, and Fletcher remains deep at first as if he is responsible for the shorter routes from the tight end. Also if Riley hadn't bit so hard on the counter action he may have been available to close off the cutback lane. All I can say with reasonable certainty is that this was not supposed to happen:
3-6-DET 30 (2:22) (Shotgun) M.Stafford pass deep middle to C.Johnson to 50 for 20 yards (B.Meriweather).
Both Bowen and Fletcher lock onto the RB as he leaks out into a pass route, leading to an unintentional 3 man rush. I assure you one of them was supposed to rush the quarterback.
1-10-50 (1:43) (Shotgun) M.Stafford pass short middle to R.Broyles to WAS 33 for 17 yards (B.Meriweather).
With Kerrigan blitzing and Wilson playing very deep over the slot receiver and with outside leverage, it seems very likely that Perry Riley was supposed to take away the slant. Instead he bites hard on play action and Stafford gets to throw an easy pass into a massive void in coverage:
1-10-WAS 33 (:59) M.Stafford pass short middle to N.Burleson to WAS 18 for 15 yards (B.Meriweather).
That's right, this is three straight plays. The Lions line up with two WRs stacked tight to the left, and before the snap Hall and Amerson have a lot to say to each other about it. Apparently they never reach agreement, as the stack beats them like a drum:
Both corners initially stick to the receiver who runs the go route, and Amerson eventually tries to got the long way around Hall to close on the post:
That's not how it's supposed to work.
3-5-WAS 5 (14:53) (Shotgun) M.Stafford pass short middle to J.Fauria for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
It's a very simple skinny post from the tight end:
With Orakpo taking away the underneath angle and the other corners to this side of the field manned up on outside receivers, it seems pretty evident that Meriweather should stay over the top. But for some reason he stays inside the post, allowing the TE to get behind both defenders:
2-9-DET 18 (8:15) (Shotgun) M.Stafford pass short middle to T.Riddick to DET 26 for 8 yards (P.Riley).
This blitz makes absolutely no sense. Kerrigan is not involved because he has to cover the TE. Barry Cofield attacks the A gap to his right, and Kedric Golston rushes to the outside shoulder of the RT. One of these guys was supposed to draw a blocker in the opposite direction to open a lane for Fletcher, instead Fletcher just runs head first into an unmolested right guard. There's no chance that the blitz was designed this way, right?
2-14-DET 31 (2:00) (Shotgun) M.Stafford pass short middle to N.Burleson pushed ob at WAS 28 for 41 yards (B.Meriweather).
Once again two defenders - Cofield and Riley - cover the RB as he goes out for his route:
Given that both DEs go out of their way to draw the guards to the outside and Cofield fakes a rush before dropping into coverage, I am reasonably confident that Riley was supposed to blitz the A gap:
1-10-DET 43 (12:13) M.Stafford pass deep middle to N.Burleson to WAS 10 for 47 yards (L.Fletcher).
The note I wrote upon my initial view of the All-22 was simply, "BLOWN COVERAGES ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE." The coverage was such a mess that I gave up trying to figure out where to start, so I will try to boil it down to one screenshot of the results:
Yep, that's four Redskins milling about in the middle of the field, none of whom seem clear on who should be covering those two wide open Lions receivers. And Josh Wilson (circled in yellow) initially bit very hard on the play action and rushed to be the outside force defender. Once he realized his error he dropped back, but not into the zone that actually needed covering.
There are a few more examples, but I have work tomorrow and I'm already tired. So screw it, you get the point by now.