First NFL TD Is An Unbalanced Formation TD


By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 11, 2022
All 22 Tuesday

Ok, it’s becoming official. This is the year of the unbalanced formation. That might be an exaggeration, but not by much. Yes, unbalanced formations have been around since football has but they have shown up in some critical moments early this year at the college and NFL levels. Offensive coordinators have used them early to generate game impacting plays.

One of the reasons this is so significant to us here at firstDown PlayBook is that it affects you. That’s right. Some of the things we have seen work in the NFL and college are plays you can run too. Your youth football and high school football offenses could run the play we are highlighting here today.

Maybe more importantly your youth football defense had better be able to defend unbalanced formations. In order to do that you have to be able to count to three. If you identify the eligibles and count outside in it will always tell you who you need to cover. Seems simple right? Don’t tell that to all pro corner Jalen Ramsey because this play confused him.

Motion To This Unbalanced Formation With Your Youth Football Team

So let’s set this All 22 Tuesday play up. It is very early in the game It’s the Bills’ first drive and 10:04 is remaining in the first quarter. The ball is on the 25 yard line and its 3rd & 1 in the Rams’ red zone.

You can bet the Rams have studied the 2021 Buffalo short yardage tendancies a ton. Buffalo trots out 22 personnel on the field, and everything wreaks of run.

This is where it gets interesting. The Bills line up with the two tight ends attached but the right tackle for the Bills lines up over on the left side. This is what FirstDown Playbook calls a heavy alignment. This is slightly different than an unbalanced formation alignment where the tackle is actually eligible. This was enough to confuse the Rams. As the ball is snapped the weak side guard pulls and this looks like a heavy formation power run to the field.

More Than One Way To look At This Play: FDPB Player Tracking Matters

When Josh Allen booted away from the heavy side, everyone pulled the trigger to stop the QB run. After all, it was third and one for a first down. One problem. #13 Gabe Davis released from his backside cutoff block and ran a corner route. There was no one covering him. You will never get an NFL player to admit that the formation confused him but that is exactly what happened here.

This brings us back to our original point. Your youth football or high school football team can handle something like this in your offense too. It’s just a matter of simply moving a tackle over. You will need a run play to the heavy side of the unbalanced formation and as you will see in the video clip, a boot leg off of it.

Charlie Coiner is the Founder of FirstDown PlayBook