Game: Seahawks at Cardinals
Play: Lockett puts the Cardinals on lockdown
What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?
Wow; the breakdown for the last week of the regular season is already upon us once again. For as long and grueling as the season is on players, it never ceases to fly past us in a jiffy and before you know it, players are either peaking to make a playoff run or are packing their bags to go home for the offseason. Though I will release our Movement Play of the Year next week, I want to thank each one of you for continuing to read my thoughts as I have broke down the movement patterns found on plays each week for the last three years.
Ya know, over the years, due to the movement skills required to solve the problems found during punt & kick return situations, we have had our share of those plays which end up standing out as its respective week’s best. In fact, I even gave Dexter McCluster the Movement Play of the Year in 2013 for what may be arguably the best singular display of movement in the last three years.
That all said though, this year we didn’t have a single punt return stand out enough to be named the week’s eventual winner of the Movement Play of the Week…that is; till now. Sticking with a crazy trend of a good number of rookies visiting our site this year (Todd Gurley, Amari Cooper, and David Johnson), this time it was Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks who is offering us a grand finale on the 2015 season. Though Lockett doesn’t end up scoring on the play, it was just one of a few plays he made (both in the return game as well as a receiver) this week to be a kick-starter in the Seahawk’s rather surprising dismantling of the Cardinals.
What happened movement-wise on the play?
Lockett catches the ball while in a relatively wide & deep stance firmly planted on the 31 yard line. Once he catches the ball after already having predetermined that he was intending to go to his right, he scans the landscape quickly and then performs a crossover acceleration initiated with his left leg/foot. With most performers in this circumstance I would advocate for a right foot power or jab stop to begin the acceleration movement action from this position; however, Lockett’s acceleration was made more efficient due to his more flexed/coiled position that the crossover was initiated from.
He takes two quick steps to his right (and slightly backwards) before stabbing his right foot down hard in a pre-active/pre-flexed fashion to load him into an angular stopping position between the 29 and 30 yard line. He now decides to take greater advantage of this body position for reacceleration when he remains planted on his right foot, picks up his left foot quickly & sharply, and pumps it (the left leg/foot) back behind him in a rapid piston-like action. This movement strategy gets him moving in a hurry and gives him just enough yardage separation to work with to bypass the first oncoming Cardinals defender (#22).
Lockett then takes a few additional short transition steps which allows him to maintain control of the speed built up from the earlier acceleration steps and yet still adequately position himself to navigate through the outstretched & diving arms for #22 and another Cardinals defender who thought he was about to lay down a big hit at the 33/34 yard line.
Instead, Lockett executes a quick lunge cut with his left leg (watch this from the end zone view!) and comes out relatively unscathed with guys behind him grasping for nothing but air. From the 34 to the 40 yard line, though you there is some slight cross-body arm action and toeing out, you will still see some very crisp short distance acceleration mechanics functional for a football field complete with sufficient front-side kinematics, positive body lean/angle, quick turnover and short ground contact time (this is where the Biodynamic Structure of linear acceleration phases on a football field differs from that on a track).
Now with this good amount of built-up speed, most would expect Lockett to keep the gas pedal hammered down and try to get off to the races. Instead, showing tremendous patience and wherewithal for the problems found on a football field, Lockett begins to temper his intention a bit to ensure that his forward velocity is one that allowed maintainable control so that at the 45 yard line he can begin to veer towards the left side of the field as four Arizona defenders remain in hot pursuit at multiple angles.
From the 45 to the 50, and still moving slightly left, he continues to cruise (he literally looks as though he’s floating at a comfortable pace here) until he sees the punter holding onto this play with his dear life. He then elects to perform three rapid deceleration-to-cutting steps (executed to a very sharp angle considering the velocity that he was moving at) to perform a crossover to his right which leaves the punter dazed & confused.
As soon as he senses & perceives that he has adequately cleared past the punter (I know, I know…big deal…it’s a punter, right?!), his head and his eyes immediately pop up from being fixated on the defending punter to scan towards his right as he understands that he’s not going to be alone at this point and has the awareness that there was going to be a wider margin of velocity disparity between he and his opponents now…and this disparity was no longer in his favor (after the cuts had to take place).
While the rubble that he just juked laid behind him (i.e. the punter…though they’re people too), he attempts to pick up as many yards as possible before those opponents who are no longer at a disadvantage in either angle or speed are able to catch him. However, due his absolutely crazy on-field linear speed across the whole curve (both in early acceleration as well as to when he hits higher speeds), he is able to pick up an additional 15 yards before being tracked down by the Cardinals punt coverage unit.
To watch this dazzling punt return click here: