Game: Packers at Bears
Play: Two teammates tearing it up!
What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?
It happens at least once every season where two plays are so close in comparison to their overall movement proficiency that I can’t decide which one to deem most masterful for the week so I end up featuring both. In fact, it happened once earlier this season in Week when Le’Veon Bell and Zeke Elliott both got the nod for that week’s best.
Well, I don’t believe it’s ever happened where those two plays came not only from the same game…but also from the same team…AND also from the same position group! What makes it weirder yet is that neither guy was in that position group room to start this season (as one of them started as a WR and the other wasn’t even on this team’s roster!). However, these plays happened to be this darn good and are more than worthy of being recognized as this week’s best. This is not without a major push from last week’s POW winner, Tyreek Hill, ripping off another stellar turn & burn play though.
So, without further adieu, this week we find two Green Bay Packer RBs, Ty Montgomery and Christine Michael, slashing their way through the rather porous Chicago Bear defense is freezing cold temps. However, rather than going through each play yard-by-yard I am going to point to a few of the highlights that made each highlight play possible!
What happened movement-wise on the play?
Most people who follow football are aware that because of the injury plague that bit the Packer backfield earlier this season, they were forced to move former wide receiver Ty Montgomery to the position in hopes that he could get something good going. And I would say something good is what they got! In fact, I would not be surprised in the slightest if the Packers make the change a permanent one and keep Montgomery in the backfield for the long haul and I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they do. He’s got natural instincts for the position and besides the number he wears on his jersey he looks like a RB when he runs & changes direction.
On this play, a few things stood out to me:
- The patient & proficient movement problem solving behind the LOS
Because of the traffic congestion once he immediately took the ball from Rodgers, Montgomery has to execute a lunge transition to a nice angled slice change-of-direction to a short right-to-left transitional jump cut which sets him up to find a crease as an opening through the aforementioned congestion.
- The immediate accelerative burst out of the spin move
Though I may briefly criticize him below for his top-end speed, Montgomery’s acceleration from the 10 to the 20 yard line (and really again from the 25 to the 35 yard line) makes the chunks of the yardage on this play get ate up in a hurry.
- The transitional steps at the tail-end of the run to pick up a few additional yards as a cherry on-top.
Though he should’ve maybe been gone to the house here, based on the organism constraints (possible acute fatigue and/or lack of breakaway linear top-end speed) and/or environmental constraints (surface and temperature), Montgomery is forced to change his path at the end of the run. Many players aren’t willing to do this especially at the end of a long-run (i.e. they stop problem solving) and instead get tracked down from behind or at the angle, but Montgomery’s awareness here allows him to get the most out of the play.
You can check out the play here:
About a quarter and a half later in the same game we now find our second featured movement play of the week. A number of years back I happened to be in Seattle at Seahawk training camp when I saw a stud running back stand out to me. And that stud running back didn’t happen to be named Marshawn Lynch. Instead, it was then rookie Christine Michael who I watched juke & jive his way through the vaunted Seahawk first team defense (at the time the best unit in the League). Using a naturally low center of gravity and aggressively violent slicing agility mechanics, Michael was impressive to me then but happened to fall off the radar after being traded and/or kicked around on a number of rosters over the last couple of years. Well, I am hoping that he makes a good impression on this Packer team now and can continue to make an impact for them like he did on Sunday.
Like on our first play, a few things stood out to me here:
- The aggressive tight-stance speed cut (right leg plant, left leg reacceleration) at the 46 yard line
This cut may look routine but it is simply masterfully spaced, timed, and executed. Many backs will use a lower power cut (with wider base of support) or even a crossover (he actually uses a crossover later at the 38 yard line) here but I love Michael’s response with this speed cut (tighter base of support with a snappy plant step) as it allows him to hit that hole and get into reacceleration with little hesitation.
- The 5 yard acceleration abilities through the hole from the 46 to the 38 yard line
Once he gets into reacceleration he’s on his horse in a hurry wasting little time to eclipse yards.
- The perception after the stiff-arm to veer off
I know, I know…everyone loves a stiff-arm…especially one that works with this level of effectiveness. However, what happens after it is what really gets me going (though it will appear subtle at first glance). This affordance for action that occurs when Michael comes out of the stiff-arm at the 25 yard line, he scans and locks in his visual gaze onto the Bears defender (#38), gives him enough of a look that he could pursue the straight-line path, and then veers off enough to give him the needed separation to find his way to the end zone.
You can check out the play here: