Game: Nelson Agholor getting creative & showing authenticity
Play: Cardinals at Eagles
What makes this the BTS Play of the Week?
With the plethora of outstanding plays that are coordinated in highly skillful manners across the League each week, it’s somewhat rare for us to see our top movement performance come from the same team in consecutive weeks. However, this week’s top play was just too good to not have this rarity become reality for us today. That is, despite pushes by some incredibly clutch plays by 2016 All-Movement Team Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, as well as fellow All-Movement Team returner, Tyreek Hill. But the movers of the Philadelphia Eagles are flying high right now and showing a proficient style of movement across their skill players.
Picking up where Eagle RB LeGarrette Blount left off last week when he went Beastmode, Philly WR Nelson Agholor went and executed not only one of the most creative plays we are likely to see all season, but maybe the most swagger-filled ones as well. On the play, it’s as if the former first round draft pick out of USC, Agholor, seemed to let off a whole lot of steam from the past three seasons which have been filled with a fair amount of ups & downs. However, in just this one play alone it’s also as if he showed the realization of game-breaking, playmaking potential that the Eagles saw in him when they made him such a high draft pick years ago.
What happened movement-wise on the play?
On this play, though up big at 24-7, the Eagles find themselves with a 3rd and 19. Quarterback Carson Wentz (who I should note has started to really display some rather proficient movement behavior both inside and outside of the pocket thus far this season), is lined up in the shotgun with trips to his right. His inside slot receiver on the play happens to be the feature of our highlight today, Nelson Agholor, who initially has Cardinal safety, Tyrann Mathieu lined up over him (but if you ever watch any Cardinals games you know there is a high likelihood that he’s going to rush the quarterback here with hopes that he will be able to make a big play happen).
Because Mathieu did in fact blitz, Agholor has a clean and free release off the line of scrimmage; which is something that you may not want to give a guy that runs 4.4’s even on this type of 3rd and long. Agholor uses this release to get a whole lot of steam built up; so much so that if we are watching the sideline view only, by the time he comes back into the picture he’s already at the Arizona 40 yard line (this play began at the Eagle’s 28 yard line!) and is well-separated from Cardinal safety Budda Baker (who last year at Washington I felt was among the most complete movers in the entire class). Things on this play were only about to get worse for Baker.
Wentz hangs up a perfect ball for Agholor to run under and snag which is does with his outstretched arms at the 30 yard line (note the distance of this Wentz throw!). With the nature of the instability that often occurs on these types of plays when players have to reach out and away to catch a ball this far outside of their body, it often ends with a player falling or rolling to the ground in order to adequately bring it in (especially with the high amount of velocity and momentum he has built up here). However, Agholor shows some impressive athleticism here as he reels it right in and gets immediately back into his stride without so much of a hitch in his gait to show for it.
The Eagle WR takes a few steps before feeling the presence of Baker who is in hot pursuit and is looking to better the play after having been handily beat on everything that happened prior to this. Unfortunately for Baker, he is about to get a welcome to the NFL type of moment here which honestly every player gets at some point. Agholor turns and readies himself for a stiff-arm on Baker. We can actually see Baker’s eyes go up to Agholor’s shoulders, arm, and head as soon as the stiff-arm hand is flashed. This is enough distraction to allow Agholor to begin decelerating over a number of steps beginning at the 22 yard line as he prepares to attempt to finish this play in the end zone. Baker’s movement actions match Agholor’s here as he does the same in this movement dance that we see unfold.
At the 20 yard line Agholor shoots the hand; once it makes contact with Baker he can feel that Baker has too much momentum built up and he is likely to get off balance rather easily here (most of this is due to being the defender and being in a completely reactionary state at this moment where as Agholor exists as the dictator of the movement that will emerge). When Agholor pushes him by, he uses this is the set-up to decelerate more fully between the 17 and 16 yard line and flows into his change of direction sequence which exists in the form of a spin to his left followed by a hard jab step to plant off of his right (which Baker over-reacts to as he thinks Agholor is going to re-accelerate hard back to the middle of the field) which Agholor then brings back to his left when he realizes that Baker has crossed over and is now in a VERY suboptimal position. Major advantage now to Agholor.
Some tremendous movement authenticity here emerges for Agholor in the way that he re-accelerates out of this position he’s in as he’s straddling the 15 yard line. That right foot jab step gets picked up hard while keeping the left foot down. His right becomes the foot he accelerates off of and he drives it forward quickly to get his body lean and mechanics back into the optimal position to accelerate the final 15 to pay-dirt.
All the above is happening while Baker is trying to regain some movement control but it’s all too little too late now for the Cardinals safety. Baker hit two rapid acceleration steps from his angular plant and elects to take a dive at Agholor’s feet, which at this point he already had plenty of separation between him and the Arizona defender. Thus, this last ditch effort to bring him down is diverted by a slight hop over the tackle attempt and Agholor now prepares to celebrate after his dazzling play. He does this staring down his opponent in Baker, who is now up on his feet to see the whole thing go down as Agholor turns his back to the end zone and trust falls into it and up into a final roll of celebration.
Click below to watch this week’s spectacular play: