By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
Kansas City dominated Oakland in the second half on Sunday, shutting out a Raiders offense that has shown a penchant for second-half explosions. Few plays epitomized this superiority more than Dontari Poe‘s score from one yard out.
For as long as football has been played, when a team needs to gain a few yards, it lines up the most mass it has and punches it up the middle, between the tackles. But this is 2016, where we spread defenses out with our ingenious formations and innovations. Andy Reid’s play-call included 6-foot-3, 346-pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe.
Not only was Poe lined up as a receiver in the back of a bunch set, but guard Zach Fulton was in the middle of the folks in front of Poe, flanked by tight end Demetrius Harris and fullback Anthony Sherman. It was a whole lot of man out there.
Upon the snap and completion to Poe (technically a backward pass and therefore, a rushing attempt), the trio of blockers, plus tackle Mitchell Schwartz engaged the defenders, leaving only safety Reggie Nelson to attempt to stop Poe. That was 210 pounds versus 346 pounds. Nelson could gain an additional 50 percent of his body weight and would still face a deficit.
To make matters worse, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said they weren’t caught off guard — they just couldn’t stop it.
“We were ready for that one,” Del Rio said after the game. “Maybe not that much beef out there, but we were ready for the play. Same play they ran last year. We practiced it all week. It’s not like it was a surprise. They needed a yard and they got a yard.”
But the issue at hand isn’t that Oakland’s assembled mass couldn’t stop Kansas City’s collection of bulk. It was instead the series of plays prior, on multiple drives, that landed the Chiefs inside theRaiders‘ 5-yard line. It was Spencer Ware‘s 131 yards on the ground, and Alex Smith‘s 19-of-22 day.
Oakland’s last-ranked defense isn’t helping its chances of winning, especially when wet conditions aren’t ripe for big plays on offense. Derek Carr can’t throw the Raiders back into every game, and turnovers are few and far between when playing a precise opponent. When it comes down to stopping a defensive tackle with a safety, or a linebacker, or even a fellow defensive tackle on the goal line, the battle has already been lost.
We’re all winners, though, when a large human scores. America loves fat guy touchdowns.