We break down QB C.J. Beathard’s shovel-pass touchdown to RB Matt Breida. The score was Breida’s first NFL TD, and one of the Niners’ few highlights from their Week-8 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
There wasn’t a lot for San Francisco 49ers fans to enjoy from the Niners’ 33-10 lossto the Philadelphia Eagles, but one bright spot was the play call and execution of a shovel-pass screen in the third quarter of the game.
The 21-yard pass from rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard to rookie running back Matt Breida was a perfect play call by head coach Kyle Shanahan against the perfect defense; and the 49ers — with backups along the offensive line — executed it to perfection.
The 49ers line up in 20 personnel in I-Formation, with no tight ends on the field. Shanahan has his outside receivers in numbers splits and his slot receiver in a reduced split.
The objective of this formation is to move as many defenders as possible from the middle of the field by aligning the receivers close to the formation at the snap, then running eligible receivers and their defenders away from the middle of the field — hopefully with the defenders’ backs to the play:
As the ball is snapped, left tackle Zane Beadles and center Daniel Kilgore — instead of blocking — quickly move to the second level. The Eagles rush six defenders, expecting Breida to stay in to block, with linebacker Nigel Bradham responsible for fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
Juszczyk runs a flat route, with the intention of bringing safety Rodney McLeod — who instead blitzes — with him. Instead, Bradham attempts to race across the formation to cover Juszczyk:
Bradham is in a position of extreme disadvantage, with two running backs to cover, and two linemen barreling toward him. Meanwhile, with defenders in his face, Beathard waits until the last possible moment to pitch the ball to Breida:
As Breida turns upfield, he has nothing but blockers and green grass in front of him. The rookie quickly outruns his blocker Kilgore and scampers into the end zone for his first NFL score:
With starting running back Carlos Hyde in a contract year, look for the San Francisco 49ers to begin to feature Matt Breida in order to determine what they have in the rookie running back.