Over the next several days, I’ll be taking a look back into the 2010 regular season at the X’s and O’s of the New England Patriots’ most memorable touchdowns. The Patriots’ Official Website put together a list of 2010′s most memorable touchdowns, and these will be the basis for the plays that will be analyzed. These X’s and O’s pieces, like the ones I did during the season, diagram the play and explain how it worked.
Today, we’ll take a look at ILB Gary Guyton’s interception returned for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during Week One. This was Guyton’s first pick six for a touchdown.
The image above is what the play looked like before Bengals QB Carson Palmer snapped the ball. The Bengals were lined up with three wide receivers (from left to right; Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley, Chad Ochocinco), one tight end in Jermaine Gresham, lined up on the line of scrimmage to Palmer’s left, and RB Cedric Benson in the backfield. The Patriots are lined up in a nickel defense, with NT Vince Wilfork lined up over the A gap, DE Mike Wright lined up in the B gap, OLB Jermaine Cunningham with his hand on the ground lined up in the C gap, and OLB Tully Banta-Cain standing up lined up in the other C gap. ILB Gary Guyton is lined up to Carson Palmer’s left whiel ILB Jerod Mayo is lined up to Palmer’s right. From left to right, corners Devin McCourty, Jonathon Wilhite, and Darius Butler are lined up on Bengals wide-outs. The safeties are lined up off-screen, but they don’t really factor into what happens.
Once the ball is snapped, Wilfork, Wright, Cunningham, and Banta-Cain all shoot their gaps to try and get after Palmer. Cedric Benson, #32, comes out of the backfield and drags across the formation to the left, taking Jerod Mayo with him in man coverage. TE Jermaine Gresham, circled in red on the Bengals, drags across the formation to the right, and Gary Guyton, the Patriot circled in red, follows him in man coverage.
Guyton maintains good position against Gresham, staying on his inside hip. Carson Palmer had no right throwing the ball, as Gresham never got separation or ever appeared to be open. Once Palmer lets it go, Guyton simply cuts across Gresham’s body, makes the interception, and races down the sideline for a touchdown. Palmer was the only man in his way, and his attempt to tackle was, well, that of a quarterback.
To view footage of this play as well as other highlights from this game, click HERE.
Previous X’s and O’s of the Patriots’ Most Memorable Touchdowns of 2010: