New Grantland Blog: Manning to Manningham – NFC Championship edition

It’s now up over at the Grantland blog:

Yet while Cruz was the most important receiver on the field for the Giants, Manning’s best throw of the day went to a guy who had but a single catch on the game: Mario Manningham, whose 17-yard touchdown reception tied the score at 17. The play — which came, dramatically enough on third-and-15 — was an old, old pass concept known as “anchor” or “Mills.” (“Anchor” refers to the concept more directly, with an underneath receiver hopefully “anchoring” a defender so the post route can get behind him; “Mills” is a name common in many coaching circles, as Steve Spurrier destroyed people with this concept back at Florida in the 1990s and he called it “Mills” after the receiver who ran it the best, Ernie Mills.

Read the whole thing.

  • Mike W.

    Chris, the play looks more like the NCAA pass with the post and dig on one side than Mills to me.  Regardless, definitely similar concepts going on.  As always, thanks for the great posts.

  • Anonymous

    What would be the difference between the NCAA pass with the post and dig on one side and Mills with the post and the dig on the same side?

  • Mike W.

    A hitch on the inside route instead of the dig.  From what I understood of Mills, that’s why it can be mirrored on both sides and serve as a Cover 4 beater.

    Like I said, both concepts try to make a safety wrong no matter what.  I just thought NCAA was geared to attacking MOFC coverage while Mills was more of a MOFO concept.

  • Anonymous

    Not necessarily. I’ve seen people run it the way you describe, as a true “anchor” type technique, but I also typically see it as a square-in. Indeed, “Mills” itself — Spurrier’s concept and where the name comes from — uses a post and square-in:

    I mean what the Giants ran could have been something along the lines of a double-post concept where the inside receiver broke his route flat like a square-in, but I just drew it up the way they ran it.

  • Thanks for the link to Spurrier’s playbook. It looks like there were two concepts from there that turned into touchdowns in that game. Am I wrong, or wasn’t Vernon Davis’ second TD the “Biddle” concept? ( 4:00 mark) It appears that Davis ran the wheel route off motion and the outside WR ran the post.

  • Mike W.

    Thanks, Chris.  I appreciate the back and forth.