First and 10 from the Bills’ 40-yard line. We see Kansas City in the I-Formation with Jeremy Maclin wide right and Albert Wilson wide left. Anthony Sherman and Spencer Ware are in the backfield with Smith under center. Travis Kelce is lined up tight right.
Buffalo has eight defenders near the line of scrimmage. The Bills are going with a single-high safety look and man coverage across the board. One of the safeties has dropped down (hashmark, 35-yard line) and will cover Kelce if he goes into a route. Maclin is getting a cushion, something to note.
This is what you want to see from Smith. As the play unfolds, Smith has solid protection and has Kelce wide open on a drag route underneath. It would easily be a first down and perhaps a huge gain.
Instead, Smith has pre-determined that he wants Maclin. He wants it all. The lone deep safety has shaded way too far toward Wilson, and can’t get over in time. Rookie Ronald Darby has to cover Maclin by himself, and Smith is betting on his veteran.
Smith threw this ball while Darby was 10 feet further downfield toward the ball’s landing point.
Within 17 yards, Maclin has beaten Darby. You can also see that the safety has no chance of getting over to the boundary. Maclin would make the catch at the 3-yard line and Spencer Ware would score on the next play.
Smith’s decision to be aggressive paid huge dividends.
Next: More Maclin vs. Buffalo