Each week I’ll look back at and break down the Bucs’ most valuable plays from their past game, in terms of Expected Points Added.
Expected Points Added, or EPA, is a statistic that was created to measure the value of each play during a football game in terms of points. EPA is essentially trying to put a value on how many net points a team can expect to gain based on the result of an individual play, while taking the down-and-distance and the team’s field position into account.
For example, a 5-yard run from the 50-yard line on first-and-10 is weighed differently than a 5-yard run inside the opponents 10-yard line on third-and-2.
The plays shown are measured from the offense’s perspective, so plays made by Tampa Bay’s offense will result in a positive EPA for the Bucs and plays made by Tampa Bay’s defense will result in a negative EPA for their opponents.
Below are the Bucs’ highest-valued plays by Expected Points Added, per rbsdm.com by Ben Baldwin, from their huge Week 6 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Mike Edwards, Interception: -6.6 EPA
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After Jamel Dean’s pick-six on the Packers’ third drive of the day – not only Aaron Rodgers’ first interception of the season but the first turnover of the year from the entire Green Bay offense – Mike Edwards came up with an interception of his own on the very next drive.
The Packers motioned into a 2×1 formation out of 11 personnel, sitting at their own 32-yard line. The Bucs were determined to stop the run early on Sunday, working a lot out of their base 3-4 alignment, but on this play it was a bit of a different look from Tampa Bay out of that alignment with Green Bay facing third-and-3. Jason Pierre-Paul was aligned on the interior defensive line next to Shaq Barrett, along with Ndamukong Suh and Jeremiah Ledbetter at nosetackle, with Lavonte David at strongside linebacker. Devin White was then the lone middle linebacker with Mike Edwards as the shallow single-high safety overtop and the Bucs’ other four defensive backs all down in press man coverage. It’s an extremely aggressive pre-snap alignment that relies on quick pressure and every man winning their one-on-one battle.
The Bucs sent six men, with White firing through the A-gap, and all of their defensive backs won their matchup early. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Davante Adams ran a double slant on the right side of the formation, Rodgers fired quick to Adams on the outside as the pressure came from Tampa Bay, Carlton Davis broke up the pass and Edwards was right there to take it away thanks to his shallow pre-snap alignment. Edwards nearly took it for another pick-six but was taken down at the Green Bay 2-yard line.
The interception was Edwards’ second in 44 total coverage snaps this season.
Here is an alternate view of the interception.
Jamel Dean, Pick-Six: -6.1 EPA
After two quick drives from Green Bay that netted them a 10-lead early, followed by two quick punts from Tampa Bay, the Bucs would need a big stop from their defense and they got much more than that with this pick-six from Jamel Dean.
Green Bay was facing a third-and-10 from the 22-yard line on their third play of the drive after two consecutive incompletions and the Bucs rolled out their nickel defense. Tampa Bay showed a five-man front by creeping White up to the line as the weakside linebacker and moving Jordan Whitehead up over the strongside B-gap. The Bucs rushed six on this play, but hid the pressure as Whitehead sank into the Bucs’ quarters zone while sending White off the edge and Sean Murphy-Bunting on a delayed nickel blitz.
Dean was in off coverage over Adams while Rodgers’ top receiver ran an out route right to the sticks. Dean kept inside leverage and with his speed to recover and handle nearly any receiver on a go route, kept his hips open, his eyes on Rodgers as he stared down Adams and broke on the pass the moment Rodgers went into his throwing motion. Dean has tremendous closing speed that almost resulted in a game-saving interception in the fourth quarter against Chicago and he was able to come up with his first interception of the season on this play, taking it back for six points.
Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski, 12-Yard TD: 4.2 EPA
After building a 21-10 lead in the second quarter, Tampa Bay got the ball at their own 38-yard line and drove all the way down inside the Packers’ red zone in just four plays. Then, at the Green Bay 12-yard line, facing third-and-6 with just over a minute remaining in the first half, Tom Brady found his long-time teammate Rob Gronkowski for their first touchdown connection of the season.
The Packers showed a six-man front and sent all six man on a blitz, leaving four men to cover four receivers with a single-high safety in the end zone. Tampa Bay countered by lining Chris Godwin and Mike Evans up wide on the field side, naturally taking the attention of the Packers’ single-high safety, with Gronkowski and Cam Brate on the boundary side of the play. Brate ran an out route underneath and Gronkowski ran a simple fade route to the corner of the end zone with safety Adrian Amos in man coverage. Gronkowski had natural leverage with the size advantage and made a really nice adjustment on the ball in the air to come down with his first touchdown of the season.
Tom Brady/Tyler Johnson, 7-Yard TD: 3.0 EPA
Tampa Bay took over in the second quarter at their own 35-yard line, trailing 14-10, and marched all the way down the field where they faced a third-and-10 from the Packers’ 7-yard line.
The Packers rushed just three on the play, dropping eight into coverage, while the Bucs sent five receivers to the end zone out of a 2×2 formation with Evans and Gronkowski on the boundary side of the formation, with Godwin and rookie Tyler Johnson out wide on the field side. Gronkowski ran a simple out route, Evans a dig route, Godwin and Ronald Jones II ran hook routes to the goal line and Johnson ran an out route to the back of the end zone. The Packers defense really smothered this play and covered every man well except for the longest developing route of the play. Brady handled the low snap, went through his progressions and found Johnson for the first touchdown of the rookie’s career.
Bruce Arians added after the game that Johnson was the fourth read on this play and that he can’t say the Bucs have ever had a completion to Johnson on this play in practice.
Tampa Bay entered Week 6 as the most penalized team in the league, committing 42 for 410 yards, but went without a single penalty on Sunday for just the second time in franchise history. Last week I talked about two questionable penalties that were called against the Bucs that potentially made huge impacts on the game, but In Week 6 two of the Bucs’ most valuable plays in terms of EPA came on penalties called in their favor.
Tom Brady/Scotty Miller, Defensive Pass Interference: 4.9 EPA
Brady has had a penchant for going deep on third down this season, looking for a big gain to one of his many talented receivers or the benefit of a pass interference call on an incomplete pass.
Leading 31-10 in the third quarter and facing third-and-12 from the Packers’ 43-yard line, Brady went deep for second-year receiver Scotty Miller down the left sideline. The Bucs came out in a 2×1 formation out of 11 personnel with Godwin working out of the slot and Miller out wide to Brady’s left.
Green Bay rushed five and fell into a cover 3 zone defense while Miller raced past cornerback Josh Jackson on a go route. Brady fired deep for Miller and the pass fell incomplete, but not before Miller drew the defensive pass interference penalty that would put Tampa Bay down at the Green Bay 2-yard line, setting up a short touchdown run for Jones two plays later.
Tom Brady/Chris Godwin, 6-Yard Completion, 15-Yard Facemask Penalty: 2.4 EPA
In the second quarter with a 4-point lead, the Bucs were lined up for a third-and-6 at the Packers’ 45-yard line and looking to keep the drive moving.
Tampa Bay lined up in a 3×1 formation and ran three dig routes from the field side of the formation where Godwin was able to find a hole in the Packers’ zone defense underneath, hauling in the first down completion from Brady. The play was a simple 6-yard gain to the sticks, enough for a first down, but a facemask penalty committed by Rashan Gary on Brady added another 15 yards to the play and pushed the Bucs down to the Packers’ 24-yard line.
Below is a look at the facemask penalty that added 15 yards to the play.