Burn This Play: Purdue gives up last-second game-winner with worst possible coverage

·3 min read

We all hate prevent defense. All it prevents, the old saying goes, is winning. But there are times when the best possible thing to do is to roll everybody back, play your defensive backs in the parking lot, and throw any kind of aggressiveness right out the window.

The Purdue Boilermakers had the opportunity to make this decision with seven seconds left in their game with the Syracuse Orange. And it could be said that they failed the decision matrix about as spectacularly as they possibly could. Up 29-25, they played single-high press man with a blitz against quarterback Garrett Shrader, and Shrader knew exactly what to do with that: Throw a game-winning touchdown pass to Oronde Gadsden II.

Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

It could be said that some of the better football minds out there were not happy with the coverage.

Gregg Williams-esque? Verily. This allows us the opportunity to bring up the play that led to Williams’ firing as the Jets’ defensive coordinator. We move back to December 6, 2020. With five seconds left against the Raiders in Week 13, the Jets were trying to pick up their first win of the season, and they were well on their way to doing so. They were up 28-24, and Derek Carr had to get the ball in the end zone from the Jets’ 46-yard line for anything to happen in an impactful sense.

Of course, when your defensive coordinator is Gregg Williams, and you want a guy to call a Cover-0 (no deep safeties) jailbreak blitz just to make sure something good WILL happen for the Raiders… well, you’ve got the right guy.

Yeah, that’s man-across coverage with no deep help and an eight-man blitz against rookie receiver Henry Ruggs Jr. who ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at his scouting combine. Seems less than optimal, but what do we know?

ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky was similarly unimpressed with Purdue’s defensive concepts.

While I am not one of the better football minds out there, I will add that the blitz element of this defensive strategy pretty much doomed this thing before it even happened.

And it was not Purdue’s only boneheaded play of the day to Syracuse’s benefit.

Syracuse remained undefeated with the 32-29 win, while Purdue dropped to 1-1. And when you give up a gimme touchdown with the worst possible coverage, and you allow a THICC-SIX touchdown by throwing when you shouldn’t, it’s pretty clear that you’re preventing winning.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire