Receiver Film Room: Alex Erickson vs. Los Angeles Rams

Mike Vannucci

Alex Erickson caught six of seven targets, for 97 yards on Sunday at Wembley Stadium; his second consecutive game leading the team in receiving. 

Over the past three weeks, Erickson has been the Bengal's most effective receiver. Let's take a look at the numbers:

Now that Erickson's production has been put in perspective, let's take a look at (and breakdown) each target he had thrown his way this past Sunday.

Target #1: Complete

Here the Bengals are off schedule, or behind the chains with a 2nd & 18. Erickson is aligned to the right of the formation as the outside receiver in a type of tight bunch. He is running a deep out, and since he has a reduced split he attacks the corners leverage by spraying outside. 

Erickson does an excellent job threatening with his vertical stem, prior to rolling over to his out route with a speed cut. He fights for some extra yards and puts his offense in a manageable third-down situation. 

We've used the term "threaten with the vertical stem" quite often. In the video below we discuss what that means exactly.

Target #2: Complete

The Bengals run a slip screen to Erickson, and he does a good job catching and getting upfield inside of his blocks immediately. The center, slot receiver, and right tackle do a nice job getting out to their blocks to create the lane for Erickson. 

Target #3: Complete

Once again, the Bengals are behind schedule here on a 2nd & 17. They run another deep out with Erickson. It's essentially the same route as his first target. He is not in a reduced/nasty split, or in a bunch, so he doesn't have to spray out as much with his vertical stem. 

Target #4: Incomplete

Erickson once again running a deep out versus an off cover defender. However, here you'll see him begin to decelerate on his outside foot prior to rolling over his inside foot (as he should on a speed cut). 

This can negatively impact the route multiple ways: it can slightly alter the timing, it can provide an indicator for the defender to drive on the route (change of stride), and it can also cause him to take longer to get flat out of his break. As you'll notice here, he gets his head around late. It's important to glue your chin to your shoulder as you're coming out of the route. Erickson is late to do so.

Target #5: Complete 

It looks to be that Erickson is running an option route here. Since the coverage lifts, he just sits it down. Not the best situation here, catching the ball inbounds and only gaining five yards; with no timeouts.

Target #6:

The Bengals are running a deep out with a vertical to the left of the formation (at the top of the screen), with Erickson running a shallow cross from a nasty split on the right. 

It is possible that this was a Flood concept (3 receivers to one side, at layered depths), with Erickson being the low route coming across the field. On shallow crosses, the receiver has the option to sit the route down versus zone. That's what Erickson does here. 

Target #7: Complete

Late in the game and up fourteen points, Rams are in a Cover 4 look here and the Bengals are running four verticals. Erickson is split wide to the right of the formation (bottom of your screen) and attacks Ramsey inside getting on his toes, prior to expanding back out. Ramsey loses Erickson and doesn't recover in time to make a play on the ball. This is uncharacteristic of Jalen Ramsey, although he is more fit for man coverage. A big gain which sets the Bengals up with an opportunity to score late in the game. 

The Bengals are headed into a much-needed bye week and resume play at home versus a strong Baltimore Ravens team. With the expected return of AJ Green, the emergence of Erickson & Tate, and the consistency of Tyler Boyd; this could be a formidable receiver group for the remainder of the season. As we know, that's not where the questions are, with rookie Quarterback Ryan Finley taking over for Andy Dalton moving forward. 


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