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The Mechanics of Carson Wentz: Week 12 vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Mechanics of Carson Wentz series is back for the regular season, as I am going to dive into every game one by one to break down how Wentz looked mechanically. How did he perform against the Buccaneers? (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube)

The Indianapolis Colts have fallen back to .500 on the year following a 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is a tough loss, but the Colts were competitive for the entire game against the defending Super Bowl Champions.

Quarterback Carson Wentz had an excellent game in this one. He completed 27 of 44 passes for 306 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

With Wentz having a strong game against a tough defense, I dove back into the film to see how his mechanics held up in the against the Bucs.

If you are interested in reading back on the offseason series, click this link here.

Throw of the Game

Starting this article off with a banger is the beautiful deep ball to Ashton Dulin in the second quarter. The Colts were reeling a bit at this point, after having three straight failed possessions on offense.

This play is simply perfection across the board. The call is a variation of the Colts' go-to shot play called "wide-waffle X deep cross." The play design has the 'Z' receiver running a deep post with the 'X' receiver running a deep cross.

Wentz notices that Ashton Dulin has a corner in press-man on him with a single-high safety over the top. As soon as that safety bites on the cross, Wentz uncorks a gorgeous deep ball for the score.

Great play-call, great throw, and a great route by Dulin.

Footwork and Alignment Were Great

The main focal point of this series in the offseason, and throughout the year, has mainly been on Wentz's lower half mechanics. When he missed throws with the Philadelphia Eagles, it was mainly due to issues in his footwork.

While he has had some inconsistencies at times this year, Sunday was a nearly perfect game in this department. He lined up well with his target, and he didn't make any unnecessary throws from a disjointed stance at any point in the game.

On this clip below, he sets the hallway out to the sideline before delivering a perfect throw to T.Y Hilton on the boundary.

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Anticipation + Perfect Mechanics

My personal favorite throw of the day came on a third down late in the second quarter. The Colts were driving at this point, and Wentz threw an absolute dart to keep the possession going.

The Colts have a simple "sail" route combination called, with Zach Pascal clearing vertically and Jack Doyle running a corner route. Wentz is straight perfection throughout this entire play.

He has excellent eye discipline to know that he will have the corner route open against cover-three. He begins to throw the ball before Doyle is out of the route, and leads the veteran tight end perfectly to the sideline.

From a mechanical standpoint, everything is great on this play. In his lower half, he sets his feet and is square to his target. Due to the pass rush he isn't able to fully step into the throw, but he still rifles a perfect pass regardless.

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RPO Success

A big element in Wentz's success in Philadelphia was how he was able to operate the RPO game. I have been a bit critical at times about Wentz's mechanics in these situations this year, but he seems to be in a groove running these plays at the moment.

Sunday was a masterclass from Wentz on knowing when to throw on the RPO and on how to set your feet when throwing these passes. These are quick passes that don't involve a typical drop-back, so the expectation for good mechanics has to be adjusted.

The key aspect on these throws is getting the back-foot aligned with the target and throwing from a stable base. As long as a quarterback does those two things, I consider their mechanics to be good on these throws.

Wentz does a fantastic job of positioning his body so he can snap between two targets (either the route in the flat or the hitch route). This clip is a perfect example of how he has been able to find success on these passes.

Darts All Day Long

Wentz was simply slinging it in this game. He was lethal on third downs and probably had his best day in terms of placement this year.

What was most impressive was that he was operating at a high level in pockets that were far from good. He had time to read the defense, for the most part, but he was rarely able to step into throws like he would prefer to.

This throw to Michael Pittman Jr on a "scissors" concept is great. He knows Pittman is his read all the way, and he waits for his big target to uncover down the field. When he does throw this ball, he places it in a perfect spot to protect Pittman from the big hit.

All this while not being able to step into the throw. Just an outstanding play.

This final throw was so much better on film than it was live on gameday. From the broadcast view, it looks like a typical throw over the middle to Doyle on third down.

Looking at it behind the play shows how good the placement was on the throw. Wentz has to react quickly, because the Bucs are bringing a heavy blitz to his right. He identifies that Doyle will have the leverage against his linebacker, so he waits for the veteran tight end to get to his spot.

As Doyle turns around, Wentz hits him with a throw to the outside. This throw is perfect, because Doyle has that leverage on the defender. This pass essentially protects Doyle from a big hit and keeps it away from the closest defender.

Final Thoughts

If you have been following this series throughout the year, you know that I'm not always as positive in my assessment of Wentz's play. This series simply focuses on the good and bad from each game and talks about the overall performance.

With that being said, I think this was Wentz's best game of the year. The gameplan asked Wentz to come out and throw the Colts to victory, and he nearly got the job done due to his excellent play. 

I was super impressed with how he handled himself in this one, and he showed that he can go toe to toe with a top team when asked to operate a pass-heavy gameplan. It was just an excellent game overall a I wish had ended in a win for him/the team.

Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachHicks2.

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