November 19 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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This week in the inside the playbook article of 49ers Paradise we look at the three receiver seem, with reverse motion. You may remember this play as Terrell Owens first touchdown reception against the Chargers, called on fourth and three.
The pass play begins with the team lined up with three receivers on one side of the line, the secondary target will motion into the center of the field, and back to the other side, usually throwing the cornerback off balance. That receiver will run an outside slant, an uncharacteristic patter in the NFL, that works with momentum of the receiver to create quick separation. Meanwhile the two other receivers head down the field with the option of going inside or outside on the cornerback.
This is not a typical play by any means, but when run can be done so extremely effectively. The 49ers used the play at the perfect time in the game, evidence of that was the long touchdown to Owens. What makes it work is the initial motion in the pattern. The second receiver must sell that he is going across the field to shift the deep safety, he then must make an aggressive cut and run a pattern that is not too popular in the 49ers offense. This change of pace is usually enough to shake opposing defenses.
Against the Chargers the 49ers used the play on fourth and three, a down which could be passing or running. It was successful because Tai Streets completely sold the defense on his pattern leaving Terrell Owens in man coverage over the top. Garcia recognized this and successfully found Owens en route to the endzone.