This week, we take a look at another staple in the Air Raid, but one we haven’t seen executed at such a high level in quite some time – the slant.
The slant routes is one of the easiest, technique wise, routes to learn and to run. The receiver is essentially trying to break inside of his defender. The break can come immediately off the line of scrimmage, or he can set the break further downfield depending on the down and distance or the coverage. This was one of Michael Crabtree’s signature routes, especially around the goal line, as it allowed him to work on the defender and create space for himself.
This play in particular has Giles taking three steps and then breaking inside. Mahomes is waiting for the window to open based on the coverage, which is soft, and the reaction of the linebacker as he reacts to the play fake.
Giles is uncontested off of the line, meaning he can get deeper before needing to make his move. Mahomes is reading the reaction of the outside linebacker who is in the throwing lane. Although the linebacker initially bit on the run fake, he recovered well and actually forced Mahomes to double clutch the throw, delaying it by a second (Tech could have been called for an ineligible man downfield because one of the OL whiffed on a block and fell into the area around the linebackers, past the allowable 3 yards downfield on a passing play). However, once Mahomes hit Giles in stride (such a beautiful thing to see), Giles is already leaving his defender behind. The other defender who might have a play is actually taken out by Giles’ initial defender, on top of taking a poor angle.