Every play in a football game starts with two teams of eleven players each, lined up face to face, ostensibly equal. Each play is eleven different contests. Eleven offensive players trying to control eleven defensive players. Eleven defenders determined to escape the blocks and get to the ball carrier.
In football it all happens quickly. They start lined up eleven versus eleven, then two or three seconds later...
... one ball carrier is surrounded by three defenders.
So how does that happen?
With my 300mm lens and my Nikon camera recording the action at 2.5 frames per second, my fancy photo-editing software allowing me to zoom in and analyze things, I often see what happened.
In the photo above, how did Cookie get into that predicament? Well let's take a look.
The play started innocently enough. I count three Outlaw blockers on the left side of the line and three defenders. But there's another defender we can't see in this frame.
Let's take a look at another little sequence. This time Outlaws win the play. I like this one because it shows tenacity. Football is messy. You rarely get a clean shot on your opponent. You have to fight off blockers, climb over bodies.
This sequence has the Outlaws on defense.
But Fuller is quick and slick. She discards the blocker and grabs the runner. A couple things to note. Fuller has been fighting the blocker so she is a little off balance when she reaches the runner. Second, another potential Outlaws tackler is being held. Isn't that illegal? It is if the official sees it.
I hope you can make out what is happening here. Because Fuller couldn't get a good solid hit, she is just hanging on to the runner. She is on the ground hanging on to a leg or two. Coming to assist is Tiffany James, wearing the red-sleeved shirt. So Fuller is slowing the runner down, James is coming in to complete the tackle.
If you look closely you'll see a red glove reaching over the runner's back, grasping her right arm. That glove belongs to Tiffany. You can also see her left arm (red sleeve) reaching the ground with the runner's left arm. You can also just make out Fuller's right arm still hanging on. All that remains is the runner hitting the turf.
Slowly in chess, quickly in football, the game turns on individual contests. A tackler escapes a block and the defense wins the down. A blocker holds and the offense wins the down.
In earlier posts I featured blocking. It is important. And difficult.