How’s that for a chart? Thanks to NFL’s NextGenStats, we have a nice way of seeing how quarterbacks target opposing defenses and it’s pretty clear that Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers wanted to avoid throwing towards his right against the New England Patriots, with just 6 of his 30 attempts going to the right of the hashmarks and just three going towards the right sideline.
The Patriots cornerback responsible for the right side of the field? Malcolm Butler, who did give up the late touchdown to the Chargers.
But every other pass was an attempt to keep the ball away from Butler and in the direction of Johnson Bademosi and the other defenders.
While it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Chargers opted to target the special teamer playing in the secondary as opposed to the 2016 Second Team All Pro cornerback, the Jets and Falcons spread the ball around a little more evenly during Bademosi’s other starts.
This focus on avoiding Butler also reinforces the potential value that Stephon Gilmore adds to the defense because I have a hard time seeing opposing offenses throwing so many passes in Gilmore’s direction for an entire game.