Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has made a name for himself by reviving the Rams offense last season after an unbearably unproductive stretch under former head coach Jeff Fisher. Orchestrating one of the best offenses in the league isn’t his only skill, he also has a rock solid memory that he showed (and not for the first time) in an interview with Bleacher Report.
Rams HC Sean McVay literally remembers every play of his coaching career pic.twitter.com/r9gC2mcajM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 13, 2018
McVay was asked to recall three plays from the time he spent in Washington and Los Angeles, and he nailed all three.
Play 1: Jared Goff touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds in Week 12 vs. the Saints (2017)
The first play that McVay was asked to recall was a touchdown pass in the Rams’ 26-20 Week 12 win over the New Orleans Saints last season. What’s even more impressive than remembering the playcall itself is remembering the reaction of the Saints’ defense on the play.
“Oh, Josh Reynolds touchdown. Off-scheduled play versus a three-man rush.”
Jared Goff’s first read to the right was covered and he had to improvise outside the original structure of the play — that’s what McVay means by “off scheduled.”
Luckily, the Rams’ offensive line was able to hold together long enough to give Goff a chance to scan the field, find Reynolds breaking open in the back of the end zone, and fire the ball in for six.
Play 2: Wheel route up the right sideline to Jamison Crowder (2015)
Let’s turn the clock back even further to 2015 when McVay was the offensive coordinator in Washington. McVay called up a wheel route (which you can read about more in depth here) to Jamison Crowder as Washington was driving down the field to win the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It was a perfect call — wheel routes are extremely hard to defend for defenders in man coverage. The two slant routes happening outside of the wheel routes hold the safety in the middle of the field. That creates an ideal one-on-one throw to Crowder, which set up the final play that McVay was able to recall.
Play 3: Slant route to Jordan Reed for a game-winning touchdown (2015)
Sean McVay’s explanation for this one is pretty self-explanatory.
“Jordan Reed touchdown in a 4x1 iso slant.”
Washington broke the huddle in a 4x1 set — four receivers to the left side of the line, one on the right. The four-receiver set draws the defense to that side of the field, making the isolated slant route an easy throw. Kirk Cousins just has to beat the linebacker rotating over to Reed for the game-winning touchdown.
This was really cool from a schematic point of view because 4x1 sets in the NFL are pretty rare. They usually come with a screen call near the goalline because there are automatically going to be three blockers in front of the screen.
This touchdown spurred the famous “YOU LIKE THAT?!” line from Kirk Cousins after the win, something else that McVay was able to recall. (On a related note Kirk Cousins, who is now the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, filed a trademark for “You Vike That!”... get it?)
Listening to athletes and coaches recall some of their accomplishments and athletic feats is always interesting. McVay has called hundreds of plays in the NFL, so the fact that he can remember specific playcalls and outcomes from years ago is extremely impressive — especially if you’re like me and can’t remember what you had for breakfast yesterday.
It’s easy to see how McVay has blossomed into one of the league’s elite offensive coaches. His attention to detail is outstanding and he put that on full display with his memory recall. The Rams got a good one.