Undertow, as its name suggests, was derived from Undercuts, which I consider to be my first truly great passing play, and to this day maybe unsurpassed. I decided that although I like to keep my plays fresh, favoring experimentation with new techniques over rehashing old ones, the sterling qualities of Undercuts were just too good to not develop further. The 4 Wide formation has much in common with Slingshot, but places the quarterback and flankers closer to the line of scrimmage, allowing faster play development. Like Undercuts, Undertow combines reliable, short yardage routes with big play potential, but does so with a greater efficiency, getting more possibility out of the top two receiver's routes.

4 Wide - Undertow

The flankers are the primary targets in most situations. The routes are symmetric, so the read progression may be modified to look first at which ever receiver looks most likely to break open before the ball is snapped. These routes are dual utility; they can be hit immediately after the snap while cutting under the split end for a short but reliable gain, or they can catch the ball running up the sideline, hopefully after the receiver loses his man on the undercut. This throw requires very good touch and timing, as you have to drop the ball in after the receiver gets around the cornerback but before he gets in the vicinity of the safety. This should only be attempted after several reps in practice.

The third target, the left SE, is also very useful. Because the flankers both run routes to the outside, they usually draw the inside pass coverage, opening up the middle of the field. The SE's drag route gets open quite easily, and if the flankers can grab the attention of the safeties a simple catch and turn upfield can get big yards. If a safety comes down to cover this short zone, there is a good chance that the right SE will be open over the deep middle on a post pattern. To top things off the RB runs a pattern almost identical to the flanker patterns, to the left side but even wider. Like with the flankers this can be hit early for a safe dumpoff or late up the sideline for big yards. As you can see, Undertow has perhaps the best usage of the entire field of any of the plays I've devised. For the defense its a matter of picking your poison; you can pick certain routes to cover but there's no way to cover them all.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Pass Block
QB Dropback 1yd
RB W3-N1W2-N2W1-N7 (open)
Left SE N1E1-N1E2-E3 (open)
Left Flanker W1-N1W2-N2W1-N7 (open)
Right Flanker E1-N1E2-N2E1-N7 (open)
Right SE 10yd Post

See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.

Read Progression

  1. Right flanker undercut/sideline streak
  2. Left flanker undercut/sideline streak
  3. Left SE drag
  4. Right SE post
  5. RB wide swing

I have combined the dual undercut/streak route segment into single reads because the play develops quite quickly and it is not really possible to make four distinct reads just among these receivers before the other reads. The best approach is to assess the defense before the ball is snapped and decide which part of each route looks best taking the down and distance game situation and defensive formation into account. This is especially important for the flanker routes, as the only way to hit the undercut early enough is to make it your first read. In this situation you may flip the left/right read progression as appropriate.




Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.