Down Pitch is a play specifically designed to take advantage of the Madden 2004 Playmaker control. The symmetry of the Funnel formation makes it a great candidate for plays which work equally well to either side, and the wideout/tight ends pairs split to either side make both tosses and cutbacks excellent options. Simply call the play, flip the direction as necessary based on the pre-snap alignment of the defense, and choose to sweep to the outside or cut back to the middle based on the initial moves by the cornerbacks and outside linebackers.

Funnel - Down Pitch

Because of its elegant versatility Down Pitch is a great way to attack defenses who do a lot of shifting to get better angles to rush upfield to pressure the quarterback. It might not be quite as successful against teams which use more base formations and place emphasis on gap containment. Also, the cutbacks may fool defenses the first few times the play is run but probably will not work repeatedly, so make sure this play is not over-used. Keep it as a nice change of pace, especially after getting the CBs back-pedaling after a few successful Funnel pass plays.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Run Block
QB Pitch to RB
Left SE and TE Lead Far Right
Right TE and SE Lead Far Left
RB Receive Pitch - Off Tackle Right

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

Blocking Assessment

There are two phases to setting up this play. The first is pre-snap recognition of the defense. If the D-line and/or linebackers shift to either direction you generally want to run the other way. Flip the play if necessary using the Playmaker control. The other thing to look for is the spread of the front seven. The best cutbacks tend to happen when the defense is spread to either rush the passer or string out outside runs. If the defense spreads wide, be prepared to cutback as soon as the pitch is received.

The second phase begins immediately after the play starts. The keys to look for are the defensive rush, primarily by the front seven, and the SE vs. CB matchup on the side the run is aimed towards. When the CB starts back-pedaling at the snap is the best time to try to take the run all the way to the outside. The SE has his momentum going forward and should get a good push against the CB. A trickier read is the TE, who is probably matched up against a linebacker. The LB probably will not be able to make the tackle on his own, but if he rushes upfield either on a blitz or simply slips by the TE's block while playing man coverage he can string out the play long enough to prevent much of a gain. This is another reason I prefer the cutback: more blockers to the inside means more opportunities for holes to open up in different directions. Running to the outside in this play tends to leave less options if the blocking breaks down.




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