While it's blocking diagram may give IB Lead Smash the appearance of a sophisticated trap blocking running play, do not be deceived. This play is all about the raw power of two fullbacks smashing straight into opposing defenses with the I Back plowing in right behind. There's not much in the way of delicate timing to worry about as holes are opened quickly and viciously by these lead blockers. Just take the ball, make your move to the hole decisively and turbo ahead. This play is easy to learn and fun to run.

Sidewinder - IB Lead Smash

Compared to a run like IB Mid Plunge, IB Lead Smash is a bit hit-or-miss on short yardage conversions. Although its blocking is very powerful the FBs get out quickly and can run past defenders who penetrate early. Though this doesn't happen often it's something to watch out for, especially when playing aggressive opponents or when the defense stacks the left side. On the plus side this gives the play good potential for breaking open long gainers. If the blitzers overrun the ball carrier as well as the blockers the IB will blow past the line of scrimmage with great speed and blockers ahead in the open field. For these reasons I prefer to use the play on early downs rather than 3rd and short.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line, TE and WR Run Block
QB Handoff to IB
FB Lead Left
W (FB2) Lead Off Left
IB (HB) Shuffle - Dive Left

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

Blocking Assessment

As indicated above, the FB blocking routes look more different from each other than they really are. While the lead FB blocks inside and the W blocks outside, when well executed both players end up coming back together after punching through the line of scrimmage. Although the play is technically a dive, the combination of the shuffle step and the semi-outside blocking make it more like a sprint. Sprinting is exactly what you should do when your back takes the handoff. Angle about 30 degrees left of forwards and turn on the jets. Hesitation can be deadly here, as the hole usually closes quickly once the FBs have blasted by the defensive line.

Although the best gains tend to occur when running in this downhill fashion, a combination of a defense stacking the left side and the linebackers taking angles towards the FBs will occasionally leave wide open cutback lanes. These cuts are difficult to make though, and because the defense may recover more quickly than you expect only cut to the right for sure openings. A full juke is too much here, the sharp step sideways will smack the IB into a defensive lineman and waste key forward speed and momentum. A spin is likely too slow as well. What you likely want is about a half juke, like a wiggle, just enough to get your direction changed slightly to the right with no significant loss in speed. Practice is critical to get this maneuver down pat.

There's not many other options with this play. The Playmaker feature is a disaster. Both FBs manage to get in the way of the handoff, so even motioning one to block outside isn't a fix. Normal motions might be helpful if the defense looks like it will blitz hard around the outside, possible avoiding a tackle for loss in the backfield but also reducing the open field blocking potential in case the IB manages to slip past without help. Also, moving the lead FB from his natural position allows greater chance of interior defensive penetration, so use with caution.




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