Pulling off a perfect play-action is a lost art form in the NFL, but if you have a player at the quarterback position that can pull it off, it makes it a valuable weapon for a team when they pull it off.
Luckily for the Bolts, they have a player that has gotten nothing but better at pulling off the play-action the past few seasons, that being Philip Rivers.
The veteran QB is mentioned in an article by Sports Illustrated – The NFL’s Hidden Talents: Best play-action quarterbacks.
Here’s what author Doug Farrar has to say about Rivers and his ability to shine when it comes to play-action:
Paradoxically, the quarterback who saw the most play-to-play success with play-action in 2014 was the one who used it the least. Rivers ran play-fakes on just 7.8% of his overall passing attempts, and one has to wonder why. His completion percentage shot up from 64.9 to 83.3 in those situations, his yards per attempt average went from 7.3 to 10.3 and his touchdown-to-interception ratio improved from 27-to-18 to 4-to-0. Small sample size is a factor, but it’s pretty clear that in San Diego’s multi-tiered passing offense, which employs everything from simple dump-off passes to advanced vertical concepts, play-action is a true force multiplier.
Of Rivers’s four play-action touchdown passes in 2014, here are two. The first came in Week 4 against the Jaguars with 11:37 left in the first half. On this play, Eddie Royal is the inside receiver in San Diego’s Trips Right formation against Jacksonville’s nickel defense with a single-high safety. Safety Josh Evans moved over before the snap to cover middle receiver Malcolm Floyd, which left linebacker Geno Hayes with single coverage on the speedy Royal. That looked to be a mismatch anyway, but Hayes compounded the problem by biting for a split second on Rivers’s play-fake to running back Donald Brown. The result was an easy 47-yard touchdown pitch-and-catch.
It’s a solid article that talks in-depth about the lost art in the league, and while Luck is on the list for his ability to produce magic, fellow QB’s that make the list include: Andrew Luck of the Colts, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steeers, Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and Eli Manning of the NY Giants.