As a cornerback for the Oakland Raiders, David Amerson makes his hay dropping in coverage and making life difficult for opposing wide receivers, and while he certainly excels at defending the pass, the athletic defensive back doesn't have a problem lowering his shoulder and mixing it up in the open field.
He showed that ability once again Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium, as he laid a vicious hit on San Diego Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams on a critical 3rd and 1 with 7:13 left in the fourth quarter.
The third down stop proved to be critical, and since it took good coverage by several players to come to fruition, it is this week's Right Combination Play presented by State Farm.
Following the big hit, Amerson broke down the play.
"We knew on 3rd and short that they liked crossing routes, because most defenses on 3rd and short, you have no choice but to be in man-to-man, so they kind of predicted we were going to be in some type of man, and they were running crossing routes all game. It was the fourth quarter, it was about our fourth time seeing [it]. They gave it to us in different formations, but everybody kind of knew what we were getting, and when he [Williams] came across, I was already off the ball, because I was originally down on the tight end, and when the receiver came across, of course that was my new number one. I was already kind of off the ball, and he was off the ball, lined up kind of behind the tight end, so I couldn't really press him. I kind of knew what was coming. I just took the angle and ran around everybody, and that really kind of just gave me that momentum, as I was picking up speed to come downhill once I cleared the mesh."
Amerson was able to make the open-field tackle on Williams because of the coverage by his fellow defensive teammates.
"Williams is kind of known as a guy that builds up speed, fast guy, and I know watching him on film, he busted that same route, and he turned up for the sideline for about 15, 20 yards on some of the other teams. They kind of look for that, because if you're not covering for it, it's going to be a big play. Those guys did a great job by taking away all his [Philip Rivers] other reads, so he was really limited to one place he could go, and I just had to do my job."
No. 29 covered a ton of space to make the tackle on Williams, and Amerson believes he was able to make that tackle because of the conditioning he has been doing throughout the season:
"It's the fourth quarter, crunch time in a critical part of the game. You definitely want to be tight in the fourth quarter, but I think it kind of helped with it being later in the season too. You're in condition, compared to if it was maybe the first game of the season, or somewhere earlier in the season. I think it helped with it being later in the season and being in what we call 'football shape.' You just have to have that desire, especially when it's the fourth quarter and the game is on the line."
As much as fun as laying a big hit is, Amerson still prefers recording a pass defensed:
"It's always good when you show you have that in the package, you have the diversity, but me being a [defensive back], I think making a play on a ball is better than anything, but anytime you can come up and make a big hit on somebody, and particularly on a third down stop, I think that's something you have to take pride in for sure."