Good first week. Really feels good to be back at this again. If you missed them, here are links to the first, second, and third quarter game reviews. As before the bold text is taken from the NFL Gamebook with my commentary added below most plays.
Washington Redskins continued.
2-8-DAL 43 (15:00) D.McNabb pass incomplete short middle to A.Armstrong [B.James]. Penalty on WAS-D.Dockery, Ineligible Downfield Pass, declined.
Derrick Dockery thought this was a draw – he briefly shows a pass pro stance then races downfield. He is next seen eight yards past the LOS blocking DeMarcus Ware, which must have been confusing to Ware because he was in pass coverage at the time. I guess if you’re going to royally screw up you may as well make it funny. (If you are watching the tape you may note Collinsworth claims this is a screen. It is not. If it was Dockery would have delayed for a few seconds to let the pass get set up, and the other linemen would have come out off pass pro at some point.)
3-8-DAL 43 (14:55) (Shotgun) D.McNabb sacked at WAS 47 for -10 yards (D.Ware).Williams just gets soundly beat by DeMarcus Ware. It happens. There’s a good part to this play too though: an ILB comes on a blitz up the middle and sees Portis waiting for him. Knowing the violence Portis likes to inflict on pass rushers the LB actually stops dead once he sees him in his path and even backpedals a bit. Portis pursues him back to the LOS and hits him anyway. To me this more than balances out whatever stupid crap Portis might say on the radio.
4-18-WAS 47 (14:29) J.Bidwell punts 35 yards to DAL 18, Center-N.Sundberg, fair catch by A.Owusu-Ansah.3.9 seconds
Dallas Cowboys at 14:21
1-10-DAL 18 (14:21) F.Jones left end to DAL 29 for 11 yards (R.McIntosh, R.Doughty). Cowboys blockers form a very nice alley on this one. Landry blitzes off the edge but is kicked outside by Witten. The LT easily seals Orakpo to the inside and the RG pulls through the hole and takes out Rocky. In the process he cuts of Fletcher’s angle and forces him to make a rather weak dive. Jones frees his feet from Fletcher and then spins out of Rogers’ tackle attempt.
1-10-DAL 29 (13:42) F.Jones left end pushed ob at DAL 34 for 5 yards (L.Fletcher). WAS-B.Orakpo was injured during the play.On the pitch Orakpo overpursues to the outside and allows the RB an easy late to cut back upfield.
2-5-DAL 34 (13:20) F.Jones right end to DAL 37 for 3 yards (L.Landry).Both Gs pull to the right an neutralize Rocky and Fletcher, but Landry manages to avoid the wall of blockers with raw speed and makes it to the corner in time to prevent a first down.
3-2-DAL 37 (12:36) T.Choice up the middle to DAL 45 for 8 yards (L.Fletcher, C.Rogers).Once again we mysteriously see the 1-5-5 formation on a third and short. Once again the Cowboys take the easy run right up the middle.
1-10-DAL 45 (11:56) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short middle to M.Austin pushed ob at WAS 43 for 12 yards (L.Landry). PENALTY on DAL-M.Bennett, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at WAS 47.Another blitz up the middle by Rocky and Fletcher, criss crossing in the hopes that the Dallas blockers lose track of them and let one free. As happened every other time in this game, Dallas is not even remotely fooled. Both run smack into blockers and Romo dumps it over the middle into the zone from which we just removed our ILBs.
1-12-DAL 43 (11:28) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short left to R.Williams to DAL 44 for 1 yard (P.Buchanon, A.Carter).
2-11-DAL 44 (10:55) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short middle to J.Witten (B.Orakpo, R.McIntosh).Another play from my not-so-favorite defensive formation – the 1-5-5. This time it almost accomplishes something. Vonnie Holliday, as always the lone lineman in this formation, beats the C to penetrate. Meanwhile, Haslett dials a blitz that actually springs a pass rusher, if only that rusher had taken advantage of it. Landry blitzes to the outside and draws the RT, while the RG is busy with Andre Carter who moves inside. This open a lane for Carlos Rogers who is blitzing from the slot, but Romo gives something of a half-pump in Rogers’ direction, causing him to hesitate at the LOS and buying Romo just enough time to make the throw – but Orakpo and Rocky are all over Witten.
3-11-DAL 44 (10:50) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short middle to J.Witten to WAS 44 for 12 yards (L.Fletcher). PENALTY on DAL-A.Barron, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at DAL 44 - No Play.RT Alex Barron is so hopelessly outmatched by Orakpo that he just wraps an arm around his neck and tries to strangle him from behind. This was pretty great and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again in 10 minutes or so.
3-21-DAL 34 (10:23) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-D.Free, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 34 - No Play.
3-26-DAL 29 (10:07) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short middle to J.Witten to DAL 43 for 14 yards (C.Rogers).
4-12-DAL 43 (9:35) M.McBriar punts 57 yards to end zone, Center-L.Ladouceur, Touchback.
Washington Redskins at 9:28
1-10-WAS 20 (9:28) D.McNabb pass short left to A.Armstrong to WAS 31 for 11 yards (M.Jenkins). Lichtensteiger is back in at LG and gets pushed right back into McNabb’s face, but fortunately it’s a quick throw (and intended to be quick, because both our OTs simply cut the OLBs) so he is able to get it out to Armstrong who runs a very nice route.
1-10-WAS 31 (8:49) C.Portis left tackle to WAS 31 for no gain (J.Hatcher, B.James).Lichtensteiger pushed into the backfield again, and Rabach is unable to control his man sufficiently to prevent the play from being stuffed at the line.
2-10-WAS 31 (8:10) D.McNabb pass incomplete short right to S.Moss.You must be sick of me talking about Portis’ pass protection. I DON’T CARE. ILB comes totally free through the right A gap so quickly that he’s about to take down McNabb while his drop is still in progress. Portis races the ILB (Brooking I think) and hits him shoulder high about a half step in front of McNabb, who is then able to complete his drop and get the ball to Santana… who drops it.
3-10-WAS 31 (8:05) D.McNabb pass incomplete short middle to A.Armstrong.
4-10-WAS 31 (8:00) J.Bidwell punts 36 yards to DAL 33, Center-N.Sundberg, downed by WAS.
Dallas Cowboys at 7:47
1-10-DAL 33 (7:47) T.Romo pass incomplete deep middle to R.Williams.Landry blitzes but once again Dallas knows its coming and a pulling LG, as well as a RB, are there waiting for him. Protection is solid but fortunately Fletcher and Doughty have Roy Williams nicely bracketed down the deep seam.
2-10-DAL 33 (7:40) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short left to M.Austin to DAL 41 for 8 yards (C.Rogers, L.Landry).So I guess Haslett thought if a blitz didn’t work the first dozen times you should try it once more just in case Dallas is finally fooled. Tell me if this rings a bell: Both ILBs blitz up the middle. Fletcher leads by attacking the C – but the line slides to the offensive line and he runs into the RG. The C is thus freed and Rocky, who tries to cross behind Fletcher’s back (clever!) runs smack into the C.
3-2-DAL 41 (6:58) T.Choice left end to DAL 38 for -3 yards (L.Fletcher, L.Landry).Nice pursuit by the defense. Orakpo attacks hard off the offensive right edge and interferes with the LT who is trying to pull the outside, pushing him into the backfield. The delays the RB getting to edge, where he is forced. Little Byron Westbrook is able to briefly deny the RB the corner because the pulling LT is late, this causes the RB to hesitate and allows Fletcher and Landry to take him down.
4-5-DAL 38 (6:22) M.McBriar punts 39 yards to WAS 23, Center-L.Ladouceur, out of bounds.
Washington Redskins at 6:14
1-10-WAS 23 (6:14) D.McNabb pass incomplete short right to M.Sellers (B.James).
Another brutal drop by Sellers. His decline has been alarmingly rapid.
2-10-WAS 23 (6:07) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 31 for 8 yards (K.Brooking, G.Sensabaugh).Zone blocking is fun when it works. Brown kicks out the LOLB without difficulty. Hicks and Rabach double the LDE and drive him back, then Rabach slips off him and takes out an ILB. Dockery is driven back by the NT but Portis is quick through the hole before Dockery pinches it shut. Williams cuts the RDE, which allows Cooley (the rear man in yet another tight trips bunch) slip through the line and blocks the remaining ILB.
3-2-WAS 31 (5:27) (Shotgun) D.McNabb pass short left to S.Moss to WAS 41 for 10 yards (O.Scandrick). Saved by McNabb’s quick release and Portis’ consistent Portisness. Both ILBs blitz (or so it would seem) at the snap. One gets Portised at the line of scrimmage, the other, after taking a hard step to freeze Rabach, drops into pass coverage. This means Rabach is unable to help Hicks, who is driven back by the RDE – but as often happens McNabb see how little time he has, makes a quick decision, and delivers the ball just before the pocket collapses.
1-10-WAS 41 (4:46) L.Johnson right end to WAS 42 for 1 yard (D.Ware). DAL-D.Ware was injured during the play. Sellers was responsible for holding the edge but completely blows his block on Ware. Terrible, terrible night for Sellers.
2-9-WAS 42 (4:11) D.McNabb pass short middle to C.Cooley to DAL 47 for 11 yards (B.James).
1-10-DAL 47 (3:26) C.Portis right end to DAL 37 for 10 yards (B.James). PENALTY on WAS-C.Cooley, Illegal Motion, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 47 - No Play.This one was mostly Portis. Rabach and Hicks are each driven into the backfield, forcing Portis to bounce the play outside when I don’t think he wanted to. Problem is Cooley is failing to hold the edge against the LOLB so Portis has to make a hard and decisive cut back inside, where he runs hard to make the first down (until it gets called back).
1-15-WAS 48 (3:19) C.Portis up the middle to DAL 34 for 18 yards (V.Butler). So the running game starts working right when we really need it.
1-10-DAL 34 (2:38) L.Johnson left end pushed ob at DAL 33 for 1 yard (V.Butler).Trent Williams has the ROLB blocked, but oddly after a few seconds releases him and raises his hands in the air as if he is trying to avoid a holding call. This is unfortunate as the LB comes free just as Larry Johnson is getting to the corner.
2-9-DAL 33 (2:32) L.Johnson right end to DAL 26 for 7 yards (A.Ball, B.James).Another solid run block by Cooley to prevent a safety from shutting off the corner.
3-2-DAL 26 (2:00) PENALTY on WAS-T.Williams, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 26 - No Play.
3-7-DAL 31 (2:00) D.McNabb pass incomplete short right to R.Williams.
4-7-DAL 31 (1:56) G.Gano 49 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-J.Bidwell.Remember that Gano drilling this 49 yarder may have won the game. If he missed Dallas would only have been down by 3 with good field position and wouldn’t have had to keep taking shots at the end zone until Alex Barron finally tried to take off Orakpo’s head.
DAL 7 WAS 13, 10 plays, 46 yards, 4:24 drive, 13:10 elapsed
G.Gano kicks 64 yards from WAS 30 to DAL 6. K.Ogletree to DAL 19 for 13 yards (R.Williams, M.Kemoeatu).Nice kick coverage by Roydell Williams.
Dallas Cowboys at 1:50, (1st play from scrimmage 1:45)
1-10-DAL 19 (1:45) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short middle to D.Bryant to DAL 34 for 15 yards (L.Landry). Lorenzo Alexander beat the RG and would have generated pressure if this wasn’t a quick throw on the slant. Dez Bryant is able to simply outrun Hall into the wide open middle of the field for a big gain.
1-10-DAL 34 (1:18) (No Huddle, Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short left to D.Bryant.
2-10-DAL 34 (1:13) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short middle to D.Bryant to DAL 47 for 13 yards (R.Doughty). Zero men with their hand on the ground – it is the 1-5-5 package but Vonnie Holliday is standing up this time. This fails to blow Dallas’ mind, as does Philip Buchanon’s telegraphed corner blitz which is easily picked up by the RB.
Timeout #1 by DAL at 01:06.
1-10-DAL 47 (1:06) (Shotgun) PENALTY on DAL-M.Austin, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 47 - No Play.
1-15-DAL 42 (1:06) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short right to R.Williams to WAS 49 for 9 yards (D.Hall).
2-6-WAS 49 (:40) (No Huddle, Shotgun) T.Romo pass short right to J.Witten to WAS 43 for 6 yards (R.McIntosh).
Timeout #3 by WAS at 00:34. Charged due to injury
1-10-WAS 43 (:34) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete deep middle to M.Austin (C.Rogers).Romo has plenty of time, but fortunately the secondary is all over the receiver downfield. Austin on the deep post is bracketed at about the 10 by Rogers and Landry, and Rogers leaps in front of it and very nearly makes a pick to end the game.
2-10-WAS 43 (:27) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short middle to D.Bryant (L.Landry).Once again Romo throws it right into the zone vacated by the ILB whose blitz he know is coming, but fortunately he throws it behind Bryant. It bounces off Landry’s hands the Redskins drop a second consecutive interception that would have iced the game.
3-10-WAS 43 (:24) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short right to M.Bennett (D.Hall).DeAngelo had tight coverage, and Doughty was coming over to help. Never had a chance.
4-10-WAS 43 (:19) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass deep middle to M.Austin to WAS 13 for 30 yards (P.Buchanon). It looks like both Rogers and Buchanon thought they were responsible for the outside receiver running a go route, as Austin in the slot was forgotten about.
Timeout #2 by DAL at 00:12.
1-10-WAS 13 (:12) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short right to R.Williams.Doughty is all over Roy Williams and Romo has to throw it out the back of the end zone.
2-10-WAS 13 (:08) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short middle to K.Ogletree.Again Romo has time but has to throw high because all his receivers are swarmed by Redskins.
Timeout #3 by DAL at 00:03.
3-10-WAS 13 (:03) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short right to R.Williams for 13 yards, TOUCHDOWN NULLIFIED by Penalty.It’s the old 1-5-5 but this is a pure one on one victory by Orakpo. He gives Barron a hard hit, stand him up, then is sliding past him to the outside when Barron just wraps his arm around his neck in desperation. And yes, it is only the hold that allows Romo to escape the pocket and find Roy Williams in the end zone. Game.