This week Scout’s Eye wanted to focus in on a couple plays that were positive for the Cowboys against the Texans and one that was not.
Wide receiver Roy Williams was brought to the squad by Jerry Jones to be a difference maker for the Cowboys’ offense and he was against the Texans on Sunday with two big touchdowns in the 27-13 win. On Williams’ second touchdown of the day, it appears that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had called for a draw play on second-and -10 from the Dallas 37. What Romo and Williams did was far from run that draw.
Williams lined up far right in the formation in the personnel grouping of two tight ends and one back. Tight end Jason Witten was in the backfield with Marion Barber and motions right to left, remaining in the backfield. As the ball is snapped, tackle Marc Colombo fans to the outside trying to work his man up the field. Center Andre Gurode works to the second level and is already three yards down the field and could have easily been called for illegal man downfield. The offensive line and Barber are setting up for the draw but Romo and Williams “sight adjust” when Romo sees Texans safety Eugene Wilson in the middle of the field and no way able to adjust to have to cover Williams from his alignment.
Romo takes the snap, rises up and fires the ball to Williams, who has defeated cornerback Kareem Jackson to the inside as Jackson stumbles and is unable to recover. The pass is a little behind Williams as he adjusts on the move. The play happens so fast that Wilson from the center of the field doesn’t even move as Williams is off to the races with the ball in hand.
On Monday morning, Texans coach Gary Kubiak commented that Jackson thought that he was to get some safety help inside from Wilson but none was there. The play results in a touchdown and was just another example of what a huge game that Williams had in the win, but also how Romo was in total command of not only the execution of the game plan but the mental side of it as well.
*In the days leading up to the game with the Texans, Wade Phillips knew that his defense was going to have their hands full trying to slow down a Texans offense that was ranked first in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season. The Texans’ ability to run the football and the skill they also had on the outside made for a great challenge.
The Cowboys defense did rise to the challenge and was able to force the Texans into two field goal situations when the offense managed to get inside the 10-yard line.
The goal-line stand that I’ll break down happened with 14:05 left in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys holding onto a 17-3 lead. To even get in this situation, you have to give safety Gerald Sensabaugh a ton of credit because without his touchdown saving tackle on Texans tight end Owen Daniels, the Cowboys would be protecting a seven-point lead.
Let’s go through the plays that led to the stand.
On first-and-goal from the 1, the Texans try to run Arian Foster to the right behind Eric Winston, Joel Dreessen and Andre Johnson, who has come in motion from left to right. Anthony Spencer, who had a quiet game until that point, swims Dreessen, meets Foster with help from rookie safety Barry Church and Keith Brooking filling from the inside.
Second-and-goal from the 1, same formation for the Texans but this time, no motion from Johnson to the right. The ball once again goes to Foster moving to his right, fullback Vonta Leach leads to the outside, Spencer this time destroys Dreessen driving him back into the backfield. Jay Ratliff shoots the gap from the inside and fights his way to the point of attack. Bradie James comes flying from the inside to help clean up.
Now third-and-goal for the Texans from the 3. The Texans go to a three-tight end package with James Casey in the game. Casey is the wing to the right and motions left. Foster is the single back, Johnson is on the left outside runs a slant inside, Daniels is the left tight end, goes up and to the outside and draws coverage from Brooking. Casey works himself into the left flat. Foster tries to cut Ware but is not successful. Winston can’t handle Spencer from the backside and he gets a holding call as Brooking gets a pass interference call against Daniels. The offsetting flags mean a replay of third down.
On this play is where Phillips dialed up a game-changing blitz. The Texans now bring three wide receivers into the game. Walter to the left, Johnson motions from the backfield to the right, Jones in the slot to the right as well. At the snap, Johnson hooks up on the goal line with Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball in coverage. Foster works into the flat and is picked up by really no one with Newman playing half way between Foster and Jones who is running for the corner and might have a chance to make a play. Brooking comes screaming off the left corner untouched as Foster goes right by him. Ratliff on the inside beats center Chris Myers as well to create inside pressure. Schaub has no chance to see any type of route development and is sacked for a huge loss.
The Texans have to settle for a field goal and the Cowboys continue with a 17-6 lead. It was an outstanding series for Wade Phillips and the Cowboys defense.
*With the good of the Cowboys defense, there was a little bad.
In the second quarter, the Texans were faced with a third-and-19. The Texans put their three-wide receiver package on the field as Phillips counters with his nickel group. The Texans have three receivers, one tight end and one back. Schaub gets into the shotgun with Foster to his left. At the snap, Schaub fakes like he is going to throw a pass but hands the ball to Foster inside.
DeMarcus Ware is hard up the field from the defensive right side, Stephen Bowen takes an inside charge and then is pushed further inside by guard Wade Smith, creating a large gap to that side of the defense. Foster wants to take the ball to his right, but Jason Hatcher does a nice job and is along the line of scrimmage with his shoulders square waiting for Foster. Foster then sees what has happened to his left side and heads in that direction. James is in his drop, then reacts to Foster’s movement to his left, while Brooking gets blocked by Dreessen coming across the middle. James gets trapped too far inside and Foster manages to get outside of James because of his angle.
Now the ball is outside and Mike Jenkins is getting blocked by Andre Johnson. Jenkins finally frees himself from the block and tries to cut Foster down but he jumps over him and to the first down marker as Ball arrives a step late as well as the damage is done.
For the Cowboys defense, it really was the only time in the game where they were not technique sound and it allowed the Texans to continue a drive when they were trying to run a safe play and just punt the football.