Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Beat Writers Recap: Cowboys vs. Redskins
By Calvin Watkins
A short week has made us speed up our report on the Cowboys-Redskins game. This week we look at a few key things from the game in our weekly Beat Writers Recap.
*We've talked all year about the receiving numbers from wide receiver Miles Austin. The Cowboys threw to him eight times on Sunday and he had three catches for 38 yards with one touchdown. Let's review the targets:
1. In the first quarter, Austin, lined up in the slot stepped inside then went back outside and was open but Jon Kitna's throw was a knuckleball and short of the target.
2. On the second possession of the game, Austin runs a route toward the end zone. It was a nice route where he started inside then darted back to the corner of the end zone, but Kitna's throw was too long. The good thing about this play is Austin was jamed a little bit at the line of scrimmage but beat it to get free.
3. Faced with a first and goal from the 3, Austin runs a up and out and is open. Kitna makes a good throw this time and Austin catches a three-yard touchdown for a 10-0 Cowboys lead.
4. Out of the shotgun formation, Kitna fires a pass to Austin who came out of the slot but the ball is almost picked off and lands incomplete. Austin was open here but it seemed to be a misfire. Austin is covered by linebacker London Fletcher and that is a mismatch in the Cowboys favor but they didn't take advantage of it. Instead, the Cowboys take advantage of a roughing the passer penalty.
5. Toward the end of the first half, Kitna complets a short pass over the middle to Austin, who runs a slant to the middle of the field. Austin started the route by taking a jab step toward the Redskins sideline then moved toward the middle of the field to make the reception.
6. The last play of the first half has Kitna stepping up in the pocket sending a pass to Austin but it's low and near the goal line. It's a difficult catch to make for Austin, but he can't hang onto the ball and it falls incomplete.
7. The only time Austin got a target in the third quarter came on this pass to the end zone. While coming in motion, Austin runs to the back corner of the end zone but Kitna's throw is too long and it falls incomplete. Kitna didn't see Martellus Bennett, who was in the flat wide open on the play.
8. Austin got two passes his way in the second half and the last one was critical. At the two minute warning, Austin runs a slant against zone coverage and he's wide open. Kitna does a nice job on the read and Austin gets a 12-yard reception. Cowboys run the ball to setup David Buehler's go-ahead 39-yard field goal to win the game.
Things of note for Austin: On the Razorback play where Kitna completes a nice 32-yard pass to Felix Jones, Austin is wide open down the middle of the field. Kitna said later he saw Austin but with the safety playing over the top he didn't like the look of it so he choose to go elsewhere. If Kitna lets the pass go a little quicker he might have Austin for a touchdown.
*In the third and fourth quarters the Cowboys defense gave up big plays allowing the Redskins to get back in the game. The first such play happened when Anthony Armstrong runs right past cornerback Terence Newman, who was playing off at the start of the play. Rex Grossman completes a 47-yard pass to Armstrong. The Redskins later score to cut the Cowboys deficit to 27-14.
*Trailing, 30-14, the Redskins struck again with a big play when Grossman connected to Chris Cooley for 27 yards. Cooley runs between three defenders, Bradie James, Victor Butler and Barry Church, to make the reception. It appears the Cowboys were in a zone coverage. Redskins score again, convert the two-point play and are down 30-22.
*The Redskins did a nice job with this play as Grossman completed a pass to running back Ryan Torain. It looked as if the Redskins were setting up a screen play but it's a short pass to Torain. DeMarcus Ware does a nice job chasing down Torain who runs out of bounds for a 20-yard gain. And yes, you guessed it the Redskins eventually tie the game on the drive at 30-30 with 7:37 to play in the game.
*If you're going to give up big plays you need to make big plays and that's what the Cowboys did on their last defensive series. Faced with a second and ten from the 25, cornerback Orlando Scandrick gets a blitz on Grossman for a 10-yard loss. Scandrick was five yards from behind the line of scrimmage when he starts running to Grossman. By the time he brings Grossman down, Scandrick runs 20 yards.
*The last big play of the game from the defense comes from Butler. With the Redskins worried about stopping Ware on an outside rush, Butler sneaks in between the guard and tackle and sacks Grossman on the third and long forcing the Redskins to punt and give the Cowboys the ball one last time.