Sunday, October 2, 2011
Detroit's empty set hurt Dallas defense
By Todd Archer
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the first time in his last seven games DeMarcus Ware did not have a sack.
In the game within the game matchup between offensive and defensive coordinators, Detroit went to an empty set for most of the second half with quarterback Matthew Stafford in the shotgun with great success.
In their last four drives the Lions had at least 15 empty-set formations with wide receivers, tight ends or running backs flanked wide. Calvin Johnson’s 23-yard touchdown grab came on an empty set. Stafford was not sacked all day and faced little pressure. They used it to on the key third-down holding penalty on cornerback Frank Walker, who grabbed Brandon Pettigrew, before Johnson’s game-winning touchdown.
“It was their answer to the pressure,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “That’s where they had the most success spreading us out, using the field and getting rid of it quick. I still thought we made it hard for them to move down the field. They hit us on a few good plays.”