Monday, January 23, 2012
Pass rush is a Giants' difference
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- With the New York Giants making it Super Bowl XLVI, Cowboys fans can only help but wonder what keeps their team from making deep post-season runs after middling regular-seasons.
Most of the blame will fall on owner and general manager Jerry Jones. (Cue the Jerry needs to get a football guy in there). Or Jason Garrett (Cue the he iced his own kicker, which is ridiculous if you analyzed the situation in Arizona. And Baltimore’s John Harbaugh should have called timeout before ex-Cowboy Billy Cundiff yanked a 32-yarder that would’ve tied the AFC title game.) Or Tony Romo. (Cue the he always chokes when it matters).
But if you want to get past that, look at the pass rush.
That’s why the Giants will play New England and why the Cowboys are home.
The statistical comparisons are not completely fair because the Giants play a base 4-3 and the Cowboys play a base 3-4, but given the amount of nickel defense the Cowboys employ they are in a four-man line more than 50 percent of their snaps.
The Cowboys had 42 sacks in the regular season with 19.5 coming from DeMarcus Ware. The Giants had 48 sacks in the regular season with 16.5 coming from Jason Pierre-Paul.
Ware accounted for 46.4 percent of the Cowboys sacks. Paul 34.4% The Giants had three other players with at least five sacks: Osi Umenyiora had nine and Justin Tuck and Dave Tollefson had five each. The Cowboys had one: Anthony Spencer had six. Jason Hatcher had 4.5 sacks.
Giants’ defensive linemen accounted for 40.5 sacks. Cowboys’ defensive linemen accounted for 10.5.
Put a lot of that discrepancy on the different schemes, but it’s not illegal to have a 3-4 end/nose tackle to sack a quarterback.
If the offense is about the quarterback, then the defense is about the pass rush.
The Giants are proof of that.