For the second week in a row, the Washington Redskins lost by one point. A special teams foible and a lost opportunity in the red zone led to a deficit in the first half. Tony Romo’s improvisational acuity finished a heartbreaking 24-23 loss to Dallas. London Fletcher lingered after the defeat to thank the home fans.
But there was hope in the second half. Let’s take a look at what went right and what went wrong versus Dallas.
What Went Right
Highlight: Josh Wilson forces a fumble and recovers it himself.
What went right: Technique and awareness.
-The Redskins line up in their base defense and send five pass rushers.
-Brian Orakpo feigns an outside move and counters inside to turn Tyron Smith’s shoulders.
-Ryan Kerrigan gets around the corner on Doug Free.
-Both outside linebackers pressure Tony Romo, forcing the quarterback to hit his checkdown receiver, fullback Tyler Clutts.
-Clutts likely practices protecting the ball often, but does not have much experience in game situations. The fourth-year fullback has zero career carries and nine career receptions.
-Clutts makes the catch and turns upfield, where Josh Wilson is waiting in a zone assignment.
-Wilson tackles low against the 254-pound fullback, leading his shoulder into the body and drilling his helmet directly into the football.
-The ball pops out, and Wilson knocks it away from Clutts before securing it for himself.
Highlight: Pierre Garçon converts a third down with an 8-yard touchdown catch.
What went right: A “pick” play
- Washington aligns in the shotgun with Garçon split wide and Santana Moss and Logan Paulsen inside of him
– Dallas sends seven defenders to rush the passer, leaving four defensive backs in man coverage.
– The Cowboys secondary gives the Redskins receivers a lot of cushion. They only want to defend the end zone.
– At the snap, Santana Moss and Logan Paulsen run out routes toward the sideline, bringing their defenders away from the middle of the field.
– At the same time, Garçon runs a quick slant underneath against the flow of the other two routes.
-Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr can’t sift through the traffic to get to Garçon.
-Paulsen breaks off his route to avoid hitting Carr and drawing offensive pass interference.
-Garçon skates into the end zone untouched.
-With 11 catches for 144 yards, Garçon moved his reception total to 107 for the season, a new franchise record.
Highlight: DeAngelo Hall intercepts Tony Romo for the Cowboys’ second consecutive turnover.
What went right: Eyes on the quarterback.
- The Redskins rush four defenders and set up a zone defense with men in the flats, London Fletcher in the middle of the field and the secondary playing deep.
– DeAngelo Hall lines up eight yards across from Dez Bryant and locks in on Tony Romo before the snap.
– Romo sees Jason Witten covered by Fletcher and Reed Doughty, so the quarterback looks to Bryant.
– Bryant pushes Hall up the field, but the cornerback maintains good position.
-Hall reads Bryant to determine route and steps underneath the receiver as he looks to the quarterback.
– Romo throws as Bryant tries to turn back outside for a deep comeback route on the sideline.
– Bryant slips on the turf, and readies his hands to receive a ball in his gut.
Highight: Alfred Morris plunges into the end zone from four yards out to give Washington the lead.
What went right: A pulling guard paved the way.
- The Redskins overload the left side with a tight end and an H-back.
– The Cowboys counter with six men on the line and eight in the box.
– At the snap, right guard Chris Chester pulls left while the left side of the line blocks down right to compensate.
– Chester follows fullback Darrel Young to the hole, allowing Young to pick up safety Barry Church.
– Fred Davis knocks Trent Williams off the double team, allowing the tackle to stall linebacker Bruce Carter.
– Carter sheds Williams just in time to receive Chester, who blocks the linebacker into the end zone and paves a path for Morris.
What Went Wrong
Low point: Micheal Spurlock returns the first punt of the game 62 yards.
What went wrong: A block to the side.
- Sav Rocca swings a high, hanging punt for Spurlock.
– As the ball arrives, both Reed Doughty and Niles Paul are about three yards away.
– Cowboys safety Danny McCray makes a spectacular block on Doughty, who has a step on him.
– McCray toes the line between a block in the back and a block on the side, getting under Doughty’s armpit to push him out of the play at the last minute.
– Dallas sets up a punt return to the right, so Spurlock has room to run away from Paul.
– The Cowboys set up three more blocks to give Spurlock a lane.
– Down the field, Dallas also gets blocks on the long snapper and the punter.
– Roy Helu Jr. takes an angle to chase down Spurlock and save the touchdown.
Low point: DeMarco Murray breaks off a 43-yard run.
What went wrong: A quick and powerful tailback.
- Dallas brings a two tight end set to the line of scrimmage and bunches its receivers inside the numbers.
– Right tackle Doug Free pulls to the left side.
– Jarvis Jenkins does a nice job of pushing his man into the backfield to clog up the left.
– Washington’s front seven flows hard to the play, creating a cutback lane for Murray.
– Murray turns cuts back behind Jason Witten, who has sealed off a linebacker.
– Terrance Williams blocks a cornerback.
– Reed Doughty crashes in to make the play, but Murray hits him with a well-timed stiff arm.
– The speedy back gets around the corner and sprints ahead.
– DeAngelo Hall makes the play in pursuit.
Lowpoint: Tony Romo steps out of a sack to throw a 14-yard touchdown.
What went wrong: A slippery quarterback.
- On third-and-9, the Cowboys align in a three receiver set with two tight ends and an empty backfield.
– The Redskins bring seven men to the line of scrimmage to disguise a blitz.
– Tyron Smith blocks inside, but tight end Gavin Escobar blocks Brian Orakpo outside.
– Biggers sprints unblocked into the backfield.
– Romo sees the cornerback and allows him to get close before spinning back and eluding the sack.
– DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Meriweather have Dez Bryant covered on the corner route to the end zone, but the play lasts too long.
- Bryant shows good awareness by ending his route and running back to the quarterback on a broken play.
– Romo finds Bryant for the score.
Lowest point: On fourth-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Romo hits Murray on a short touchdown pass to take the final lead.
What went wrong: The threat of a quarterback run or pass
- Washington brings in the nickel defense with five defensive backs to set up zone coverage blanketing the end zone.
– Dallas brings a three-receiver set with tight end Jason Witten in the slot and Murray in the backfield.
– The Redskins rush four, and the Cowboys keep Romo clean in the pocket.
– Murray chips Ryan Kerrigan to feign a block, then leaks out on a wheel route up the sideline.
– Perry Riley Jr. is in a tough spot. He’s locked in on Romo as the quarterback starts to run and freezes him with a pump fake and creates open space for Murray.
– Romo delivers and accurate pass to Murray. The running back keeps his balance and turns into the end zone for the dagger.
– Riley Jr. can’t do two things at once. If he commits to Murray, Romo could have room to run in the touchdown himself.
Tags: dallas cowboys, washington redskins, Week 16, What went right, What Went Wrong
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