No Magic In The Breakdown: Tony Romo Slays The Giants
Romo to Ogletree: Beating Cover 3 for a 40 Yard Touchdown
This is a play that is bound to keep cornerback Corey Webster up at night: another illustration of defensive players letting their eyes wander to the quarterback when in coverage. Webster lost track of his man and was scorched by a double move.
Before the ball is snapped, Romo recognized the blitz indicated above and killed the original call. The Cowboys often run an outside zone play or power off tackle out of the I formation, both of which would have been shut down by the blitz.
Again, the Giants are playing a cover 3 defense, and the single high safety is shaded towards the two receiver side in a 2x1 formation. Ogletree was left isolated against Webster.
Romo began to feel pressure from the right and rolled out to buy himself some time. Ogletree ran a stop route and Romo pump faked to him when he reached the top of his route stem. Webster and the linebacker in coverage, indicated above, had their eyes glued on Romo in the backfield and were frozen by his pump fake.
In this great shot above, Webster reacts to the pump fake, while Ogletree makes an outside move to get behind Webster, who has taken the bait and has to swivel back around and try to play catch-up.
As shown below, with all that open field and the safety forced to cover too much ground, Romo hit an open Ogletree for a score. Again, this is an example of excellent awareness by Romo, reading the defenders while keeping his eyes downfield while he scrambles away from pressure.
3rd and 10 Coversion to Put the Giants Away
This is a re-hashing of the first scheme we looked at, and the 3rd and 10 conversion that put the Giants away looks almost identical. The difference here is the reason that this quick-hit on the slant was able to go the full 10 yards for a first down.
As indicated above, the same man over Witten was shooting in on a blitz. Again, Romo's pre-snap recognition allows him to diagnose the coverage and check into something more...comfortable.
Checking into the double slant yet again, the safety, Kenny Phillips, was responsible for Witten this time. Tuck was once again dropping into coverage on the same zone blitz, but he got a terrible jump off the snap.
As Phillips set up at the first down marker with his eyes fixed on Witten, Ogletree worked the outside corner.
As Ogletree releases, the cornerback, Justin Tyron, opens his hips much too early, allowing a large cushion for Ogletree. When Tyron throws his hips wide open to get upfield, Ogletree breaks off the slant. Romo, reading the coverage like it was Harry Potter, hits Ogletree as he comes out of his break and converts the third down.
With that play, Romo takes the team into victory formation. On the national stage, Romo made a strong case that he should be taken seriously as a top-tier quarterback in the league.
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