"If Dallas wants to throw to the wide receivers, I look for a lot of motion and deeper routes in the middle of the field."
--Redemption Trail, But for Whom?, BTB, Sept. 11th
"I think the Cowboys are going to be a running team this year, and will rely on their three-backs."
"I don't know how the Cowboys are going to make up for the loss of T.O.? Their receivers dont' show deep-play ability..."
It took Jason Garrett about 35 minutes, but he found his bunny in the middle of the Tampa Bay secondary. On the Cowboys initial second-half drive, Garrett deployed an inside-out formation; he split Martellus Bennett wide to the left, where a wide receiver normally lined up and set Jason Witten wide right. He put Patrick Crayton in the right slot and motioned Roy Williams left-to-right across the formation. Williams was next to Crayton at the snap.
The formation matched Tampa's corners on Dallas' TEs and isolated Williams on strong safety Sabby Piscatelli.
Williams blew directly past Pisacatelli on a seam route and caught a Tony Romo floater for a game-breaking 66 yard touchdown. The score gave Dallas a 20-7 lead on their way to a tough 34-21 win.
Garrett went after Piscatelli twice more and got huge plays. The safety took a shallow angle to the sidelines in support of Aqib Talib and was unable to run with Crayton, who beat him deep for an 80 yard score just two plays after the Bucs had drawn within six points at 20-14.
Later, after the Bucs had been stopped on downs, Crayton was isolated on Piscatelli and pulled away from him on a deep diagonal route. He took Romo's throw 50 yards to set up Marion Barber's short TD toss, which pushed Dallas' lead to 34-14.
The big plays overcame an erratic game, which saw the offense and defense slowed by a physical and game Bucs team. Tampa Bay showed that it could be a dangerous team with more time to coordinate. It has a big, young physical line that blew open large running lanes in the first half. RIght guard Davin Joseph in particular, looks like a big-time player.
The Bucs defense caught Dallas with some well-times corner blitzes in the first quarter. In the second, a few off-target Romo throws held the Cowboys to field goals.
Then, the halftime adjustments, the abuse of Piscatelli, and a runaway second half.
Longer story tonight.