Ed. Note: Many pictures to follow, load times may vary! Patience.
Many players had an impact in the Cowboys comeback win over the Eagles on Sunday night., including defensive end Tyrone Crawford. How big of a day did Tyrone Crawford have? I had 15 plays I wanted to show you. That would be approximately 75 PNG files. Dave would have to change the disclaimer. I narrowed it down to four, but you still have a lot of loading ahead of you. Patience, grasshopper!
How to Play the Run by Tyrone Crawford, SDE
The Cowboys line up in straight nickel. Crawford is circled at left defensive end. He is blocked by Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who for obvious reasons will be hereafter known as "his man", and Zack Ertz.
Ertz chips Crawford to help with contain. Meanwhile Sean Lee is already exploding playside while everyone else is just getting out of their stance.
While Ertz turned Crawford in, Crawford immediately begins driving his man outside, covering as much ground as running back Darren Sproles on his way to receiving the hand off. The still frames don’t convey how fast Crawford is carrying his blocker outside here. Lee has arrived at the hole and waits for the rest of the field to catch up to him.
Lee turns under Ertz’s block as Crawford continues to move his contain outside and drive his man back.
Look at Crawford, with a RT not in tow, but in front of him, moving his contain on the sweep all the way out to the numbers. Just awesome combination of strength and lateral agility. Lee spins to disengage from Ertz and Darren Sproles realizes this is his chance and breaks up field.
In a textbook play, Crawford tosses his man aside and pounces on Sproles immediately. Barry Church and Sean Lee are there to clean up, but Crawford makes the play solo. This is worth noting because the secret to this defense is that so many people are playing assignment sound and that redundancy of covering each other and rallying to the ball is limiting offenses in a big way.
How to Play the Run, Chapter 2
In standard alignment. Crawford is again at LDE. He did play some 3-tech this game as well and was effective there, but the plays I am showing all have him at left end.
The play is a zone run to the Eagle left. If you look carefully you can see that Crawford and Terrell McClain both have their men moving backwards compared to the group. Jack "the other" Crawford is doing a nice job keeping contain on the run with Anthony Hitchens supporting behind him.
This frame really shows the way the whole defense is playing and supporting each other so well it actually brings tears to my eyes. Sproles has just taken the handoff. Jack Crawford and Anthony Hitchens have totally walled off the left side. Terrell McClain (blue arrow) is beating Stefen Wisniewski so badly he is near making the tackle already. Sean Lee is reading the blocks as quickly as the RB and is actually headed for the cut back lane ahead of him. But once again, Tyrone Crawford takes the play himself. Driving his man right into the cut back lane...
... and tossing him aside...
...to make a play so good Terrell McClain is compelled to do a happy dance.
Crawford also got involved on all three of Dallas’ sacks. He was most successful stunting inside, but won to the outside as well. The first sack in the game was really nice stunt out of a three-man alignment with David Irving at nose tackle. Crawford is at LDE, circled.
Right off the ball he explodes inside so fast (blue circle) that his man is left wondering what to do. Notice how he is actually more blurred than Orlando Scandrick who is coming on a free rush corner blitz. Stefen Wisniewski (green circle) sees the stunt coming.
But it doesn’t help. Crawford crashes into him with such violence he’s driven back into the fake hand off. Vaitai (Crawford’s man) waves at the passing Scandrick while Demarcus Lawrence evades a chop block play side. Carson Wentz has no chance on this play.
He knows it and immediately begins to run. Unfortunately for him, Tyrone Crawford carrying a guard is faster to the play side. Meanwhile Vaitai (green arrow, ) realizes he has done absolutely nothing on this play.
Once again, the theme of Crawford tossing aside the engaged blocker and making the tackle, as well as... well just look at the three Cowboys (Crawford, Lawrence, and Irving) converging. This defense is rallying to the ball at amazing levels. On the right, I’m not sure where Vaitai is looking, but it might be for a hole to crawl in.
Fumble Recovery Is No Fluke
Fumble recoveries are not always appreciated. Sometimes they deserve a little scorn, because there’s nothing really special about falling on an object that rolled up to your feet.
Tyrone Crawford’s fumble recovery on Sunday was not one of those times. The Cowboys are in a base 4-3 with Damien Wilson just off-screen. Crawford is at LDE again.
Crawford explodes into his man (Vaitai) and immediately drives him back. It’s hard to overstate just how much he wins this battle, but just look at where he is relative to everyone else.
This fast. Smallwood has barely taken the handoff. The front side of the play is actually pretty well blocked and this could’ve been a big gain. But Terrell McClain has beaten the center (I presume Jason Kelce but I literally never saw his number on this play) and Tyrone Crawford has met McClain at the ball-carrier pushing a 315 lb NFL right tackle the entire way. It wasn’t a lucky bounce that got Crawford this recovery, it was a stand out dominant bull rush from a guy who has had many. Carson Wentz (green arrow) is forced to look away from the carnage.
That’s four. I had eleven more plays I wanted to show you. If you have been wondering about where Crawford has been this season, he says " ‘sup?"