Can Put a Finger On It
One position on this team that has grown before our eyes is the wide receivers. All the questions in training camp were about
The talent and the skill were always there, but you were never sure what you were going to get from the mental side of the game. There are times when Bryant has struggled, but you don’t see the player that would get frustrated during the game and disappear. Against the Steelers, despite his busted finger, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau did not want him to be the one to beat him with big plays. LeBeau used his safeties and linebackers to handle Bryant in this game, whether it was to walk a linebacker in front of him or buzz them in the flat to prevent the slant. The old Bryant would not have handled this well, but with his quarterback going the other way, he still ran his routes hard to try and work himself free and when given the chance, he was able to deliver.
On the other side, Austin took advantage of the situation. With the Steelers playing in off coverage, Austin ate them up with his route running, and once the pressure could not get there, then Romo knew where he needed to go with the ball. The combination of
Again, once when Garrett knew his protection would hold up, he went hammer down on this battered Steelers secondary with receivers who have become his most reliable position. This group puts a ton of pressure on defensive backs because they play with a quarterback that is not afraid to use them all to move the ball.
Hold Your Line
There are several factors that go into winning a game in the NFL on a weekly basis, but maybe the one that is the most important is how your team plays along the offensive and defensive lines. My eyes told me that playing against this Steelers front seven was not going to be easy at all. I didn’t like the matchups of
For the last two weeks, Free has been splitting series with
Both Free and
I mentioned Cook earlier and the job he was able to do inside. One-on-one, he was better than expected. Like Free, I was worried about Cook getting walked into Romo’s lap, but the front of the pocket was clean except one time when he and Livings misplayed a delayed blitz by Larry Foote that caused problems for Romo.
Going into this game, I wasn’t as concerned about Smith just because athletically I knew that he could stay with these linebackers, plus be able to match their power. What was unusual was that Smith did have some trouble with some late pressure, but overall, he was very steady. Romo faced some normal in-game pressure, but the majority of his 70 plays were clean, which allowed him to attack this Steelers secondary the way he did.