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Broaddus: Breaking Down Cowboys’ Final Defensive Drive

Posted Sep 16, 2013

Observations from the Kansas City Chiefs final offensive drive:

  • What I have learned over the years of working in this league and now covering it on the media side, that these games usually come down to one or two plays whether a team wins or loses. The Dallas Cowboys defensively had two bad series in the game on Sunday. The Chiefs first fifteen plays from Andy Reid and Doug Peterson showed imagination and creativity. Which put Monte Kiffin and his troops on their heels on the opening drive of the game. Alex Smith was accurate passing and along with his ability to scramble when things broke down, put a great deal of pressure on this defense.
  • To their credit, Kiffin and the defensive staff were able to settle down the situation and begin to put pressure on Reid and their play calls. Kiffin attacked this Chiefs offensive line with four man pressure but also a timely blitz from Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. For the majority of the game, Kiffin was able to keep the dangerous Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles in check. In my pregame study of the Chiefs, I was concerned that if the Chiefs were able to successfully run the ball with Charles, it would allow Alex Smith to feel comfortable in the game.
  • As the game wore on, my feeling was that the execution of the plan was coming together nicely and on tape, that showed up as well. The defense was put in some tough situations with turnovers in the 2nd half but they were able to come up with a timely sack to force a punt or block a field goal before the half. I wrote on Sunday about the missed opportunities on the potential interceptions from Will Allen and Bruce Carter which in my mind were 14 point plays but they were able to hang in there without further damage.
  • As good as this defense was playing, the situation that we all will remember, is what happened in the last 3:48 of that game. Jason Garrett rightfully put the game in their hands to get a stop and give his offense another chance. By no means was this Cowboys offense perfect on the day but with a stop and time on the clock, you would been smart to have given Dan Bailey, a shot to win this game from 53 yards.
  • With the ball sitting on the Chiefs 16 yard line and three time outs in his pocket plus the two minute warning, Garrett had to feel like that he was going to get that opportunity. On 1st – 10, Reid calls for a read option to Charles that gains three yards. It was a nice job on the right side by Nick Hayden beating a double team block, George Selvie extended on Brandon Albert and Justin Durant scraping inside to help on the tackle. Garrett uses his first time out here.
  • 2nd – 7 from the Kansas City 19, Kiffin puts eight in the box with Church walking down late from the left side. Reid opts for the lead going left to Charles. Ware is able to beat Fasano’s block on the front side. Charles has both Fasano and Sherman the fullback in his lap. Charles makes the read and cuts the ball back to the right. Hatcher is fighting to get off the block, Durant comes forward to try and fill but he gets caught on the double team block of Hatcher. As Charles makes the cut to his right, Selvie is cut down on the backside and there is a lane. Durant dives and misses, Will Allen hits Charles after a three yard gain but has trouble getting him to the ground and he falls forward gaining four more yards and the first down. Garrett is now forced to use his second time out.
  • 1st – 10 from the Kansas City 26, Kiffin puts nine in the box as Smith moves Fasano from the left side to the right who at the snap, uses an influence block to get Ware to step inside allowing him to step outside, then tries to hook him. Ware fights to get off the block but he is now being held by Fasano as the ball gets to the edge. Church on the edge takes on the pulling guard working to the outside. Sherman cuts Carter in the hole. Lee gets cut by Carter and Charles is onto the second level. Bowe blocks Scandrick and it’s a huge gain on first down for the Chiefs. Garrett doesn’t have to use his last time out because Charles gets knocked out of bounds by Allen.
  • 1st – 10 from Kansas City 44, illegal motion on Dwayne Bowe moves the Chiefs back five yards. Reid goes back to the same play he used on first down with Charles to get the first down, but this time, Durant, Lee and Carter were all in position to make the tackle. Garrett uses his last time out.
  • 2nd – 9 from the Kansas City 45, Reid hands the ball off tackle going left to Charles. Fasano and Albert double Spencer who holds up on that side. Durant is able to knife down inside off the block, Lee and Carter fill from over the top. Gain of four for the Chiefs.
  • 3rd – 5 from the Kansas City 49, with the clock running, the Chiefs catch a huge break. Back judge Tony Steratore flags the Chiefs for delay of game and stopping the play. At the snap, it appears that the Chiefs are going to fake a screen going to the right and boot Smith around the left end, but Ware is right there as he beats the block of Charles for a sack that would have forced the Chiefs to punt leaving the Cowboys 2:23 on the clock, plus the two minute warning.
  • 3rd – 10 from the Kansas City 44, Reid puts three wide receivers on the field, Kiffin counters with his nickel package. Avery is lined up wide left outside the numbers against Claiborne. Scandrick has McCluster in the slot to that side. At the snap, Smith fakes the inside hand off to Charles that draws the defense inside. McCluster runs a wheel route which Scandrick is driving on. Claiborne gets his right hand on Avery making him reset but Claiborne is off balance to his right, allowing Avery to get inside. Claiborne fights back but his left arm is on Avery and he is over his back. Avery is now off balance as Claiborne goes over the top to knock the ball down. Head Linesmen, Ed Camp makes the call on the play giving the Chiefs a first down. Avery is not in good position to catch the ball on the route and if somehow Claiborne could have stayed off him, they might have got the incomplete, instead it’s an automatic first which allows the Chiefs to kill the game.    
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