In a two-minute drive, like we saw to end the game on Sunday, a couple of things must happen.
- First and foremost, you must protect the quarterback.
- Secondly, the quarterback must make sound decisions with the football, not being too conservative, as you need to pick up chunks of yards at a time.
- Lastly, you must attack the sidelines, especially with no timeouts.
Let’s review how the cowboys fared in these areas on Sunday.
First and foremost, protecting the quarterback was an issue on this drive. On the opening play, Cassel is forced to step up in the pocket, he locates Dez deep down the field, and is hit late by Michael Bennett.
I have no problem with Cassel taking a shot here as you often see teams opening a 2 minute drive with a deep shot. However, when you are gifted a 15-yard personal foul you can’t go 4-and-out the next 4 plays… but we’ll get to that.
It’s likely that failure to protect the quarterback cost us this game on Sunday.
On 1st and 10 – following the penalty – the Seahawks rush 3 and are able to disrupt what likely would have been a 30 or so yard gain to Witten. In a 2 minute situation, a 3 man rush should never be able to get to the quarterback… and while it is unclear if the Seahawks got a hand on Cassel, judging by the duck he threw that was initially called a fumble, he was clearly disrupted.
Blame Doug Free because he gets pancaked on the play. Even after playing a fairly decent game against very good rushers, one play really hurts in the NFL.
Look at Witten. 3 man rush should not get to qb.
After playing a good game as a whole, the offensive line really struggled on the Cowboys’ final possession.
This prevented Cassel from ever getting anything going on the drive, although he did make good decisions with going deep on first down, attempting to get it to a wide open Jason Witten, and then later trying to check it down to Darren McFadden while under duress.
On the fourth down play to end the drive, although they were forced to re attempt because of a penalty, Cassel must show more awareness and get the ball out of his hands. He is a veteran in this league and has to know that he is being chased from his blindside.
While Dallas failed to attack the sidelines, in watching the film there didn’t appear to be many chances.
Give credit to the Seahawks for only giving the Cowboys the middle of the field and also to be able to get home with 3 and 4 man rushes in a critical 2 minute drill.