Play Breakdown: Kellen Moore Schemes Up Easy TD For Ezekiel Elliott

After the demolished the New York Giants en route to a 35-17 victory on Sunday, the entire NFL world stopped to praise .

The Cowboys’ new took the league by storm in the season opener, utilizing all the aspects of modern NFL which had been missing from this unit in years’ past. One play in particular stood out to me during Sunday’s win, however, so I wanted to break it down in detail this week.

It was the Cowboys re-vamped which carried the offense against the Giants, but this running play provided some hope for a modern rushing attack going forward as well.

Let’s watch and discuss Ezekiel Elliott’s lone touchdown run from Sunday’s win.

Down in the here the Cowboys were looking to ice the game. They came out in 11 personnel, as they did for much of the afternoon. The lone is , and he’s lined up off the line of scrimmage, just outside of left .

Using condensed splits the Cowboys then bring in motion across the formation. Looking to stay home in their , the Giants do not follow Austin in his motion. Austin continues across the formation in jet motion, forcing the linebackers to keep their eyes on him as he remains an option for in three ways: a shovel pass, a pass out to the flats as they threw to earlier in the game, or a jet sweep handoff.

Witten also crosses the formation here, but not to get the ball. Instead, he is a potential lead blocker for Dak Prescott if he were to pull the ball here. On the nearside you see why the Cowboys condensed formation matters, as Randall Cobb is in good position to come down on a crack-back block and seal the outside for Prescott. If Dak were to pull on the option and keep the ball, he’d have Cobb blocking down on the outside backer and Jason Witten leading the way for him towards the end zone.

Then, of course, there’s the $90 million man to account for. Ezekiel Elliott gets handed the ball, reads his blockers to perfection, and runs it in for the easy score. This is a pretty simple inside zone play to the left side, but because of all the pre-snap movement and potential options for Prescott, the defense is left on its heels when Elliott attacks them inside the tackles.

An underrated aspect of this play design? La’el Collins passes the off for Prescott to read, allowing him to come down on the double team with and get excellent movement off the line of scrimmage. also uses his splits to his advantage as he comes down to block the and completely take him out of the play.

The Cowboys make the Giants defend all 11 offensive players on this play, and then make them pay for it and score.

Now, the Cowboys can use this same exact design in the red zone going forward, but can utilize different options to capitalize on however the defense reacts. If the defense stays home on Zeke, Dak can pull and take it himself on a sweep. If they attack the mesh point and look to disrupt Dak and Zeke, Prescott can pull it and throw to Austin on the outside.

And, if none of this is available, it’s possible Prescott can shovel the ball to Witten inside the tackles as well. No matter what decision they make, Prescott can make the defense wrong.

The Cowboys looked like the Chiefs on Sunday, and they are setting themselves up for future offensive success in similar ways to how Kansas City does. Based on how the defense reacts, the Cowboys can always be right in their offensive play-call.

What do you think?


Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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