Charting the Cowboys’ 39 sacks allowed in 2011: By my count, Tyron Smith gave up a team-high 8

A couple months ago, I charted all of Michael Vick’s 24 sacks in 2011, and offered up my thoughts on each of them.  Yesterday, in the “fanpost section” at Blogging the Boys, a reader by the name of Antonio posted video of all 36 sacks Tony Romo took last year.  Antonio offers some interesting tidbits, such as:

  • Romo was sacked 11 times in 8 wins (1.375 per game) and 25 times in 8 losses (3.125). That’s a telling stat.
  • Romo was sacked 8 times in Cowboys Stadium (1 per game) and 28 times in road games (3.5). There’s the home-field advantage that people complain about.

Worth a look.  However, with the editing work already done, I also wanted to take a look at each play and break it down the same way I did with my Michael Vick sack post.  At the time, my Vick article centered around the debate of whether or not to mess with the continuity of the right side of the line (Vick’s blind side) by moving Todd Herremans to LT in the wake of the Jason Peters injury, so I didn’t bother charting the sacks on Mike Kafka and Vince Young.  For this exercise, I also took a look at the three sacks on Stephen McGee, although there’s no video for those.  Let’s just get right to it:

Analysis after the jump:

Sack Game Mark How’d they get him? Guilty
1 Jets 0:00 At the snap, Phil Costa and Kyle Kosier double Mike Devito. Kosier is way too slow in disengaging and picking up the blitzing Bart Scott. Kyle Kosier
2   0:14 This one is interesting. Calvin Pace puts a great move on Tyron Smith, and looks like he has a clear path to Romo. Romo sees Pace’s pressure coming, is forced to step up, and ultimately gives himself up. What’s interesting here is Smith’s impressive athleticism. He was able to recover and get a push on Pace, which might have shuttled him past Romo. Still, this one is on Tyron. Tyron Smith
3   0:26 Romo has a clean pocket, doesn’t find anyone, and fails to throw the ball away. Pace cleans up. Tony Romo
4   0:43 If Tony Romo doesn’t fumble here, the Cowboys probably win this game. With 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter and the Cowboys up 7, the Cowboys had the ball 3rd and G from the Jets’ 2 yard line. A score, any score, would make it a 2-score game, and make it extremely difficult for the Jets to come back. Then Tony Romo tried to do too much, fumbled, and their lead remained at 7. Protection was good, and whenever you’re this far down into enemy territory, the option of throwing the ball out of the back of the end zone always exists. Atrocious situational football decision-making by Romo here. Tony Romo
5 Redskins 0:57 Good protection. Romo drops the ball (or has Kerrigan swat it out – tough to see), picks it up, and tries to escape. John Phillips could technically be to blame here if Kerrigan got a hand on it, but his protection is good. Tony Romo
6 49ers 1:11 Wow, Ray McDonald absolutely blows up Kyle Kosier here. Embarrassing. Kyle Kosier
7 Lions 1:23 Oof, Willie Young of the Lions gets Tyron Smith off balance and sends him careening like when you knock out Piston Honda in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Ugly. Like the fisherman celebration dance, by the way. Tyron Smith
8 Patriots 1:31 Protection is good, as Doug Free escorts Andre Carter well past Romo’s dropback spot. Presumably, nothing is there downfield, and Carter gets himself a hustle sack. Tony Romo
9   1:47 Andre Carter with a pure speed rush around Tyron Smith, who is beaten badly. Tyron Smith
10 Rams 2:03 It’s now Doug Free’s turn to be beaten around the edge, this time by James Hall. Doug Free
11   2:11 This play is cut off early. I’ll assume that the guy chasing Romo when it cuts off is the one that got him, but that’s not totally important, as he’s the one that messes up the play regardless. This play takes a few seconds to develop, but Phil Costa has help to his right in Kosier, so there’s really no excuse in being beaten on the other side. Phil Costa
12 Eagles 2:18 An assortment of Eagles get pressure all around Romo here, but Babin gets there first, courtesy of an inside spin move on Tyron Smith. Romo takes a violent shot. Tyron Smith
13   2:31 Tough to figure out blame on this one. It’s a zone blocking scheme here, so the stunting Trevor Laws to the outside is Tyron Smith’s responsibility. Babin makes a really good inside move, which draws Smith’s attention (hard to fault him there), and Laws has a free path once Smith commits. We’ll give this one to Smith, but with somewhat of a pass here. Tyron Smith
14   2:40 Pressure everywhere. The player that gets the sack here (Trent Cole) is determined only by where Romo chooses to to try to escape, but the entire line here didn’t really block anyone. We could give it to Doug Free, but that ignores the rest of the OL failure here. Entire line
15   2:53 Babin with another spin move on Smith, who is beaten on this play, but not as badly as Montrae Holland, who is beaten even worse by Mike Patterson. Smith gives up the sack, but Holland gave up the immediate pressure. Montrae Holland
16 Redskins 3:03 The entire line collapses around Romo, but the breakdown is the worst right up the middle, where Phil Costa is pushed back into Romo’s lap by Chris Neild. Phil Costa
17   3:12 Tyron Smith again. Romo gets a little time, but Ryan Kerrigan gets around Smith to the outside pretty easily. Tyron Smith
18   3:23 This one cuts off early too, but it lasts long enough to know that the protection was good. Tony Romo
19   3:30 London Fletcher blitzes and Romo is meat. Not even much of a disguise by Fletcher. Doug Free simply chooses to follow Brian Orakpo to the inside, where he has help, and leaves Fletcher alone unblocked. Doug Free
20 Dolphins 3:37 Just good defense here by the Dolphins. The design is to have John Phillips fake a trap block on Cameron Wake and then flash to the flat. However, the linebacker isn’t fooled and stays with Phillips. Romo has nowhere to go, and takes the sack. Playcall
21 Cardinals 3:46 Beautifully timed blitz by Paris Lenon. Perfect execution. DeMarco Murray tries to cut Lenon, but doesn’t really have much of a chance. Costa and Holland block the same guy, which leads me to believe that Lenon should have been Costa’s guy. All-22 tape would be helpful here. Phil Costa
22   3:53 Plenty of time. Tony Romo
23   4:07 Plenty of time again. Tony Romo
24   4:15 The Cardinals send 7, and Romo doesn’t have any hot reads to throw to. He has no chance. ?
25   4:25 Again, plenty of time, and Romo can’t find anybody. 5 sacks in the Cardinals game, and on 3 of them Romo had plenty of time. Tony Romo
26 Giants 4:35 Jason Pierre-Paul, gets right around Doug Free, gets a piece of Romo, who stumbles into the endzone like he’s drunk for a safety. Doug Free
27   4:45 Holland isn’t awful here in trying to block Chris Canty, but he isn’t exactly good either. Romo has a little time, but Holland is definitely at fault to some degree here. Montrae Holland
28   4:58 Yikes. Just piss poor effort here by Doug Free. Doug Free
29 Buccaneers 5:06 Terrible situational football by Romo here. You’re up 28 on a horrid team with no offense whatsoever, and you’re trying to make a play on 3rd and 19 this far deep in your own end? You’re already out of the pocket… Throw it away! Instead, TD Bucs. Tony Romo
30   5:18 Tyron Smith again. Michael Bennett gets a good dip on Smith and beats him. I now have Tyron Smith as the guilty party on 7 sacks. Tyron Smith
31 Giants 5:28 Nobody blocks Mathias Kiwanuka, but Felix Jones actually does a phenominal job cutting him and getting him to the ground. Unfortunately for Romo, Doug Free completely whiffs on Jason Pierre-Paul. Doug Free
32   5:37 Kyle Kosier over-extends trying to block Justin Tuck on an outside rush from the DT spot, and Osi Umenyiora loops inside. Kosier can’t recover and Romo is meat. Kyle Kosier
33   5:55 Romo gets a reasonable amount of time, but watch Doug Free. JPP completely spins him around, leaving Free to try to box him out like he’s trying to rebound in basketball. This is not ideal. JPP cleans up. Doug Free
34   6:03 This play looks like Romo has a lot of time, but he doesn’t. Watch the two Giants DTs, Linval Joseph and Chris Canty, manhandle Kevin Kowalski (60) and Derrick Dockery, respectively. Both players are pushed into the backfield, and Romo is forced to move from his spot. Kowalski is particularly bad here, offering zero protection, so we’ll give the sack to him. Umenyiora cleans up. Kevin Kowalski
35   6:11 Plenty of time. Tony Romo
36   6:24 Tuck abuses Kevin Kowalski at the snap, misses Romo at first and forces him to flush to his right, stays with the play, and gets himself a hustle strip sack. Game. Season. Kevin Kowalski
37 Eagles No film Trent Cole beats Doug Free easily around the corner. Doug Free
38   No film Juqua Parker tosses Tyron Smith, then loops inside and sacks McGee. Tyron Smith
39   No film Derek Landri puts a nasty spin move on Holland, who is standing in cinderblock shoes. Montrae Holland

Of the 39 total sacks, I determined that blame could be put on an offensive lineman on 27 of those sacks.  Just to note, a number of the above sacks are attributed to Romo. They aren’t all necessarily on him. They’re just not on the OL. Those 27 sacks broke down as follows:

  • Tyron Smith: 8
  • Doug Free: 7
  • Kyle Kosier: 3
  • Phil Costa: 3
  • Montrae Holland: 3
  • Kevin Kowalski: 2
  • Entire line: 1

Tyron Smith is widely viewed (and I include myself here) as a bigtime up and comer in the NFL.  However, he most certainly had his bad moments in his rookie season.  He’s only going to get better, but the move from RT to LT should be more concerning than I think most people that cover and/or root for the Cowboys realize.  I think the perception is that he’s the one guy along the Cowboys OL that is going to be really good in 2012, but I wouldn’t exactly think of him as a sure thing… yet.


  1. Claudete says:

    very useful info

  2. Ainhoa says:

    i am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. i always prefer to read the quality content and this thing i found in your post. thanks for sharing

  3. Will says:

    That last minute or so of Giant sacks on Romo was just what I needed in the dog days of summer.

    Saying that, it seems whenever Romo feels pressure, he tries to roll outside the pocket. I wonder how many of those he actually breaks free vs the times he’s sacked. If Madden has taught me anything, he’s probably been sacked more times trying to evade pressure rolling out than he’s gotten away.

  4. Trey says:

    Nice work, but, as a Skins fan, I gotta say Kerrigan def forced a Romo fumble in that week 3 game. If you watch the game on NFL Rewind, the commentators explicitly give Kerrigan credit for the strip, and there’s at least one up-close replay of Kerrigan getting the hand out while driving Phillips backwards (Phillips did have decent protection) and stripping the ball from Romo.

    Love your work, don’t want to criticize, but Kerrigan def made that play. No question about that from the broadcast

    1. OK, that’s fine. As I noted, I didn’t edit together the video. Still wouldn’t put that sack on Phillips, whose protection was good. Just a good play by Kerrigan.

  5. Yes, Tyron had some learning on the job to do, but, as you can see from the breakdown, most of his sacks came in the earlier part of the season, and he got much better as the season wore on. He was also 20.

    I’m not saying he’s a lock to be an all-star stud at LT this season, but I am much more concerned about the entire of our OL.

  6. brianbrianbrian says:

    This is an excellent piece. Much thanks.

  7. ct17 says:

    So how does this prove the assertion on BTB that Romo would be equal to Peyton Manning if his OL was better? If only optimism won championships.

    1. Joe11 says:


      He’s obviously the LeBron James of the NFL and is actually elite and if he had a better o-line everyone would see just how good he is and he would win a superbowl, and be a HOF’er.

      Passer rating!

    2. brisulph says:

      I preferred their insanity assertion that Eli would have the full of his ass beating out Orton as the back-up in Dallas.

  8. giantsfan says:

    *Tears up*

    Besides the vick sack compilation, that was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

  9. Redskins Fan says:

    You left out plays that SHOULD have been sacks, but Romo still beat. Most notably was against my own ‘Skins, 3rd and forever late in the game with the ‘Skins up. Romo SHOULD have been sacked but somehow manages to avoid being wrapped up. There were others. If you could count those “pressures”, I’m curious if the numbers look even worse for Smith?

    Oh, and you don’t need to do this for the Redskins (and not sure you have enough time to go through all of those anyway). But a look at the 10 against Buffalo, I’m curious how many of those were on John Beck.

  10. deg0ey says:

    The only thing more entertaining than seeing a montage of Romo getting knocked on his ass would be a similar collection of Eli clips. Maybe that can be your next project :p

    1. BBI says:

      I would actually want to see that. I’ve been scouring the interwebz looking for all of his sacks and do a film study, but to no avail. If anybody wants to make it or finds it, please let me know on BBV or BGN or here.

  11. Tracer Bullet says:

    / hits replay
    // removes pants

    1. BBI says:

      /// wipe up
      //// repeat

  12. RogerPodacter says:

    hard to judge #17. it looks like romo *could* have had enough time to throw it away, or at least see/feel the pressure coming from the side he’s facing.
    my guess is that the receivers were all running deep and he didnt have a short outlet. it was a little early to just throw it away, though. i guess i would have to agree with you on it after all, haha.

  13. Tim says:

    Does seem that Tyron improved as the season went on, though, allowing a higher number of his sacks in the earlier games. (Of course, this is me just using “sacks allowed” as a metric for OT performance, which is not a good way to evaluate a player)

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