Apologies for the lateness of this. Focused on the first half only. Let’s just get right to it:
• Nice start for DeMarco Murray.
- Made a defender miss on a little swing pass, got 8.
- Then he spun out of a tackle on a 2nd and 2 run for a 1st down.
- Sprint draw right in which Murray immediately had a defender in his face, made a quick cut, bounced it to the left and picked up a nice gain.
- Another swing pass and more hard running after the catch.
- First down on 2nd and 1.
And then DeMarco was done for the night.
• The OL play was up and down. It started off very shaky, but got much better as the game progressed, and then some. I’ll show the bad first, then the good. On the DeMarco Murray sprint draw mentioned above, Mackenzy Bernadeau initially had good position…
But the Chargers’ DE was able to easily disengage, shoving Bernadeau aside. Murray made him miss anyway, but this could have been a 3 yard loss…
• Corey Liuget beat Derrick Dockery badly on a pass attempt, and Dockery had to reach out and grab a handful of Liuget’s jersey. Obvious hold, but they missed it.
• Here’s Tyron Smith getting beaten badly. He’s one on one with a Chargers OLB, who is beginning his inside spin move:
Tyron gets overextended and the Charger defender has a free lane to Romo:
Romo does his little Houdini thing and side steps the pass rusher:
He sets to throw as Tyron recovers:
However, that little sidestep has taken Romo’s focus off the receivers down the field, and he makes a bad decision, throwing to a receiver that is clearly well covered. The Charger DB should have made the pick, but can’t bring it in:
• Here’s a major pet peeve of mine. Holding on a running play either on 2nd and short, or near the goal line. If it’s 2nd and short, DON’T HOLD! If your RB gets stuffed, no worries. You’ll still have a manageable 3rd and short, but if you get caught, it’s now 2nd and long. Here’s David Arkin holding on a 2nd and 2:
• As noted above though, I promised some good OL play. Look at some of the clean pockets Romo had to operate with. On all of the below examples, the Chargers only rushed 4, but a good job of protection nevertheless. Vastly improved from the first preseason game against Oakland. Night and day, really:
• Victor Butler had a sack. He tried an inside move but was sealed off, kept plugging, tried the outside and was able to use his quickness to get around the edge for a sack. Played on both sides. Thought he did a good job getting pressure on Rivers all night.
• I wrote about Felix Jones a couple days ago, wondering what happened to him as a playmaker. He used to be scary as hell in the open field. Not anymore. Here’s the play I was talking about in that post. He caught a swing pass in the open field on 3rd and 4 with some room to make a move. It not a ton of room, as you can see the DB hustling over as well, but a couple years ago, this would have been a scary play for the linebacker, #56, Donald Butler.
Felix doesn’t even attempt a move and Butler stones Jones 2 yards shy of the first down:
Felix also had a bad drop. When he ran straight ahead, he was mildly effective, but that’s not his game. Or maybe it is.
• Nice 4th down conversion on quick slant from Romo to Dez Bryant. Looked easy. Also, Dez Bryant made an absolutely sick catch. It didn’t count, but… Wow:
• This Oliwale kid looked good. Ran hard near the goal line. Also had a nice cut on a LB right after a catch in the flat, and picked up an extra 15 or so yards.
• Barry Church had a nice stick in the hole on Ronnie Brown.
• Sean Lee timed out a blitz really nicely, and Nick Hardwich had to hold him.
• Nice pick by Brandon Carr on a deep ball by Phillip Rivers. Rivers underthrew it, and Robert Meachem didn’t give any effort at all to go up and make a play on the ball. Still, Carr went up and got it at its highest point and made the play. That was one of two picks on the night for him.
• Kevin Ogletree had a good night. He had 4 catches for 60 yards, but that’s not what impressed me. It was the two catches in traffic he made when he new he was going to get hit. Kyle Orton threw a lollypop on a deep ball to Ogletree, leaving him exposed for a big hit. Ogletree took the hit in between two defenders, and hung on. Well done. Then later, he made a nice catch in traffic. That still shot is a little grainy, but you get the idea:
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