Caught in a Trap: Eagles 34, Cowboys 7


Martellus Bennett flashes his Roy
Williams ”who me?” grin

The Philadelphia Eagles pole-axed the Cowboys last night, decking them with several early big plays that pushed Philly ahead 21-0 less than 20 minutes into the contest.

On the offensive side, the Eagles top-ranked rushing attack gashed the Dallas front with a pet play they used to torture Paul Pasqualoni’s D last winter, a bend trap that attacks the weakside end, usually Demarcus Ware.  Dallas could not stop it in Cowboys Stadium and last night, Rob Ryan’s over-zealous calls made it very easy for the Eagles to spring it on their first two series.  The first time it was called, LeSean McCoy ripped it for 28 yards.  The next time, it broke for 36.

The ease with which it worked suggest that the Eagles Andy Reid and Marty Morhinweg saw a clear tendency in Rob Ryan’s methods, because his defense ran itself out of both plays more than the Eagles blocked them out.

Play 1.  First series.  The Eagles have completed a slant to Jeremy Maclin to get near mid-field.  The Eagles set up in a one-back set, with three receivers and a tight end flanked on the right:

At the snap, the Eagles block right and McCoy starts in that direction, suggesting the sprint draw, a stock edge run.  The entire line will block that way, with the exception of TE Clay Harbour (82) who is pulling across the formation.  His task it to trap block Demarcus Ware.  The Eagles hope he’ll rush upfield and that Harbour can but him off.  If LT Jason Peters seals the DE in front of him, McCoy will have a cut-back lane when he runs bend action right to left to the lane between Peters and Harbour.

Note, however, how easy the Cowboys make it for them.  Their front slants yard to the apparent strong side. All the linemen cut across the face of their linemen.  Look at Jay Ratliff.  He’s on the right hash mark.  Also look at RE Kenyon Coleman.  He starts the play between the hash marks.  Where are both of them when McCoy gets the handoff:

Ratliff is upfield and a good 7-8 feet wide of the hash mark.  Coleman is also wide of the right hash.  Peters and C Jason Kelce didn’t have to muscle them there; they simply had to help the Cowboys go where they already started.  Harbour doesn’t even have to touch Ware.  The Cowboys have sold out to their left, and the Eagles have run a perfect play away from them.  Look at the space McCoy has when he clears the line:

Drive two.  Similar situation.  The Eagles are in 1st and 10 at the Dallas 38.  Ryan wants to take pressure at Michael Vick, and brings the house.  His slot corner Orlando Scandrick, ILB Sean Lee and FS Abe Elam all join the front five:

The Eagles are in the same formation and run the same play.  The max blitz gives McCoy even more room;  Elam is rushing outside of Ware, and when the OLB is trapped play-side, Elam is even wider of McCoy’s running lane.  Lee has run into the scrum in the middle of the field and Scandrick is behind the play the instant he crosses the line of scrimmage: