Norm Hitzges: Five Key Plays You May Not Remember
Norm: Here we go - every Monday's feature and its entitled 'Five Keys Plays You May Not Remember' - made a significant impact on yesterday's Cowboy game. These are almost always done, Mark (Freido), from the viewpoint of plays that affected the winning or losing of the game. In fact - things that could have turned the game for good.
Norm: Here we go. Key play number one that you may have forgotten - made a huge impact on the game. Its late in the first quarter and San Diego leads 7 to nothing. Dallas has 3rd and 9 at their own 21. Now San Diego's pretty much controlled the first 10-12 minutes of this game. And Dallas is facing 3rd and long. And they throw a slant to Patrick Crayton on 3rd and 9. He grabs it and zips over the 30, over the 35, over the 40, over the 45 and fumbles the football! And he fumbles it in a crowd of Chargers. And the ball bounces right back to him! Enormous play! Dallas - a few plays later - has their tying touchdown. Imagine the momentum of the game here if San Diego has 1st and 10 at mid-field. Which is where they would of had the ball. But instead, its a 7-7 game.
Norm: Next, its early second quarter, the score is tied 7-7, and Anthony Henry intercepts a ball at the San Diego 35 yard line. And Dallas runs for 2. And Dallas runs for 5. And they face a critical 3rd and 3 at the San Diego 28. If they don't get the first down, that leaves Cortez trying about a 45 or 46 yard field goal. If I'm in Vegas, I know where my chips are going. But anyway, San Diego decides - let's get after them. And they blitz. And they've got Bledsoe. And Bledsoe has to move a little bit to his right - which he's not good at. And just as he's being hit, he sidearms the ball to Jason Witten. A terribly unconevntional throw for Bledsoe, who's the classic -and-fire quarterback - Michael Vick makes plays like that! Okay? Vince Young makes plays like that. Drew Bledsoe doesn't make sidearm throws while being hung on to - okay? He hits Witten. Witten zips down to the 16 yard line and two plays later Dallas has a 14-7 lead. If that play isn't made, its 7-7, and Dallas is hoping they can hit a long field goal or if Bledoe is sacked, Dallas is punting the ball. Instead, it's a lead.
Norm: Third Quarter. 21-14 Chargers. Dallas faces - they've had a penalty. Put them back to 2nd and 15 and then they throw a little ball to the outside to Crayton to get the five yards back. They face 3rd and 10 at their own 20. This is very much a momentum situation. San Diego down 14-7, scored to tie it at the half - came out to take the lead in the 3rd quarter. In other words, they took the momentum into the lockerroom and took the momentum out of the lockerroom - and put 14 points on the board. And here's Dallas, 3rd and 10 at its own 20 and the momentum's gone. If San Diego can stop 'em here, they're gonna get the ball back outside their own 40 yard line for certain. Bledsoe is sacked. Oh, Geez! - Castillo hits the side of Bledsoe's helmet. It was without question, a blow to the head. Without question. Castillo had no intention of making a blow to the head. All he was doing was putting a hand up, hoping he could bat the pass if Bledsoe was about to throw it. But that may have been the most critical play of the entire football game. Because instead of punting out of their own endzone, seven plays after that penalty, Dallas has a touchdown to tie the game.
Norm: Fourth key play. Third quarter - its 21-21. San Diego is 3rd and 3 at the Dallas 10 yard line. 3rd and 3. I know what's coming. I know exactly what's coming. LT is coming. False start penalty on San Diego. Now, Tomlinson becomes far less an option at the 15 yard line. They pass. Its incomplete. And they settle for a short Kaeding field goal instead of what could have been first and goal inside the Cowboys 10 or - maybe they don't get it, maybe they go for it on fourth down - but that play created a situation that helped the Dallas defense.
Norm: Now, let's go to the fifth key play in the game. The fifth key play in the game for me was a series of plays. The fifth key play for me was those four plays that San Diego had from the Dallas 7 in the last minute. In which they threw four incomplete passes. I know the newspaper says they had 47 seconds to go. That's not true. Parker was down with a minute and a half to go. San Diego then - they took time to mark the ball - and then San Diego starts to come to the line of scrimmage and then back to the huddle and then came back to the line of scrimmage - realizing 'we've got time here.' But they had one other thing. They had time to use LaDainian Tomlinson. If they'd of gotten up to the line of scrimmage in a brisk manner, and snapped that ball with a minute to go, they could have run Tomlinson at least twice in that series! They had a time-out left. They had a time-out left. They could have run Tomlinson at least twice. But for me, that series became the extremely broad picture of the second half. The game was 14-14 at half-time. Tell me how many touches LaDainian Tomlinson got in the second half?
Freido: He's the best player on the field. It had to be - what - 12-13?
Norm: Come down.
Freido: 10? 9?
Norm: Come down.
Norm: 7! LanDainian Tomlinson - the pretty much consensus best back in the NFL - gets 7 touches?!?! Who the hell's calling plays in San Diego?!?! I'm sorry, but with Antonio Gates out - who is your number two best offensive player - if you don't give it to your number one best offensive player - and you don't have a number one wide receiver - McCardell's a nice player but he's not a number one wide receiver - you're actually throwing to what amounts to your fourth best offensive player. Did you know they never threw Tomlinson a pass yesterday?!? Never!! He's a wonderful receiving back! How in the world can you only get LaDainian Tomlinson 7 touches in the second half?!?! Now, this is not reflective on the Cowboys at all. It was like trying to find Waldo in the second half?!? Where's Waldo?!?! You do the Cowboys defense an enormous favor when you don't get the ball to Tomlinson!
I'm taking a hell of a beating back here!
Last edited by Vman : 09-12-2005 at 02:02 PM.