1st Play: 1st Down and 10
Formation: I Formation Normal
Play: Iso Weak
Right off of the bat we get miscommunication up front from the right side. Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford shoots the gap between D.J. Fluker and Joe Barksdale. DJ Fluker left to help Chris Watt who had covered responsibility. Joe Barksdale doesn't find a body to touch until 2 or 3 seconds into the play. As the play develops you see had Crawford been taken care of or at least touched, Melvin Gordon would've had a playside choice and cutback option.
Play disrupted, -1 yards.
2nd Play: 2nd Down and 11
Formation: Empty Gun (Flex Trey)
Play: All Curls
Frank Reich is finding the weak spots here. He deploys Five Wide and Dallas responds with Cover 2 Zone coverage. This is pitch and catch for Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. 85 pops open in the middle of the field and 17 hits him immediately. I smiled here, as the ball was out in 3 seconds. Up front was as good as it gets, or as good as it needed to be. With the rock out in that amount of time, everyone looks good and everyone wins.
Positive gain, + 8 yards.
3rd Play: 3rd Down and 3
Formation: Empty Gun (Flex Trey)
Frank must've saw something he liked or decided to not try to be the smartest guy in the room. He deployed the same formation. This time Dallas' defense gave him Man Coverage. Its now time for 17 to pick who he wants to pick on. He had options everywhere. Antonio Gates lost the SS on the with a slick cut to the corner route. Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd were running a Levels concept and both popped open. Either one of those could've gotten the 3 yards. But 17 chose to pick on the rookie Byron Jones, lined up on Keenan Allen. Again, I'm smiling. Philip Rivers released the ball on the plant of his three step drop and got off his initial read (Stevie Johnson became open but was jammed initially) quickly. He could've waited on Stevie and got it but I like the choice he made. He caught the rookie in face guarding mode and put the ball where only 13 could get it. This throw was nothing more than displaying the work put in during the offseason. Nice call, Reich. Nice execution, 17.
Chargers get a set of new downs.
4th Play: 1st and 10 @ the 14
Formation: Unbalanced SingleBack (21 Personnel)
Play; Counter (Misdirection)
The Counter! Oh, how I love this play.
It is set up so well. I mean just beautiful. Everything is set up for Melvin Gordon to score, he only has to beat the cornerback who is heading downhill. San Diego gets what they want from the right side who is in down-blocking mode. Chargers get a nice double team block by 83 and 72. 88 picks up two coins on the play. Malcom Floyd picks up the SS on a crack block. It's 28 and the DB at this point. He applies no pressure to the sideline and is every bit as hesitant as we've seen in practice. He gets 4 on the play, and I won't complain about that, but it could've possibly been 6.
On a side note, you see why I love Chris Watt so much. The Chargers Center engaged with a DL at the 14 yard line and drove him to the 9 yard line. He goes until whistle. I'll never get enough of watching plays like that.
5th Play: 2nd and 6
Formation: I Normal Left
Play: Stretch Right
Melvin Gordon is a bit more decisive here. The play itself forces you to but he did a good job of reading the end man and cutting once he saw the Right Tackle's numbers. You see some good stuff from the Great Chris Watt as he circles the wagon. You see DJ Fluker begin to multitask as he took care of two assignments prior to Gordon cutting up. Johnson handled the leftovers in pursuit. The Dallas LB made a really good play in the hole, so credit him there.
Reich is keeping the offense on schedule here. The two yards seem like nothing but the offense is now looking at 3rd and 4. Play options here are limitless.
6th Play: 3rd and 4
Formation: Shotgun Doubles (2x2 alignment, balanced formation)
Play: The Draw
Before we ask if the Dallas defenders could even see Danny Woodhead, I want to take the time to again appreciate the work Chris Watt does in the open field. 65 explodes off of the LOS and finds himself one on one with the MLB. He successfully cuts the backer and effectively takes two players out of the play. The SS took a poor angle but I'm still crediting Watt here because I love him. That ok?
Ok. Back to the untouched running back and how that happened. Orlando Franklin was actually beat but Danny Woodhead never panicked. Let the dude fly right by him.
From a blocking perspective, Everyone participating on this play was damn near perfect. Every WR engaged. You see 89 bulling a guy. 17 and the offensive lineman all showed pass in unison. I smiled and am still smiling.
When Gordon was drafted, my hope was that they ran him with a fullback involved and/or heavy sets. And they did. Reich kept the offense on schedule. Reich played to his strengths and 17 took what the defense gave him. No complaints here..
Looking forward to script for Week 2.