In the October Eagles game, Andy Reid and his OC Marty Morhinweg used the same play, and got some real estate of their own. The Cowboys adjusted to the play in the week 17 re-match and stuffed the Eagles running game. In the playoff game the following week the Eagles planned a special pass off this run action and beat Dallas for a long touchdown. At the end of part three, I noted:
This is how NFL coordinators spend good chunks of their summers, looking for obvious tendencies in their own games and how they can tweak them for their team's benefit, especially against familiar divisional foes.Round one in 2010 goes to the Eagles. Morhinweg unwrapped the counter trap in the third quarter and it was probably the decisive play in Philadelphia's close 30-27 win. It's a brilliantly conceived play, and the Eagles have tweaked it to maximize the complementary skills of Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and the speedy Eagles wideouts.
It was unveiled on the first play of Philadelphia's series after the Cowboys had scored a touchdown to take a 20-14 lead. Philadelphia worked out of a two tight end overload, with both lined up outside of the right tackle. WR Desean Jackson lined up tight, just wide of the TEs, while Jeremy Maclin worked left. Dallas deployed to stop a run towards the overload. It's in man-to-man coverage with FS Alan Ball high and SS Gerald Sensabaugh in the box over the wider TE, who is Sensabaugh's responsibility if he released on a pass:
ILB Bradie James has crashed the C gap outside the RT, but Keith Brooking and Sensabaugh are holding to see if Vick keeps the ball or hands it off. If Brooking changes the run and Vick runs a boot, Harbor will run underneath the line of scrimmage and release uncovered into the left flat. If Sensabaugh crashes, he's giving up the middle to Brent Celek on a play action.
That hesitancy, and Olshansky's hard outside rush, create a huge lane off left guard. Todd Herremens blocks down on Jay Ratliff, allowing the center to get out in space and lock onto Brooking. McCoy following Harbor inside and he's gone for 55:
Dallas stopped the play for a short gain the next time it was run, because Brooking was much faster on his read and raced into the right A-gap before Herremens could reach him. However, the Eagles had an evolutionary play in their bag to keep the defense honest. On the next play it lined up in the same overload, with Jackson on the edge of the tight ends. They ran the trap at him, but ran Jackson on a reverse outside of McCoy's inside fake:
This proved one of Dallas' few wins. Watch the game-killing Eagles drive after Dallas closed to 30-27 and you'll see this trap draw run several times, with McCoy gaining 8 plus yards every time. Dallas got this game under control in January, but the Eagles have now based their running game off of it. McCoy gained over 100 yards in the second half, and I'd say at least 80% of it came on this counter trap.
Pasqualoni and his guys get a rematch in three weeks. If they want a chance to win it, they'll have to again come to terms with this play.