Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2 defense is a zone scheme with the goal of preventing the big play. The defense is designed for the secondary to keep the play in front of the defender allowing him to locate the ball in the air and react. This naturally allows for opponents to gain plenty of short yardage gains, but prevents those back breaking long scoring plays. The Dallas secondary failed to execute the Tampa 2 scheme against the Chargers.
The Cowboys defense allowed an astounding 401 yards through the air by San Diego Quarterback Philip Rivers, and three passing touchdowns, two of which came on passes of longer than 20 yards. Cowboys Cornerback Morris Claiborne had an especially rough game giving up a 31 yard catch to Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen and another 28 yard reception to San Diego wide receiver Eddie Royal.
The Dallas secondary looked overmatched and out of sync the entire game. Early in the game, Dallas clawed to an impressive eleven point lead in the first half, but then quickly watched that lead dwindle ultimately resulting in a San Diego win beating Dallas 30 to 21.
While the paltry secondary coverage certainly deserves much of the blame, the Cowboys once again slipped back into their old ways of running a completely unbalanced pass first offense which became easy for the Charges to defend. Dallas ran the ball only 16 times on 56 offensive plays and predictably also lost the time of possession battle 34 minutes to just over 25 minutes.
It is well documented by most NFL experts that to win a game in the NFL teams must have balanced passing and running attacks, win the turnovers battle, have the highest time of possession, and finally play sound defense. The Cowboys this week tied the Chargers in turnovers but lost in every other major win category.
Dallas must get back to running the ball to grind down the opposing team’s defense, and the secondary has to get back to their winning ways of preventing the big play and creating turnovers or next week’s high octane Denver Broncos offense, and the seemingly flawless play of Peyton Manning will make them pay.
Follow Matt Thornton @MattsCowboys