Dallas Cowboys – Anatomy of a Sack Artist


Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) gets sacked by Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

DeMarcus Ware went down in history Wednesday night as he joined an elite group of sack artists.  The first play of the 2nd quarter helped him eclipse the 100 sack mark for his career, and put him on the track for the next 99.5 sacks to meet Bruce Irvin at the top of the leader board.  Today we will take a look at the anatomy of both of those sack plays using the NFL Game Rewind App.

First play of the 2nd quarter: The Giants have the ball, and it is 1st and 10 yards to go.   The Giants come out in “21” personnel, meaning two running backs, and 1 tightend. The tightend is lined up in line to the left, making the left side the strong side of the formation.  Dallas is in its base defense, with DeMarcus Ware lineing up outside of Kenyon Coleman.  Sensabaugh creeps up to the line of scrimmage, but doesn’t give blitzing body language. He is communicating with cornerback Morris Claiborne, who is in man coverage against Hakeem Nicks.

Courtesy NFL Game Rewind

At the snap of the ball, DeMarcus Ware dips inside and attacks the inside shoulder of the right tackle.  This leaves Gerald Sensabaugh to run free and clean at Eli Manning directly off the outside shoulder.  Sensabaugh takes a good angle, but Eli makes his best Tony Romo impression, avoiding a sack from Sensabaugh, but ultimately becoming a victim to the NFL’s best sack artist.  Ware beat right tackle David Diehl on the inside move so quickly, that Diehl got away with a partial hold.  After Ware brought Eli down to the ground, he picked him up showing a definite touch of class.

2nd play before the end of the half. With 48 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, Manning & Co. are trying to drive down the field to come away with any  points.  The Giants are in “11” personnel, meaning one back, one tigthend and three receivers.  Bennett, the tightend, is on the left side of the formation (strong side) and Ware is lined up on the right side, on the outside shoulder of David Diehl (RT he previously beat for a sack).  Running back Ahmad Bradshaw (who is known for being one of the best pass blocking running backs) is lined up to Eli’s right side.  The Cowboys show blitz from the left side with Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer, and Barry Church, and Orlando Scandrick lined up tight on the outside shoulder of the Left Tackle (in that order).

Courtesy NFL Game Rewind

Right before the snap of the ball, Scandrick backs out of his blitz to cover the slot receiver. At the snap of the ball, Jason Hatcher and Anthony Spencer rush the passer, as Church breaks off to cover the releasing tightend.  Ware bursts towards Diehl’s outside shoulder and Diehl doesn’t stand a chance. Bradshaw sees a blitzing Sean Lee coming up the middle, and moves toward the middle to help with the pickup.  If he had stayed one split second longer, he would have been able to help Diehl with Ware.  Ware blows by Diehl and comes along the backside of Manning, almost swatting the ball out of his hand.

Ware had a 1-on-1 match-up this play, and he beat his man horribly.  On the first sack, Ware had a 1-on-1 match-up, and he beat his man as well.  The entire night the Giants tried to stop Ware by motioning a tightend over to Ware’s side, sliding pass protection over to Ware, but they couldn’t contain him.  Ware ended the night with 2.0 sacks, and currently has 101.5 on his career.

He will continue to be a match-up nightmare for any team he faces.  With an extremely mobile quarterback like Russel Wilson this week, don’t look to see Ware have an outrageous number of sacks, as his job will more than likely be to contain Wilson, and force him to beat the Cowboys and their much improved secondary with his arm.