How did Giants' Cruz beat Newman, Cowboys?

Click here for the entire Inside the Playbook series.

I want to go back to the Giants’ win over the Cowboys on Sunday night and breakdown Victor Cruz’s 74-yard TD. A perfect opportunity to talk technique, route recognition and why angles to the football are crucial.

The route concept? Nothing more than a Curl-Flat combo off of sprint action. The same route you will see on Friday nights in high school ball. Let’s check out the Giants from their pre-snap alignment and discuss some coaching points that allowed Cruz to exploit Terence Newman and the Dallas secondary.

Cowboys vs. Giants
Personnel: Ace (2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB)
Formation: Doubles Slot Exchange Wing
Route: Sprint Curl-Flat

Playbook

Some coaching points to discuss…

Route recognition: Ball on the far hash, TE (Y) in a wing alignment and Cruz in a reduced split (tight to the formation) on a 3rd and 1 situation. That must tell you as a DB to alert the sprint pass. With that pre-snap alignment, Cruz is running an outside breaking route (highlighted in yellow). Expect Manning to move the pocket and target a quick, easy read to pick up the first down. Always check the splits of the WRs when you break the huddle as a DB—because they read like an open book.

Coverage/Pressure: The Cowboys are playing blitz-man. Rush six (blitzing LBs highlighted in red) with FS help in the middle of the field. As a DB in coverage, that tells you to play with an outside shade (outside leverage) on the WR. Even vs. an outside breaking route (Cruz on the Flat), you want to force the WR to adjust his route stem based on your initial alignment. Always play to your help in the secondary.

Newman is beat at the snap. He loses leverage, looks back inside at the QB and takes an angle underneath Cruz once the WR breaks on the Flat route. That immediately puts the Cowboys’ CB in a trail position vs. a route breaking to the sideline. That’s a first down.

Angles: Talked about Newman’s angle on the route, but don't forget about FS Gerald Sensabaugh (highlighted in white). As a deep middle of the field player, you must take an angle that puts you in a position to use the sideline as your help when a receiver breaks up the field. In this situation, Sensabaugh drives downhill at an angle that takes him out of the play. Add in the block down the field and this play is going for six.

A ball thrown to the flat vs. Cover 1 should never go for 70-plus yards at the NFL level. However, when you look at the technique, angles and the failure of the Cowboys’ secondary to recognize the pre-snap formation, this is a situaiton that can get you beat. Football doesn't have to be complex to produce results when you take advantage of poor technique.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattBowen41

Upcoming Games

Oct 17th, 9:30 AM

Miami -2.5 -110

Jacksonville +2.5 -110

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

Green Bay -4.5 -110

Chicago +4.5 -110

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

Houston +7.5 -111

Indianapolis -7.5 -111

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

Kansas City -5.5 -110

Washington +5.5 -110

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

LA Rams -6.5 -110

NY Giants +6.5 -110

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

Cincinnati -3.5 -110

Detroit +3.5 -110

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

LA Chargers +3 -110

Baltimore -3 -110

@

Oct 17th, 1:00 PM

Minnesota +1 -110

Carolina -1 -110

@

Oct 17th, 4:05 PM

Arizona +3 -110

Cleveland -3 -110

@

Oct 17th, 4:25 PM

Las Vegas +2.5 -110

Denver -2.5 -110

@

Oct 17th, 4:25 PM

Dallas -1 -110

New England +1 -110

@

Oct 17th, 8:20 PM

Seattle -2.5 -110

Pittsburgh +2.5 -110

@

Oct 18th, 8:15 PM

Buffalo -3.5 -107

Tennessee +3.5 -107

@

Oct 21st, 8:20 PM

Denver +6 -110

Cleveland -6 -110

@

Oct 24th, 1:00 PM

Kansas City -3 +103

Tennessee +3 +103

@

Oct 24th, 1:00 PM

Washington +7.5 -107

Green Bay -7.5 -107

@

Oct 24th, 1:00 PM

Carolina -3 -117

NY Giants +3 -117

@

Oct 24th, 1:00 PM

NY Jets +7 -105

New England -7 -105

@

Oct 24th, 1:00 PM

Atlanta +3 -112

Miami -3 -112

@

Oct 24th, 1:00 PM

Cincinnati +7 +108

Baltimore -7 +108

@

Oct 24th, 4:05 PM

Detroit +13.5 -110

LA Rams -13.5 -110

@

Oct 24th, 4:05 PM

Philadelphia +2.5 -122

Las Vegas -2.5 -122

@

Oct 24th, 4:25 PM

Houston +14.5 -107

Arizona -14.5 -107

@

Oct 24th, 4:25 PM

Chicago +10 -107

Tampa Bay -10 -107

@

Oct 24th, 8:20 PM

Indianapolis +3.5 -118

San Francisco -3.5 -118

@