Last week we ran an article detailing how the Green Bay Packers played the cat-and-mouse game of making calls at the line of scrimmage during an NFL game. Consider this an evolution of that conversation.
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten appeared on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas last week and took hosts Bob Sturm and Dan McDowell through the split-second, unspoken decisions players must make on a snap-by-snap basis in the NFL. The situation at hand: Dallas trailed the Detroit Lions in an NFC Wild Card game last January 20-17 with six minutes remaining. Facing a 4th-and-6 at the Lions' 42-yard line, head coach Jason Garrett elected to go for it. Dallas had two timeouts in its arsenal so the situation wasn't exactly do-or-die, but it was pretty darn close.
Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan called a play designed to feature wide receiver Cole Beasley, but the Lions' coverage forced the Cowboys' hand. I'll let the future Hall of Fame tight end take it from here:
The 21-yard gain set Dallas up near the Detroit red zone. Quarterback Tony Romo hit wide receiver Terence Williams for an 8-yard touchdown pass 10 plays later, and the Cowboys held on for a 24-20 win, eventually falling to the Green Bay Packers on a blown call dropped pass by Dez Bryant in the waning moments of the game.
The in-the-trenches talk from NFL players is a fascinating world few of us are privileged to experience, so it's always fascinating to hear players lift the rope every so often and let us inside their world.