Cowboys vs. Rams Preview, Week 3
At ABC, I posted a statistical preview of the Cowboys-Rams game:
Trend No. 2: 54 percent of Romo’s passes have been over the short middle portion of the field
I break up all Romo’s throws into one of nine segments of the field. Every throw is categorized by whether it was to the left, middle, or right portion of the field, and whether it was short (under 10 yards), intermediate (10 to 19 yards), or deep (20-plus yards).
As mentioned, Romo has thrown only five deep passes this year. But he’s also thrown just 12 intermediate passes, meaning every other pass has traveled nine yards or fewer. Moreover, the majority of Romo’s throws have been over the middle. Check it out.
Again, part of these numbers are due to the Giants’ game plan, but this still a pretty obvious tendency that defenses can exploit.
Let me be clear that it’s okay—preferable, even—to use the short passing game in favor of the run. That’s especially true for Dallas. But the benefits of that strategy disappear if you never attack downfield and defenses can just load up guys underneath.
Sam Bradford Comparison: 43.4 percent
Bradford and Romo have pretty similar numbers this year in regards to pass distance and direction. Bradford has tossed 43.4 percent of his passes over the short middle. In comparison, a quarterback like Andrew Luck attacks downfield way more often. Only 24.2 percent of his passes have come over the short middle and he’s thrown 18 passes between 10 and 19 yards.