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How Romo Can Get Back on Track

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At Bleacher Report, I broke down Romo’s game against the Chiefs:

Play No. 1

Romo went to Bryant on his very first pass of the game. The Cowboys used “11” personnel—one running back, one tight end and three receivers—and lined up in a formation called “Gun Tight End Trips Left.” Bryant was isolated to the boundary (top of your screen).

A Chiefs safety was lined up deep on Bryant’s side about 12 yards off of the ball.

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Nonetheless, Romo looked right to Bryant on a back-shoulder fade. This route is impossible for a safety to stop, meaning the Cowboys can run it any time the cornerback is playing up, regardless of the deep look. Even against Cover 2, Bryant is going to win this battle all day.

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By the time Bryant caught the ball, the safety was still well out of position to make a play. It was a great job by Romo of getting the ball to Bryant in a situation in which the receiver wasn’t “open” in the traditional sense.

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Play No. 2

Romo hit Bryant on another deep pass in the second quarter. This time, the ‘Boys used a heavier personnel package and lined up in a tight formation, but Bryant was still isolated to the boundary.

However, the Chiefs had just one deep safety, meaning Bryant was facing true man coverage.

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Knowing that, Romo immediately looked to his big-play receiver. Again, when Romo threw the football, Bryant was covered. However, with the cornerback’s back turned to the quarterback, he really had no shot to make a play on the ball.

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Bryant caught the ball 20 yards downfield, making this one of his three deep targets on the year. Romo decided to lob the ball out for Bryant to run underneath, and that’s one of the freedoms the quarterback has when there’s no safety help. Had the Chiefs been in Cover 2, Romo would have needed to back-shoulder the throw.

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