Cowboys Perfectly Executed Red Zone Rub

By FirstDown PlayBook on Dec 12, 2023
FirstDown PlayBook All 22 Tuesday

Executing in the red zone is difficult. The closer you get to the goal line, the tougher it can be, because you are working with less and less field. The Dallas Cowboys ignored all of this thinking Sunday night vs the division leading Eagles. They executed a 2×2 red zone rub concept perfectly to both sides of the field.

Keep in mind that they did this on the one yard line. This is the same field position where the Eagles would have probably gone to the tush push for the one yard needed to score. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is a throwback in some ways. In a football world where a lot of young offensive coordinators love to throw three fades and put it all on the quarterback and receiver, McCarthy understands how to dissect red zone coverage.

Obviously, tape study has a lot to do with this. Prescott recognized that the Eagles were bringing five rushers and had a spy for him and the protection back. He simply did the math and 5 + 2 = 7 every time. This meant he had four defenders for his four receivers on this FirstDown PlayBook All 22 Tuesday play.

Refreshing To See Something Other Than A Fade As A Red Zone Answer

This is pretty simple right? It’s what Prescott and the receivers did with the matchup that makes this such a well executed tight red zone play. They all recognized the leverage of the defensive backs. On the right side the defender on the slot was playing inside leverage. This was a tip that it was bracket coverage. It could have been man but why risk it because the left side showed something different.

On the left side the defender on the slot receiver was playing ever so slightly outside leverage. Truth be known, the slot could have run a slant or dart to score. However the Cowboys had read rubs called to both sides. They understood that the Eagles were playing man coverage. With no inside leverage to that side the slot receiver ran a rub route and the outside receiver was wide open.

Cowboys Red Zone Rub
Mike Carter