Cowboys run the screen pass of the season on opening drive vs. Falcons

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Per Sports Info Solutions, the Dallas Cowboys had an extra offensive lineman on the field on five of their passing attempts in the first nine weeks of the 2021 season, completing three passes for 32 yards, 24 air yards, and a touchdown. We saw a different spin on Dallas’ opening drive against the Falcons on Sunday, and the idea offensive coordinator Kellen Moore came up with on a screen pass to receiver CeeDee Lamb was cool enough to detail.

On the play, with less than a minute elapsed in the first quarter, the Cowboys went with a quads left formation, and it was a decidedly heavy package. Tight ends Sean McKeon and Jeremy Sprinkle were the two receivers inside the formation, and the extra offensive lineman was Connor McGovern. With that much beef in what would usually be a lighter package with more receivers and running backs to swing to more explosive plays, the Cowboys basically extended their offensive line to the boundary, and as a result, when Lamb caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, he had enough power in front of him for an explosive play in a different way.

The result was a 37-yard gain.

Lamb caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott with 11:48 left in the first quarter, but this was the play of the drive, it could be the play of the game, and I would hope that other offensive coordinators will avail themselves of this particular concept. This was the first play of the season in which any team had six offensive linemen and two tight ends on the field on a passing attempt of any kind out of a quads left look. The Cardinals had one such play in 2019 for a three-yard loss on a pass, and other than that, there’s no record of such a concept in SiS’s database going back to 2015.

It may be among the first time we’ve seen this, but we suspect it won’t be the last.