Micah Hyde's interception rooted in film study

Michael Cohen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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ARLINGTON, Texas - After the Green Bay Packers marched down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys tried to orchestrate a response. A 22-yard run by tailback Ezekiel Elliott got them going.

The Cowboys glided across midfield with another run by Elliott and a 12-yard pass from Prescott to tight end Jason Witten. Two more runs by Elliott and a scramble from Prescott advanced the ball to the Packers' 19-yard line.

But as the Cowboys approached the line of scrimmage on second-and-1, the Packers' secondary noticed something they had seen on film throughout the week. The two receivers to the left were aligned one behind the other, and defensive back Micah Hyde prepared to strike.

"They’ve shown on film they do a run solution," Hyde said after the game. "They read the box and from there they get in that (wide receiver) stack. The first guy blocks; the second guy comes back for the ball. I was telling Ha Ha (Clinton-Dix) pregame if they run that, I’m going."

So the ball was snapped and Hyde went, slicing behind wide receiver Dez Bryant, the blocker, and undercutting Cole Beasley, the receiver. He intercepted Prescott with a running start and took off 18 yards the other way.

"The guy made a great play," Prescott said. "Bad pick, wish I could have held the ball at that point. It was a great play by them."

But the Packers' film study was so thorough that Hyde was not alone in recognizing the play. Cornerback LaDarius Gunter, who shadowed Bryant all day, communicated with Hyde before the snap and encouraged him to jump the route.

Had Hyde guessed wrong, Gunter would have been exposed with two receivers in his vicinity.

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"(He) saw it just like I did," Hyde said. "Right before the ball was snapped he said, ‘Go get it!’ and I was already thinking. Gunt saw it and said, ‘Go get it,’ and that’s all I did.

"We knew if we could get a turnover off them it would kind of mess up their rhythm. That’s exactly what we did."

Though the Packers failed to score after Hyde's interception — the ensuing drive ended when quarterback Aaron Rodgers was intercepted by safety Jeff Heath — it stifled a possession that would have yielded at least 3 points for Dallas, if not more.

In other words, the Packers protected their two-score lead for a little bit longer. Eventually, the Cowboys ran out of time.

"I thought Micah came up with a big play right there with that interception," outside linebacker Julius Peppers said. "Just being prepared and knowing what was coming at the time."

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