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I have a rule- no Christmas music/decorations until after Thanksgiving.
Considering how hectic the NFL season is and the craziness that Thanksgiving Week can sometimes be, I broke my rule this week. I looked ahead and decorated over the weekend. I'm listening to Christmas music as I write this. And you know what? I HAVE NO REGRETS.
It was difficult for us to not make the same error with the Baltimore Ravens traveling to take on our Cowboys this past Sunday. Our 'Boys were 8-1, this was an AFC team, and Thanksgiving is only a few days away which means the all-important date with Washington.
If there was ever any doubt, the Cowboys win against the Ravens showed that they don't look past anybody. They truly are a day by day, week by week, game by game type of team. Here are my 10 Takeaways From The Cowboys Win Against The Ravens.
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Dan Bailey Is The Greatest Cowboys Kicker Ever
This is not a bold statement, this is not exaggerating, this is totally and unequivocally true.
Dan Bailey made his 162nd and 163rd career field goals yesterday, and that is something that needs to be celebrated. The first of those two field goals tied Bailey with Rafael Septien for the most ever made by a Dallas Cowboys kicker, and the final lifted Dan to his own pedestal.
All of this happened on a day that saw NFL kickers miss a combined 12 extra points - Dan Bailey has never missed one. Cherish Dan Bailey.
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Ezekiel Elliott Is The Greatest Cowboys Rookie Running Back Ever
Lather, rinse, repeat. Sunday was a historic day for the Dallas Cowboys - we're not done naming why! - and particularly for rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott.
On Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, Zeke surpassed Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett's franchise rookie record for rushing yards (1,007). Mr. Dorsett was on-hand himself to witness the accomplishment, because greatness is greatness to everyone... even Hall of Famers.
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Dez Bryant Is A Top 5 NFL WR Once Again
It had been an enormously long time since we'd seen the Dez Bryant that we've come to know and love. When was that, exactly? In my humble opinion Dez had not been Dez since (regular season-wise) Week 17 of 2014. Coincidentally, that was Dez's last multi-touchdown game.
On Sunday against Baltimore Dez Bryant found the paint twice. It's no secret that he's dealing with a lot of emotion after the tragic passing of his father last week, but Dez Bryant is playing some of the best football of his career.
There's no denying that the offense all benefits from each other: Dak from Zeke, Zeke from Dez, Dez from Zeke, everyone from the Offensive Line. The Ravens could not stop the Cowboys offensively, and a lot of the reason why is Dez Bryant.
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The Cowboys Offense Is In Seriously Elite Company
It is time to - heads up opposing defenses - take this Cowboys Offense extremely seriously.
Cowboys have gained 400 or more yards in eight straight games, matching the 2007 Patriots and 2013 Broncos https://t.co/CsPwRqWaFz
The Cowboys have eight straight games with over 400 offensive yards, a feat matched only by the 2007 Patriots and 2013 Broncos.
The 2007 Patriots, at the time, were literally and statistically the greatest offense to ever play. The only team that has ever been better than them, again literally and statistically, is the 2013 Denver Broncos.
Offensively the Cowboys simply cannot be stopped. They can't. Believe it.
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David Irving Is A Pretty Impressive Pass Rusher
All offseason long we begged for pass rushers, and a lot of us placed our hope in the speed and versatility of David Irving.
While Irving was only credited with one tackle, it was the constant and consistent pressure that he generated that helped the Cowboys limit the Ravens to the 'ol Dick LeBeau 17-point line.
Rod Marinelli's bunch isn't one that's concerned with stats and accolades; they're concerned with making the day you play the Cowboys the worst one you've ever experienced. Sorry, Joe Flacco.
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The Second Half Was Played Perfectly By The Cowboys
The Cowboys' gameplan is very well-known. They want to run the ball, drain the clock, and wear you out. They did that flawlessly in the second half against Baltimore.
Only stat I need for this game. Cowboys only needed 3 possessions in the 2nd half. Held the ball for 20:09 of 30 possible minutes.
This is four million types of insane. Three possessions in one half that allotted for over two thirds game time?! That is unheard of!
What's particularly interesting/amazing about this, is that those three drives were all extremely efficient. The Cowboys scored on each of those possessions: touchdown, touchdown, field goal. Amazing.
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The Cowboys Finally Beat The Ravens
Before Sunday, Dallas and Baltimore had squared off four times (the Ravens were established in 1996). All four of those contests ended with the Ravens as the winning team, including the last game ever at Texas Stadium.
TOO DA LOO SILLY STAT! The Cowboys have now beaten every active team in the NFL. This is an impressive mark for any NFL franchise, but it's one that was needed for one with such history as the Dallas Cowboys. Tracy Turnblad would be so disappointed, Ravens.
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Joe Flacco Is Misguided And A Ridiculously Sore Loser
I have a lot of respect for Joe Flacco. In 2012 he said he believed himself to be the best quarterback in the NFL and then he carried his Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
I also have a lot of respect for common sense and logic. Joe Flacco doesn't seem to have that these days.
That's right. Literally right after losing 27-17 Joe Flacco came out and said that the Ravens should beat the Cowboys. Yo Joe... you know who touches the ball every play, right? You my man. If you believe that - do it. The last time Cowboys Nation saw a Joseph this disconnected from reality in AT&T Stadium he went by the last name Randle.
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Dak Prescott Spreads The Ball Around Very Well
Dak Prescott connected with seven different receivers multiple times on Sunday. Seven! You know seven as in, the number of wins the Cowboys had two weeks ago (gosh this season is awesome).
Lance Dunbar, Gavin Escobar, Brice Butler, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, and Dez Bryant all caught multiple passes. Take a moment and seriously think about that. It explains how seemingly unstoppable this offense truly is.
Part of why the Cowboys offense can't be contained is because there just simply isn't enough man-power to answer all of these threats. This isn't even a case of picking your poison. If you're a defensive coordinator against the Cowboys you're simply just picking which segment of the chain reaction you want to set off first.
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Jason Garrett Is Coach Of The Year
We're going to keep saying this until the NFL hands Jason Garrett what he's earned... the 2016 title of Coach of the Year.
This was one of the most emotional weeks in recent Dallas Cowboys History. Jason Garrett had to navigate his team through the emotional wreckage, turmoil, and honestly awkwardness around the aftermath of Tony Romo's press conference.
It's very difficult to watch Tony Romo on the sidelines, we all know that. Somehow though, Jason Garrett got his team to play through it and dominated one of the better teams in the National Football League. He's 9-1, got the best team in the NFL, and he deserves that title. Give it to him, NFL.
Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Have a Championship Defense
The Dallas Cowboys are not only breathing in playoff contention, but they're now the favorites to crown themselves as the NFC East champions in 2018. It's pretty impressive how the tables can turn so quickly in the NFL. Dallas played very well against the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday and we learned quite a bit from them as they bounced back to .500. Here's this week's Takeaway Tuesday! Enjoy it as much as you did Brett Maher's game winning field goal a couple of days ago.
Cowboys Have a Championship Defense
Despite taking steps in the right direction, it's impossible to compare this offense to units like the Chiefs, Saints and Rams. However, it's the Cowboys' defense that could be labeled as a championship unit. Facing an offense with such a strong WR core, allowing only one touchdown on the road is impressive.
The Cowboys sacked Matt Ryan three times and were constantly causing pressures. Byron Jones was great once again, allowing only two catches in passes thrown in his direction. And of course, the kid who's been impressing us all, Leighton Vander Esch continued to play out of his mind. He should be the Defensive Rookie of the Year front runner at this point.
The Cowboys' defense is one of the best in the NFL right now, and any offense will have a tough time facing them. It'll be intriguing to see if they can take the next step and stop a high-powered unit like the Saints in a few days.
Offensive Line Woes Are Gone
The offense has improved a lot the last couple of games. Although there is still a lot to work on, they're not struggling as they were in the first half of the season. The offensive line is a huge part of this. With Marc Colombo at OL coach, things have looked very different in Dallas.
Ezekiel Elliott: "I feel great. I feel fast. I feel physical. I feel very comfortable with the running schemes. We just got to keep rolling. That's what's important. We just got to keep rolling.
Ezekiel Elliott has been on a roll the past two weeks and his comments regarding how he feels about the running schemes shouldn't go unnoticed. The offensive line wasn't playing as well as they are right now earlier in the year. Dak Prescott is noticeably more comfortable in the pocket.
It's intriguing to know what will happen at left guard for the Cowboys. With Connor Williams injured, Xavier Su'a-Filo has done a good job filling in for him. Williams has the upside, but should Dallas mess up the mojo this OL has lately?
Dak Prescott: Clutch QB
Dak Prescott continues to be criticized by fans while he keeps proving us why it's not that easy to move on from him. The guy is far from the perfect passer, yet he's been clutch time and time again. This time he did so on the road on an impressive two minute drill.
With 1:46 on the clock, Prescott marched his team down to the Falcons' 24 yard line. He managed to give his team another game winning drive in consecutive weeks. The Cowboys' young quarterback needed a confidence boost and this is perfect for him. He needs to keep it up if the team is going to finish the season as the NFC East champions.
Since entering the NFL, Dak has 12 game winning drives. As frustrating as his play is at times, he will not be easy to replace if the Cowboys decide to move on from this guy down the road. Hopefully, they don't have to. I, for one, believe Dak can be way better with a proper coaching staff. But that's a discussion for another day.
Now, it's time to celebrate the Cowboys' victory and get ready for a short week as the Cowboys play the Washington Redskins on Thursday.
Geoff Swaim Needs Surgery, Should the Cowboys even use a Tight End?
Well, the injury woes continue to mount for the Dallas Cowboys with news coming down this evening that Tight End Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist in the 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The injury will need surgery which will mean Swaim will be out a while, if not for the rest of the season.
Geoff Swaim broke a bone in his wrist yesterday and is going to need surgery. Sounds like it might not be season-ending, but he won't be available Thursday #cowboyswire
In previous seasons this wouldn't be much of a blow to the offense, but Geoff Swaim has been the only tight end that the Cowboys have ben able to rely on this season. Dalton Schultz is a rookie, Blake Jarwin's been inconsistent, and Rico Gathers still isn't fully trusted. With the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan's insistence on using a tight end, it seems there's a huge hole at the position heading into Sunday's first place showdown with the Washington Redskins.
But in reality, is there?
For weeks, I've been screaming for this team to use more 10 personnel (one running back and zero tight ends) as its primary passing formation because it gets their best pass catching weapons on the field at the same time. Swaim has been solid and consistent in his first year as a starter, but the rest of the tight end group has disappointed. So why even run a tight end out on the field.
The Dallas Cowboys have options that could replace the tight end in the passing game without actually using a tight end.
First, they could use Noah Brown as the de facto tight end. He's been one of the best blockers on the team in his first two seasons with the team and this is the type of role he's made for. Split him out wide and motion him in tight when you want to run. He can be a threat down the seem and in the red zone with his athleticism. He'd be a mismatch for the linebackers that try to cover him and could open space underneath for Cole Beasley. Brown is also a really good run blocker, so having him on the field doesn't negate what you want to do in the run game.
The other player the Cowboys coaching staff could work into more of the tight end route responsibilities is Allen Hurns. Hurns is a really good route runner, especially in the middle of the field, where the Dallas Cowboys haven't received a lot of production. You can put Hurns in as the fourth wide receiver and split him a couple of yards off the tackle to give him a cleaner release than a TE might get and have him run "Y-option," shallow post routes, or drags. He can be a threat in the passing game if put in situations where he can excel. See below for something Allen Hurns does really well.
In fact, by going four wide receivers with Brown or Hurns on the field, it's possible the opposing defense is forced to run more of dime packages against the Dallas Cowboys 10 personnel.
Why would you want to get teams into dime packages?
Most NFL teams have two pretty good linebackers that they can deploy in nickel situations, but teams rarely have four corners that they can put on the field and feel really good about. So, if you can force teams to remove one of their 11 best players for a backup corner back or safety, you are already winning that matchup.
That matchup would also get you into much more favorable defensive fronts to run against. Even if the opposition put seven or eight in the box, it would be against smaller personnel like corners and safeties instead of a second linebacker.
Running 10 personnel as their base offense moving forward would be unconventional, but with an opportunity to take control of first place in the NFC East on Thanksgiving, now is not the time for conventionality.
Cowboys WR Michael Gallup on Personal Leave; Team Offers Support
Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Michael Gallup suffered a personal tragedy on Sunday, being informed that his brother committed suicide. He is now on personal leave away from the team, and both Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have given their full support to Gallup during this difficult time.
According to reports, Gallup was unaware of his brother's death until immediately after the Cowboys' win over the Atlanta Falcons. Michael did not return with the team to Dallas and remained in Atlanta to be with his family.
A formal statement was made by owner Jerry Jones yesterday regarding Gallup:
“Our team and our entire organization are deeply saddened by the news of Michael’s loss. His family is our family. We share in the grief and pain that comes with something so personal and tragic. We offer our support, care and comfort for Michael, and we ask that all of those who have sons and daughters and brothers and sisters join us in keeping Michael and his wonderful family in their thoughts and prayers.”
Throughout his time owning the Cowboys, Jerry has built a reputation for personal loyalty and compassion with his players. His head coach is no different.
As he addressed the media Monday, Jason Garrett did not get into football matters when addressing Gallup's situation:
“This is a very challenging time for him. We’ll take it moment by moment, day by day, and give him all of our love and all of our support.”
While Michael is certainly dealing with something far more important than football, his availability for Thursday's Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins does come into question.
The Cowboys have a short week to prepare for Washington, and Gallup has started their last five games. If the rookie has to sit, which seems probable given the timeframe, we can expect more playing time for Allen Hurns and Noah Brown.
Whatever happens happens on that front. Our focus is on Michael Gallup during this sad time, with him and his family in our collective thoughts as Cowboys fans and fellow humans.
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