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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.
Dallas Cowboys vs the New York Giants: Stock Up and Stock Down
The Dallas Cowboys bounced back in a big way against the New York Giants in week two. Several players bounced back as well after struggling a bit in week one against the Carolina Panthers. Other players continued to struggle or saw a drop in play from week one to week two.
Here are the Dallas Cowboys who saw their stock rise and some who saw their stock fall this week.
Jaylon Smith, Linebacker
Jaylon Smith has been really good to start the season and had an excellent game against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Every day Smith is removed from the devastating knee injury he suffered in his final game at Notre Dame is a day closer to realizing the elite play that many expected of him before the injury.
Pro Football Reference credited the starting middle linebacker with seven solo tackles and three assists. Pro Football Focus had Jaylon Smith with 3 stops -- plays that were a "loss" for the offense -- while becoming a stabilizing force for the linebacker position.
Byron Jones, Cornerback
The fourth year player who has made a successful move from safety to cornerback, Byron Jones has been everything the Dallas Cowboys hoped he'd be when they made him their first round pick back in 2015.
Shame that it took so long to get him to cornerback.
Against a potent New York Giants receiving corp, Jones only allowed one reception on five targets on Sunday night. He also had six solo tackles and three stops, per Pro Football Focus.
The one reception that Pro Football Focus credited to Byron Jones was by Running Back Saquon Barkley and that catch went for zero yards.
So on the night, Byron Jones allowed zero yards into his coverage areas. He's really good at cornerback and is taking to Kris Richard's coaching quite nicely.
Dak Prescott, Quarterback
After much gnashing of teeth after the week one loss to the Carolina Panthers, Dak Prescott rebounded with a strong, confident performance in the Dallas Cowboys week two win over the Giants.
He completed 64% of his passes for 160 yards and ran for 45 yards on seven carries. The passing yardage isn't huge, but on a night in which the defense was absolutely dominant, Dak Prescott made the plays that needed to be made for the Dallas Cowboys to win the game.
He was great in the read-option on Sunday night, perfectly executing it for several really good runs.
The throw to Tavon Austin on the third offensive play from scrimmage was a great throw that set the tone for the Dallas Cowboys the rest of the night. His yards per attempt and passer rating were both improved from week one and he just looked better.
If Dak Prescott can continue to put together performances like this, the Dallas Cowboys will win a lot of games this season.
Connor Williams, Left Guard
After getting pushed around for much of last week's game by Kawann Short, rookie Connor Williams rebounded with a really nice game.
Williams didn't allow a pressure all night and the offensive line was much better as a whole. The unit didn't allow a sack against the New York Giants.
According to Pro Football Focus, Elliott's biggest run of the night came behind Connor Williams at left guard.
Williams is an important piece to the puzzle and if he's playing well, it will provide better pockets for Dak Prescott.
Tavon Austin, Wide Receiver
After seeing only 10 snaps in week one, Tavon Austin was on the field for nearly twice as many and made them count as he ended with two receptions for 79 yards and had one rush for 15 yards.
That's 94 total yards on three touches. The "Tavon Effect" was in full force last night as the team used his speed to their advantage. Even when the ball didn't go his direction he had an effect on the game.
Damien Wilson, Linebacker
Seemingly the odd man out after the Dallas Cowboys selected Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Damien Wilson had an excellent game in his limited playing time.
Wilson played 17 defensive snaps and 22 snaps on special teams and was credited with three solo tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He's was excellent on Sunday night in the snaps he was given.
It's unlikely that we'll see a big snap increase for him with the talent ahead of him on the depth chart, but he provided very valuable snaps when given the opportunity.
Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver
Terrance Williams who has been a starter for several years now with the Dallas Cowboys, and even started week one, saw his snap count drop from week one to week two. After seeing 19 snaps against the Carolina Panthers, he was onlyon the field for 10 snaps in week two.
There's been speculation as the Dallas Cowboys have resigned former Wide Receiver Brice Butler that Terrance Williams could be the odd man out of the wide receiver room. That snap count is either an indication of his status on the team or the game plan they had against the New York Giants.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Williams moving forward.
La'el Collins, Right Tackle
A week after allowing four pressures, most along the offensive line, La'el Collins allowed three more pressures on Sunday night against the New York Giants. He was the only offensive lineman to allow multiple pressures and appeared to struggle with the Giants blitz and stunt schemes.
The New York Giants had rushers go unblocked at times on Sunday night.
Dak Prescott wasn't sacked against the Giants, but he had to avoid some pressure on that side to throw the ball away.
Collins has to be better against the pass rush going forward to keep Dak Prescott clean and able to play better.
Dallas Cowboys Tight Ends
The Dallas Cowboys' tight end group of Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin, and Rico Gathers did not have a single catch to their name on Sunday night. There were opportunities that were missed, like the Dak Prescott overthrow to Rico Gathers in the end zone. However, not being able to come up with a single catch against the Giants is a bit surprising.
Speaking frankly, their isn't a receiving threat on the TE depth chart. They need to become a factor at some point to help take pressure of Dak Prescott and give him another option in the passing game. The Dallas Cowboys prefer to run most of their formations with a tight end on the field. They need to be a factor
The Cowboys Nation Twitter account asked David Helman from DallasCowboys.com to look up when the last time the Dallas Cowboys tight ends finished a game without a reception.
Mark Lane from WFAA.com and the Texans Wire found the information.
@HelmanDC @CowboysNation @SullyBaldHead @Marcus_Mosher @CHQ_Jordan @FO_ScottKacsmar When you do, Dave, tell them that Mark Lane found it at 1:15 a.m. Central Time. It was Dec. 1, 2016 at the #Vikings. https://t.co/XS3FVrWhT8
It's unbelievable that there was a game played in which Jason Witten was around for that he didn't have a reception, and yet, there it is.
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Were there any players that moved the needle in either direction for you?
Let us know in the comment section.
Will Cowboys Safety Xavier Woods Return This Week?
The Dallas Cowboys have been without one of their defensive starters for the first two weeks of 2018; safety Xavier Woods. A preseason hamstring injury has kept him in street clothes so far, but Woods could make his season debut this week against the Seattle Seahawks.
The positive update on Woods' status was provided by Owner Jerry Jones in his regular radio appearance this morning.
Jerry Jones on @1053thefan said it appears Randy Gregory (concussion) will be available to play Sunday at Seattle. Jones also thinks Xavier Woods (hamstring) has a chance to play this week after missing the first two games
Gregory has already played this year, suffering his concussion and leaving the season opener against the Carolina Panthers. Even in his absence last week, the Cowboys got six sacks on Eli Manning in their victory over the Giants.
That's not to say getting Randy back isn't noteworthy, but the real news here is the potential for Xavier Woods to take his place as the team's starting free safety.
While Woods has been out, Jeff Heath has been the free safety while Kavon Frazier has started at strong. The plan going into 2018 was for Heath to play strong safety, putting him closer to the line of scrimmage where his skills are best suited.
Xavier was one of the team's most exciting rookies last year, flashing the potential to be a game-changing presence.
Woods' upside is one of the reasons some fans haven't been as desperate about the Earl Thomas situation. While Thomas would be an upgrade in almost any defense, including the Cowboys, the chance to see what Xavier has mitigated disappointment over not acquiring the All-Pro safety.
If Woods can provide what the team hopes for at free safety, it has a positive ripple effect for the roster. Not only do you upgrade at FS, but Heath moving to his ideal role at SS is another improvement.
It also moves Frazier, who's been solid in his playing time, into a valuable bench role. It gives Dallas depth at safety which, up til now, they've lacked in Xavier's absence.
The loser in this deal would likely be either veteran backup Ibraheim Campbell, who Dallas signed two weeks ago to deal with their depth issues, or undrafted rookie Tyree Robinson. Robinson has been with the team since they signed him immediately after the 2018 NFL Draft.
With talk that the Cowboys are looking to bring back WR Brice Butler, a roster spot will be needed. Xavier Woods' return could allow for that spot to come from safety rather than receiver, where Dallas is hesitant to part with any of its current players.
In the end, all we have right now is a "maybe" about Woods' status. But with Dallas' defense already performing well this year, the thought of getting even better is enticing. With the tough road environment of Seattle and Russell Wilson coming up this Sunday, getting Xavier back could be timely.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Giants
I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better this week about the Dallas Cowboys after they thoroughly controled the game against the New York Giants last Sunday night. It amazes me how much better they played in the second week of the 2018 season as opposed to what they put on the field Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers.
The Dallas Cowboys performed better in all three phases of the game. The defense was simply outstanding, the offense looked much improved, and the fact that there weren't any breakdowns on special teams is an added plus. Overall, it's hard to be too disappointed with the way the overall team performed Sunday.
With all of that in mind, I want to share with you what I believe is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys from the primetime matchup with the division rival New York Giants. I know you may disagree with what I decided to go with in each category, but that's part of the fun of it.
If you watched the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants Sunday night then you pretty much know what the good was. How could I not go with the Cowboys defense? They were simply phenomenal against the Giants and are starting to become the identity of this year's team.
The Cowboys pass rush continuously put pressure on Quarterback Eli Manning and ended the game with six QB sacks. Nearly every defensive lineman got in on the action, which is hopefully a sign of things to come. The secondary was also really impressive. They played man-to-man coverage nearly the entire game and shut down the Giants aerial attack, including Odell Beckham Jr.
I was also really pleased to see the Cowboys linebackers playing much better. You may not have noticed, but the coaching staff is going with a rotation of sorts with the LBs, and it really looked as if it's helping keep them fresh. This could pay huge dividends moving forward, especially with Sean Lee's injury concerns.
I debated several different things to put in this section, but ultimately I decided the bad for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night was Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game. Yes, it was better than what we saw from them in Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done from both Prescott and his receivers.
Unfortunately, Prescott only completed 16 of 25 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown against the Giants. Those are nearly identical numbers to what he put up against the Panthers, the only difference is he was much more successful on the ground, rushing for 45 yards on seven carries. If you take away his long TD completion to Wide Receiver Tavon Austin, those numbers are even more depressing.
The passing game and Dak Prescott needs to improve dramatically. The Cowboys simply aren't going to be able to continue to win games like this. The offense should've been able to put up a lot more points on the Giants Sunday night. Hopefully, things will continue to get better because if not, the Cowboys are in trouble.
There was a number of different directions I could've gone here, but for me the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Giants was the penalties. Penalties became a problem for the Cowboys in Week 1 against the Panthers and once again reared their ugly head against the Giants. Unfortunately, this has continuously been a problem under the tutelage of Head Coach Jason Garrett.
The Dallas Cowboys were lucky that the untimely penalties didn't have much impact on the outcome of the game. If they would have been playing a better team than the Giants, they probably wouldn't have overcome the long down and distances. I want to believe this can be cleaned up, but Jason Garrett's going to have to start holding his players accountable, which at this point seems a little unlikely.
The Cowboys players are going to take it upon themselves to cut down the penalties. Most of the time it's just mental mistakes, so there is reason to believe they can accomplish this task. But, they are really going to have to buckle down and focus on remaining consistent down after down.
What is your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Giants?
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