The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers will resume a rivalry that ran the NFC for much of the 80's and 90's. The two teams combined for eight Super Bowls and met in the postseason three years in a row in 1992, 1993, and 1994. Since then they've experienced little success.
The Dallas Cowboys haven't reached the NFC Championship game since they last won a Super Bowl to end the 1995 season. The 49ers have reached the Super Bowl but fell short to the Ravens during the "Harbaugh Bros Blackout game."
The two franchises are in different places at the moment.
The Cowboys are a young team that is set up to contend with newly crowned franchise Quarterback Dak Prescott leading them to a 13-3 record in 2016 and the NFC's top seed. The 49ers are also a young team, but are missing the franchise quarterback it takes to become a perennial contender.
As we get ready for week seven, let's dig into the stats.
By the Numbers
The Dallas Cowboys, during the regular season, sit with a record of 12-15-1 all-time against the San Francisco 49ers. While Dallas has been on the losing end more during the regular season, they own the matchup when it counts most with a 5-2 record in the postseason.
After the Dallas Cowboys had their bye week in week six, DeMarcus Lawrence still remains first in the NFL in sacks with 8.5. He is on pace for a record 27 sacks on the season and needs to average 1.3 sacks a game to break the single season sack record of 22.5 by Michael Strahan.
The largest margin of victory for a San Francisco 49ers opponent in their last five games. Aside from the week one blowout at the hands of the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco has been very competitive. Their five losses since are by a combined 13 points.
The San Francisco 49ers only allow 3.4 rushing yards per carry, which has them tied for fourth in the NFL. That said, they've also allowed the 13th most rushing yards to this point. The 49ers should be an interesting test for the Dallas Cowboys rushing offense, which has rushed for 4.7 yards per carry as a team. That number is good for fifth in the NFL.
However, Ezekiel Elliott is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry. That number is 31st among running backs with at least 40 carries.
Carlos Hyde's yards per carry so far this season. Dallas opponents are averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Hopefully with Lee and Hitchens coming back, this should be less of an issue.
With Sean Lee Cowboys give up 87 yards per game rushing and 20 points. Without its 164 rushing and 35 points per.
Among running backs, Ezekiel Elliott is fifth in the league in yards from scrimmage per game at 105 total yards/game.
After five weeks, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott now sits 10th in the NFL with a passer rating of 93.1. Notable names which Prescott is ahead of include Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Ben Roethlisberger.
Teams in the NFC who have three or more wins through the first six weeks of the season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the only other team to play five games and not have three wins in 2017. The AFC only has nine such teams.
Dak Prescott's total touchdowns so far this season. His 11 passing touchdowns has him seventh in the NFL. His two rushing touchdowns is tied for second among quarterbacks. The league leaders in QB rushing touchdowns are Cam Newton, Jacoby Brissett, and Marcus Mariota, each with three.
Prescott is on pace for 41.6 combined rushing and passing touchdowns.
San Francisco's sack total. They are led by 33-year-old Elvis Dumervil who has 3.5 sacks in a limited role off the bench. That number is good for 15th in the NFL. Dallas is seventh in the NFL in total sacks with 16.
Dallas has scored 17 passing and rushing touchdowns combined. Compared to the 49ers who have only scored 10. For perspective, the Kansas City Chiefs lead the league in total offensive touchdowns with 21. The Miami Dolphins are worst in the league in that category with only five total offensive touchdowns.
Pierre Garçon, who leads the San Francisco 49ers in targets, receptions, and yards has 21 more targets than number two for the 49ers, Marquise Goodwin. Garçon is averaging nine targets a game and has yet to score a touchdown.
Brice Butler's yards per reception leads all receivers with more than two receptions on the year. Among players with eight or more receptions, Butler's number is more than four yards better than the next best; the Carolina Panthers' Ed Dickson. Butler's had a huge impact so far this season in a very limited role.
Dallas' 26.4 points against is the fourth worst number in the NFL. Only the New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts are worse in scoring defense.
Jason Witten's team leading receptions have him on pace for 86.4 catches in 2017, which would be the most he's had since catching 110 passes in 2012. He hasn't had 80 catches since then.
Jason Garrett's winning percentage coming out of a bye week. He's 3-3 over the six years of his tenure as the Cowboys head coach in which he was the coach before, at, and after the bye. In that time, four of the bye weeks have come in weeks five-seven, each lost except the last one in 2016. Both byes in the second half of the season were won.
In C.J. Beathard's first game action as a rookie relieving starter Brian Hoyer, he only completed 52.78% of his passes en route to the loss. The plus side for the 49ers is that they had a chance to win the game, only falling by two points.
Dak Prescott's completion percentage, which has been steadily rising over the last few games, should continue to see an uptick. The San Francisco 49ers have allowed their last four opponents to throw for more than 280 yards each game.
Among the six players on the Dallas Cowboys who have more than 100 yards receiving, Cole Beasley is sixth with 109 receiving yards. Ahead of him are Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, and Ezekiel Elliott. That's not something I expected to see after five weeks.
The total amount of first downs the San Francisco 49ers defense has allowed through six games. It's the third worst total in the NFL, which equates to 23.67 first downs per game. They have allowed the sixth most first downs through the air and the third most on the ground. Dallas should be able to move the ball.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
Want to know where the Inside The Star Staff falls on the game? Check out our weekly picks.
And as always, LET's GO COWBOYS!!!
SEA 24, DAL 13: Cowboys Offensive Woes Continue
Inefficient passing and turnovers cost the Dallas Cowboys today, leading to a 24-13 loss to the previously winless Seahawks in Seattle.
Dallas's offense produced just a single field goal by halftime, with Dak Prescott only completing two of his first nine passes for just four yards. He got better as the game went on, but still finished with just 168 passing yards and a single touchdown.
The box score will say Prescott threw two interceptions, but one was a bobbled catch by Michael Gallup. The other was not a good throw, trying to find Blake Jarwin in traffic. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner went up and caused a tipped ball.
Both picks ended up in the hands, and ankle, of Seattle safety Earl Thomas. He drew a taunting penalty for bowing at the Dallas sideline on his second INT, almost as if mocking the team for not giving up enough to trade for him.
Ezekiel Elliott did have a big day on the ground; 127 yards on just 16 carries. It's his first 100-yard game of 2018. But the fact Dallas couldn't capitalize on Zeke's production was just further indication of their offensive dysfunction.
Hurry home, Travis Frederick. Who knew you were our Offensive MVP?
- While Zeke did have a strong rushing performance, two critical errors were big parts of the Cowboys' loss. An early TD catch was called back because Zeke stepped out of bounds before making the reception. Also, Elliott's fumble in the 4th quarter squandered a strong drive that could have started Dallas' comeback attempt sooner.
- Dallas' defense looked good early but clearly wore down over time. Seattle RB Chris Carson ground out 102 rushing yards on 32 carries. Russell Wilson took advantage of some miscues in the secondary for two touchdown passes and 192 passing yards.
- Tyrone Crawford got called for another bogus "roughing the passer" penalty after a clean hit on Wilson early in the game. The NFL has to get this figured out, because it's becoming a bigger eyesore for the league than any amount of kneeling ever did.
- Tavon Austin got his second touchdown catch this year, the only Cowboy to record a receiving TD so far this year. Tight end Geoff Swaim had five catches for 47 yards, reminding the world that Dallas actually has TEs on their roster.
- Speaking of which, as Troy Aikman commented on during the game, Rico Gathers was not used in redzone passing situations. Why is Gathers dressing for games and not being utilized in the one situation where he's not a liability?
- Sean Lee left the game after reaggravating the hamstring injury he suffered last week. It meant more playing time for first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch, who reminded you of Lee with how he was getting to the ball. Both finished the game credited with 11 tackles each.
- Rookie guard Connor Williams continues to struggle when up against powerful defensive tackles. It's not a surprise for a converted college tackle, but growing pains still cost you on game day. Dallas may have to consider starting Joe Looney at guard once Travis Frederick comes back.
- Kicker Brett Maher went 2/2 today on field goals, including a 50-yarder. He has hit four straight after missing his one attempt against Carolina in Week 1.
- The rest of the NFC East won their games today. That puts Philly and Washington at 2-1 and now evens up the Cowboys and Giants at 1-2.
- Dallas returns home next week to host the Detroit Lions, who are currently 0-2. They play the Patriots tonight.
Why The Seahawks Will Be Looking Into A Mirror Against The Cowboys Sunday
For the better part of the last decade one defense has reigned supreme over the NFC. One defense has continually put their offense and team in position to win big games, including a dominant Super Bowl win over one of the more productive offenses in recent memory.
That defense, of course, belonged to the Seattle Seahawks.
With a secondary deemed as the "Legion of Boom" and a defensive line which rotated through Pro Bowl level talent routinely, the Seahawks bolstered one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. A defense which perfectly complimented the physical, run first philosophy their offense lived by.
Players like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, and Bobby Wagner will arguably be Hall of Famers one day, and they wreaked havoc on the conference for a strong 3-5 year stretch.
Now, however, things are changing.
Gone are many of the elite players which once bolstered the Seattle defense to top-tier status, and while some big names remain, the talent level simply isn't the same. The Seahawks missed the postseason a year ago, and now sit at 0-2 before their home opener today against the Cowboys.
Their window looks to be closed, while their opponent today is looking to build their defense (and team) in the mold of what once was in Seattle.
Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard has come to Dallas and brought with him a more aggressive defensive philosophy, one which he deployed successfully with the Seahawks. Under Richard the Cowboys are blitzing more often on third down than they have in the past under Rod Marinelli, they're utilizing more single high safety looks, and they are allowing their long and talented corners to do what they do best in coverage.
The Seahawks once leaned on a deep pass rush and long, physical secondary. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.
The Seahawks once leaned on a mobile quarterback to make plays with his feet while relying on a strong running game and one of the league's best backs. The 2018 Cowboys are looking to do the same thing.
Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie look like they were molded in a 2013-Seahawks lab as cornerbacks, and DeMarcus Lawrence is as productive as any pass rusher those defenses had. Of course, we aren't able to say the Cowboys have the consistent front four depth that those Seattle teams did or that they have the single high safety of Earl Thomas' caliber, but the preliminary pieces are clearly in place.
Today the Cowboys look to improve to 2-1 with a conference road win. But, they also look to bury the Seahawks in the past and take another step towards cementing themselves as one of the elite defenses in the NFC.
It won't happen over night, but anyone can see that the potential is there.
Cowboys, Seahawks Week 3 Injury Report
Believe it or not, Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas isn't the only guy whose playing status is in question for today's game. Other key players for Seattle and the Dallas Cowboys appear on the teams' Week 3 injury reports.
The Cowboys are looking to move to 2-1 and maintain a slim lead in the NFC East. The Seahawks are still looking for their first win of 2018, and the drama around Thomas isn't helping the fear of a locker room implosion.
What players may not be out there to help their teams to victory?
- C Travis Frederick (illness) - OUT
- DT Maliek Collins (knee) - OUT
- WR Cole Beasley (ankle) - Questionable
- LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - Questionable
- S Xavier Woods (hamstring) - Questionable
Frederick remains out as he deals with his neurological disease. Dallas decided to keep him on the 53-man roster, rather than place him on injured reserve, with the hope that he could return before Week 9. There are still several weeks before we'll know if that was a good move.
Maliek Collins will be out today after a minor knee injury suffered last week against the Giants. Taking his spot will be Datone Jones, who returns from his own knee issue after missing the first two games.
You don't like seeing your quarterback's favorite receiver and your defensive leader on the same injury report. Thankfully, though, it appears both Cole Beasley and Sean Lee will be available today.
For the #Cowboys, WR Cole Beasley (ankle) is expected to play, and LB Sean Lee (hamstring) should be good to go, as well, based on how he moved around in practice on Friday, sources say.
Finally, we come to the ever-intriguing Xavier Woods. While limited in practice all week, Woods is expected to make his season debut in Seattle. We will see if Xavier gets the start at free safety, or if Dallas will ease him back in and keep Kavon Frazier starting for now.
With all of the hype around Dallas' possible acquisition of Earl Thomas, one has to hope that Xavier won't overdo it and make matters worse with his hamstring. Between the enthusiasm just to play and the threat to his starting job, the second-year stud should be pretty amped up.
- WR Doug Baldwin (knee) - OUT
- C/G Ethan Pocic (ankle) - OUT
- LB K.J. Wright (knee) - OUT
- C Justin Britt (shoulder) - Questionable
- LB Mychal Kendricks (ankle) - Questionable
- S Earl Thomas (???) - ???
Seattle remains without Baldwin, their leading receiver from 2014-2017, and it shows in their offensive play. QB Russell Wilson is currently at career lows in completion percentage and passer rating, plus has already thrown three interceptions in just two games.
The Seahawks have issues up front as well. Starting left guard Ethan Pocic will also miss today's game. With right guard D.J. Fluker returning this week after missing the first two, that will allow backup J.R. Sweezy to flip over to the other side.
If that wasn't enough, starting center Justin Britt missed the entire week of practice with a shoulder issue. He has not been ruled out, though. Regardless, those are a lot of red flags on your offensive line with the Cowboys' emerging defense coming to town.
Also out today will be Pro Bowl linebacker K.J. Wright. That means we could see Mychal Kendricks, who was just recently booted from Cleveland after being charged with insider trading, playing a major role today. Kendricks knows the Cowboys well, having played with the Eagles from 2012-2017.
And lastly, Earl Thomas.
No health or injury-related reason has been given for why Thomas missed practices on Wednesday and Friday. "Personal reasons" is all you're getting from Seattle, fueling rampant speculation that a trade is in the works. Whether or not that trade is with the Dallas Cowboys is pure conjecture at this point.
What we do know is that Seattle is 0-2 and trending down this year. Holding onto Thomas and his expiring contract, only to lose him for nothing next year in free agency, would be foolish.
We'll see if Earl plays at all today. If he doesn't, the trade talk is going to explode.
Dallas Cowboys5 days ago
Cowboys Reunion with WR Brice Butler Makes No Sense
Game Notes1 week ago
Cowboys Rookie LB Leighton Vander Esch May Be New Starter at SAM
Player News1 week ago
Report: Dallas Cowboys to Sign Free Agent Wide Receiver Brice Butler
Game Notes7 days ago
Sean’s Scout: Secondary Play, Improved OL Stand Out in Cowboys Win Vs. Giants
Game Notes7 days ago
3 Stars from Dallas Cowboys Win over the New York Giants
Player News2 weeks ago
Cowboys Sign G Xavier Su’a-Filo; Impact on Connor Williams?
Game Notes2 weeks ago
3 Stars from the Dallas Cowboys Week 1 Loss to the Carolina Panthers
Player News1 week ago
Is Dak Prescott’s Relationship with Scott Linehan Broken?