For the first time since 2015, the Dallas Cowboys dropped a game to the Washington Redskins while dropping a game and a half out of first place in the NFC East in the process. Jason Garrett, Dak Prescott, and the Cowboys offense had a chance to tie the game, but Brett Maher missed a 52 yard field goal, which would have sent the game into overtime.
While the missed kick is what prevented them from tying the game, what happened leading up to the field goal attempt had just as much to do with the Cowboys taking home an L as anything else. And no, I'm not talking about the penalty enforced on L.P. Ladouceur.
The Dallas Cowboys had enough time to try to drive the field for either a game-tying field goal or if things fell right, a go ahead touchdown. Once they got into field goal range, they took the foot off the gas and eliminated any opportunity to try to take the lead.
Let's look at how the drive unfolded.
1st and 10 at Dallas 36 - 1:09 to Play
Incomplete Pass to Dalton Schultz
The Dallas Cowboys got the ball back with a time out and a little more than a minute to play. It's beyond my understanding why the Dallas Cowboys had Dalton Schultz on the field with under two minutes to play in a game that was essentially a must win.
I know that the Dallas Cowboys love to run 11 personnel in obvious passing situations. It's all the craze in the NFL now. Like Pogs were in middle school. I get that most teams run 11 as their base package, but when you're in a must score situation with under two minutes to play, Dalton Schultz is not one of your best four receiving options.
They lined up Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Cole Beasley along with Schultz when they could have had Deonte Thompson out there to give them some run after catch ability.
It's inexcusable to me to have a rookie tight end, who was suiting up for his first NFL game, on the field in crunch time because you don't have any 10-personnel packages (1 RB, 4 WR, 0 TE). Scott Linehan is calling plays and constructing formations like they still have Jason Witten on the team. News flash, Scott, you don't.
You'd think that at a time when they need their best playmakers on the field, that they'd have some packages that would get their four best receiving options on the field.
2nd and 10 at Dallas 36 - 1:04
Incompete Pass to Cole Beasley
At least Dak Prescott goes to his go-to-guy on this play as he goes to Beasley and barely overthrows him. It wasn't the best throw by Prescott who was under pressure. Had he hit Beasley, there's a great chance for yards after catch.
3rd and 10 at Dallas 36 - 0:59
18 Yard Completion to Cole Beasley
After back to back incomplete passes to start the drive, Dak Prescott finds Cole Beasley for an 18 yard gain to get the Cowboys into Washington territory.
This was the biggest play of the drive. Big time, accurate throw to Beasley who makes a contested catch in double coverage that picks up a first down and puts the Cowboys just outside of field goal range.
1st and 10 at Washington 46 - 0:52
Nine Yard Completion to Cole Beasley
Because Cole Beasley got out-of-bounds and Washington Redskins Corner Back Fabian Moreau was injured, the clock stops and the Dallas Cowboys get a moment to catch their breath and game plan the next couple of plays.
If you needed anymore evidence about who is Dak's go-to-guy, it's Cole Beasley. He comes right back to him. Prescott finds Cole Beasley for a nine yard gain to get the Dallas Cowboys into field goal range.
Cole Beasley catches the ball and is ruled down by contact with 45 seconds remaining in the game. How in the world it took them 17 seconds to get to the line of scrimmage is really hard to understand. As a team, if the receiver gets tackled in bounds, you know you have to hurry to the line of scrimmage to either get another play off or to spike it. The Cowboys take their time and prevent themselves from being able to run at least a play or two to get them a more favorable field goal attempt.
Instead, the Cowboys take 17 precious seconds of the clock and now have less than 30 seconds remaining.
2nd and 1 at Washington 37 - 0:28
Six Yard Completion to Cole Beasley
This is where you figured out that Head Coach Jason Garrett was playing for the tie. The Cowboys were able to pick up the first down on a quick pass to Cole Beasley, but then took way too much time getting to the line of scrimmage for the next play.
After Cole Beasley makes the catch and is tackled, there was roughly 24 seconds left on the clock. They took another 12 seconds to get to the line of scrimmage to run the next play. They weren't prepared and because they weren't prepared, they didn't have a ton of time left to run a play. If they get to the line faster, perhaps they leave themselves more time to get the ball up field to make Brett Maher's kick more manageable.
The catch went under review and so the Cowboys get yet another opportunity to regroup and come up with a play to get them further down the field.
Instead they do the following.
1st and 10 at Washington 31 - 0:12
Three Yard Run by Ezekiel Elliott
This is the biggest give up play of the night. With 12 seconds left and a timeout, the coaching staff takes the ball out of their quarterback's hands -- who just drove them into field goal range -- and they give it to Ezekiel Elliott who picks up roughly three yards on the play. They had time to throw a short pass to try to pick up some yardage. With a timeout in their pocket, Dak could have even thrown it to the middle of the field to get Brett Maher into a better position.
Instead, the coaching staff plays scared and leaves Maher with a 47 yard field goal attempt. On a day where the wind had been a factor in the passing game, 47 yards is hardly a gimme.
2nd and 8 at Washington 28 - 0:03
Five Yard Penalty Against L.P. Ladouceur for a Snap Infraction
The penalty puts them at the Washington 33 with three seconds left in the game.
There are a lot of things we can say about the missed game-tying field goal attempt.
Though the penalty was bogus and Brett Maher should have made it, the biggest issue, in my humble opinion, was how the drive went to get to this point. The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff didn't put their team in the best position to win the game, let alone tie.
Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and the Dallas Cowboys were super conservative once they got into field goal range. It was like they didn't even consider trying to score a touchdown at that point, which for someone who has long been a defender of Jason Garret, is a problem.
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I've long been a believer that Jason Garrett is a head coach that could win this team a championship based on the way he gets his players to play. On Sunday, however, he coached like an NHL coach that was on the road and just hoping to squeeze out a point with a tie. That's twice in two weeks that Garrett played conservatively with a chance to win the game and he cost his kicker a chance at a shorter, more makeable field goal. Play aggressively and it's possible he's kicking at worst a 45 yarder, even after the penalty.
Instead, Maher has to kick a 52 yarder with swirling winds and is unable to squeeze it inside the left upright. Now the Dallas Cowboys are 3-4 and need to go on a serious run over the last nine games to have a shot at making the playoffs.
Takeaway Tuesday: Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It
Just when all hope was lost, the Dallas Cowboys went on the road and surprised fans with a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Both on defense and offense, it was a game that showed us plenty of silver linings to be excited about. While a playoff run certainly remains pretty difficult to accomplish, at least the team isn't leaving without a fight.
The last Cowboys' victory came approximately a month ago, so it is with great pleasure that I share with you this week's edition of "Takeaway Tuesday!"
Vander Esch Among Best Cowboys' Players
Just before last game, I wrote about how Leighton Vander Esch could be in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Playing on Sunday Night Football (on national TV), the rookie helped his case a lot with 13 solo tackles and an interception.
Little by little, he's making sure the Cowboys know they can move on from frequently injured Sean Lee down the road. Vander Esch can play. Forget about him being an impressive rookie, he's currently one of the best players on this roster.
Scott Linehan Shouldn't be Off the Hook
As any Cowboys fan, I loved the win. There were quite a few things to like about the offense on Sunday, but there's no denying play calling could've been way better. As much as the Dallas Cowboys are still in the hunt in a mediocre division, Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan should remain on the hot seat.
Ezekiel Elliott took the Cowboys to the 5-yard line by leaping over a human at full speed and right after the Cowboys stopped using him on that drive. Against the Titans, the offense found itself on third and 16 twice and ran a running back screen pass. In Philadelphia, they were on third and 16 once and they ran a RB screen once again.
Dallas has left a lot of points on the field this year and in big part thanks to play calling. Linehan shouldn't be safe right now.
Amari Cooper Proving to be Worth It
After two games wearing the Star, Cowboys Nation is feeling a lot better about trading a first rounder for Amari Cooper. On the field, he's proven to be an impact player. An impact that has been felt immediately, by the way. Out of 11 catches, Cooper has gotten the Cowboys' offense ten first downs.
Versus the Eagles, though, his impact is felt beyond his single stat line.
On Sunday Night, he accounted for six catches and 75 yards. He helped QB Dak Prescott get 270 yards through the air and most importantly, to spread the football.
7 different Cowboys have a reception of at least 13 yards tonight.
That stat above is an underrated one. No wide receiver in next year's Draft would have the kind of impact Amari Cooper is having on this football team. In the long run, lots of people could be eating their words after heavily criticizing the Cowboys' trade for the two-times Pro Bowler wide receiver. Hopefully, that's the case.
Cowboys Wide Receivers Now a Strength They Can Count On
The Dallas Cowboys (4-5) came away with a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) on Sunday Night Football 27-20 and the wide receiver group had an excellent day. What once looked like a weakness for the Cowboys, now looks like a strength on \ offense. With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Cole Beasley, and Allen Hurns, the Cowboys have four players that can hurt opposing defenses all over the field.
Since the Amari Cooper trade two weeks ago, the Cowboys wide receiver group has been better positioned moving forward to help Dak Prescott and the Cowboys move the football. With Cooper, Cole Beasley, Michael Gallup, and Allen Hurns, the Cowboys have really nice depth.
On Sunday Night Football each of the Cowboys top four receivers had a reception that went for more than 20 yards. They accounted for 11 of the team's 14 passing first downs. Of Quarterback Dak Prescott's 270 yards passing, wide receivers accounted for 186 or more than two-thirds of the passing yards. Explosive plays from the wide receivers was something that was lacking for much of the season, but they seem to be turning it on at the right time.
On Sunday night, they all had their moments in the Cowboys win.
Per Pro Football Reference, Cooper was the leading receiver on the team with six receptions on 10 targets for 75 yards. Five of those receptions went for first downs and he averaged 12.5 yards per reception.
Michael Gallup led the wide receiver group in snaps on Sunday and logged another nice game as he continues to assert himself during his rookie season. It may not have been as explosive as the three receptions for 83 yards that he put up against the Washington Redskins a few weeks ago, but he had possibly one of the plays of the game.
With the Dallas Cowboys attempting to extend their lead with under two minutes to play in the first half, they faced a 3rd and 15 from their own 35 yard line with 0:58 seconds left on the clock. Scott Linehan dials up a tunnel screen to Gallup who goes for 25 yards helping to set up the touchdown just before half time. If Gallup doesn't make that play, with help from the blocking downfield, the Eagles get the ball back with enough time to tie the game or potentially take the lead. It was a huge play in the game to allow Dallas to go up by 10 at half time.
Cole Beasley's line wasn't flashy, but he was his typical efficient self, hauling in three receptions for first downs and making a play for 15 yards to get the Cowboys into the red zone after the Eagles had scored on the previous possession in the third quarter to make it 13-13. Beasley's catch helped the Cowboys answer the Eagles touchdown with a touchdown of their own to retake the lead 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Beasley finished the night with four receptions for 37 yards on five targets.
Down in the depth chart with limited snaps, but not at all forgotten is Allen Hurns. Hurns only had two catches (on two targets) for 40 yards on the night, but both catches set the Cowboys offense up with first and goal situations. With 0:40 seconds to play in the first half and the Cowboys looking at a second and nine, Dak Prescott hit Hurns on a deep out route for 17 yards to the Philadelphia Eagles' one yard line. Prescott hurried them to the line of scrimmage and then snuck the ball in for a touchdown to make it 13-3 at halftime. The second reception occurred with the Cowboys facing a third and eight on the game winning drive. Prescott found Hurns for a 23 yard catch and run that helped set up Ezekiel Elliott's game winning touchdown run.
They have four players that can hurt you at various levels of the defense. All four are good to great route runners who can create separation and find the soft spots in zone coverage. Their starters with Cooper, Beasley, and Gallup are a dynamic trio, but being able to bring a guy like Allen Hurns off the bench in sub packages is huge. He's had a thousand yard receiving season in the NFL and showed that he can still win his matchups when he's not required to be a team's WR1.
The move for Amari is proving to be an excellent trade for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the struggles last week in Tennessee, the Dallas Cowboys were able to move the ball through the air as Cooper opens everything up for everyone else on the offense. If you saw some of the windows he provided Dak, you see that Cooper literally makes everything easier.
The Dallas Cowboys took advantage of a bad secondary on Sunday as the Philadelphia Eagles were missing three of their top defensive backs, but they also looked like a unit that is starting to find a groove offensively. For the Dallas Cowboys to continue their upward trajectory that hopefully ends with a playoff berth, the wide receivers are going to have to continue to make big plays down the field.If the last several weeks are any indication, more big plays are coming.
Get your popcorn ready.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys against Philadelphia
The Dallas Cowboys surprisingly pulled off the 27-20 upset over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night and in turn somehow keep their playoff hopes alive. They are now two games behind the Washington Redskins, but the NFC East title is still very much within reach if they can continue to play like they did against the Eagles.
The Cowboys looked like the team we've expected them to be from the start of the 2018 season. Yes there were still mistakes, but they were able to overcome those mishaps when they needed it the most. That's not something they've been able to very much of this season.
Today, I want to share with you The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly aspects from the Dallas Cowboys game against the Philadelphia Eagles. As always, please feel free to use the comment section located at the end of the article to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
There were so many different directions I could've gone here for the Dallas Cowboys against the Philadelphia Eagles, but I ultimately decided that the good for me was Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch's play. He is absolutely dominating and making everyone forget about the often injured Sean Lee.
Against the Eagles Sunday night, Vander Esch was all over the field and made his presence felt in a big way. He not only accumulated 13 total tackles, but also recorded his first career interception in the NFL. His play is one of the reasons the Cowboys defense continues to play like one of the better units in the league, even without Sean Lee in the lineup.
No one's doubting No. 55 as the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick any longer. He is a stud and the scary thing is he will only continue to get better.
I hate to admit it, but I was secretly hoping the Philadelphia Eagles would blowout the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night so that hopefully it would convince Jerry Jones to end the Jason Garrett head-coaching era. So, the bad for me is that the Cowboys win likely means Garrett sticks around as the HC after this season.
I don't want you to get the wrong idea about me wanting the Cowboys to get blown out, I just didn't think they had much of a chance of beating the Eagles on the road with them coming off their bye week. I'm happy they won in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, but also disappointed Garrett may be sticking around.
I know many of you will agree with me, but I think it's time to find Jason Garrett's replacement. Unfortunately, this victory over the Eagles may delay Dallas' head coach search a little longer now.
I'm not going to beat around the bush here, I think the way the Dallas Cowboys offensive line and Running Back Ezekiel Elliott dominated the Philadelphia Eagles defensive front was absolutely ugly. The Eagles defensive line was supposed to be the strength of their team, but that certainly wasn't the case against the Cowboys.
Zeke accounted for two touchdowns (one on the ground and one through the air) Sunday night against the Eagles. He also rushed for 151 yards on just 19 carries and averaged an impressive 7.9 yards per carry. That's pretty impressive considering the Eagles were ranked second against the run in the league. But what's more impressive was the blocking No. 21 received from his offensive line.
The Cowboys deployed a beat up OL against the Eagles, but you wouldn't know that by the way they played. They were down one starter the entire game (Connor Williams) and played with two replacements for a while when Zack Martin was injured. They didn't make any excuses though and took it to the Eagles DL.
What was your good, bad, and ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Eagles?
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