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Cowboys beat Rams 34 – 31 in historic comeback

Brian Leatherman

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys beat Rams 34 - 31 in historic comeback

At times in this game, I could have sworn the 2013 Dallas Cowboys defense had come back to haunt me. The Rams did what they wanted and when they wanted. Austin Davis picked the Cowboys apart in the first half and Zac Stacey had his way in the rushing game as well.

First drive of the game, the Rams moved down the field with ease and chewed up a lot of time in the 1st quarter and scored easily to make it 7-0. The Cowboys answered with their own drive and while nice, for the third game in a row the Cowboys' first drive ended with the slippery hands of DeMarco Murray.

Rams took advantage of that turnover. Austin Davis connected with Brian Quick and before you knew it, the Rams were up 14-0.

On the second scoring play, Mo Claiborne was left behind. It was one of many times during the game that Davis would pick on Claiborne. For the rest of the first quarter the Cowboys struggled to get anything going. The Rams were determined to stop DeMarco Murray, and they were doing just that.

St. Louis also made things difficult for Tony Romo, who struggled to get the Cowboys passing game going for the third game in a row. Romo’s struggles finally climaxed when the Janoris Jenkins picked off a wayward pass intended for Dez Bryant and returned it for a touchdown.

That turnover put the Cowboys in a huge 21-0 deficit, but it also seemed to wake up the Cowboys offense.

On the very next possession the Cowboys drove down the field with big runs by DeMarco Murray and a big defensive interference call on a pass intended for Cole Beasley that put the ball at the one yard line. Murray took it in for a touchdown the very next play.

On the Rams next possession, they continued to move the ball. But disaster struck when they turned the ball over on a fumbled snap. Henry Melton recovered the laid egg to keep turning momentum in Dallas' favor. The Cowboys were then able to get in field goal range for Dan “Mr. Automatic” Bailey, who connected to cut the lead to 21-10 right before halftime.

Dallas wasted no time finding the end zone to start the second half when Romo hit a wide open Dez Bryant for a 68 yard score that pulled the Cowboys within four.

Later in the third quarter that Cowboy defense stood strong on 4th and one when the Rams pulled a guard and allowed Anthony Hitchens to meet the runner in the backfield and stuff the play. Hitchens, in for the injured Rolando McClain today, seemed to be around the ball all day. From that point, the offense drove the ball down the field for another Dan Bailey field goal.

With that score, the Cowboys trailed by a single point after facing a 21 point deficit.

The Rams were able to add three points to lead it 24-20 but Romo and the Cowboys answered on their next possession by marching down the field with a good mix of run and pass plays that eventually led to a Romo - Williams slant pass for six.

Finally, with their first lead of the game at 27-20 and about midway through the 4th quarter, the Cowboys were in the fight. But that wasn’t going to be the last time this Cowboy team would find the end zone.

Things went from bad to worse for the Rams on their next possession. Bruce Carter, who up to that point was not having good game, picked off a Davis pass and took it to the house for six. That score would give the Cowboys a 10 point lead with just over 4 minutes left to play in the game.

The Rams finally started clicking again on their next possession.

Austin Davis came out throwing to shake off his errant contribution to the Dallas scoreboard and led a beautiful drive down the field that ended with a touchdown. The score? 34-31 with just over two minutes left in the game.

The Cowboys received the kickoff but weren't able to do much before punted the ball back to the Rams with just under two minutes left to play.

The Rams began their final drive on their own 14 and were looking to tie or possibly take the lead in the final seconds of the game. Davis completed a few short passes but his next pass would be his last. Davis decided to take a shot down the left sideline on a secondary that had been abused for much of the game, again targeting the struggling Morris Claiborne. But on this play, it was the Cowboy secondary that made the play.

Claiborne, who had been picked on all day by the Rams and Austin David, made a reaching leap to pick off the slightly overthrown pass to end any chances of the Rams scoring another point. The comeback win meant the Cowboys set a record for overcoming their largest deficit to win in regulation time.

This game was a tale of two teams for the Dallas Cowboys. The first half looked very much like the 2013 team, but in the second half, this looked like a different team. And that team was your 2014 Dallas Cowboys.



Brian has been a football junkie from the time he was 5 years old. He lives, eats and breathes the game. Brian is a college graduate living in the south who loves his faith, his family, and his Dallas Cowboys.

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6 Comments
  • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

    That was a hell of a game. I was screaming at the TV all through the first half, and yelling in the second half.

    Still damned happy to see Romo stop freaking out. That streak down the right sideline early that he whiffed because of the hit coming pissed me off. That wasn’t Romo, and if Romo can’t be out there for that play, bring Weeden in and let Romo heal. Enough is enough.

    But he got his ass in gear after that. Even with Murray getting stalled when the Rams stymied his inside routes better, Romo looked like the QB I’ve been waiting for since the clock reached 0 in week 17 last season.

    GO COWBOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But hey, that Austin Davis kid looked good. If he develops then he’s gonna be a real threat in the NFL. #AustinDavis

  • Paul Leatherman

    Despite the pick 6, which imo was just a helluva jump by Jenkins, this was the Romo we’ve all come to know and love. He seemed to have that “Romo Magic” back. I think he only gets better with time. It seems weird but when they were down 21 I couldn’t help but think “this might be exactly what Romo needs” to start getting into a rhythm. When you’re a gun slinger like him it has to be hard to get on a roll when you’re handing it off 40 times a game. I’m not bitching about running in 40 times though.

  • Paul Leatherman

    And definitely agree that this is the team we can pretty much expect to see all year. Some greatness mixed in with some “oh shit”.

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      Absolutely. I saw your tweet about Romo around halftime and agreed then, but no denying that he was shit before that. Last week all I could see from him was sack after sack where he was barely touched because he couldn’t wait to get down and avoid anything more than the needed down by contact. It was disgraceful. Hurt is hurt, I get it, but sit him down if he can’t handle it. He’s played with fresh and old broken ribs and didn’t get scared like that.

      Anyway, glad he’s back and I really hope they can find a good balance to let him and Murray get on a roll. Of course Murray needs to get REAL fuckin intimate with that ball real fast. 3 100 yard games to start the season, and as many fumbles lost as his career total before this year. Can’t win many like that.

  • bleatherman2011

    I wish yall could have seen me and Zach when BC intercepted that pass and took it to the house. Bout sprained my ankle from jumping up and down. That play he made was the play that I’ve seen him doing in my head since he came to the Cowboys. Bout dang time

    • https://insidethestar.com/ Bryson Treece

      I hear you. My voice was hoarse from all the yelling and regarding BC: He needs to keep that up. He’s in the same shit house as Claiborne in my book. But he’s working his way out.

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady

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Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt the Dallas Cowboys passing game faltered in 2017. Though never expected to throw for many yards, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys failed to maximize their attempts down the stretch. The passing game was simply inefficient and ineffective.

One reason the passing game took a step back was the disappearance of slot receiver Cole Beasley. Whether you blame defenses adjusting their coverages on third downs towards Beasley, Beasley growing another year older, or quarterback Dak Prescott, Beasley simply didn't look like the same player in 2017.

In the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected a wide out who many anticipate could replace Beasley, in time. Rookie wide receiver Ryan Switzer rarely got chances to make an impact on offense this season, designated as the return man for much of the year. With Cole Beasley out for the season finale, however, Switzer got his chance to make a name for himself.

While the numbers were far from gaudy, Ryan Switzer showed some things we should be excited about for the future.

dalvsphi2018 switzer - Streamable

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Ryan Switzer's first target came on a third down -- something Cowboys Nation should get used to heading into 2018. Switzer is lined up inside in trips on the near-side of the formation. The Eagles show man coverage pre-snap, and with just one safety over top and the other rotated down on top of Jason Witten, it is clear to Dak Prescott they plan to bring some pressure.

As soon as Prescott gets the snap, his eyes go to Ryan Switzer.

The cornerback plays Switzer with inside leverage, refusing to be beat with a hot slant route. Switzer instead keeps the defender on his back hip and creates separation with an out-breaking route.

Prescott delivers the ball towards the sideline where the defender can't catch up to it, and Switzer comes away with the first down.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 2 - Streamable

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Later in the game, we once again see Ryan Switzer targeted from this inside-alignment.

Switzer is a pretty prototypical slot receiver, and if used correctly he should win in man coverage situations often. The cornerback attempts to maintain inside leverage on Switzer and get physical at the top of his route. Ryan Switzer does a nice job of fighting through that physicality and crossing the defender's face over the middle. He flashes open pretty quickly, and Prescott delivers a strike for the completion.

If Switzer can create this type of separation often, I see no reason why he shouldn't be a focus of the offense in 2018.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 3 - Streamable

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Switzer's third target is actually an incompletion, but it is worth studying, regardless. Switzer is in the slot on the far side and the Cowboys once again are in trips alignment. The cornerback over Switzer is in man coverage, but gives him room to breathe at the line of scrimmage.

Switzer exploits the cornerback -- who is cheating to the inside -- with his footwork and route running. He gets to the sticks, breaks to the outside, and creates enough separation for a first-down completion. Prescott delivers the ball a bit late and behind Switzer, causing an incompletion instead.

I'd still like to see Switzer adjust to the ball and make this catch, but I put more of the blame for this play on Prescott.

With a full offseason to work within the offensive system, as well as to develop chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott, Ryan Switzer will prove to be an important piece to the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.



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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer's Good Game 1
AP Photo / Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys put an end to a long, long season last Sunday after they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in a game that had absolutely no meaning for either team. Surprisingly, the Cowboys played with their healthy starters most of the game, but were barely able to put six points on the board, which were enough to take the win home.

The Cowboys might've lost more than what they actually won, and most of the fans were unhappy with the victory. Despite it being a pretty boring football game, we still learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys.

The season's finally over. It wasn't easy, but we're still here. Here's to 2018. Let's hope it's a good one for our Cowboys. Here's this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!

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Coaching Staff Didn't Help Its Cause

It's more than fair to say that a lot of us want to see changes in Dallas. And specifically, changes in the coaching staff. After the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett's job was not an issue. Now, Jerry's even talking about Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan being back in 2018. Who knows if it's true.

While I don't think we'll see a new head coach anytime soon, I'd dare say that after the horrible game versus Philadelphia the front office at least got to thinking.

Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Coming into this game, the team had a choice to make: play with the starters to win it, or let guys like Cooper Rush in the game and see what happens. A loss would've meant a better draft position for the Cowboys and a chance to see what rookies and other young players could bring to the table.

But they decided to manage the game like it was a "real action" game. Being conservative. Not going for it when there was nothing to lose. They did so after a team that, with the NFC's #1 seed secured, basically played with its B team. Not only that but for the Eagles, most of the game was played by a third string QB.

Despite all this, the Cowboys could hardly beat the Eagles 6-0. Poor execution and all, I can't help thinking about the coaches.

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Cowboys Should Keep Datone Jones for 2018

In late November, the Dallas Cowboys signed Datone Jones after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. The former Packers' first-round pick made an impact when he was given the chance. His play at DT was pretty solid and he showed very promising flashes.

DatoneJones - Streamable

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Jones will be under contract in 2018 and I'd be surprised if the Cowboys don't keep him another year. Per Over The Cap, he'll be paid $790,000 next year which isn't at all expensive for a 27-year-old player.

The Cowboys would add depth and even a potential starter at DT for next season.

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Ryan Switzer Can Play as a Wide Receiver

With Cole Beasley missing the game because of an illness, we finally got to see Ryan Switzer at WR. We had already seen good things from him as a kick returner, but on offense, he hasn't been as involved as Cowboys Nation expected him to be.

Last Sunday though, Switzer was used for more than a jet sweep.

SwitzerWR - Streamable

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He still has a long way to go, but I was impressed by his ability to create separation. I really hope he's used more next season.

At the end of the day, he's a fourth-round pick. He should be playing more on offense, not just on "gadget plays" or special teams. Could Ryan Switzer be Dak Prescott's best friend in the future? Only time will tell. Right now, it's too optimistic to expect something like that.

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Dan Bailey's Confidence is Shattered

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey's 2017 season hasn't been easy at all. We've seen him miss kicks we never imagined he would, including extra points. One of the most painful moments of the Cowboys' season came late in the season finale when he lined up to kick a simple 20-yard field goal.

The ball went up, but failed to split the uprights. Dan Bailey stood in complete disbelief, with a blank look in his face. His confidence, shattered.

For kickers, it's all about confidence.

For years, we referred to Dan "Automatic" Bailey as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Now we're not sure about calling him "Automatic" anymore. Bailey will have a lot of time to pick himself up though, and will probably be back at it next year.

Let's hope that's the case.

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For now, the only thing left to say is one of the most encouraging, yet sad phrases in sports... Maybe next year. We're on to the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Starters Produce Uninspiring Week 17 Win

Playing more than enough of their starters in hopes of ending this 2017 season on a high note at the Eagles, the Cowboys produced a lackluster 6-0 win that will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cowboys Nation - despite it being a victory.

The win put the Cowboys at 9-7 on the season, and it is a shame they had nothing to play for in this regular season finale. Once again in week 17, it was the offense holding back another fantastic performance by Rod Marinelli's defense.

We'll discuss both units in this final 2017 Dallas Cowboys version of Sean's Scout.

  • You have to love the way Chidobe Awuzie was able to bring physicality to a young Cowboys secondary that had another solid game. 

There were times earlier in this season when it seemed the Cowboys' second-round pick would have a lost season due to multiple hamstring injuries, but Awuzie quickly tuned around his rookie campaign by coming in and playing with exceptional technique and awareness.

With enough length to turn and run, Awuzie thrived in this zone scheme by keeping everything in front of him, as he did on his interception of Nick Foles. With Dallas in Cover 2 on the play, Chidobe read Foles' eyes the whole time to the boundary and was in position to cut off the pass.

This is a topic we'll now have much more time to discuss, and it is a hollowing one considering it was truly the Cowboys offense that kept them from the playoffs this season. The need for new talent at WR is clear, but the need for a target that better suits Prescott's strengths going into year three is even more important.

His pass catchers, along with inconsistencies in pass protection, were the main reasons Prescott struggled in 2017, although in this game it seemed like the only time he was affected in the pocket was when forcing the ball late to Bryant.

Coming from a spread system in college, Prescott simply does not have experience throwing his receivers open -- relying on route combinations and separation ability to hit open targets. Dez Bryant hasn't been that type of player through his career, and certainly isn't now that he's lost a step.

  • 9 wins for a team unlike their usual selves up front offensively is still pretty impressive. 

The Cowboys got nearly no impact from any of their free agent signings this season, which is why the depth of the team held them back once again. Veteran Byron Bell was brought in as a backup swing tackle, but he is simply not a scheme fit at tackle here.

Dak Prescott should not have been playing with Bell as his LT, and eventually Joe Looney at LG after Jonathan Cooper went down.

Bell lacks the quick-twitch ability and athleticism needed to be successful on every down, and it showed as he was again beaten by both speed and power against the Eagles.

The Cowboys have proven their acumen drafting young OL talent that performs at a high level early and often. So, instead of relying on more free agents, like Bell and Looney, drafting talent up front to spark the running game and give Prescott adequate protection is likely the best answer.

  • Ryan Switzer's ability to separate late in the down really stood out, as he finally got his chance at WR without Cole Beasley

Growing calls for more of Ryan Switzer on offense will surely take root this offseason after he caught four passes for 32 yards in the absence of Cole Beasley yesterday. More of a one-speed player at North Carolina, Switzer's spacial awareness and smoothness in giving Prescott somewhere to throw the ball as plays developed was really impressive.

In order to be a great team at the NFL Draft, you have to accurately scout your own roster. It will be fascinating to see just how the Cowboys feel about their current pass catchers, with not only Ryan Switzer but the likes of Lance Lenoir and practice squad addition K.D. Cannon in the fold as well.

  • The Cowboys found themselves a valuable addition to their rotation at DT with Datone Jones. 

Jones was able to push the pocket throughout this game in Philadelphia, and has done so consistently since getting here, at both the 1T and 3T positions. Using his hands to generate power as a down-the-line player, Jones plays with great pad level. That allows him to shoot gaps when needed, or anchor the line of scrimmage.

The Cowboys have not prioritized adding premier talent at DT in recent years, and may forego it again this offseason as well. The Cowboys expect Maliek Collins to contribute further with another season at 1T and David Irving back at 3T.

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To everybody who made this 2017 season at Inside The Star as enjoyable as ever, I would like to thank the readers of Sean's Scout. All this aspiring scout can ask for is to enhance the fan experience through both wins and losses, and your feedback on this series helped me to confidently do just that.

As we prepare for an even better 2018, Sean's Scout won't be going anywhere! I'm shifting my full attention towards the NFL Draft, looking for prospects that could help the Dallas Cowboys reach the playoffs again next season.

Thank you for another roller-coaster ride we call football season, Cowboys Nation. Truly the best fans anywhere.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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