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Cowboys vs Seahawks: The Less than Stellar Side of Sunday

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys vs Seahawks: The Less than Stellar Side of Sunday

Who am I kidding?

There truly was very little to not like about how the Cowboys attacked the Seahawks.  The Cowboys walked into that NFL playground, gave the biggest baddest bully a wedgie and stole his lunch money.  If you didn’t watch the game and merely saw the score at the end, know this:  it wasn’t really that close.

The Cowboys had a few miscues that afforded the Seahawks an opportunity to stay in this game.

In summation, The Big Three:

  1. Punt blocked and returned for a Touchdown. Tough to point fingers here.   This was a very well-executed/timed blitz by the Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin to create a walk-in touchdown for Mike Morgan.
  2. The muffed punt. Two weeks in a row now, Dwayne Harris has been guilty of the worst possible type of mistake for a punt returner.  This cannot become a trend if he wants to keep that job.
  3. The premature snap. Frederick sent it, Romo wasn’t ready.  This particular gaff is par for that particular course, given the level of crowd noise in Seattle.

The above accounted for 17 of the Seahawks 23 points.  Without them the Cowboys would have blown out the Seahawks and one could make the argument avoiding those 3 turnovers very well could have led to additional points for the Cowboys given the overall offensive effectiveness in what was supposed to be a low-score outing.  I won’t attempt to make that argument; I’m just pointing out there is a viable debate to be had.

I said it last week, you cannot make mistakes against the Seahawks; they will make you pay…and they did…and it still wasn’t enough.  True to form, the Seahawks did not make many mistakes themselves, save a few key penalties and the game-ending interception to Rolando McClain gift wrapped by Russell Wilson.

It begs the question:  Are the Cowboys that good or are the Seahawks not who we thought they were?

I honestly do not want to take anything from that win…clearly the Cowboys are a much better team than what the football-watching nation thought coming into the season.  The defense does have several players who have answered the questions that were looming over them in the offseason and they've answered favorably.

Tyrone Crawford is ideal as a 3-tech DT.  Anthony Spencer and Henry Melton look to be putting their injuries behind them and have steadily improved as the season progresses.  Bruce Carter seems to be more comfortable a year removed from looking lost the majority of the time in the new 4-3 defense last season.  Rolando McClain does care about football and has brought physicality to this defense that was lacking.  Justin Durant can be a leader on defense and is quietly having a very productive season.  JJ Wilcox has gradually made strides in making better decisions as a Safety and the angles of attack he has taken lately have been on point.  Brandon Carr is much better in man coverage.  Jerry Jones is looking like a genius in hindsight for locking up Scandrick, who is arguably the Cowboys' best defensive back.  At this stage in their perspective careers, Rod Marinelli may be the better defensive play caller/defensive coordinator over Monte Kiffen.


Add to that the confidence this team has - as a whole - now and we should see improvement as the season progresses and as various players get added to the rotation, like DeMarcus Lawrence and Josh Brent.

Having said all of that, the Seahawks were exposed Sunday afternoon.

Their lack of top-tier talent at receiver was made obvious. If a defense can remain disciplined and cut off Russell Wilson’s bail-out lanes, his lack of comfort being a pure pocket passer becomes evident.  If a team can impose their will and run the ball, the Seahawks defense is nowhere close to being as vaunted as advertised.  Along with shutting down Marshawn Lynch, therein is the blueprint for making Seahawks fans sleepless in Seattle.

Granted, all of this is easier said than done and clearly the team has to have the right players with a high degree of discipline and focus to execute, but the less than stellar side of Sunday above and beyond the aforementioned big 3 is the fact that every team the Cowboys face down the stretch will present unique and different challenges.  My predominant concern in regards to the Cowboys defense is their ability to effectively employ zone coverages against quarterbacks that thrive in the pocket, such as Eli Manning whom the Cowboys will face this upcoming Sunday.

Given the comfort level the Cowboys displayed in man-coverage Sunday against Seattle's receivers, going forward teams will attempt to force the Cowboys into zone coverages.  This means employing route combinations that feature drag and slant routes which I expect the Cowboys will be seeing a lot of against the Giants.

Special Teams continue to disappoint, excluding Dan Bailey and the coverage teams.  Blocking on both return units have been lackluster, we have seen far too many penalties, and – aside from the muffed punts of the last two games – Harris has also been seemingly tentative with picking his lane in both kick and punt returns.  Poor blocking could certainly be part of the issue, but nevertheless, the best returners seem to break into a sprint from the point that they secure the rock and do not stop until they hit a human wall or the end zone.

While it is my personal belief that average points allowed (Cowboys ranked 8th in the league allowing 21 points per game) is a far more telling stat as compared to yards allowed, even so, the Cowboys presently rank 29th allowing 6.1 per play.  Therefore, the one disconcerting truth that all fans should accept is that these Cowboys cannot depend on their defense to carry the team.  The Cowboys are very much reliant on the offensive line and DeMarco Murray sustaining their current level of performance.

All of their liabilities considered, the Cowboys can ill-afford to become complacent and/or start harboring the belief that they have arrived.  Thus far winning has blinded the casual-watchers to many of their shortcomings, particularly on defense.  These deficiencies, however, are not lost on the Cowboys coaches and by extension, the players.  But if there is any sense of entitlement among the players, it will become obvious this Sunday afternoon as the Giants will give the Cowboys their best effort to stay relevant and in the playoff chase.


I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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Game Notes

NYJ 24, DAL 22: Cowboys Comeback Comes Up Short Again

Jess Haynie

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Is 2019 Jason Garrett's Last Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys? 1

The Cowboys are now 3-3 after creating another halftime deficit and not being able to overcome it. Their losing streak continued with a 24-22 loss to the previously winless New York Jets.

Dallas trailed 21-6 at halftime in one of the more embarrassing first halves of football we've seen this team play. It took an improbable 62-yard field goal from Brett Maher to give them some kind of positive feeling heading into the locker room.

The worse sequence came earlier in that quarter. Trailing just 7-3 at that point, the Cowboys marched over 50 yards to put themselves in scoring position. But a 4th-down try came up short, and then the Jets answered with a 92-yard touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Robby Anderson.

That play seemed to knock the wind out of Dallas' sails, and they were still reeling on the Jets' next possession when New York scored another touchdown on a six-play, 65-yard drive.


The Cowboys struggled early on offense, and that had a lot to do with missing personnel. They went into the game without Randall Cobb, Tyron Smith, or La'el Collins suiting up. Then Amari Cooper had to exit early with a quad injury and didn't return.

The halftime adjustments were there. Dallas outscored New York 16-3 in the second half and pulled within two points on a late touchdown run by Dak Prescott. But the two-point conversion attempt failed when Dak got hit and tossed an errant ball to a blanketed Jason Witten.

Another week. Another loss. And now the Eagles are coming to town next Sunday night.

If the Cowboys don't start figuring out how to play well early, this season is only going to get uglier.

Other Notes

  • Prescott put in an admirable effort given the amount of pressure that Gregg Williams' defense was applying. He completed 28-of-40 passes for 277 yards and had the rushing score, giving up no sacks or turnovers.
  • Dak's rushing TD, the 20th of his career, tied Roger Staubach for the most in Cowboys QB history.
  • Ezekiel Elliott had a big day with 105 yards on the ground and another 47 receiving, plus a rushing touchdown. One of his biggest plays won't show up in the stat sheet; he drew a defensive pass interference call on the Cowboys' final drive running a deep route as a receiver.
  • Brett "Mixed Bag" Maher gave you the full range of his wows and woes today. That 62-yarder was truly special, putting him in rare company as just the third NFL kicker to ever hit multiple kicks of 60 or more. However, he also missed one from just 40 yards out. The Cowboys have now lost two games by just two points in which Maher missed an easy field goal.
  • Chalk up two more sacks for Robert Quinn, who has five now in just four games. Outside of those plays, few Cowboys even breathed on Sam Darnold today.
  • Jourdan Lewis got more playing time today with Anthony Brown getting hurt, and he did what he tends to do with a clutch interception. Lewis' picked off Darnold early in the third quarter after the Jets had driven down to the Dallas' 11. It helped keep New York off the scoreboard and was critical to the Cowboys' comeback efforts.
  • Thankfully, this loss did not cost Dallas their shared NFC East lead with the Eagles. Philadelphia also fell today in their road game against the Vikings. Both teams are now 3-3 as they prepare for next week's rivalry game.


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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Win In The Trenches, Limit Le’Veon Bell

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys DT's Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods Primed for Monster Seasons

My biggest wish of the day is for the Dallas Cowboys to win their football game. It's been more than two weeks since we've been able to enjoy a good victory. The New York Jets present us with a favorable matchup and what should be an easy game for the Cowboys. However, this is the NFL, and surprising things can happen any given Sunday. Dallas can't take this game for granted.

Let's get into this week's Cowboys Wishlist! Make sure to let me know yours in the comments section below or tweet them at me @MauNFL and let's talk football!

Wish #1: No Turnovers

Last week's performance was a painful one to watch. While we can take a look at every single aspect of the game to find out why the Cowboys lost, it's actually pretty simple. Dak Prescott and the Dallas' offense turned the ball over three times. If you have a -3 turnover differential, you're losing that games nine times out of ten.

The Cowboys offense is better than given credit for, but if they keep handing the ball to opposing teams, no one will notice that. It's a simple wish, but an important one. Just stop turning the ball over.

Maliek Collins, Antwaun Woods, Defensive Tackle

Dallas Cowboys DT Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods

Wish #2: Win in the Trenches, Limit Le'Veon Bell

As Aaron Jones plowed his way through the Cowboys' defense for 107 yards and four rushing touchdowns, the lack of quality defensive tackle play was very noticeable. The defense was pushed around in the trenches just about every play. Antwaun Woods has been injured recently, but not even with him coming back will the Cowboys solve their problems.


As the team's three-technique, Maliek Collins has also struggled to stop the run and bring pressure. This time, they're facing a Jets offense that's led by RB Le'Veon Bell. Could things go south versus a 0-4 New York squad? I doubt it, but if they do, I'd bet it's because of Bell. Hopefully, the Cowboys win the battle.

Wish #3: Blake Jarwin Plays More

I can't get over the fact that with the Cowboys trailing late in the game last Sunday, it was Jason Witten who was still on the field and not Blake Jarwin. I love Witten, but doesn't Jarwin have better deep-threat potential? I've been surprised by #82 and how well he's played since coming back, but I'm still a firm believer that Jarwin should get more playing time.

Through five weeks, Jarwin has played on 125 of the offensive snaps while Witten has been in for 240. I wish Jarwin gets more playing time today.

Dallas Cowboys Need Better From These 3 Players 1

Wish #4: Cowboys Start Fast

What is wrong with the Cowboys when the games start? They have yet to have a good start this season. Even when they faced the Washington Redskins, New York Giants, and the Miami Dolphins they struggled to get it going. I don't know if it's an execution problem or bad play-scripting from the coaches but this will get the Cowboys in trouble if it isn't fixed.

It's a 60-minute game and if you start playing well late, you'll be beaten as the season goes on. The Cowboys need to figure this out, and the Jets are a fortunate opponent to get back on track.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Win In The Trenches, Limit Le’Veon Bell" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

Will Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence Finally Go Off Against Jets?

Jess Haynie

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Lookout Deshaun Watson, QB Sack Leader DeMarcus Lawrence is Coming!

With only 2.5 sacks in five games thus far in 2019, DeMarcus Lawrence is currently on pace to have less than 10 sacks on the season. That would be a disappointment for all parties after the Cowboys defensive end just signed a massive contract extension this offseason, but today's game against the New York Jets may give him a chance to make up some ground.

The Jets have been abysmal at protecting their quarterbacks so far this year. Despite only playing four games, being one of the few NFL teams to already have its bye week, New York has given up a league-high 23 sacks already in 2019.

That's almost six sacks per game. Six!

Granted, some of that volume has come from having third-string QB Luke Falk playing the last three weeks. But even when Sam Darnold was playing in Week One he still got taken down four times.

The opportunities should be there for Lawrence to pad his stats. Even just a two-sack day would greatly boost his numbers, but there's potential for more with how bad the Jets have been at pass protection.

DeMarcus' slow start in 2019 has been due to a variety of factors. For one, he missed almost all of training camp and preseason practices by remaining on the PUP list until August 20th. Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery and was recovering until just a few weeks before Week One.


Another reason is that, at least through the first four weeks of 2019, Tank was the most double-teamed edge rusher in the entire NFL.

That hasn't been all bad for the Cowboys. After all, the attention that Lawrence draws has helped Robert Quinn get off to a hot start since his Week 3 debut.

In fact, Quinn may be who prevents Tank from having a big day in New York. It will be interesting to see which guy gets to the QB first.

There's also a chance that, if this game winds up being a blowout, Dallas will limit Lawrence's playing time due to some nagging injuries. They want their franchise DE ready to chase down Carson Wentz next Sunday night.

Wins are bigger than stats, of course. DeMarcus Lawrence gets that and hopefully most fans do as well. His impact is bigger than just sacks; just his presence can positively impact games and create opportunities for other pass rushers and blitzers.

Still, we all love seeing our favorite Cowboys among the league leaders at season's end. Lawrence probably won't be catching Shaquil Barrett (9 sacks) this year, but hopefully today's game allows him to move up the board.


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