There wasn't a whole lot to like about the performance the Dallas Cowboys gave on Sunday vs the Green Bay Packers. It was a game that was marred by the Cowboys shooting themselves in the foot several times throughout the first half that allowed it to get out of hand. At one point the Green Bay Packers got up 31-3. It was that bad.
The Dallas Cowboys started out really strong on their opening drive only needing three plays to go from their own 25-yard line to the Green Bay 38. Two passes and a run had the Cowboys offense rolling on their opening drive and it looked like they had shaken off the slow starts that had plagued them in 2019.
Then the fourth play of that drive had Dak Prescott fake the run to Ezekiel Elliott and drop back with plenty of time to find Amari Cooper deep down the field. It wasn't a perfect ball but it was in the window and Cooper got two hands on it before deflecting it in the air for Jaire Alexander to intercept at the Green Bay 16 yard line. He should have made that catch, but he didn't, and it was a huge play that had a 14 point swing, killing the Cowboys from the jump.
From that point until late in the third quarter, the Dallas Cowboys struggled to find any consistency on offense.
Then when the Packers went up 31-3, the Dallas Cowboys then began to erupt. They outscored the Packers 24-3, and Dak had the Cowboys in a position to kick a field goal that would have made it a one-score game. Brett Maher missed the kick (his second miss of the game).
From the 3:34 mar of the third quarter through the end of the game, the Dallas Cowboys offense was excellent and Dak Prescott in particular. Though three interceptions will be credited to his ledger, only one of those was truly a Dak Prescott mistake. The Amari Cooper drop-pick on their first drive was huge. Later in the game, the officials missed some egregious illegal contact on the defensive back covering Michael Gallup as he's literally slapping him in the head as Gallup is attempting to work his way upfield. That completely messed up the timing of the route and the play and it's not surprising that it was a negative play for the Dallas Cowboys.
I would have liked Prescott to be better at other times in the first half, but his second-half performance, to bring them back and make it a close game was impressive.
In setting a career-high in passing yards, Prescott showed poise, toughness, and leadership in bringing them back to make it a game in the fourth quarter. Prescott was on target on several downfield throws and made the throws to keep the Cowboys ahead of the chains in their attempt at an epic comeback.
On the day, Prescott was 27 of 44 for 463 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, the Dallas Cowboys had four drops and Prescott threw away two passes, which turns a 61.4% completion percentage into a 71% adjusted completion percentage. Of his 463 yards, 329 of them came in the second half. That's 71% of his passing yards. It was certainly a tale of two halves for Dak Prescott and the offense.
As you can see from the chart above, via Next Gen Stats, Dak Prescott spread the ball around really well. He completed eight passes of 15 yards or more down the field. Pro Football Focus had Prescott at 7 of 9 for 202 yards on throws greater than 20 yards down the field. One of the incompletions was the Cooper drop-pick, so Prescott really only had one incompletion throwing further than 20 yards down the field.
In averaging 10.8 yards per attempt, Prescott is now averaging 9.4 yards per attempt on the season. Though he's had some moments that weren't great, Prescott is playing really good football for the Dallas Cowboys. Sunday against the Green Bay Packers is just further evidence that the Dallas Cowboys can put the offense on his back and he'll reward them.
Despite losing in week five with their record falling to 3-2 and into a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East, Dak Prescott continues to shine for the Dallas Cowboys. Are there things that could get better for Dak and the offense? Sure, but he's playing really good football right now and should have Cowboys fans feeling good about the rest of the season.
The Brady Report: Cowboys Defense Run Over In Primetime Loss
Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings was a tough one to take for the Dallas Cowboys. They could easily be sitting here today at 7-2 or 6-3, comfortably ahead of the Eagles for first place in the division and fighting for a first round bye in the postseason.
Instead, they are barely over .500 on the season and face de facto must win games each week from here on out. Obviously they let this one slip away, but there's a whole seven games to go before we know the fate of the 2019 Dallas Cowboys.
Let's discuss what went wrong (and right) last week during the Cowboys 28-24 loss.
- What more can we say about Dak Prescott? The Cowboys franchise quarterback was incredible yet again on Sunday night, having arguably his best game to date even in defeat. Prescott was in complete control of the offense, and showcased his mastery by bailing the Cowboys out with some big third down throws. Prescott finished with 397 yards and 3 touchdowns, and continues to force the hand of the Jones family to break out the checkbook this offseason.
- Much like Dak Prescott, I'm running out of adjectives to describe the play of wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper has been a God-send for this Cowboys offense over the last calendar year, looking like one of the best wide outs in the league week in and week out. Cooper went for 147 yards and a touchdown on 11 catches, and should have been given a chance to win the game on the team's final drive.
- Alright, that's enough praise in defeat. Let's talk about the negatives. The defensive tackles were flat-out awful. No matter who it was - Antwaun Woods, Maliek Collins, Christian Covington, Kerry Hyder - anyone who was asked to defend the run at the 1 or 3 technique position had some very low moments against the Vikings. Minnesota bullied the Cowboys upfront on both the sides of the ball, en route to over 150 yards on the ground for this Vikings offense. Dalvin Cook and the Vikings offensive line won this game, and the Cowboys interior defensive line needs to be better if they hope to actually compete against good teams.
- The defensive tackles were bad against the run Sunday night, but let's not let the linebackers off the hook. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are each immensely talented, but neither has been as consistent as a run defender as they need to be going forward. Smith looked flat-out dis-engaged at times during this one, and both linebackers were run over by interior offensive linemen getting to the second level. I've often praised Smith for his versatility and what it does to unleash this defense, but he was plain bad last week.
- Of course, we can't let the coaching staff off the hook for this loss either. Head coach Jason Garrett made several questionable fourth down calls down the stretch of the game, and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was determined to pound the ball on first down despite achieving next to no success. On the defensive end, Kris Richard's defensive backs were toasted. Chidobe Awuzie continues to look like a liability opposite Byron Jones, and the safety spot next to Xavier Woods has been a massive hole all season. And, while both Jones and Woods have been mostly good this year, neither was particularly impressive either during this loss. It was a total and complete defensive failure. This team needs to get better fast, and it all starts at the top with the coaching staff.
Loss to Minnesota Could be the Final Nail in Jason Garrett’s Coffin
The 2019 NFL season kind of seemed like a do or die situation for the Dallas Cowboys current Head Coach Jason Garrett. He is currently in the last year of his contract and his future with the Cowboys organization could be hanging in the balance, especially after the devastating loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
If Jason Garrett isn't extended beyond this season, this loss to Minnesota could possibly be where his career with the Dallas Cowboys started to circle the drain. There are still several games left on the Cowboys schedule this season, but this one loss could be the one that ends up knocking them out of the playoffs. If that's true, it's hard to believe JG will be retained.
Jerry Jones, and son Stephen, have both fully supported Jason Garrett since he became the Cowboys full-time head coach back in 2011 after serving as the interim HC for Wade Phillips in 2010. That's nearly a decade of the Jones' sticking by JG through all of the thick and thin over years. That unwavering support however could be coming to an end though.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. As a head coach Jason Garrett is slightly above average according to his all-time win/loss record. His regular-season record as the HC with the Cowboys is 82-62 (.569) and he's 2-3 (.400) in the postseason. Add all of that up and he's 84-65 (.564) in his career… slightly above average.
If I know anything about the Jones', I know getting the Dallas Cowboys back to the promised land as one of the best teams in the NFL is at the top of their list. That's why we've seen them over the years take chances on players other teams wouldn't in order to put together the most competitive roster they possibly could. Now that attention might need to be shifted from the players to the head coach.
Much like the Jones', I've supported and stood by Jason Garrett over the years. That support is dwindling though after each and every loss this season, at least on my part. Personally, I'm ready to find some new blood and move on. What the Jones' end up doing though is completely up in the air.
I want to believe the Dallas Cowboys are ready to move on from JG, but I'm not completely convinced. The fact that his current contract is about to expire after the season suggests they're at least considering parting ways, but that's all it does. I think how the rest of season turns out after the devastating loss to the Vikings will end up determining his fate.
If JG somehow sneaks the Cowboys into the playoffs it could save his job. That unfortunately is no easy thing to do with the teams they have left to play this season. Because of that, the Week 10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings could end up being the final nail in Jason Garrett's coffin.
What do you think? Is it time to part ways with Jason Garrett?
Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s Status Still Unknown for Cowboys Game
The Dallas Cowboys are headed to Detroit this Sunday for a Week 11 meeting with the Lions. As Dallas tries to get back to winning games, they may get a boost from the absence of Lions' Quarterback Matthew Stafford. After missing last week's game with a back injury, Stafford's status for this week remains unclear.
Stafford was a limited participant in practices all of Week 10 for Detroit and went into their game with the Chicago Bears as a game-time decision. He was ultimately ruled out due to fractures in his back; the first start Stafford's missed for the Lions since the 2010 season.
Jeff Driskel got the start as the Lions fell in Chicago. He is 1-5 as an NFL starter overall, going 1-4 in games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.
The Lions are now 3-5-1 on the year and at the bottom of the NFC North. They are also far behind in the Wild Card race, which leads to speculation that they could shut Stafford down for the season to preserve his long-term health. Based on Matthew's contract, the earliest Detroit can easily get out from his contract is after the 2020 season.
For his part, Matthew Stafford has said he has no plans on staying out this season as long he's medically cleared to play. He certainly would love to be active this Sunday against the Cowboys, the team of his youth, after playing his high school football in Dallas.
Even if Stafford plays, Dallas has done solidly overall against opposing quarterbacks in 2019. They are sixth in passing yards allowed per game and 14th in opponent passer rating.
Detroit is fourth in passing offense right now in the NFL but that was based on eight games with Stafford at QB. Jeff Driskel will not perform at that same level, and the Lions' rushing attack has been very weak since Kerryon Johnson went on injured reserve.
We'll see in the coming days if Matthew Stafford is at practice for Detroit and to what extent. But even if he does practice some, as he did last week, it could once again be a last-minute decision for the Lions if Stafford actually plays on Sunday.
With the Cowboys desperate for a win, they'll take all the help they can get.
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