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Dak Prescott’s RPO-Decision Not To Blame For Cowboys Loss

Kevin Brady

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AP Photo/Joe Mahoney

With the Dallas Cowboys down four and looking to score what they hoped would be a game winning touchdown, they faced a second down and one deep inside Packers territory.

The Cowboys had gotten here by punching the Packers in the mouth. Ezekiel Elliott looked like his 2016 self on this drive, running with a purpose over and through Packers' defenders. The offensive line was moving people, and seemed to finally be gelling.

After a nine yard first down play the Cowboys lined up in the gun for second and one. Everyone in the building expected Dallas to continue pounding the rock with Zeke and take more time away from a potential Aaron Rodgers comeback.

Instead, they decided to run a run-pass option in which Dak Prescott read the defense and threw an incomplete pass to Dez Bryant in the end zone. The Cowboys scored the very next play, but this incompletion proved costly in terms of time remaining for the Packers offense.

The thing is, Prescott made the exact right read when throwing the football.

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The Packers linebackers all bite on the play fake, as do both of their safeties. Seeing that the free safety has his eyes in the backfield, Dak immediately attacks the secondary and finds Dez Bryant in a one-on-one situation.

This is exactly how the Cowboys draw this play up. If you want to take away Elliott and this powerful run game, then we will exploit man coverage with our best receiver. Had their been five minutes left instead of just one, no one would be saying a thing.

With all of that said, I do think it is fair to criticize both Prescott and the coaching staff here. Why not just run the ball once again, chewing more clock and most likely picking up a first down?

At the same time, I don't subscribe to all of the outrage which has been directed Dak's way due to this incompletion.

On second and one, knowing you have three downs to get one yard, taking a chance at a touchdown to Dez Bryant is never really a bad idea. Plus, no matter how poor your defense has looked this season, the blame must be placed on that defense if they can't hold an offense out of the end zone with just a minute and change left in the game.

This loss is not on Dak Prescott by any means. And while he probably wants this one back, I don't believe we should be killing him for it the way that the internet is today.



Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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12 Comments
  • William Ballou

    You’re an idiot. How many times does Rodgers have to beat us in the last second for you to understand that that in-completion cost us the game? Instead of no timeouts and way less than a minute to play or one time out and way less than 30 seconds left to play, this one pass gave Rodgers 1:13 and a timeout to score. Duh! Dak read it correctly. Duh! The play should’ve never been called. Only a football moron throws a pass in that situation.

  • Wayne Young

    I didn’t agree with the call to throw it in that situation. They should have just handed the ball off to chew up more time. With that being said, they had another opportunity to kill more time off the clock with the next play. Nobody can fault Dak for scoring the touchdown afterwards, but even as he was running towards the end zone after picking up the first down, I found myself yelling for him to just slide. Anybody remember Westbrook for the Eagles doing that to us? I still do and I was hoping for Dak to do the same. It would have forced Green Bay to use their last time out and with the way we were running it down their throats there’s no way they would’ve kept Zeke out of the end zone with at least one or two more runs, which would have easily put the clock under a minute. That’s my take on it at least. Again, hard to place any blame for scoring a touchdown. That defense though…… PLEASE let Sean Lee come back. He’s only one guy, but our defense is a shell of itself when he’s not out there. If there’s blame to be given, it’s on that side of the ball.

  • Charles

    Very poor decision!! Everyone is quick to give Dak a pass in this situation whereas they would be ripping Tony a new one, but Tony would have been smart enough to not throw the ball in this situation. Dak also could have bled more time off the clock snapping the ball with 1 second on the play clock instead of 10 plus seconds. Reminds of the game where Romo beat the Giants because Eli was dumb enough to throw the ball in the red zone when he shouldn’t have.

  • XaqFields

    It’s not Prescott’s decision to throw that hurt the team, but rather the play call that led to it. In that situation against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, you are not looking to score with more than a minute left on the clock. No play should have been called at that time with the intention of scoring.

    Same with the next play that resulted in a score. Prescott did the right thing — it was just a bad play call.

    In that situation, you line up in the I-Formation and you call a run between the tackles. You’re not likely to score on that play, so the Packers burn a timeout to keep more time from coming off the clock. For the next play, you do the exact same thing. I-Formation, run Zeke between the tackles. Again, you’re not likely to get the score but you might get the first down. Heck, your instructions to Zeke should be “get the first down on this play but don’t take it all the way into the end zone.”

    At that point you have FOUR tries to punch it in, and the Packers can do nothing to stop the clock. You’ve got two time outs you can use to control the clock to make sure you don’t run out of time.

    It was just a horrifically mismanaged series. The players did nothing wrong. It was Linehan/Garrett not using smart strategy there.

  • Fatfan

    Linehan is NOT strategically minded…at all. The offense works because the scouts, Garrett, and management has gotten high caliber players. Consider how poorly Linehan has adjusted the offense after losing Free, and Leay, whom we knew we would be losing. However, it was because of the D that we lost, no the offense.

  • Ddenney1

    DEFENSE is the problem and HAS BEEN for 20 YEARS!!!

  • Dave

    Kevin, I’m not going to call you an idiot but you need to open your mind to the BIG picture here. Linehan should not have called the play. Prescott should have ignored the play called by Linehan. There was over a minute left in the game. 2nd and one. RUN THE BALL! RUN THE CLOCK! Hell, Prescott should have taken a knee on the three instead of scoring. Dallas would have had three downs to score a touchdown.
    RUN THE CLOCK! Don’t give the ball back to Green Bay. I don’t blame the defense. We all know what Green Bay can do on offense.

  • dennisg40

    This is the second year of a team of Cowboys with lots of rookies and we expect them to know everything. People calling the plays decide what they are going to do next. If anyone has noticed the whole NFL is discombobulated this year too with a team like Kansas City leading the pack and other long shot teams running high on the hog. Look at the Patriots they are having a hard time and then Hitler Jones decides to decide who plays next depending on the flag. He picked all the teams for twenty years past and coaches and look what a mess he made out of them. Now that he rigged it up to get in the Hall of fame he thinks he is GOD ALMIGHTY.

  • Gbear

    It’s called “situational football” for a reason. Coaches are responsible to tell the QB not to pass regardless of the defensive look when time is a factor. If Dak disobeyed that, then there’s your story, if it was left up to him completely, they should fire garrett.

  • will_50

    Really, in reality, most everyone is incorrect in their take on the game’s final minutes. You really can’t blame Dak for this loss, you simply can’t. If there is any fault to be placed, place it where it truly belongs, on that sorry porous defense. no way in hell should the Packers been able to come back to win that game and I don’t care if it was Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady at QB, no defense should be that porous as to allow a QB to throw and complete passing to wide open WR’s.

    The Cowboys defense is the one piece that will keep them from winning the East or even get to the playoffs. That defense is atrocious and they should be ashamed of themselves to let all that great play/performance go wasted that Dak put on! Dak is the one reason that Dallas was in the game to have a chance to win and you want to blame him…asinine and totally bogus.

    You score when you can, cause nothing says that their won’t be an ill timed fumble, sack or any turnover during those critical moments at the end. What if the ball was turned over while trying to kill extra seconds off the clock and the Boys didn’t score at all, what then! Dak was put in a no win situation, especially with all the whining so called football experts who call themselves fans of the Cowboys!

  • Gbear

    Had Dak slid, it is more than likely the D would’ve been instructed to let them score on the next play. A little more time off sure but plenty of mistakes were made and many things could’ve been done better. Garrett is a horrible game manager. We’ll never advance with him, you all should know that by now. I feel sorry for the long suffering fans who’ve had to put up with the Jerry Jones circus all these years. I feel sorry for the players because they have a cheerleader instead of a head coach.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Mistakes were made throughout the game. Dak getting into the end zone was not one of them. Seriously, if Zeke had not reached out on 4th down it would have been over. The overhead camera saved Dallas for another play. If T-Will hadn’t muffed the pass, then woulda-coulda-shoulda. If Jourdan Lewis would have turned a little sooner, then Davonte Adams might have had another contested pass in the end zone. If just one of the LBs had spied on Rodgers, then when Irving missed the tackle, a LB might have been there to tackle him, instead of watching Aaron high-stepping down the sidelines. If for all of that, we stopped Rodgers, then Crosby would have kicked a field goal and we would have gone to OT. Then what???….who won the flip of the coin?

Star Blog

Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Star Blog

Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" 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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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" 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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