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Dallas Cowboys Game Notes: Offense Absent Yet Again In Buffalo

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys Offense Absent Yet Again In Loss To Buffalo Bills

The day on the calendar was different, but somehow yesterday felt like the same 'ol song and dance from the 2015 Dallas Cowboys.

After it was all said and done the scoreboard gave the Buffalo Bills the victory by a margin of 16-6, but it felt like 100-0.

The reason it felt like a hundred point shutout was because the offense of the Dallas Cowboys, shockingly, didn't show up. Sure there were a few plays that perked our eyebrows and grabbed our attention, but they didn't show up on the scoreboard and that's where it matters most.

Offensive issues are no stranger to this team so it's not like we were caught completely off guard. We've, sadly, come to expect very little from that side of the ball and they totally delivered on that expectation.

Come with me down Disgusting Avenue as we break down yesterday's bleak offensive performance.

Kellen Moore Needed To Do More

The Cowboys turned to the services of Kellen Moore for the first time during last week's loss at home against the New York Jets. Kellen came in and actually threw a touchdown to Dez Bryant, but he also threw three interceptions.

Moore has a little bit of razzle-dazzle to him that can be exciting to watch... either that or we've all just become so numb with quarterback pain after watching Matt Cassel for so long. Either way Moore came out in Buffalo as the starter and wasn't afraid to throw the ball.

Altogether Kellen threw 31 passes while completing a shockingly low 13 of them for 186 yards. There were no touchdowns, but there was an interception (although it bounced off of the hands of Brice Butler so not 100% Kellen's fault).

To be totally fair to Kellen you have to consider that Dez Bryant wasn't out there, so that changes a lot of things. While he didn't set the world, or the box score, on fire Kellen was unafraid to throw downfield. I like that quality about him.

Kellen also brought to life a certain wide receiver that Cowboys Nation has been pounding the table to see - Brice Butler.

Moore has done enough to earn some serious backup quarterback consideration in my eyes. I am in no way saying that this guy is the future of the Dallas Cowboys, but with the proper time and effort put into him he can be serviceable.

Overall Grade: C+

The Whole 99 Yards

If you read my Bold Predictions for the Bills game then you know that I called for Darren McFadden to have over 100 yards rushing. I was two yards shy!

Run DMC finished with 99 yards on the day off of 19 attempts, giving him a 5.2 yards per carry average.

I've said it before and I will say it again - Darren McFadden has been the most consistent piece of the 2015 Dallas Cowboys Offense.

This guy is money in the bank at this point. You can say it's because of his own natural talent or give all the credit to his Offensive Line (which does feature three Pro Bowlers). At the end of the day Darren McFadden has been worth the move made to get him in every way.

What's particularly impressive about McFadden's accomplishments is that he's doing so in the face of extreme predictability. He had 5.2 yards per carry with Kellen Moore as his quarterback! Everyone out there knows he's getting the ball and, for whatever reason, he can't be stopped.

Overall Grade: B+

The Butler Did It

I alluded to Brice Butler earlier, but it's time to unveil something truly incredible about him concerning yesterday's game.

Brice Butler led the Dallas Cowboys in receiving yards!

In my Bold Predictions I also called for Brice scoring on a pass of over 30 yards. He did have a 34 yard reception so I wasn't too far off. I'll take partial credit.

You know by now that Kellen Moore didn't light the Bills up, so it's not like the receivers did either. The biggest positive was Brice's performance.

Terrance Williams tied Butler in receptions (4) and did go for 62 yards himself; however, it is becoming more and more apparent that Brice Butler is a better receiver than him and this game may have been the exclamation point on that.

Cole Beasley had a nice 25 yard reception that saved a one catch for four yards performance, and James Hanna even caught a pass!

The biggest pass was caught by Jason Witten. With his one catch for 12 yards, Witten caught a pass in his 118th consecutive game... giving him the longest streak in Dallas Cowboys History (he was previously tied with Michael Irvin at 117).

Jason Witten has had some personal highlights in a season that has been largely disappointing for the offense around him, so at least we're able to celebrate something.

Overall Grade: B-

RJ Ochoa on Fancred

What did you think of the Dallas Cowboys Offense on Sunday? Let me know! Comment below, Email me at, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Game Notes: Offense Absent Yet Again In Buffalo" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

  • George Johnson

    Kellen Moore's 13 for 31 stats and 186 yards were not very good for a few reasons other than K Moore. There were three completions that were called back for penalties. There were two dropped passes. Kellen Moore threw the ball away about two or three times because of pressure or no one was open. Throwing the ball away can be a good play. There were two passes where the receiver went one way and the pass the other, obviously a miscommunication that I would say was probably the receiver's fault but the coaches will sort this out. Therefore K Moore could have easily been 18 or 20 for 31 and over 200 yards. He had one interception and no sacks. The biggest failure in K Moore's performance was he did not get a touchdown. He came close with a fade in the end zone where the receiver came down out of bounce and also there was another pass that would have set up a possible touchdown but the receiver who had beat the defender went inside and Kellen Moore threw outside. Considering it was K Moore's first start, that the weather conditions were bad, I believe K Moore did okay. He came close to having a good game and winning the game. As Kellen Moore said after the game there are not excuses, they should have scored more points. I think K Moore improved his game a little from the NY Jets game of which they also came close to having a good game and winning the game. K Moore should improve some more against the Redskins.

  • Zac Fields

    All of those things are part of the game of football. You can't expect your receivers will catch 100% of the balls, run the right routes 100% of the time, etc.

    I expect Moore to be better against a Redskins team with nothing left to play for since they've already clinched the playoffs. His ceiling is still very low.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report

Jess Haynie



Cowboys, Redskins Week 7 Injury Report
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Though it's still early in the 2018 season, the lead in the NFC East is up for grabs when the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins meet this Sunday. Both teams would like their full roster available for the game, but the Week 7 injury reports indicate that won't be the case.

Here are the players either confirmed to be out of action tomorrow or are otherwise listed by Dallas and Washington:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - OUT
  • CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle) - Questionable

The Cowboys are getting healthier, with Sean Lee finally off the injury report and set to return to action. Not only will Dallas get their elite linebacker back, but it means a deeper rotation while the team remains without Joe Thomas.

Tavon Austin elected to skip season-ending surgery on his injured groin, but his should be out a few weeks. That will put Cole Beasley on punt returns and perhaps create more offensive opportunities for Deonte Thompson and Brice Butler.

Awuzie remains limited in practice but has played the last few weeks despite the ankle injury. There is no reason to think he won't suit up in Washington.

Washington Redskins

  • WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee) - Doubtful
  • S Troy Apke (hamstring) - Doubtful
  • RB Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder) - Questionable
  • RB Chris Thompson (rib, knee) - Questionable
  • G Shawn Lauvao (calf) - Questionable
  • CB Quinton Dunbar (shin) - Questionable
  • CB Danny Johnson (forearm) - Questionable

It's a rough time for Washington's offensive weapons. They will definitely be without slot receiver Jamison Crowder and likely starter Paul Richardson, who current lead all WRs in receptions. Josh Doctson will put into a major role, as will veteran Brian Quick off the bench.

Peterson and Thompson both practiced this week and should play, but have nagging injuries that could slow them down. Washington is already missing Rob Kelley and rookie Derrius Guice, who are both on injured reserve.

Starting left guard Shawn Lauvao is also nursing a lower leg injury, but practiced in a limited capacity all week. His backup is undrafted rookie Casey Dunn out of Auburn.

In the defensive backfield, starting CB Quinton Dunbar was a Friday addition to the injury report with a shin injury. He did practice with it, though, so will likely play. Backup safety Troy Apke is doubtful with a hamstring issue.

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Game Notes

Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

Sean Martin



Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. Not only do you already know this, but they do as well, needing to build off a 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 6 at AT&T Stadium to claim first place in the NFC East at the Washington Redskins.

Although the Cowboys were given Monday and Tuesday off, they are focused on addressing one alarming reason why the team has struggled so much on the road -- particularly on offense.

Running Back Ezekiel Elliott pointed out the Cowboys lack of communication in early season losses at Carolina, Seattle, and Houston. "Seeing the same thing," was the issue Elliott addressed when discussing the Cowboys knowing their assignments in hostile territory.

Yesterday, Quarterback Dak Prescott told the media of a meeting between players and coaches that addressed this specifically.

David Moore on Twitter

Dak Prescott said players & coaches held a meeting before today's practice to "address the elephant in the room," which is poor communication among the offense on the road. "I know we'll take a lot from that conversation," The QB said.

Unlike Prescott's remarks about new "wrinkles" in the Cowboys offense prior to a 26-24 home win over the Lions, this has a tangible sign of progress for an offense that made scoring 40 on the Jaguars look impossibly easy. The Cowboys season high in total yards remains the 414 amassed against Detroit, after which Prescott confessed that he simply tells the media "things" that aren't necessarily true.

The Cowboys didn't necessarily do anything new against the Lions, but they most assuredly will this week against the Redskins, at least by way of signaling and remaining in sync on offense.

Prescott and Elliott's leadership is on full display here, and their on-field impact can be attributed as closely to the Cowboys successes or failures as any duo in the NFL.

Missing is a similar impact from Center Travis Frederick, who remains sidelined as he deals with GSB.

Joe Looney's play at center has been good enough to pave the way for Elliott's 586 rushing yards so far, second to Todd Gurley at 623 yards, but his ability to call checks for the offense is understandably much more limited.

Looney deserves all the credit in the world for his strong play in place of Frederick. The Cowboys have never asked for him to be anything he isn't, a reliable depth option that earned a second contract and with it the starting center job for the time being in Dallas.

He has the full support of his teammates, Frederick included. All of this is lovely to put down in writing until Looney and the Cowboys have been forced to step on the field with the crowd against them and attempt to sustain a drive, something Frederick will unfortunately not be a part of for a long while.

If the Cowboys offense isn't going to unveil new wrinkles in the scheme, there is one wrinkle worth mentioning that's new to the team's communication on offense this season. With Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan up in the box, his play calls are sent down to first-year Quarterback Coach Kellen Moore, who has been in the ear of Prescott ever since playing with him from 2016-17.

Sure, these are things that could've been addressed before the Cowboys managed only eight points in week one, turned the ball over three times in week three, or punted away their best chance at victory in week five. The best teams in the league likely already have these things down to routine, and few would consider the Cowboys anywhere near the upper echelon of the NFL.

Following sixty minutes of football at a division rival they've won four in a row against, with an even more impressive five game win streak at the Redskins, the Cowboys could control their own path atop the NFC East.

That feels truly incredible for such a young team faced with a steep learning curve early in the season, adjusting to it on the fly as they prepare to leave everything on the field before a bye week.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Focused on Improved Communication to Solve Road Woes at Redskins" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Game Notes

#WASvsDAL: Why This Game Holds Increased Importance

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Pass Rush Better than They're Given Credit For
James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

It feels incredibly cliche to call the week 7 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins a "must win." Especially for someone like me who values statistics, logic, and analytics in sports.

But when the analytics agree with the narratives, those narratives do tend to get my attention. And this week that would appear to be the case.

According to Brian Burke of ESPN, the Cowboys's week 7 game has the highest playoff probability leverage in the entire NFC, and is second to only the Houston Texans' big game with Jacksonville around the entire league.

Brian Burke on Twitter

Playoff leverage for week 7. DAL, WAS, PHI, CAR, MIN, CHI with a lot on the line in the NFC. HOU, CIN, and JAX in the AFC.

What does this mean? Well playoff probability leverage is pretty intuitive. Basically it is the difference between a win this week and a loss this week in terms of probability to make the playoffs.

For the Cowboys that number is at 27%, with a win over Washington catapulting their playoff probability over 50%. On the other hand, a loss would take a big hit to their playoff hopes just 7 games into the NFL season.

As you might expect, this game means a lot to the Redskins' playoff probability as well. Their playoff leverage this week is at 14%, but a win would mean "more" to Dallas than Washington based on the probabilities.

Fellow NFC East foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, also have a lot to gain/lose this Sunday, with their leverage sitting at 22%. According to Burke's model, the Eagles and Cowboys have the best chances of making the playoffs at this point, but if each team wins Sunday the Eagles will still have a higher percentage.

Of course a lot can and will change week to week, despite what the metrics say. The Cowboys still have two games remaining with the NFC East favorite Eagles this year, and will get another crack at Washington at home later in the season. Plus the Cowboys have a few NFC wild card and playoff contenders remaining on their schedule, such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. (Yes, the 2-4 Falcons are very much alive in this crazy conference).

Still, the difference between 4-3 (2-0 in the division) and 3-4 (1-1 in the division) is huge, as is shown by Brian Burke's playoff probability leverage metric.

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