In what was described as the "game of the week" ended up being a tale of two halves. Once again the Dallas Cowboys got off to a slow start which allowed the Green Bay Packers to jump out to a big lead. This is becoming a trend for the Cowboys and it's something that can't continue to happen. They absolutely need to figure out some way to get things going earlier in the game from here on out.
There were just too many things the Dallas Cowboys couldn't overcome yesterday afternoon. Right now they are their own worst enemy and continue to shoot themselves in the foot. There is plenty of blame to go around after the 34-24 loss at the hands of the Packers and each player may need to look in the mirror to figure out what they need to do in order to get this team back on track.
Overall it was a very disappointing performance as far as the Cowboys were concerned. But they have a chance to get things back on track next week against the New York Jets. Sadly, the Jets could give them some problems as well if they continue to play the way they played the last couple of weeks.
Before I go on a rant about yesterday's performance, I better get to this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Deciding what to put in each category for this Week 5 matchup was definitely more difficult than it has been in weeks past.
I thought, and thought, about what I wanted to go with here in the good category. But, as you can imagine, I had a hard time pinpointing something positive from the Dallas Cowboys game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon. The offense and defense had their moments, however I don't think either did enough to fit in this category. Ultimately I decided the good from yesterday's game was the Cowboys' ability to fight to the bitter end.
Despite the Packers jumping out to a huge lead over the Cowboys, Dallas continued to scratch and claw their way within striking distance in the end. It would've been really easy for the team to just roll over and die, but they didn't give up and continued to fight till the final seconds ran out on the clock. As much as I was disgusted by the way they played yesterday, I do admire the fact they didn't go down easily. To me, that's really just about the only clear positive I can put my finger on.
Unlike struggling to decide what to put in the good category, I had no problem deciding what I wanted to go with here in the bad category. For me, the Dallas Cowboys run defense was the bad for the Cowboys yesterday against the Packers. They didn't have an answer for Running Back Aaron Jones, which allowed him to pretty much single-handedly hand Dallas their second loss in a row.
Aaron Jones absolutely went off yesterday, which to be honest I was surprised to see. With WR Davante Adams out with a toe injury I thought the Cowboys defense would focus in on stopping the Packers second-best playmaker, Jones. I really thought the game plan would be to play man coverage and stack the box to shut down the running game and also to apply pressure to QB Aaron Rogers. Unfortunately that didn't happen, which resulted in a career game for the Packers RB1.
In what is starting to become a regular in this category, I thought the ugly in yesterday's matchup between the Cowboys and Packers was all of Dallas' penalties and turnovers. This is the second week in a row the turnover differential hasn't gone the Dallas Cowboys way and the consecutive time penalties have dramatically impacted the outcome of the game. This team is playing undisciplined football and that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.
As a fan we all want to sit back and blame the officiating with several calls that didn't go the Cowboys way, and for the most part we wouldn't be wrong. There were a lot of questionable calls Sunday, but they're even more boneheaded and absent-minded penalties that could've been avoided. Players need to be held accountable and I don't know if Dallas' coaching staff is doing enough right now to make sure that's being done. Something needs to be tweaked because this can't continue to happen.
What is your Good, Bad, and Ugly from the Cowboys game against the Packers?
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.
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.
Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys Turned Their Back on Prescott’s MVP Performance
The Dallas Cowboys have lost games to the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. Last Sunday Night, the Cowboys hosted the Vikings on primetime and lost in a game that went down to the wire. It felt like the toughest loss of the season. Why? Let's dive in to this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday.
Cowboys Turned Their Back on Dak Prescott's MVP Performance
Cowboys Nation was shocked with the Cowboys' play-calling late in the game and for good reason. After starting the drive backed up at their own five, Prescott completed six of seven passes for 79 yards. Then, on second down and two to go, the Cowboys ran the ball with Ezekiel Elliott for no gain. On a short yardage down, that was comprehensible. Maybe not ideal, but understandable. On third down, though, they handed it off again to Zeke.
In the game in which Dak Prescott was playing at an MVP level, with less than two minutes on the clock, the Cowboys took the ball away from him to put the game on the star running back who was having a rough day with less than 50 yards against a stout Vikings defense.
Now granted, the play on third down seemed to be an RPO concept with Jason Witten as the pass option. But why are you giving Dak one pass option when he's dominated all night? Why are you instead trusting Elliott in a game in which he failed to average three yards per carry? Prescott was unbelievably clutch, throwing for almost 400 yards, three touchdowns and a 100% conversion rate on 3rd & 7+.
This was by far the number one reason why the loss to the Vikings was so frustrating to watch. The Cowboys have a franchise quarterback. But they need to learn to trust him as such and put the games on his hands when needed. Not on their running back, regardless of how much they pay each.
Jason Garrett Must Be More Aggressive in Fourth Down Decisions
It's easy to say this in retrospective, but I believe the Cowboys didn't make the right decisions when facing fourth down last Sunday night. The first notorious decision came in the second quarter, when the Cowboys faced 4th & 4 with the ball on the Vikings' 40 yard-line. Being behind 14-0, they decided to punt.
It turned out fine for the Cowboys in the end, tying the game 14-14 later in the second. But the analytics trend in the NFL really has evidence to back up the fact that Dallas should've gone for it in such a critical spot.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys decided to kick the field goal being on their opponents' five. Down 21-28, Brett Maher went out to kick the field goal, which put the Cowboys behind by four points instead of seven. They still needed a touchdown to take the lead with ten minutes left on the game.
Kevin Brady took a deeper look at the Cowboys' win probabilities on this article for Inside The Star.
was working on a post for @InsideTheStarDC on this last night. here's the estimated WP for each scenario on that fourth and goal.
The Baltimore Ravens are taking the league by storm using analytics and making the right decisions in fourth down. Yet, some teams in the NFL are not catching up. The Cowboys are one of those teams.
Cowboys Defense Exposed Again
The main reason the Cowboys lost to the Vikings was coaching and that's clear. But defense earned the second place. Kirk Cousins played a good game versus Rod Marinelli's unit, despite the box score suggesting otherwise. He made a couple of impressive throws at AT&T Stadium while Kyle Rudolph finished night with two touchdown catches and a two point conversion.
Dalvin Cook, one of the toughest offensive weapons to face in this league totaled 183 yards last weekend. It's not easy to face Cook and limit him and the Cowboys failed to do so. The linebackers had a very rough day overall and there wasn't a single performance to point out as a positive.
Slow Starts Won't Stop
Every week. Every week we talk about how this Cowboys team started slow against any opponent. In six games, they haven't scored a TD in the first quarter. Not even at the beginning of the season, when they went 3-0 against poor teams did they start a game on the right foot. Who to blame? Both players and coaches, but I'd lean toward coaching first.
Bottom line, there's a huge problem with the way this football team prepares for gameday and the Cowboys need to figure it out fast. Their backs are against the wall and playing from behind every game costs games. At 5-4 and headed toward tough opponents in the second half of the season, it's time to put an end to such starts.
Dallas Cowboys1 day ago
QB Colin Kaepernick to Hold Workout, Cowboys Showing an Interest
Player News2 weeks ago
Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis To Finally Get The Playing Time He Deserves
Game Notes3 days ago
Inexcusable Playcalling in Final Two Minutes Leads to Cowboys Loss
Star Blog1 week ago
Dez Bryant Readies Return, Should Cowboys Throw Up the “X?”
Star Blog2 weeks ago
If Jamal Adams was Plan A for Cowboys, Should Eric Berry be Plan B?
Dallas Cowboys2 weeks ago
Looking Ahead to Dallas Cowboys’ 4 Toughest Remaining Games
Dallas Cowboys1 week ago
Dallas Cowboys Pass Rushing Trio Excellent Against Single Blocker
Game Notes6 days ago
Injury Update: Cowboys Should be at Full Strength Against Vikings