The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants game was everything that I expected. I knew we would see a hard-fought battle by both ball clubs and that the outcome would ultimately be determined in the final few plays.
That just seems to be the way things go when these two teams face off against one another. Unfortunately, things just didn't go the Cowboys way this time.
In all honesty, I think the Cowboys should have probably won this game, and that has nothing to do with how things ended with Terrance Williams in the final seconds of the game.
A lot of people will lay the blame on what Williams did at the end of the game, but the truth is the Cowboys offense had several opportunities to get in the end zone instead of having to settle for field goals.
It isn't really fair to lay the blame on one individual player when you take into account that this is a team sport. The fact of the matter is the Cowboys had their opportunities they were just unable to capitalize when it mattered the most.
Having said all of that, let's take a look at who's stock is up and who's is down after the loss to the New York Giants.
Who stock is up?
The Dallas Cowboys have a tremendous weapon in Dan Bailey. He was the sole reason why the Cowboys were in a position to win the game at the end.
How many teams are in the league would love to have a kicker like Bailey?
Someone they can send out on the field to attempt a 56 yard field goal and have the faith that it is pretty much a guarantee that he will make it.
That is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys have in Dan Bailey and the sole reason why they had a chance at the end if there would have been even a second left on the clock.
When it comes to making clutch plays in key situations, it seems that's when offensive coordinator Scott Linehan dials up a play that puts Cole Beasley a best position to convert.
Beasley is a mismatch problem for just about any defensive back in the NFL that has the unfortunate task of covering him out of the slot. His quickness and route running ability makes him virtually unrecoverable, which makes him the quarterback's best friend.
I previously wrote an article about who benefits most with Dak Prescott at QB,in which I explained why Cole Beasley is the answer.
Beasley made some key third-down conversions and should of had a walk-in touchdown if not for an overthrow pass by Dak Prescott. I expect more of the same from Beasley for the rest of the 2016 season.
Dak Prescott did everything in his power to help the Dallas Cowboys come away with a victory Sunday afternoon against the New York Giants.
He was able to put together several long clock eating drives against the Giants defense, but was unable to finish them off with a touchdown.
He showed the poise in the pocket of a veteran QB and was able to work through his progressions finding the open receiver.
He did have a few overthrown passes, but was pretty accurate for the majority of the night.
Prescott seems to be the real deal and didn't make any rookie mistakes. That's good news for the Dallas Cowboys organization. He gives them a chance to win ball games and could possibly be the future franchise quarterback once Tony Romo calls it quits.
Who stock is down?
Was it just me or was anyone else confused by the way Dez Bryant was used in this ballgame?
I would've thought that the coaching staff would have gotten Bryant involved early with may be a few short passes to help set the tone for the offense, but that didn't happen.
He was only targeted a handful of times and those were mostly deep passes that put him in a jump ball situation. Normally, he's able to make those contested catches, but unfortunately things didn't go his way against the Giants.
That's why Bryant's stock is down. I don't know if it's that he still a little rusty or the fact the coaching staff failed to put him in more favorable situations.
It is something that is definitely worth paying attention to as the season progresses.
Terrance Williams makes this list because the only time he really showed up in the game was the reason why a lot of Cowboys fans were left screaming at their television yesterday.
Mistakes happen in the NFL, but unfortunately Williams' mistake might have cost the Cowboys a win yesterday in the final seconds of the game against the Giants.
It looked as if Williams had enough room to make it to the sideline and stop the clock, thus giving Dan Bailey the opportunity to kick another 50+ field goal. For some reason or another he thought he had enough time to get up the field and gain a little bit more yards, but unfortunately that just wasn't the case.
Who knows what was running through his head? He made a split-second decision and unfortunately it was just the wrong one.
It was fairly obvious that the New York Giants were going to do their best to take Ezekiel Elliott out of the game, but I was really surprised that they would be so effective.
It's not entirely Elliott's fault, but I think his stock is down slightly more due to the fact that Alfred Morris looked like the better of the two running backs Sunday afternoon.
Honestly, I think Scott Linehan could've put Elliott in better situations to showcase his skill set, but that didn't happen, thus Elliott's stock falling a little bit.
Hopefully, things will come together and we will see improvement for the rest of the 2016 season.
Do you agree or disagree with the Dallas Cowboys players on this list?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.
Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip
Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.
After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.
DallasCowboys linebacker @VanderEsch38 has been added to the 2019 Pro Bowl Roster. 🐺 Congratulations, rookie! → https://t.co/AYqEUy2tZx
The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.
Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.
But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.
Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.
The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.
Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program
Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.
After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.
Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire
While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.
It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.
Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.
That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.
But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.
Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.
For Cowboys to Beat the Rams, Dak Prescott must Lead the Way
In the NFL wins and losses often come down to quarterback play. That isn't to say that if a team wins, it was all because of the quarterback and inversely, if a team loses that it was all on the quarterback. Teams win or lose games. Generally speaking, however, the quarterback has the highest amount of influence on the outcome of an NFL game. This will be no different for the Dallas Cowboys this Saturday when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in the LA Coliseum. For America's Team to make their first trip to the NFC Championship Game since 1996, Dak Prescott has to have a good game.
This looks to be a good matchup for the Dallas Cowboys offense, which should allow Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to take advantage in certain areas.
A few Rams Passing Game Notes
- The Los Angeles Rams were middle of the pack against the pass this season, allowing the 14th fewest passing yards in the league this season.
- The Rams allowed 7.7 yards per attempt. Dak Prescott is averaging 7.6 yards per attempt since week 10 of the season.
- The Rams allowed the eighth most passing touchdowns in the NFL this season. They and the New Orleans Saints are the only teams in the top 10 of passing touchdowns allowed in the playoffs this season.
- The Rams were 15th in the NFL in sacks, with 41, but Aaron Donald accounted for half of that with 20.5 sacks on the season. No other player had more than five sacks.
- They were third in the NFL in interceptions, collecting 18.
- The Rams allowed the ninth highest yards per completion on the season at 11.8. So on average, every completion went for a first down.
Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the playoffs at the moment. Over the last nine games, he's averaging 272 passing yards, two total touchdowns, was only intercepted four times, and was sacked on average 3.2 times per game.
On Saturday night, we saw Scott Linehan put the ball in his hands on a couple designed runs that nearly scored touchdowns. It was an excellent addition to the offense that could help fix the Cowboys red zone woes. Getting Dak Prescott running on some designed runs or quarterback draws could help slow down Aaron Donald and the pass rush.
The Cowboys needed every bit of Dak Prescott magic to overcome a stingy Seattle Seahawks defense in their Wild Card win and they'll need him to step up again this week against the Rams. Every team is going to attempt to take away the running game to make Dak beat you and as he continues to mature, he's getting more and more comfortable doing that. He's comfortable with the big stage and the big moments.
Dak Prescott Since 2016, including playoffs * 15 game-winning drives (Most in NFL) * 13 primetime QB wins (Most in NFL) * 19 rush TD (Most in NFL by QB) #DallasCowboys @dak
No Quarterback in the NFL has more game winning drives, rushing touchdowns, or wins in primetime than Dak Prescott. When we talk about Dak Prescott, we talk a lot about the things that he can't do as a passer and deservedly so, he still has some growing to do in that area, but in the things that you can't objectively quantify -- mental toughness, resiliency, clutchness, will, determination -- Dak is one of the best in the NFL. He's as mentally tough as they come in the NFL and he doesn't let the spotlight or the game situation phase him. He has that stuff that's hard to put your finger on.
The Dallas Cowboys will need more of that on Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Rams can score and can score in bunches and if the Cowboys defense starts sluggish or has an off night, they'll need Dak Prescott to keep them in the game. Even if the defense has a good game, Dak still has to come through in the passing game and on the ground to give the Cowboys a chance to pull off the upset.
The Dallas Cowboys are going to try to run the ball against the Rams on Saturday. That's their identity; run the ball, control the clock, and be efficient in the passing game. Prescott, either with his legs or with his arm will have to make some plays to extend drives and keep the Rams offense on the sideline. He'll need to be sharp in the red zone to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. Settling for field goals against the Rams is how the Cowboys get beat.
This matchup with the Rams looks to set up nicely for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, yet how things look on paper doesn't mean much when the lights go on and the whistle blows. It's a big stage and it's another win-or-go-home game for the Cowboys (like every game has been over the last nine weeks). In a big game, you need big time players, and the Cowboys have one in quarterback Dak Prescott.
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