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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Packers

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Packers

The Dallas Cowboys unfortunately let yet another close game slip through their fingers in the final minutes yesterday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers. They just left too much time on the clock that allowed Aaron Rogers to lead his offense down the field for the go-ahead touchdown and secure the 35-31 Packers victory.

This was back to back weeks where the Cowboys looked to have the game secured, but failed to do enough to come away with the victory in the end. These are close games that they would've won a year ago, but have failed to do so so far this season. There is plenty of blame to go around, but in the end they win and lose as a team.

Losing to the Packers seems to hurt a little bit more for some reason. Maybe it's all of the controversial calls that have happened to the Cowboys in the past when these two teams meet or something else. But, one thing is for sure. The Packers seem to come out on top more times than not.

Before I get too far off track, let's jump into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Green Bay Packers. As always, please feel free to provide your own thoughts and opinions in the comment section at the end of the article.

QB Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

The Good

When the Dallas Cowboys lose, the blame typically lands on the shoulders of their starting quarterback. But, for all the criticism Dak Prescott has received this season, he had a fantastic performance against the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon.

That is why I think he is the good for this week.

Prescott accounted for four total touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers yesterday afternoon. He threw two TDs to Cole Beasley and another to Dez Bryant. He also rushed for a TD to put the Cowboys ahead with a little over a minute left in the game. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

I honestly believe Prescott was the better of the two QBs on the field yesterday afternoon, even though Aaron Rodgers got the victory.

Prescott threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, and also accounted for 37 yards and a TD on the ground. It should've been enough to win the game, but the Cowboys defense continues to struggle.

Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

The Bad

It would've been way too easy to go with the Cowboys defense this week for the bad, but I think they actually did enough to win this game. Yes, you may think I'm crazy, but they actually didn't play too terribly bad. That is why I think Terrance Williams' tipped ball that resulted in an interception return for a touchdown for the Packers defense is the bad for this week.

We hear it preached by every coach around the NFL that whoever wins the turnover battle typically wins the game. Well, that's true for the Dallas Cowboys in back to back weeks, because turnovers likely resulted in them losing two close games they probably should've won.

Last week it was the muffed punt by Ryan Switzer, and this week it is Terrance Williams' inability to catch the ball with his hands.

I honestly believe if those two plays don't happen, the Dallas Cowboys end up winning both games. And yes, I do believe that one single play can have that much of an impact on the outcome of any game.

Anthony Brown

Dallas Cowboys CB Anthony Brown

The Ugly

The ugly for the Cowboys vs Packers for me was Anthony Brown's performance. While watching the game, I began to notice that whenever Aaron Rodgers needed a big play in the game, he tended to look Anthony Brown's direction. Unfortunately, it usually paid off.

I don't know what the deal is, but to me it looks as if Anthony Brown has regressed a little bit in his second year with the Dallas Cowboys.

His technique hasn't quite been as good as it was a season ago and he's just not playing with the confidence he showed last year. I think teams have noticed that as well, which is why he has been targeted more often.

The Cowboys coaching staff and Anthony Brown really need to analyze things during the bye week to see what the problem is. I don't know if he should lose his starting job just yet, but a healthy Chidobe Awuzie might be a better option if he can remain healthy.

What is your Good, Bad, and Ugly for the Cowboys against the Packers?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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29 Comments
  • Daniel Bollman

    Could
    n’t get a consistent pass rush, they need a true speed rusher to run down qbs like Rodgers. They had 4 sacks, but they don’t get pressure on most passes.That’s why teams keep converting on third down.
    Can’t stop the run, even though GB had a terrible o-line. Another ugly thing was the call on Mayowa after the sack by Lawrence. That was either a terrible call or just stupid play by 93

    • Brian Martin

      Daniel, I agree with everything you said. Lawrence has been pretty dominant, but wasn’t really as effective against the Packers. And I think the Mayowa call was a little of both…
      a terrible call by the referees and a stupid play by 93. There was no need to lead with his helmet there.

  • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

    I was really impressed with Prescott in this game. I’ve seen flashes of it before but not until yesterday has he been so present the whole game, not this season. You could say he was against NYG but I’m placing less and less on that entire game after seeing just how badly the Giants are playing since then.

    One thing I’m seeing consistently with Prescott this season is his accuracy on deep balls. I think that may be his weakest ability right now. Either that or he and his wide outs are not on the same page, still. He overthrew Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley when both were open 30+ yards downfield, and under threw Williams deep. But he’s made similar throws to Brice Butler that were on target.

    But overall, good game by Dak. Should’ve been a W.

    • Brian Martin

      I completely agree about Prescott. I think we’ve only seen flashes so far because of the caliber of CBs he’s had to face thus far this season. I think he’s kind of hit and miss on his deep passes because of where he is when he throws them. I may be wrong, but I think the missed deep passes to Bryant and Beasley were thrown from the pocket, but the ones to Butler have been outside of the pocket.

      I would really like to see him have more opportunities to throw the ball outside of the pocket, where he will also be a threat with his legs. I think that is where he is at his best, but unfortunately he’s been asked to throw inside the pocket more this season. I’m really hoping Linehan will realize this and move the pocket more for Prescott once they return from their bye week.

  • Hector Espindola

    We badly need back Sean Lee and accept the growing pains of our DB’s. Don´t know if Irving´s return is enough, but with this defense no lead can last…

    • Brian Martin

      Sean Lee in the lineup would definitely make the defense a little bit better, but I don’t know if it would have changed the outcome of the last two games for the Cowboys. And unfortunately, we as a society have grown accustomed to instant gratification. A lot of Cowboys fans have failed to realize that this defense will take some time and there will be some bumps and bruises along the way. It’s still a work in progress.

      • Hector Espindola

        You are right and Lee wont be there that long with 31 years old and all his injuries. Hope in the meantime, Smith and/or Hitchens will fill his shoes. I would not discard the team drafts another LB.

        • Brian Martin

          The Dallas Cowboys are definitely going to have to draft a LB next year. Sean Lee isn’t getting any younger and Smith still needs more time to recuperate/develop. And unfortunately, Anthony Hitchens is a FA after the season. It wouldn’t surprise me if they draft one in the first few rounds.

  • Marvin Ferrell

    I think we are forgetting that after all this LInehan decided to pass the ball on 3rd down the drive before Rogers killed us. That was one of the worst play calls I’ve seen in terms of managing the game clock. He should have run the ball there. That would have left rogers with significantly less time to drive down the field and would have more likely than not resulted in the game going to at least OT. I think Scott is great and is my favorite offensive mind aside from maybe Andy Reed but this was a bad call in my opinion that contributed to the loss.

    • Brian Martin

      Marvin, if you have read any of my work before, and then you know that I’m not a big fan of Scott Linehan’s playcalling. I think he’s far too predictable. He has far too many weapons at his disposal to be that way and I’m really hoping he changes things up coming out of the bye week.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

      It was second down and that was a run-pass option, sir. That decision was on Dak. But I agree with you wholeheartedly otherwise; Linehan’s playcalling leaves much to be desired, including just how often he leaves Dak to call the play on run-pass options. Sometimes, the playcaller just needs to issue a play, you know?

      • Marvin Ferrell

        On run pass option plays my coach would always give us the option of making a read but he would still call the play. I’m assuming the Cowboys do something similar especially considering Garretts post game comments on the matter. Yes it was second down not third thanks for correcting that part.

  • Ray Smith

    Flakey coaching, bad defense and the tipped ball for TD doomed us.

    • Brian Martin

      I can’t disagree with any of that. I think the defense will get better as the season goes along, but I don’t think there is any fixing the flaky coaching or tipped ball for the TD.

  • Ray Smith

    Garrett and his staff have been out-coached for too many times especially by lack of poor half time adjustments.

    • Brian Martin

      It certainly seems that way. To me, I think it looks as if once I get the lead they kind of start coasting instead of keeping their foot on the gas.

  • Hobbes49

    Dak was the good, with a shout to Zeke in the 4th quarter. (maybe back to himself finally?)

    Terrence Williams was the bad, he has two perfectly good hands, using them to make catches in traffic would be a good plan.

    Linebackers were the ugly, they were terrible from start to finish, got gashed run after run, did not help contain Rodgers at all, and HItchens (although first game back I hate to judge too harshly) had a terrible penalty that extended a drive. Truly amazing just how much Sean Lee means to this defense.

    Anthony Brown is looking bad right now, and I did not hear Maliek Collin’s name once yesterday, that can’t happen. I know you can only get so far without great players, but it really seems to me that Marinelli is at the end of his rope in Dallas. He has some guys that can play now, but the level of the defense never seems to change from year to year. I understand a young secondary is a major issue, but we have at least the semblance of a pass rush now, although still inconsistent, and guys like Brown, and Damien Wilson have regressed. Some of that has to be on Marinelli, right? Not saying a new DC instantly makes things better, I am just starting to think a new direction might be better for now and the future.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree with you about Prescott and Elliott. Elliott is finally starting to look like his old self, but he’s not quite there yet.

      I completely agree with you about the LBs. Smith just doesn’t look right and isn’t ready to start right now. Sean Lee being out really hurts the entire defense. It’s sad how much the defense relies on a 31-year-old. I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to Hitchens that he was just rusty, but his play needs to improve and quickly.

      Anthony Brown certainly looks like he has regressed and I could say the same thing for Collins. But, D Lawrence has credited Collins’ play for why he has been free to get after the QB. So, who knows?

      And I’m starting to agree with you about Marinelli. I don’t know if his scheme is just too simplistic or if the game has passed him by, but something definitely needs to change. Hopefully he will use the bye week to analyze the entire defense.

  • Fatfan

    Anthony Brown was bad…has been struggling all year; but it was EXTEREMELY noticeable this game, even worse, the right side of the D Line…can they stop the run AT ALL?! ridiculous! That;s really where they lost this game.
    Terrance Williams…gee whiz man. I’ve always been behind him…Baylor U favoritism on my part; but we cannot have yo (and Dez) as the primary wideouts dropping high-school catchable passes. time to see Noah Brown on a more regular basis…and I cannot wait to see Rico Gathers. Use either of them as pass receivers, I don’t care IF rico is officially designated as a TE. I have a feeling that most cbs right now will not dominate them.

    • Brian Martin

      Anthony Brown has been pretty bad this season. I thought I was just reading too much into it, but it really showed up this week. The WRs really do need to step up their game. Way too many dropped passes. I would also love to see more of Noah Brown.

  • Fatfan

    Oh, and the wrong DE got hurt, it should’ve been Taco, he needs a red-shirt year anyhow. I sure was hoping to see Tapper get some playing time. Maybe he could hold the edge on the opponents run on that side… no one else could. Dadburn Ridiculous!

    • Brian Martin

      I agree with you about Tapper. I thought he would be a difference maker this season.

  • Charles

    I think everyone is quick to immediately blame the defense. No one is talking about the fact that in the last 2 weeks that we have scored 6 and 10 second half points. Way to many 3 and outs this year.

    • Brian Martin

      It’s true that the Cowboys offense hasn’t been as effective in the second half as they have been in the first, but they are still putting up 30+ points a game which should be enough to win. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the offense is the least of my concern.

  • http://Inside%20The%20Star Fatfan

    It’d be nice if the O would score more in the 2nd half of games. that might be more likely if the D could get a stop, get off of the field, and get the ball back to the offense

  • Guy Charles

    Good… offensive is getting better each game. Bad… Terrance Williams had an awful game. The Ugly… Jeff Heath is killing this Bend and Always Broken old antiquated Marinelli defense. How could he not know to cheat to the outside and help #27 on Rodger’s 2nd back shoulder fade attempt.

    • Brian Martin

      Guy, I completely agree with you about Jeff Heath. I was dumbfounded that they were allowing Lewis to cover Adams one-on-one without anybody playing overtop down there in the red zone. It was a huge mistake that cost them the game.

  • Russ_Te

    Shakeups are ahead for the bye week, almost certainly. While Irving portends for a boost in the pass rush, this secondary still has to start turning corners. Lewis and Woods have earned more reps. Heath has earned fewer, and I’ll have to take your cue Brian on Anthony Brown. But the unit has to get better if there is any chance for contention this year.

    As I mentioned I did not like Terrance Williams’ effort at all on the 4th down play against the Rams where – 3 of them, not the 2 it should have been – stopped Elliott a yard short. Anyone can muff a pass catch, but I’m looking at how Butler is getting open deep and I’m ready to exchange TWill for commensurate value.

    The team can go either way now. It’s a bad moon and that’s all on Garrett to turn the tables on. I don’t know if this team is 6-10 or a 10-6 playoff team.

    • Brian Martin

      I agree with everything you said Russ. I think there will be some roster shakeups when the Cowboys take on the 49ers after their bye week. Butler certainly deserves more playing time and if it was up to me I would get Noah Brown on the field more often also. I think Brown can do all of the dirty work Williams gets credit for and also possibly be a more reliable WR.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Falcons Week 11 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are both 4-5 and playing to keep their seasons alive. It's a mutual must-win game, and both will have to try to win it without some key players. Once again, we look at this week's injury reports.

Let's begin with your Cowboys, whose report is getting longer as the season wears on:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) - OUT
  • DT David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • DT Daniel Ross (calf) - OUT
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - OUT
  • DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) - Doubtful
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - Questionable
  • G Connor Williams (knee) - Questionable
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - Questionable
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - Questionable

The biggest news is the guy who won't miss tomorrow's game; All-Pro guard Zack Martin is expected to play despite his knee injury from last Sunday night. The Cowboys, already dealing with Travis Frederick's absence and now health issues at left guard, could ill afford to go without Martin in such a pivotal game.

Even if he was healthy, rookie Connor Williams might have a hard time getting in the game. Backup Xavier Su'a-Filo looked like an experienced former second-round pick last week, and he may be the better player for now.

The defensive line has been hit hard, particularly in the middle. With Irving and Ross out, Woods doubtful, and Collins uncertain, Dallas called up DT Christian Ringo from the practice squad. They will also be without Taco Charlton, who could play inside some. Veteran Caraun Reid will be seeing a lot of playing time.

Sean Lee's ongoing absence has become almost an afterthought now with the stellar play of Leighton Vander Esch. We've seen in the past when missing Lee meant disaster on defense, but Dallas' first-round rookie has helped mitigate the damage.

Atlanta Falcons

  • LB Deion Jones (foot) - OUT

It's a short list for Atlanta, but the one name on it is a big one. Arguably the team's best defensive player, Deion Jones will miss the game with a foot injury.

The Falcons' injury issues have been more in players suffering season-ending injuries. Both starting guards, Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, are on injured reserve. Star running back Devonta Freeman is also there, and those losses help explain Atlanta's 30th-ranked rushing offense.

Both starting safeties are also on IR; Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal. Atlanta has one of the league's worst passing defense this year without them, ranking 30th in yards allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating.

So yes, the Falcons injury report compared to the Cowboys' may raise some eyebrows. But in terms of who has most of their key guys, Dallas is arguably still better off.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

The Dallas Cowboys play their next three games in 13 days, all critical to their hopes of winning the NFC East despite alternating wins and losses since week one. For the Cowboys to earn consecutive road wins, their first coming on Sunday night at the Eagles, they'll have to come out of Atlanta in much better shape than they did just a year ago.

As expected in the NFL, a lot has changed in this year. The Cowboys 27-7 loss at the Falcons in their first game without Running Back Ezekiel Elliott was the beginning of the end on a season that forced a multitude of coaching changes in Dallas.

The Cowboys stubbornness in allowing Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn to sack Dak Prescott six times by beating Chaz Green and Byron Bell is something they hoped to move past when new positional coaches were brought in at OL, TE, QB, and WR.

It took the team admitting that these moves below Offensive Coordinator Scot Linehan were not all correct two weeks ago for the Cowboys to see any real progress, but with their win last week there's hope that the Cowboys are the improved team expected weeks ago - arrived just in time for Thanksgiving.

Firing Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander was the first move, as the Cowboys named Marc Colombo OL Coach and Hudson Houck his assistant. Colombo told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week that he has injured Center Travis Frederick on a headset during games as well.

Colombo, Houck, and Frederick have the Cowboys offensive line confident in their ability to play to their strengths, rewarded with a renewed faith in the zone blocking scheme that was forgotten under Alexander.

If the Cowboys offensive line was their first problem in last year's Falcons loss (it was), it's becoming their biggest strength at the right time in the season.

The Cowboys necessary changes didn't stop here though.

In desperate need of a play maker on the outside, the Cowboys are seeing their investment into Wide Receiver Amari Cooper pay off so far. Cooper is averaging 3.2 yards of separation on his routes this season, ahead of Cole Beasley's 2.6 yards as the next closest pass catcher.

Cooper's presence was a big part of Ezekiel Elliott's 151 yard rushing performance at the Eagles. A player that can win on the outside with ease and dictate coverage has benefited Prescott and the Cowboys game plan on offense enough to send away a first round pick.

It will be up to this "rebuilt" Cowboys offense to match the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta is averaging 27.1 points per game this season, but a much more dangerous 32.2 at home. After a 1-4 start, the 4-5 Falcons are playing in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks, losing at the Browns in week ten.

The Cowboys felt they'd be prepared for games like this after their offseason moves, instead needing to show the type of in-season urgency that's been rare for Jason Garrett's team. The same can be said about a Falcons team that's experienced playing with their backs to the wall much sooner than the Cowboys have this season, setting up a big NFC match up in the early slot Sunday.

Dak Prescott will be thankful that Chaz Green nor Byron Bell are protecting him, wanting nothing more than to deliver another win for the Cowboys to take into Thanksgiving against the division-leading Washington Redskins. Not all of the coaches responsible for the lack of adjustment in last year's game are gone. What the Cowboys do have are tangible new ideas from coaches that understand they need more than a win at the defending Super Bowl champions to call this Cowboys season a success.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Do Or Die: Chidobe Awuzie Must Improve Sunday, Or Cowboys Season Could End

Kevin Brady

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Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys' Defense?

Coming into the season there was a lot of hype surrounding the Dallas Cowboys' cornerbacks. With Byron Jones moving from safety full time, and now second year player Chidobe Awuzie playing opposite Jones after a promising rookie season, there was a lot for Cowboys fans to be excited about.

Through the first 10 weeks of the year, though, only one of those two has maintained fans' excitement. While Byron Jones has been arguably the best cornerback in all of football, Chidobe Awuzie has been damn-near an automatic completion when thrown at.

Awuzie has a -5.8 coverage rating this season, 65th among cornerbacks in the NFL. Coverage rating is a metric which factors in how often a cornerback is targeted as well as how many passes they've defensed per target. Quarterbacks also have a 116.6 passer rating when targeting Awuzie, compared to just 64.5 when targeting Byron Jones. For comparisons sake, Jones' coverage rating is a +45! So you can see why "cornerback opposite of Jones" is becoming a need for the Cowboys.

What's perplexing about Awuzie's season, though, is that he is only giving up an average 0.95 yards of separation, 27th in the league (courtesy of playerprofiler.com). So while Awuzie is playing relatively sticky coverage, he's still being targeted often, and he's still allowing completions way too often.

This week, Chidobe Awuzie will be tested once again, this time by the dynamic passing game of the Atlanta Falcons. The match-up many fans are focusing on is that between Byron Jones and Julio Jones, but how Awuzie does against Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu may play a bigger factor in the result.

Both Ridley and Sanu are solid supporting receivers, and considering how much attention the defense typically has to pay to Julio Jones, they tend to get man coverage often. This allows for a precise route runner like Ridley to take advantage of opportunities, and come away with the types of big plays we've seen from him this year.

When matched up with either of these weapons, Awuzie will need to continue to stay close, but play and defense the ball better. He must continue to make it hard on these receivers and force them into contested catches, but hopefully he can improve on his play when the ball gets to the catch point.

Sunday will be another big test for the Cowboys' young defense. And as well as they have played most weeks, this game has the potential to be a season ender if certain guys do not step up. One of those guys who will certainly play a key role in influencing the result in Chidobe Awuzie.



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