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Game Notes

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

Brian Martin

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

It's always difficult to write about the Dallas Cowboys after a disappointing loss. After watching the Cowboys fall to the Los Angeles Rams 35-30, it might be time to admit that all of Cowboys Nation might have set the bar too high for this year's team. Maybe they just aren't as good as we all thought or hoped they would be coming off of a playoff season.

Fortunately, there are a lot of games to play and hopefully the Dallas Cowboys can turn things around quickly. They have a tough matchup next week against the Green Bay Packers, but they have their bye the following week to gather themselves. Hopefully, things will only get better from here on out.

Having said all of that, let's jump into The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly for the Cowboys this week against the Los Angeles Rams. As always, please feel free to use the comment section at the end of the article to share any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

The Good

It's always difficult to look back and find some positives from a game the Dallas Cowboys probably should've won. When both teams went in at halftime, it looked as if the Cowboys were on their way to another victory because they were finally able to get Ezekiel Elliott involved on offense.

Ezekiel Elliott looked much like the player we saw last season. The same one that led the NFL in rushing and the same one that was in conversation to win NFL MVP. He was effective in both the running and passing game, finishing with 85 yards with one TD on the ground and 54 yards through the air and one TD.

Unfortunately, as effective as Elliott was in the first half, things didn't go quite as well the second half against the Rams. I don't think it was anything to do with Elliott. I think it had more to do with the offensive playcalling and the adjustments the Rams defense was able to make. But, at least the Ezekiel Elliott we all grew so fond of last season has finally made an appearance. It might've been the only good to come from the game.

S Jeff Heath, DE Benson Mayowa

(AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Bad

Deciding what the bad was for the Dallas Cowboys against the Los Angeles Rams was easy one for me. The Jared Goff led Rams offense was able to move the ball at will up and down the field pretty much the entire game. Luckily though, they had to settle for seven field goals and just two touchdowns. It could've been a lot worse.

I knew that the defense would go through some growing pains due to all of the youth playing for the Cowboys, but none of the veterans are really stepping up either. Sean Lee has been one of the only consistent veteran players, and his absent was absolutely one of the reasons the overall performance of the defense was so bad.

Todd Gurley was able to rack up over 200 total yards of offense, 121 rushing and 94 receiving. I don't think he would've had as good of a game as he did with Sean Lee playing. But, even Jared Goff was able to carve up the defense. He completed 21 of 36 passes for 255 yards and two TDs. Unfortunately, the entire defense is to blame and it might be time to admit they are a lot worse than we wanted to believe.

LB Damien Wilson, S Byron JonesThe Ugly

I started to go a different direction here, but ultimately I decided the ugly this week for the Dallas Cowboys against the Rams was the performance of the special teams. I honestly believe that it was a special teams for the Cowboys that allowed the Rams to get back into this game and ultimately come away with the victory.

I think two plays in particular ended up resulting in 10 points for the Rams offense. The worst of the two was when rookie return specialist Ryan Switzer muffed the punt, allowing the Rams to recover. This led to the first touchdown for the Rams. The other special-teams letdown was when Pharaoh Cooper returned a kickoff into Cowboy's territory. The defense was able to hold them to a field goal, but it was still points on the board.

If not for those two bad plays on special teams, the Dallas Cowboys would've likely come away with a victory. They only lost by five points to the Rams, but that 10 point swing because of poor special-teams play was more than they could overcome in the end. This will absolutely have to be cleaned up as soon as possible.

What is your good, bad, and ugly for the Cowboys against the Rams?



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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6 Comments
  • Donny King

    Something else that could have made a difference when Tank strip-sacked Goff, that would have given the offense a short field….I guess you can call that an ugly because no one was their for Dallas to recover

    • Brian Martin

      That definitely could have been a game changer for the Cowboys. Also, if Anthony Brown would’ve been able to come up with the interception later in the game.

  • Russ_Te

    Switzer had been making suprisingly good decisions fielding the ball for a rookie, until yesterday. He brought 2 out from deep in the end zone which made no sense also, and cost Dallas about 11 yards total.

    The play he was in for the spread / empty, then went to RB – was Linehan outthinking himself IMO. Switzer has done nothing yet as an offensive player, and appeared to influence nobody on the play.

    We knew on paper this defense was gutt-able to start the year – no dominant DL’er and lots of new parts in the secondary. It’s been better than expected until yesterday.

    But it did stop 7 Ram touchdowns… ;^)

    Biggest problem in 2017 IMO – Dak is getting hit. He had almost no pass plays with good protection yesterday, and that will force you into the diminished play we’re seeing from him. No concern about him as a player going forward, although it is up to Garrett and Linehan to guide him through his first real downturn as a pro QB.

    But it’s not the best OL in football right now. That is the problem on offense IMO. Super run by Morris yesterday, more speed than I thought he had.

    Woods: every time he gets on the field he seems to make an impact. We’re moving quickly to the situation I mentioned in pre-season / if he starts it has to be at FS. That will likely move Jones to corner not SS, might as well try it at this point. Brown is my other starter there. That still leaves you Scandrick at slot CB, where he’s best used. If Awuzie could ever stay on the field, that would help the long downs.

    • Brian Martin

      I really think they need to simplify things for Prescott. Move the pocket and make it easier for him to get through his reads quicker. That way he only has about half the field to read and can use his mobility to his advantage. I think he’s in the most inaccurate when he’s asked if there out of the pocket.

      I completely agree with you about Xavier Woods. I would start him at safety, but still paired with Byron Jones. Woods can be the deep safety and Jones can be used to man up against TEs. I’m not sure about Anthony Brown. He has struggled these past couple of games. Awuzie really needs to get healthy and stay that way. Like Woods, he could be utilized at CB or S.

      • Russ_Te

        To me Dak’s inaccuracy is coming from too much pressure, and then trying to do to much because his offense is struggling. Will agree there is a lot that can be done with his sprint out & bootleg game that may help right now. Same reason I want more pitches for Elliott. Let them beat the defensive front with their individual skills while their OL gets better.

        Which brings up: Cooper was no upgrade from Green. I think the Cowboys have to deal for a proven OG if they want to contend in 2017.

        • Brian Martin

          There are quite a few things that the coaching staff can do to help Prescott. Whether that happens or not is something we will have to wait and see.

          I was never a fan of Cooper to begin with. There is a reason he has bounced around the league. Unfortunately, I don’t see the Cowboys trading for anybody this year.

Game Notes

#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Wishlist Christmas Edition: Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.

Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys

After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.

Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.

Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.

Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.

The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.

Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.

Trends

  • The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
  • Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
  • Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
  • The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.

Prediction

While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.

This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.

I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.



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Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks: Inside The Numbers

John Williams

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Cowboys Blog - 2016 Contract-Year Cowboys: DT David Irving 2

The Dallas Cowboys will travel to the Pacific Northwest this weekend to face the Seattle Seahawks in an important game for both teams in the NFC race.

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 and risk being buried in an NFC West that has seen the Los Angeles Rams become the divisional power. With the San Francisco 49ers trending up, the Seahawks might find themselves left behind. On Monday Night Football, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks had little answers for a Chicago Bears team that has one of the more underrated defenses in the NFL. Well, maybe not so underrated now. They battered Wilson and the Seahawks offensive line for six sacks and were able to pressure him into an interception they were able to return for a touchdown.

The Dallas Cowboys rebounded from a week one disappointment to take care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. It wasn't a pretty win on offense, save for the first and last drives of the game, but it was a solid win. The defense dominated the New York Giants' offensive line and left them searching for answers at 0-2.

As we get ready for week three let's go Inside The Numbers for yet another important matchup for the Dallas Cowboys.

Team Breakdown

The Dallas Cowboys lead the all-time series 10-8, but have dropped the last two matchups and are 2-3 over the last five games. They've split the last two meetings that played in Seattle, winning the most recent showdown in 2014, 30-23.

If you'll remember, that was the game that had us all believing that Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray led Cowboys team was for real. Sadly the 2014 season ended with the typical heartbreak that we've grown accustomed to in the last 23 years.

Let's take a look at how the matchup breaks down on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

Offense

The Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks offenses are eerily similar statistically as both rank near the bottom in most offensive categories.

Dallas Cowboys at the Seattle Seahawks: Inside The Numbers 2As you can see from the chart above, there aren't many categories where either team ranks inside the top 20 in total offense.

Offensive Observations

  • The Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage along the offensive line. They rank inside the top 15 in rush yards, rush TDs, first downs on the ground, and have allowed fewer sacks than the Seattle Seahawks offensive line.
  • The Dallas Cowboys have been excellent through two games at protecting the ball, having only turned it over one time; a fumble by Dak Prescott in the week one loss to the Carolina Panthers.
  • Through two games, the Seahawks haven't rushed for a touchdown. They haven't run it often and haven't run it very well either. They only average 3.6 yards per attempt on the ground. Advantage Cowboys. 
  • While the Seahawks have thrown for more yards this season, Dak Prescott has a better completion percentage. For the year, Russell Wilson has completed only 59.4% of his passes. Dak Prescott is at 64.8%.

Defense

It's on the defensive side of the ball where the Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage, particularly with their pass rush.

Dallas Cowboys at the Seattle Seahawks: Inside the Numbers

As you can see, the Dallas Cowboys have the statistical edge in nearly every category.

Defensive Observations

  • The Dallas Cowboys rank in the top five in several defensive categories including points allowed, yards allowed, yards per play, passing yards allowed, passing touchdowns, net yards per attempt, first downs achieved through the air, and sacks.
  • Where the Dallas Cowboys have struggled in the first two games, particularly against the Carolina Panthers was against the run. Though they're around the middle of the pack through two games, the Panthers were able to find a lot of success on the ground. The New York Giants, not so much.
  • The Cowboys are going to have to continue to be careful with the football as the Seattle Seahawks continue to be one of the best at creating turnovers, especially in the secondary. They're tied for first in the NFL in interceptions with five. Through two games, Prescott hasn't thrown one, but he's had a couple potential interceptions dropped. This week he won't be so lucky.

What it All Means

The Dallas Cowboys are going to have a pretty difficult challenge corralling Seahawks' Quarterback Russell Wilson, but the numbers seem to point to it being a long afternoon for Wilson.

The Dallas Cowboys have a decided advantage when the Seahawks drop back to pass. The Seattle offensive line has allowed the most sacks in the NFL. Coming off allowing six sacks to the Chicago Bears, Wilson could be in for another long day against a Dallas Cowboys defense that is second in the NFL -- to the Chicago Bears -- in sacks with nine.

The Seattle Seahawks won't be able to rely on their running game to keep the Dallas Cowboys defense off balance as they only average 3.4 yards per carry through the first two weeks of the season. If the Cowboys can get an early lead this Sunday, it will present a really favorable opportunity for the Dallas Cowboys pass rush.

Dallas Cowboys vs Seattle Seahawks Stat Notes

0

Dak Prescott hasn't thrown an interception this season. If we can make any observations through two games, it's that he seems to be back to his ball protection ways. As a rookie, Prescott only through four interceptions, before doubling that in 2017 with eight.

2

Cole Beasley and Deonte Thompson are tied for 27th in the NFL in yards per route run. That number is better than Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings, Golden Tate of the Detroit Lions, Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers, and Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3

The Seattle Seahawks have had a hard time getting to opposing passers and have collected only three sacks through the NFL's first two weeks. Prescott was sacked six times in week one, but the Dallas Cowboys offensive line rebounded to keep the New York Giants from collecting a sack in week two.

4

Tyler Lockett has played 53 of his 79 offensive snaps from the slot, but has only been targeted four times, catching four passes for 85 yards. His 1.60 yards per route run out of the slot is tied for 11th in the NFL among players who have played at least 50% of their snaps from the slot.

13.5

Seattle Defensive Lineman Jarran Reed has been the best run defender for the Seahawks, earning a run stop on 13.5% of his run snaps. Overall he sits eighth in the NFL. Among defensive lineman with at least 50% of their team's run snaps, only Da'Shawn Hand and Linval Joseph have a better run stop percentage.

19

The amount of snaps per reception allowed by Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Anthony Brown. No player who has played at least 50% of his coverage snaps in the slot has a higher snap per reception rate in the NFL than Brown's 19.

36.4

According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson's been sacked on 36.4% of his drop backs this season. Only Ryan Tannehill and Nathan Peterman have a worse percentage of players who have dropped back to pass a minimum of 22 times this season.

Wilson's been under pressure on 38.8% of his drop backs, which is sixth in the NFL.

80.4

Dak Prescott's adjusted completion percentage, which "accounts for factors that hurt the passer's completion percentage but don't help show how accurate they are," per Pro Football Focus and "It accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the QB was hit while they threw the ball."

Prescott's adjusted completion percentage is ninth in the NFL. Better than notable names such as Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Jimmy Garoppolo, Ben Roethlisberger, DeShaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Luck.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

As I look at the run down for this game and after watching these two teams in week two, I see this as a very favorable matchup for the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously, statistics don't tell the whole story, but the Dallas Cowboys biggest strength, it's pass rush, will be facing a Seattle team that is very weak along the offensive line.

This looks to be a Dallas Cowboys win that will improve them to 2-1.



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Game Notes

Snap Judgments: Cowboys’ Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win

John Williams

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Snap Judgments: Cowboys' Linebacker Depth Stands Out in Win

The Dallas Cowboys evened their record at 1-1 with their 20-13 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Cowboys linebackers had a huge impact on the outcome of the game and it wasn't just the guys at the top of the depth chart either. America's Team got contributions from guys at the bottom of the depth chart.

What a difference a year makes.

The Dallas Cowboys worked hard this offseason to fix the linebacker depth that failed them in the 2017 season. When Sean Lee or Anthony Hitchens -- or both -- were sidelined with injuries, Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson, and the rest of the linebacker group struggled to keep up with opposing offenses. Specifically, in games against the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers the major depth inadequacy was revealed.

One year later, the Dallas Cowboys have a linebacker corp that allows them to go five deep with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas, and Damien Wilson all making considerable contributions for the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday nights victory.

Here are the final snap counts for the five linebackers that played a defensive snap against the Giants.

  • Jaylon Smith - 57 (84%)
  • Sean Lee - 41 (60)
  • Leighton Vander Esch - 28 (48%)
  • Damien Wilson - 17 (25%)
  • Joe Thomas - 14 (21%)

Jaylon Smith led the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night with 10 tackles (seven solo) and played really well roaming sideline to sideline and making plays. He was tasked with the difficult assignment of containing New York Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley and allowed four catches for 41 yards in his coverage area. Smith was credited with three stops or plays that result in a "loss" for the offense (per Pro Football Focus).  Smith led the team in snaps for the second straight week.

Sean Lee had a better game on Sunday night than he did in week one. PFF credited him with four stops, four tackles and an assist. Lee allowed two catches for 24 yards on two targets to Wayne Gallman and Evan Engram. Lee pulled his hamstring at the end of the game and was held out the rest of the way for precautionary reasons. He'll be an interesting name to watch on this week's injury report. Age catches up with everyone, but hopefully Sean Lee can stave it off for at least another season.

Rookie Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch saw a big bump in his snap count from week one (17) to week two (28). The rookie played well too. As many players seemed to struggle with tackling Saquon Barkley, Vander Esch was able to bring down the number two overall pick on several occasions. Vander Esch had seven solo tackles in his second career game.

Damien Wilson was the surprise player of the night. He had three tackles on the night, including one on special teams, a sack, and a forced fumble. Though his time on the field might have been short, his impact was certainly felt. His forced fumble led to a field goal that gave the Dallas Cowboys a 13-0 nothing lead. Wilson was also credited with two stops on the night.

Joe Thomas has been a good player for the team off the bench as well. Though he only had one tackle, it was good enough to be credited with a stop. He's a player that can play both the WILL and MIKE linebacker spots. As the fourth or fifth linebacker on the depth chart, Thomas is a great role player.

Other Snap Count Notes

  • Taco Charlton may not have started, but he played 84% of the team's defensive snaps. That number is up from 73% in week one. Charlton had a sack, a hit, and a hurry as well as three stops on the night.
  • Cole Beasley and Allen Hurns led the wide receiver group in snap percentage from week one to week two. The big difference at wide receiver was seeing Michael Gallup take the third most snaps on offense instead of Deonte Thompson. Thompson still had the bigger impact with four catches for 33 yards on five targets including two for first downs.
  • Geoff Swaim was the far and away leader at tight end in snaps with a 94% snap count. Only the offensive line and Dak Prescott had more snaps on the night than Swaim. He's the TE1 for the team, though he didn't have an impact in the passing game.
  • Rico Gathers only played five snaps, but there was concerted effort to get him the ball as he had two targets in his five snaps. He may not have come away with a catch, but it's a start.
  • Jourdan Lewis continues to be the odd man out on defense. He only played one snap.
  • Dorance Armstrong saw a snap jump from week one to week two going from 28% of the defensive snaps to 40% of the snaps. He had two hurries and an assisted tackle.



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