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Game Notes

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

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Redskins 4

The Dallas Cowboys are now 2-0 in the NFC East division after defeating the Washington Redskins on their home turf Sunday afternoon 33-19. The Cowboys are currently second in the division behind the 7-1 Philadelphia Eagles, but fortunately there is still a lot of football to be played in the 2017 season. This was an important win in order to keep pace with the division leader, but also to help keep their playoff hopes alive.

Against the division rival Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys pretty much dominated the entire game. There were a few hiccups along the way, but they continued to battle and overcome the adversity. Wins can't always be pretty, but the important thing is that you do what needs to be done in order to get the victory.

Having said all of that, let's dive into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section provided at the end of the article to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

RB Ezekiel ElliottThe Good

There was certainly no shortage of good for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoon against the Washington Redskins. It took a team effort to outlast their division rival, but once again one player in particular stood out most, Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott once again put the offense on his back and rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 33 carries. The Redskins didn't have an answer for Elliott the entire game and the Dallas Cowboys took full advantage of that.

Elliott of course may have been the most noticeable, but like I said earlier it took a team effort. I had to mention that both David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence added to their QB sack totals, Mike Nugent filled in nicely for Dan Bailey, and Byron Jones sealed the game with the first pick six of his career. Overall, the entire Dallas Cowboys team deserves credit for this victory.

Jason Garrett

The Bad

It's always easy to complain about the officiating for any given game, but all of the penalties called against the Dallas Cowboys yesterday was absolutely the bad in my opinion. It seemed as if every time the Cowboys got something going on offense or the defense was about to get the Redskins off the field, a penalty would occur.

I know I'm not imagining things, but it seemed as if the officials had tunnel vision for the Dallas Cowboys when letting that little yellow flag fly. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the beat up and backup Redskins offensive line had a single penalty called against them yesterday. That seems a little odd to me, especially considering how many the officials called against the Cowboys OL.

Now, I'm not going to say they were showing favoritism for the home team or anything like that, but it is a little bit suspicious. Especially considering a lot of the penalties called against the Dallas Cowboys where questionable to say the least. Fortunately, the Cowboys were able to overcome.

Weather conditions for Cowboys against WashingtonThe Ugly

From start to finish, the entire game for the Dallas Cowboys against the Washington Redskins yesterday afternoon was ugly. We knew heading into this game that the weather was going to be a factor, but that can't really account for all the other sloppiness we saw from the Cowboys.

It first started on the Dallas Cowboys opening drive when Ezekiel Elliott uncharacteristically fumbled the ball away. That allowed the Redskins to put points on the board first. Then all of the penalties called against the Cowboys only added to the sloppiness.

I've already covered what I thought about the officiating yesterday, but regardless, the Dallas Cowboys absolutely have to eliminate all of the penalties. They can't continue to put themselves and bad down and distance situations. It's going to catch up to them eventually. They also need to improve the red zone playcalling. Having to settle for field goals instead of TDs is an ugly thing to watch week after week.

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



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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22 Comments
  • NastyShug

    But I’ve been saying that all year! Cowboys are playing against teams and the refs.

    • Brian Martin

      It certainly looked that way yesterday afternoon. There was some terrible penalties called by the officials.

  • oneputter

    most definitely some bad calls against us. i think this ties hand in hand with what’s going on in the zeke case and with what Jones is trying to do blocking the commish’ extension….

    • Brian Martin

      A conspiracy theory! I like it. It would certainly explain why the Dallas Cowboys more penalizes much as they were and not the Redskins.

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it would kind of makes sense. Plus, I kind of like conspiracy theories.

    • Jason Edward Mery

      We’ve had a lot of ticky tacky holding calls all year, more than a couple bad PIs called either way, and have had two or three challenges go against us that had no business being overturned.

      • Brian Martin

        Everybody likes to stick it to the Cowboys, maybe the officials are following suit.

  • Alberto López

    The last point is very important. For at least 3 years now, we’ve been struggling with redzone playcalling. Taking the 3 points instead of 7 is a routine our offense is stuck in for a while now and we can’t seem to break out of it.

    • Brian Martin

      Linehan infuriates me with his playcalling in the red zone. He so predictable. Something needs to change because it’s hurting the team. They should’ve put up 50 points against Washington.

      • Rory Jones

        Brian make a call to Jerry for me to get rid of Linehan. I get it you have a really good RB but come on everyone can see run plays coming a mile away. Also while you are on the phone ask to trade for a WR that can actually run past people. We have none and it would help poor Zeke dodge one less player in the box.

        • Brian Martin

          Rory, I wish I had that kind of pull. The WRs the Cowboys have can get the job done, but again the playcalling is the issue. Need to put them in better situations to succeed.

  • Rory Jones

    Dear Roger Goodell and NFL. The cowboy game had more viewers than any other game including Game 5 of the WORLD SERIES. It’s time for the sake of making money you as refs help them out not hurt them. Call bogus penalties on the other team and not the cowboys. For the sake of the dying league due to protests don’t kill the big money maker. Also to note drop the Zeke case. Let the man play. Never convicted by they law so why are you punishing him?

    • Brian Martin

      Rory, don’t you know the Commissioner wants ultimate power? He wants to be judge, jury, and executioner. That is why he’s trying to make an example out of one of the league’s brightest stars on arguably the most popular team. I’m really hoping Zeke wins his case and Goodell ends up losing his job over it.

  • Tone’ Cyphers

    I disagree with the notion that the Cowboys struggle in the Redzone. We are one of the top teams in scoring within the RZ. Over the last 4 games we have averaged over 30 points a game. RZ is not our struggle with the exception of the redskins. I do agree that we still have flaws offensively due to our receivers disappearing for no apparent reason, offensive line penalties, and the inability for Linehan to make offensive adjustments for Dez. How many times do I have to watch a Dez fly pattern? Along with Dak missing easy throws. Terrance Williams is a wreck waiting to happen. I hate to be overly critical but we should have a 6-1 record or at least a 5-2 record. Too many mistakes are holding this team back.

    • Brian Martin

      The Redskins game was really the red zone problems I was referring to. The Cowboys are putting up 30+ points over the last several games, but they should probably be putting up at least 40. There still many areas this team needs to improve, but for me playcalling is right at the top the list.

  • Travis Diggs

    We wont get away that playcalling against decent defenses….turn to sunday, KC wont let you get away with that. Yeah we’ve averaged 30+ over the last 3 but too many plays are left on the field. KC has the ability to score 30 too.

    • Brian Martin

      That’s the point I was trying to make Travis. They’re leaving too many points on the field by settling for FGs. They were extremely lucky against Washington, but like you said that won’t happen against better defenses.

  • Hobbes49

    7 points taken from us on a shoddy call against Tyron, and 7 points gift wrapped to the Skins on the call on Anthony Brown. Simple hand fighting, no way that should have been called. Zeke was a beast again, and Dak played a clean, if sloppy at times, game. It is really nice to say the defense made some plays, and the same is true of special teams. A real “team win” which was nice to see. Still some things to clean up. Scandrick was very good, the rest of the secondary, not so much. Anthony Brown was chasing players all day, not sure what his issue is this season. Made me think more about how nice a trade for Vontae Davis would be. But that is a discussion for another day. Today is victory Monday, all three phases made plays, and life is good.

    • Brian Martin

      Very well stated and thought out. Thanks for commenting.

      • Gary Stevens

        Brian, I have been telling friends that Linehan is a poor offensive coordinator for years now. The Boys are good offensively but they could be so much better with another coordinator instead of Linehan. Also, until JJ starts working on the defensive deficiencies of this team it will be at the mercy of other good offensive teams around the league.

  • EverybodyTalks

    There were some calls that were questionable. The Tyron holding penalty that called back Zeke’s TD – didn’t see a whole lot there. The Anthony Brown pass interference was a terrible call – Troy and the Ex-official stated both were hand fighting and it should have been a no-call. Witten was holding, as was Collins. Collins struggled, but Cooper was solid. There was some “other “ good that I liked. Ive seen several disparaging articles about Taco and Jaylon. I really liked the athleticism of both going for those interceptions. It was like the light going on for these two rookies. Jaylon had been targeted on the pass because he is still recovering. That play showed me he is getting better and that may hold off other teams from going across the middle on Pass plays against him. Jaylon did miss a couple of tackles, but so did Jourdan and Xavier. Plus Taco still doesn’t have a sack, but both those plays were encouraging for their development. That all said, it was UGLY, but it was a win. Go Cowboys!!

    • Brian Martin

      There was a lot to really like about this game and still quite a bit that needs to be cleaned up. Overall, it took a team effort to come away with the victory and that was really good to see.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Colts Week 15 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?

The Dallas Cowboys can clinch the NFC East with a win this week, while the Indianapolis Colts are fighting to stay alive in the AFC wild card race. Only one team can accomplish their goal, and both have some big names on the Week 15 injury report.

We'll begin with the visiting Cowboys, who could be getting at least one star player back while another is already confirmed to miss the game.

Dallas Cowboys

  • TE Geoff Swaim (wrist) - OUT
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - OUT
  • DL David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - Questionable
  • WR Lance Lenoir (illness) - Questionable
  • OT Tyron Smith (neck) - Questionable
  • DE Randy Gregory (personal) - Questionable
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - Questionable

Yes, sadly, Zack Martin will be out tomorrow. The good news is that Connor Williams got the entire week to practice with the starters at right guard. You can read much more about this situation and it's impact on the game here, courtesy of our own Sean Martin.

Also ruled out, as they have been for a while now, are TE Geoff Swaim and DL David Irving.  Swaim is still recovering from wrist surgery but has not been placed on injured reserve, so the team must feel he could be back for the playoffs. Irving could return as soon as next week.

Speaking of returns, Sean Lee may be back on the field this Sunday. It's unknown yet how he'll rotate with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, but Dallas has the luxury of working him in slowly thanks to the play of their young duo.

Tavon Austin could also return this week, creating another new offensive wrinkle. Austin has been injured since the Jacksonville game and has yet to play since the Cowboys acquired Amari Cooper. Not only could Tavon do some interesting things in the offense, but he should bring some additional sizzle to special teams.

While appearing on the injury report, Randy Gregory missed practice this week for "family reasons" according to Jason Garrett. He could still play tomorrow.

Indianapolis Colts

  • G Mark Glowinski (ankle) - OUT
  • LB Skai Moore (neck) - OUT
  • S Mike Mitchell (calf) - OUT
  • WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) - Questionable
  • TE Ryan Hewitt (ribs) - Questionable
  • S Clayton Geathers (knee) - Questionable

The big name here is Hilton, the star receiver who missed all practice this week with an ankle injury. Indianapolis has not ruled him out, wanting to give Andrew Luck's favorite target every opportunity to play. But it's not looking good, and a bad ankle could limit Hilton's effectiveness even if he goes.

Also hurt among the passing options is starting TE Ryan Hewitt, but he did practice full on Friday and should go. Not playing, however, is starting right guard Mark Glowinski. That means third-year player Evan Boehm should start, who just joined the team in October.

Indy's hurting at safety this week. Not only did starter Clayton Geathers miss the whole week of practice, but veteran backup Mike Mitchell is already ruled out. The Colts would have to rely on undrafted rookie George Odum if neither plays.

Fun fact before we go; former Cowboy Jihad Ward was picked up by the Colts after Dallas included him in their roster cuts to start the season. However, he landed on injured reserve back in October so won't get a chance at revenge.



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Game Notes

Zack Martin Out, Connor Williams In at Right Guard for Cowboys at Colts

Sean Martin

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Zack Martin Out, Connor Williams In at Right Guard for Cowboys at Colts

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line depth will be tested as they play for a chance to clinch the NFC East on Sunday at the Indianapolis Colts. Suffering a knee injury last week against the Eagles, Right Guard Zack Martin will not be able to play. In missing his first career start, rookie Connor Williams rightfully returns to the starting lineup as Martin's replacement.

The 50th overall pick from this year's AT&T Stadium hosted Draft has started eight games this season at left guard. Williams' last start happens to be in the last game Dallas lost, a week nine defeat to the Tennessee Titans. This opened the door for Xavier Su'a-Filo to become something of a sensation for Cowboys Nation as the starting left guard throughout the team's current five game win streak.

David Moore on Twitter

Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin has been ruled out of Sunday's game with a sprained knee. Rookie Connor Williams will start in his place.

Zack Martin being unavailable is hardly how Marc Colombo wants to prepare for the Cowboys first road game since week 11. Having both Su'a-Filo and Williams in the lineup will be valuable for the Cowboys moving forward though, as Williams could earn his job at left guard back from the right side.

While he won't nearly be expected to play at the level of Martin, Williams looked poised coming off the bench against the Eagles and helping the Cowboys offense score their final three touchdowns. Williams was on the field for all three of Amari Cooper's scores, as Dallas rushed for 34 yards on 11 carries with him in the game.

Williams flashed some of the traits that made him a top left tackle prospect out of college, flowing to the second level with ease and creating movement with quick feet at the point of attack. The Cowboys have forced him to remain game ready despite losing his starting position by finding a few emergency snaps for him in recent weeks, as well as special teams looks. The team has every reason to believe Williams is an ascending young player still.

The same cannot be said of Su'a-Filo, who simply has to focus on continuing to hold up at left guard again this week. With each passing win, Su'a-Filo's LG spot has become more of a liability in a Cowboys offense in need of a jump-start late in this 2018 season.

Consistent offensive line play is one of the few things that's clearly hurting the Cowboys as contenders in the NFC behind a stellar defense and game breaking wide receiver.

The Cowboys won't be at full strength against the eighth best rushing defense and 15th ranked passing defense in yards per game. With three separate chances to clinch the NFC East starting at the Colts and extending until the end of the regular season, the Cowboys stand to learn all they need to know about the offensive line that will start in the playoffs.

Martin, who's elevated his game to a new level this season despite this lingering knee injury, should be on track to return when the Cowboys come home to play the Buccaneers in week 16.

Tell us what you think about "Zack Martin Out, Connor Williams In at Right Guard for Cowboys at Colts" 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

#INDvsDAL: How The Game May Be Decided In The Red Zone

Kevin Brady

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In many ways the Dallas Cowboys offense has found their stride in recent weeks. Over this five game win streak they have "found their identity" playing ball control offense and trusting their quarterback to make big throws when needed most. Of course the defense has been the star most weeks, but this offense should not be slept on either.

This doesn't mean the offense has been without their fair share of struggles, however, particularly in the red zone. Struggles that the numbers say could cost the Cowboys this weeks' game in Indianapolis if they don't get it cleaned up.

In terms of red zone offensive efficiency the Cowboys have been downright horrendous. In fact, they are dead-last in the league in success rate inside the 10 yard line, last in first-and-goal success rate, and 21st in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

There's no sugar-coating those numbers, they are bad. Especially when you consider that this team has arguably the league's best running back and a quarterback with the size and athleticism you might expect from a linebacker.

For as bad as the Cowboys are inside the red zone, the Colts are equally as good. Indianapolis is top 10 in terms of success rate inside the 10, at the goal line, and in first-and-goal success rate. They are also 11th in success rate between the 11 and 20 yard lines.

Despite not having the individual running back the Cowboys have, the Colts offensive line and skill players as a whole set them up a bit better when the field is shortened. Tight end Eric Ebron has been rather incredible in terms of production this season, catching 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions. Andrew Luck is also a more accurate quarterback than Dak Prescott, though Prescott should be a much more dangerous red zone threat than he currently is.

Bob Sturm on Twitter

I am working on the Cowboys 32nd ranked Goal-to-Go offensive numbers. They have run 35 of their 59 total plays out of Shotgun-11 Personnel. In those 35 plays, the average gain per snap is....12 INCHES. I am not kidding. They could out-gain that by running QB sneaks. I am amazed.

Of course, some of the Cowboys red zone struggles can be pinned on offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan has failed to scheme open the "easy" red zone touchdowns we see so often around the league. As pointed out by Bob Sturm on Twitter this week, the Cowboys' personnel groupings and play calls when in goal-to-go situations have been questionable to say the least. But while blame does fall on the coaches' shoulders, the players need to execute better as well.

Games in the NFL often come down to just a handful of plays, and red zone efficiency plays a key role in deciding the outcome of close games every week. If this is once again the case on Sunday, based on past performance, the Dallas Cowboys could be in trouble against the efficient Colts.



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