Connect with us

Game Notes

Grading The Game: Eagles 33, Cowboys 27

Tommy Simon

Published

on

Cowboys Blog - Grading The Game: Eagles 33, Cowboys 27

Heartbreaking. It seems like I have said something like this before. It seems really familiar. Too familiar. This feeling in my gut seems too familiar for my liking. As I sit here, I feel helpless, lost, and empty. I just do not know how I can shake it. Close, but never quite there.

What is a fan to do?

You live and die with your team. But it's hard not to transpose the disappointment with anger. The sadness to outrage. How can they let this happen? How can they do this to me!

Know the feeling? I am sure you do. It is hard not to succumb to resentment. But let’s let reason take hold and try to look at the game objectively. I watched for a second time (I still expected them to win in overtime the second time), I have looked at various plays, and I have read what the pundits have to say. I have heard Broaddus talk about how close the Cowboys rushers were and Garrett point out that the Boys continue to fight. So should I be optimistic after six losses? Should I really believe we are one player away?

Before I get into the grades, here are some general thoughts.

I do not care what excuses the pundits will use, the Cowboys pass rush just is not good. They are averaging 1.8 sacks a game. That is the same as last year. Over the last 3 games, they are getting a sack on 3.23% of plays, one of the lowest percentages in the NFL. Now I am not a genius, and I am not claiming I understand the minds of the Jones’, but I imagine they cannot be happy that they spent a wheel barrel full of money on a DE with major off the field baggage, another tractor full for an “elite” three technique, and used the last two second round draft picks on young “pass rushing” DEs (one which you gave up picks for), all to average the same amount of sacks per game as they did last year. So let’s not sugar coat it or talk about how close we were to getting to the QB, or spit out stats like how many QB hurries the defense had; the Boys are simply not getting to the QB or stripping the ball.

That is the real reason the Boys lost on Sunday night. Period.

And when your line is not getting to the QB, blitz. If your LBs can’t blitz (and McClain looks like he cannot), then get a LB who can. You have to generate a pass rush to win. Simple as that.

Can we get a turnover? I have never seen a stretch like this. .5 turnovers per game. Wow. I wonder what the record is. Has to be close to it. If the lack of pass rush lost the game, the lack of turnovers is losing the season. The Boys have to find a way to make a play. I really thought Jones would bring that dynamic, but even as well as he is playing, he has not come up with a single turnover (nor has Claiborne, nor Carr, nor Church).

The DL and LBs have to help too. But if you can’t get to a QB, you can’t strip the ball. If you need an example of how to do it, look at how Graham made the Boys All-Pro tackle (Smith) look silly and cause two strip sacks. Hopefully the Boys will study that tape and learn a few things.

What do the Cowboys do for conditioning exercises?

Why are they so tired in the fourth quarter?

This is the difference in losing the last six or going 3 and 3. I have never seen a team that regularly is so exhausted in the fourth quarter. If I am the Cowboys coaches, I have the team running sprint drills until they puke. Conditioning wins more games than most fans realize. This lack of conditioning is directly on the coaches and the Jones’. This country club culture will attract players, but it will lose you games as well.

The biggest thing the Boys miss on offense is Romo’s ability to spread the ball and hit 8 or 9 receivers. This game the only options were Dez, Witten, and Beasley (finally), with a couple of throws to Williams or Whitehead. The Boys have to find a way to get more people involved in the game.

Anytime Dez is working one-on-one throw him the ball. Don’t waste time looking at anyone else. Just go to him. Every time.

Now with that said, let's get to the grades.

 

Offense

Quarterbacks: Grade C+

I would have given Cassel a solid B, but the pick six was a killer. Although the terrible route by McFadden had as much to do with it as anything. But Cassel misread it and stared it down.

He made the biggest mistake a QB can make. He made up his mind who he was going to before he ever left the huddle. Should have had a better pre-read.

He was actually very lucky on the pass to Lucky too. You know the one. The one Dez saved him by out leaping everyone for the score. Yeah, that pass was ill advised but well executed. Dez saved him and gave the Boys a chance.

That said, Cassel finally realized that Beasley is the Boys number two receiver. Hopefully, he remembers next week against Tampa Bay. Overall, Cassel was able to get the ball down field most of the game, and he did his part to give the Cowboys a chance to win, so he gets a C+.

Running Back: Grade B

McFadden was good. The reason for giving him a B grade rather than an A was two blown blocking assignments and the terrible route on the pick six. On that route, McFadden has to drive the LB back into a back pedal before making his cut. That is fundamental football. As good as he was at running the ball, that play is the one that probably cost the Boys the game. It certainly was a big contributor to the loss.

McFadden's running was solid. He got tough yards, fell forward, was elusive at times, and made positive yards when he could have been tackled for a loss. Hard to ask for more than that.

Offensive Line: Grade C+

The O-line is hard to grade. If you grade on the run game, they probably deserve an A. But in the pass game they allowed 4 sacks and many hurries, so I would give them a D. If the Boys had won then I probably would give them a B-, but since they lost, I give them a C+.

I thought Smith struggled against Graham. It just wasn’t that he gave up the two strip sacks, but Graham had multiple plays where he disrupted the run game as well. Now Smith struggling is still pretty good. He certainly moved his side of the line on many positive runs.

I thought the rookie La'el Collins held his own against a pretty tough matchup. He did allow some penetration and missed a couple of stunts, but overall he was solid.

Free had a pretty good day. He looks to be getting healthier. He was a force in the run game both at the point of attack and on backside cutoffs. He has been the weak link a good portion of the year, but he seems to be getting back into form.

Frederick and Martin were consistent. For most of the night, they got movement on an interior line that is among the best in the league. They did lose some battles, but I would say they got the best of their matchups for most of the night.

Receivers: Grade B+

Dez isn’t back yet, you can tell he is not at 100%. He certainly is not in shape. But even saying all that, he is the best player on the field when he is on. It is good to have him back. When teams have to double him, they can’t double Witten, or play 9 in the box, or have an all-out blitz. He is a game changer just by being on the field.

It was good to finally have a QB who looks for Beasley. He can be a nightmare when teamed with Dez. Beasley is the Boys number two receiver (third if you count Witten as two) and he deserves more focus in the game plan.

I would give the receivers an A, but William’s hands are still a liability. He could have made a big play on the Cowboys second drive, but dropped a relatively easy, though contested, deep ball. If he catches that pass, the Boys probably get a field goal at the minimum. You just cannot trust a receiver who has to jump into the air and use his body rather than just reach up and catch with his hands. They did use him on a slant and a dig which is how to effectively use him. But his lack of hands really hurt the Boys.

I probably would have scored the receivers higher, but the Boys still have no imagination in how to use Whitehead. He is a weapon that is being poorly used. No reverse, no jet sweep, no screen, no drag, no toss sweep, no using him at RB and sending him on option routes, no imagination at all.

Tight End: Grade B

The blocking was really good. I said it last week, but it bears repeating. The run game got better when Hanna got healthy. Witten is just consistent and a leader.

This is a solid group, even with Escobar not being a factor. Speaking of Escobar, he is not giving enough effort on blocking. On one play there was a run to the left. Escobar was on the right and he exploded (I say that loosely) up and hit his man and just stopped. Meanwhile, McFadden was cutting back and would have had a nice hole, but Escobar’s man came over and met McFadden in the hole. Escobar was there, he just quit on the block. Had he continued with his block it might have been a big gain.

This was not a skill issue, it is an effort issue (or lack thereof).

 

Defense

Defensive Ends: Grade F

What can you say? It is one thing not to have a pass rush but entirely another to give up the edge too. Lawrence gave up the edge multiple times and he was ineffective as a pass rusher. He is getting caught inside way too much. He tries to jump inside the block and then back out before the runner gets there. On a couple of times this year, he has made big plays doing this. But unfortunately, the other 15 times have been big runs to the outside. You have to set an edge.

I really think Lawrence is a right end. I think he would be better there. He seemed quicker last year. I would recommend that that they try to switch Hardy and Lawrence. I think it would make them better against the run and probably would help improve the rush as well.

Hardy had one sack, so it is hard to complain about him. But he has not been dominant the last three weeks against makeshift lines. You would think he could have dominated the game against Lane Johnson, but it never materialized.

Mincey was a non-factor in the passing game, but he is strong against the run. Pretty much the same as all year.

There is nothing really to say; no rush, no edge, run lanes everywhere. Bad day all around. Calling out Lawrence. Be the player we all know you can be.

Defensive Tackles: Grade F

See comments above. No rush, run lanes up the gut, and the O-line dominated you in the fourth quarter. Called it tired, call it whatever, but the Eagles imposed their will on the D-line in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Linebackers: Grade D

The Boys LB play started off well. But it got worse as the game went on.

Lee got hurt. Next play big pass play on a swing and go. Picked on Hitchens until he left. Gachkar struggled against the pass but played the run well.

McClain had the worst game of the year. He seems to be fading not getting into shape. He was dead tired. He is one of the players if he is tired, you take out his heart. He wanted no part of the overtime. He had a chance to make a play on fourth and one, and he simply could not muster the energy to make a play. Really disappointed in the last couple of games from McClain. We can only hope he keeps his head in the game for the rest of the year. That and he gets into shape.

Overall, I could not give an F because they did make some plays, particularly in the first half.

Corners: Grade C

Who would have thought that the corners would be the stars of the defense? But they are the most consistent unit.

Claiborne’s holding penalty hurt, but I think the Eagles would have completed the pass but not for the tug. He has been the best corner for the Cowboys all year. He may not be a Neon Deon, but he is consistent and good. I just wish he could finish a play and get a pick.

Jones had a mixed day. He both played really well and made rookie mistakes by being overly aggressive. Overall, he is becoming a solid starter.

I thought Carr had a really good day in run support. His coverage skills have diminished, but he is a physical corner who can tackle when he needs to. Since DeMarcus Lawrence was giving up the edge all night, he needed to be.

Overall, not a bad day, not a good day, just steady.

Safeties: Grade F

Man was JJ bad. I mean he could not tackle anyone in the open field. On the long run on the Eagles first touchdown, JJ had the containment on the outside and completely whiffed on the play. He took a bad angle and never came close. The result was a long run that got a first and set up the touchdown. Same on the final touchdown. If he makes the stop the Cowboys may keep the Eagles to a field goal or maybe even come up with a big turnover. Instead, JJ takes a wrong angle and whiffs again. JJ is bad in coverage. He takes bad angles on deep balls. He takes bad angles when he is coming up to hit a receiver or runner in the open field. He is simply not a starting safety in this league. He is not making any impact plays or even positive plays and he's making a ton of negative ones. A change is needed.

After the game, JJ says he is going to work on taking the right angle so it does not happen again. Did he just realize in year three this was an issue? What about all the other times? Did he ignore them? Or did he learn from them too? Or is why didn’t he learn more accurate? He is a liability. I am not sure when the Boys will decide to make a change. Heath can at least tackle someone.

 

Special Teams

Cover Teams: Grade B

Good coverage all day

Return Teams: Grade A

Whitehead is a weapon. Hope the Boys will use him more.

Overall I would grade the offense as a B and the defense as a D. Most games, 27 points should be enough to win, but when you can’t rush the passer, have no turnovers, and you constantly give up the edge, you are not going to win many games.



Tommy Simon is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and sports enthusiast. He is currently CEO of TechBAA, an investor and board member of TPC Technical and CommunitesFIrst, and acting CFO for ALS Communities. In addition to investing and advising companies, Tommy is also a Sales Management coach and is working with companies as a Fractional CMO/CSO. Tommy is a life long football player, coach and Cowboy fan. He currently coaches and sponsors several 7 on 7 teams. He manages/coaches an adult flag football team that is the top team in Florida one of the highest ranked teams in the country. Tommy's hobbies include international travel, fantasy football, reading, and engaging in intelligent political discourse. He is married to a wonderful women for 18 years; which is the best thing he has ever accomplished. He has a dog that is the best dog ever. He also has 9 siblings and roughly 30 nieces and nephews. For more information about tommy, or to request him to speak, please contact him at info@techbaa.com

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Patrick bailey

    November 13, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Agree with lawrence playing on wrong side glad someone else is seeing it. He and gregory are essentially the same position which means we need a LDE whether its mincey, hardy, russell or a future draft pick.

  2. Patrick Bailey

    November 13, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Agree with lawrence been saying it he and gregory are same position. Need new LDE more stout like hardy, mincey, maybe russell or irving or draft one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Game Notes

Jason Garrett’s Decision Making Stands Out in Playoff Loss

John Williams

Published

on

Are the Dallas Cowboys Distancing Themselves from HC Jason Garrett? 2

The 2018 NFL season has come to an end for the Dallas Cowboys. The Los Angeles Rams were simply the better team on Saturday night in the Coliseum and it showed in the 30-22 loss. While it was a disappointing performance, there were several things to take away from the game to give us reason for optimism moving forward. Connor Williams played well against Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh on the interior, Dak Prescott kept the team in the game despite little help from the running game, and Head Coach Jason Garrett perhaps coached his best game from a management point of view.

After the first drive, this game had one of those, if the Dallas Cowboys have to punt, it's likely going to be a loss feels. The defense's inability to force more than one punt or create a turnover was going to make it really difficult for the offense to keep up, and yet at the end of the game, the Cowboys were within a score and had a shot to win. Dak Prescott deserves a lot of credit for that, but so does Jason Garrett.

Here's why.

4th and 1's

Jason Garrett has long been viewed as a conservative coach in the NFL, and this season he didn't do much to help his reputation, but that game on Saturday should change some of that perception. On a night where it looked like his defense didn't have it, he called the game he needed to maximize his team's possessions.

On the opening drive of the game for the offense, the Cowboys got to the Rams 49 yard line, but faced a 4th and 1. Garrett didn't waste any time going for it and the Cowboys were able to convert on Ezekiel Elliott's five yard run. A Marcus Peters' unneccessary roughness penalty gave the Cowboys an extra 15 yards and the Cowboys scored on the next play on Amari Cooper's 29 yard catch and run to give the Dallas Cowboys the lead.

It would be their only lead of the night.

Again, in the second half, the Cowboys faced a 4th and 1, this time it was at the Rams 41 yard line and this time, the Cowboys were down 23-7. This was not nearly as difficult a decision as the Cowboys were in catch up mode and needed to get a score to bring the game within striking distance, and they did just that. Again, Elliott picked up five yards when the Cowboys needed one and Elliott capped off th drive with a one yard touchdown run after Michael Gallup's long reception on a broken play.

At the Rams 35 yard line and the game within reach, the Cowboys went for it again on fourth down, but this time were stopped short of the first down marker when Ndamukong Suh made an excellent play to prevent Elliott from picking up the yard. On the play, you can see Suh start to Joe Looney's left, which forced Elliott to go to Looney's right and Suh followed Elliott into the hole. There was much Looney could do as Suh had the necessary leverage to make the play. It was absolutely the right call to go for it in that situation, but the Cowboys went to the jumbo formation-Elliott inside run one too many times. It was clear where the ball was going to go in that situation, and they were stuffed.

On what turned out to be the final drive of the season for the Dallas Cowboys, they needed to score and score rather quickly to have a chance to get the ball back one more time. The offense scored, but took a little too much time doing so as the drive took just over five minutes off the game clock. Again, on the drive, they were faced with a fourth and 1, but this time they used Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott on a speed option to the right and they were able to convert and eventually get the touchdown.

For the game, the Dallas Cowboys went three for four on fourth down attempts.

Point After Decisions

In the middle of the third quarter, the Dallas Cowboys scored to make it 23-13. Generally in the NFL, teams don't go for two until they have to go. Knowing that possessions were going to be few and far between the Cowboys were likely going to have to score on every possession the rest of the game, Garrett went for two and the Cowboys converted to make it an eight point game.

Then after the Dallas Cowboys scored to make the game 30-21, there was much discussion on social media on whether the Cowboys should have gone for two there or just kicked the extra point, which was a bit surprising.

To me, it was simple. Kick the extra point to make it 30-22 and hope your defense gets you the ball back and you can score again. If you go for two in that situation and don't make it, the game is essentially over with just over two minutes remaining. Taking the extra point kept you in the game, even if it was still only a slight chance to pull out a win.

Declining Penalties

With about 3:20 to go in the third quarter, the Dallas Cowboys defense faced a third and two situation around midfield against the Rams. They were able to force Rams Quarterback Jared Goff into a hurried throw and he overthrew Josh Reynolds in the flat for what would have been a first down.

On the play there were two penalties, offensive holding and offensive pass interference and Jason Garrett declined the penalties.

To me it was one of the boldest coaching decisions has made in his career on something that seemed very innocuous.

Sean McVay and the Rams were having their way with the Dallas Cowboys defense as Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson gashed their way to over 100 yards rushing each. With the Rams facing a fourth and two on the Dallas Cowboys side of the 50 yard line, most people thought the Rams would go for it there and completely steal the soul of the Dallas Cowboys.

Johnny Hekker did his best to get the Dallas Cowboys to think he was going to run a fake, but the Cowboys never panicked and stayed onside as the punter attempted to game them.

It was a huge call in that situation. If Garrett accepts the penalties, the Rams would have faced a third and 12 at their own 43 yard line, but would have had another opportunity to convert the first down and extend the drive.

I really liked the call, because it put McVay in a difficult position himself. If the were to go for it and fail to convert on fourth down, the Cowboys would have gotten the ball at about midfield with a chance to tie the game.

Kicking Deep vs Onside Kick

With the new rules governing kickoffs, mainly that teams have to keep a amount of players on each side of the kicker, onside kicks have become less and less successful in today's NFL. Even before the rule changes, recovering an onside kick was less than a 50/50 proposition.

Kicking deep was really the only decision to make. The hope is that your defense is able to get a stop and the Cowboys would get the ball back with decent field position.

And it nearly worked.

The Dallas Cowboys run defense came up big on first and second down, holding the Rams running game to three yards setting up a third and seven. Just as everyone was expecting the Rams to throw it, they ran a play action with a naked bootleg that left Jared Goff all alone on the outside with a ton of room to run, and zero Cowboys in position to prevent him from picking up the first down.

Ball game.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

On Saturday, Ian Rapoport from NFL Network, reported the Cowboys were looking to extend for Jason Garrett this offseason. It should come as no surprise as he helped orchestrate an impressive turnaround from 3-5 to 10-6 and NFC East champions all while fielding one of the youngest teams in the NFL. Jason Garrett has grown a lot as an NFL head coach and in the playoff loss, made excellent decisions to keep the Cowboys in the game. He's going to be around here for a long time and there should be a lot of optimism heading into 2019 that the Cowboys can make some strides.



Continue Reading

Game Notes

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly From Cowboys Divisional Round Loss

Brian Martin

Published

on

The Good, Bad, and Ugly From Cowboys Divisional Round Loss

Well Cowboys Nation, the Dallas Cowboys 2018 season had to come to an end at some point. Not many of us would have predicted earlier in the season that it would've come at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Round, but that's what happened and it's kind of bittersweet.

I don't know how you feel today, but I don't find myself all that upset the Dallas Cowboys season is officially over. Yes, I would've loved to see them completely dominate the LA Rams and advance in the playoffs, but I'm surprisingly really pleased with the way this team played this season. We have to remember that this is a young team and this is hopefully just the beginning of something great.

Today, I want to share with you some of the positives and negatives from the Cowboys game against the Rams Saturday night. This of course will be the last edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys 2018-2019 season.

The Good

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Finding the positive after a loss isn't always the easiest thing to accomplish. The Dallas Cowboys didn't particularly play their best football Saturday against the Rams, which makes it even more difficult. But for me, the good has to be the resiliency and grittiness the Cowboys played with in LA.

I don't think anyone would argue that the LA Rams pretty much dominated the entire game Saturday. They put the Cowboys on their heels pretty much from the get-go, which took them out of their game. Dallas was never really able to establish their running game and couldn't get the Rams offense off the field. They've been able to pretty much do that against all their opponents this season, but just fell flat at the wrong time.

Despite getting manhandled, the Dallas Cowboys continued to fight back and never quit. They could've easily rolled over and given up, but they didn't. I think that really speaks volumes to the kind of players Dallas has on the roster. This is a really talented young team with a bright future ahead of themselves.

The Bad

C. J. Anderson

Los Angeles Rams RB C. J. Anderson (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Anyone who watched the game Saturday night pretty much knows what goes in this category. The bad for me and probably everybody else is how the Dallas Cowboys defense was gashed by the Los Angeles Rams rushing attack. C. J. Anderson and Todd Gurley absolutely dominated on the ground, leading their team to victory.

I knew the Rams rushing attack would give the Cowboys defense problems, but I never imagined they would rush for nearly 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. C. J. Anderson and Todd Gurley may be the ones earning all the praise with their performances, but they definitely wouldn't have found as much success as they did if not for their offensive line.

Dallas' front seven has been really good against the run all season. They only allowed a couple of 100 yard rushers this season (Chris Carson, Marlon Mack) until Anderson and Gurley both rushed for over 100 Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Cowboys DL just got overpowered by the Rams OL and it definitely impacted the outcome of the game.

The Ugly

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

What was pegged to be a matchup between two of the best running backs in the NFL, Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, ended up being pretty much a one-man show. That is why the ugly Saturday night for the Dallas Cowboys in my opinion was their rushing attack.

We all know the Cowboys offensive blueprint is to establish the running game to help control the clock and game speed. That unfortunately never materialized Saturday night against the Rams, a team by the way that was giving up 5.1 yards rushing to opposing running backs. It was supposed to be a matchup that favored Zeke and Dallas' ground game.

I'll give credit where credit is due though. The Rams defensive line stepped up their game and didn't allow Zeke to get any kind of momentum going in the running game. They gave the Cowboys OL all they could handle and pretty much made their offensive attack one-dimensional. They wanted to put the game in Dak Prescott's hands and for the most part accomplished what they set out to do.

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



Continue Reading

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Run Defense, 4th Down Decision End Season in Los Angeles

Sean Martin

Published

on

Sean's Scout: Cowboys Run Defense, 4th Down Decision End Season in Los Angeles

The last round of the Dallas Cowboys fight in 2018 came at the hands of a hungry Los Angeles Rams team, ending their season in the Divisional Round behind 273 rushing yards. Effectively, the third seed in the NFC beat the Cowboys at their own game with the bye week to prepare. The fallout from this loss won't be fully realized until the sting is gone, but sweeping changes aren't expected in Dallas after a resurrection from 3-5 saw the Cowboys within a few plays of the NFC Championship Game.

How those plays were made and what the Rams did to execute a near flawless game plan is the subject of this final Sean's Scout of the season.

  • The Rams' success on the ground against Richard's defense was stunning for a lot of reasons, none more so than the way Linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith struggled to react and fight off blocks.

The Cowboys issues at linebacker were a result of their front four getting blown off the ball all game by LA's offensive line. I wrote in my final game preview piece about how the Cowboys needed to win the line of scrimmage on both sides, losing with their own offense when the game was in the balance and never putting up a fight on the defensive line.

To the Rams' credit, even the simple things Sean McVay's team executes are done with an attention to detail that makes them very difficult to contain. The Rams did a great job scheming blockers to the second level, where Smith and Vander Esch were handled to the point of playing tentatively and taking poor angles.

In what could be his final game with the Cowboys or the end of his career, Sean Lee played 21 snaps, one shy of his week 17 total when the Cowboys played the Giants with the division already wrapped up. Getting caught in a game they couldn't possibly win against the better team at home, the Cowboys defense had no answers for Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson.

  • Dak Prescott's "in the grasp" call when he scrambled into La'el Collins' arms on third down was a bad look for the officials, but also an injured Cole Beasley, who was late working his route back to Prescott and into his line of vision. 

If Beasley was at full strength, he's likely able to stop his vertical route sooner and give Prescott an easy throw underneath as he rolled to the right. Left with nowhere to go, Dak had the play blown dead after Right Tackle La'el Collins wrapped his arms around Prescott while scrambling.

With the way the Rams came out on offense, it became clear that every Cowboys possession would be of dire importance. Losing one on a strange call like this was a blow Dallas never had a chance to recover from.

  • Lost in the Cowboys turnover on downs in the fourth quarter, the final time they touched the ball within a score, is the incredible third down throw Prescott made on the run to Noah Brown. 

To give his offense a chance on fourth and short, Prescott delivered a strike to Brown on the sideline for 13 yards. Without being able to set his feet, Prescott felt the pressure well and put the ball where only Brown could secure it falling out of bounds.

It's unfortunate the next play became the defining moment of the season for Dallas. Deciding to attack the strength of the Rams' defense, Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Michael Brockers were ready for an Elliott rushing attempt right up the middle out of 12 personnel.

Not only was Center Joe Looney beat on the play, but Collins lost leverage and was beat across the face to further clutter the middle of the field for Elliott to be stopped short. Making matters even worse, the Rams came out and attacked the Cowboys defense by flashing the misdirection plays that worked all night.

In just 12 plays, Anderson scored his second touchdown to all but put the game away for LA. The Cowboys would use Prescott's legs much too late on the ensuing drive, getting into the end zone but failing to get the ball back.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

As mentioned, this won't be an offseason of drastic change for the Cowboys. Bowing out in the divisional round for the second time in three seasons, adjustments to both the coaching staff and roster are needed for this team to take the next step.

For a team that looked nothing like a postseason contender for much of the regular season, the Cowboys improbable run of close wins came to an end against the Rams - determined to not lose their first playoff game in consecutive seasons.

They won't be happy with the result, but the Cowboys should be proud of their final outcome on this year.

As always, I'd like to thank Cowboys Nation for reading another season of Sean's Scout. Win or lose you make this job fun.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Run Defense, 4th Down Decision End Season in Los Angeles" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending