The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their worst loss of the season as they look to clinch the NFC East on Sunday, the duality of this causing a panic in Cowboys Nation this week. Often times the source of these frustrations is misguided after a loss, but with the Cowboys being shut out for the first time in over a decade, it's impossible for Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan to escape the criticism this time.
The Cowboys have worked admirably hard to dispel the narrative that their offense lacks creativity and their receiving corps is underwhelming (before the acquisition of Amari Cooper), and with just two promised games remaining are nearly back where they started.
Linehan no longer roams the Cowboys sideline on game days, but if he did on Sunday he'd see a familiar face in Matt Eberflus. In 2011, Eberflus took over as the Cowboys Linebackers Coach, promoted to the Passing Game Coordinator position last season.
A title currently held by trending head coach candidate Kris Richard, Eberflus was more than ready for Linehan's offense as the Colts Defensive Coordinator. The Cowboys offense showed some flashes in the first half, but failed to finish a single drive before rolling over in the second half.
The Colts were allowing 102.9 rushing yards per game coming into their match up with the Cowboys, who were held to 112 empty yards. Prescott's 180 yards was well below the Colts average of 242.3 yielded each week through the air, before sparking a win streak of their own by beating the Texans and Cowboys in their last two games.
As mentioned, the Cowboys issues with Linehan are nothing new, including during a recent five game win streak. This streak is deserving of scrutiny after the Cowboys looked uninterested in clinching the division on the road in week 15.
They'll get the same opportunity at home this week against the Buccaneers, as well as at the Giants the following week if needed.
Relying on individual talent and skill to win on offense, where other teams routinely make things easy on their quarterback and scheme much more yardage than Dallas, is worrisome for a Cowboys team that's played worthy of playoff success.
The talk of the league outside of "what happened to Dallas?" this week seems to be a much more global "what is going to happen in the NFC playoffs"? The Cowboys, Linehan included, would love to have something to say about both questions, yet have more than a large enough sample size of inept offense to see how things could go horribly wrong.
Saving the day in the Cowboys most recent win was Cooper, who admitted he changed his route with Quarterback Dak Prescott on a key fourth quarter touchdown. The week before that, in the Cowboys most impressive win of the year, they managed just 13 points against the New Orleans Saints.
With the remaining Cowboys opponents boasting a combined ten wins this season, the outlook is certainly favorable that Garrett will lead this team to the playoffs for the third time - doing so once with Linehan as his OC in 2016.
To say the Cowboys win streak was all bad is the worst of overreactions to a loss the team's been working to put behind them for three days already. Whether or not their flashes of brilliance during it will be wasted because of their play calling on offense is to be determined.
First up is how they recover from being dragged by a former Cowboys coach that showed no remorse for preparing his defense to totally dominate the Cowboys offense.
Dealing with heart-break, especially in the postseason, is nothing new for Cowboys fans. So too is the emerging truth that Scott Linehan is holding the Cowboys back to a fault that could become more than last week's shutout at the hands of Eberflus.
The Brady Report: Cowboys Offense Dominant Despite Slow Start
The Dallas Cowboys followed up their dominant performance last week with yet another blowout divisional win on Sunday, defeating the Washington Redskins 31-21.
While the Cowboys controlled the game for much of the last three quarters, they actually got off to a slow start in Washington. Once again they fell behind to a lesser team 7-0 early, before scoring on nearly every possession to finish off the game.
Let's get into my game notes from the Cowboys' week two win.
- We have to start these game notes by talking about Dak Prescott. The Cowboys franchise quarterback was incredible for the second straight week to open this season. Despite the early interception, Prescott continued to look poised and calm in the pocket, allowing him to deliver a dime to Devin Smith for the team's first touchdown. Prescott was picking apart the Redskins secondary during the final three quarters to the tune of 269 yards and three touchdowns. Plus, he was very effective as a runner, including his dynamic 42 yard run on third down and one with the game still tied. If Dak is going to play like this, the Cowboys can beat anyone.
- Ezekiel Elliott looked a lot more comfortable Sunday than he did against the Giants. Not only were his raw numbers better, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown, he was back to his ways of falling forward and avoiding the first tackler. He still didn't really explode the way we all know he can, which means opposing defenses should be scared when considering what the Cowboys offense's full potential could be.
- Which receiver didn't ball out Sunday? Michael Gallup seems to be developing an awesome rapport with Prescott, Amari Cooper continues to prove he's a legit WR1, Randall Cobb was once again effective on swing passes and in the slot, and even Devin Smith had himself a monster game. If Devin Smith is going to be the speed deep threat he was against Washington, look out.
- Ok, now that I've congratulated the majority of the offense, let's talk about the one guy who I'm sure would've liked to have a better day. Left guard Connor Williams. The second year guard was solid overall Sunday, but was abused by Daron Payne from time to time. Most notably, Payne went right through Williams both to force Prescott's interception and on the only sack of the game. Williams has to be better going forward, because he is the clear weak link across this dynamic offensive line right now. Luckily, as a whole, this line has been very good through two games.
- Defensively, things could've gone better for the Cowboys. While a lot of the production through the air came through garbage time, Terry McLaurin was still too effective down the field. Chris Thompson was also getting too much YAC against these defenders. Anthony Brown had a rough day in the slot, missing multiple tackles and not being too great in coverage either. Jourdan Lewis, however, did have himself a good game in limited snaps. Both he and Byron Jones made impressive open field tackles on third downs.
- The Cowboys run defense stepped up from a week ago. The tackling of their front seven overall improved as the game went on, and they held Adrian Peterson to just 25 yards on the ground. Part of this was because of how quickly the Cowboys got to their 21-7 lead in the third quarter, but they were solid nonetheless.
- Dallas' pass rush will benefit greatly from Robert Quinn's return next week against Miami. DeMarcus Lawrence created a couple big pressures on Sunday, but Quinn's presence should help free him up a bit to create more of a consistent pass rush.
Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly From Week 2 Against the Redskins
It's still a bit early in the 2019 season, but the Dallas Cowboys ability to go into hostile territory and come away with a victory against the Washington Redskins is a big win. Not only does America's Team remain undefeated to start the season, but they also now sit atop the NFC East in sole possession of the division.
The Dallas Cowboys again got off to a slow start Sunday afternoon against the Redskins but showed their resiliency by continuing to battle throughout the game. I expected a slobber knocker type of game considering the way these two teams battle it out every time they square off against one another and they certainly didn't disappoint. However, it was the Cowboys who prevailed in the end with the 31-21 victory.
But enough with the rehashing of yet another impressive Cowboys win. Let's get to the point of this article and dive into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly this week from the Week 2 matchup against the Washington Redskins.
I really wanted to go with Wide Receiver Devin Smith here this week because he had an impressive game against the Washington Redskins and ended up leading the team in receiving yards (74 yards, 1 TD), but I'm just going to give him a shout out instead. I think the good deservedly goes to Quarterback Dak Prescott. He continues to show he has taken the next step in his development, which is making the Dallas Cowboys offense one of the more lethal units in the NFL.
It may have taken a little while for the Cowboys offense to get going, but when it did it was because Prescott took charge. Once again he looked really good in the passing game, completing 26 of 30 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. His efficiency throwing the ball was awfully impressive, but so was his five rushes for 69 yards on the ground. His only little blemish on the day was the unfortunate interception that just so happened to bounce the right way for the Redskins. Overall though, Dak handled more than his share Sunday and did it really well.
Deciding what to put in this category each week is never an easy task. I absolutely hate singling out a single person, but this week I'm going to have to point my finger at Left Guard Connor Williams. He's my nomination for the bad this week due to the penalties he had at the most inopportune times. Last week Zack Martin did the same thing against the Giants and rebounded. Hopefully, Williams can do the same.
Although I put Williams in the section, I think the penalties the Dallas Cowboys piled up throughout the game against the Redskins probably deserve more attention than I'm giving them. It was a sloppy game from start to finish due to the amount of yellow flags flying Sunday afternoon, but it's kind of to be expected considering they are playing a divisional opponent and how early it still is in the 2019 season. Let's just hope the amount of laundry flying from now on is minimal to none.
For the second week in a row the Dallas Cowboys defense has failed to live up to the expectations many of us have had for them entering the 2019 season. For that reason alone I think they were the ugly from Sunday afternoon against the Washington Redskins. They really need to step up their game if they want to live up to the aspirations that we not only all have for them, but they have for themselves.
I honestly don't think the Redskins offense is all that much better than the Giants, who the Cowboys made look better than they truly are last week. I think they did the same thing in this Week 2 matchup as well. They are really struggling to bottle up the running game like they did last year. They're also giving too much cushion in the passing game and have allowed too many easy completions underneath. Hopefully they can bounce back next week against the Miami Dolphins, but if not we should all be really concerned.
What is your Good, Bad, and Ugly from the Cowboys victory over the Redskins?
DAL 31, WAS 21: Dak Prescott Dominant In Comfortable Win
Fourth year quarterback Dak Prescott is up for a new contract t this offseason, and he's playing like he knows it.
After putting up a perfect passer rating in the Cowboys' season opening win, he was once again excellent today. Prescott threw for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also ran for 69 yards on 5 attempts to lead the Cowboys to their 31-21 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Prescott spread the ball around to a multitude of different targets. Tight end Jason Witten caught his second touchdown of the year, Amari Cooper had yet another touchdown as well, Michael Gallup went for 68 yards on 6 catches, and even Devin Smith had a huge day to lead the team in receiving. Ezekiel Elliott eclipsed the 100 yard rushing mark for the first time this season, and got himself a rushing touchdown as well to seal the deal.
Defensively, the Cowboys were not as impressive. While the final statistics are skewed due to garbage time yards and scoring, this defense felt like they were on their heels the entire afternoon. DeMarcus Lawrence came up with a couple big pressures, but outside of Tyrone Crawford's first half sack the Cowboys didn't create many problems for Redskins quarterback Case Keenum.
This defense will need to tighten up if they are to contend with the elite offenses they'll have to face around the NFC going forward.
Dallas is now 2-0 on the season, with both wins coming over division opponents. Of course, they've dominated the two worst teams in the division, and both match-ups with the Philadelphia Eagles still loom large later in this season.
Regardless, the Cowboys are off to an excellent start to their 2019 campaign, and get to come home to play the lowly Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
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