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Game Notes

The Morning After: What Happened To The Dallas Cowboys On Sunday?

Kevin Brady

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Last week, I published an article flashing us back to the last time the Cowboys faced the Denver Broncos. It was 2013, and after a shootout for the ages, the Cowboys suffered a heartbreaking defeat.

Well, yesterday, the Cowboys played like it was 2013 once again. For the first time since that 8-8 season, a Cowboys team which had its real starting quarterback got absolutely demolished.

That’s it, demolished. From start to finish the Denver Broncos controlled the game, en route to an embarrassing 42-17 defeat. And, for once, it was a complete team failure.

No, you can’t simply blame the defense.

Sure Dallas couldn’t get off the field on third down whatsoever and seemed to fold on every single key down, but offensively they simply had no answers for the stingy Denver defense. The offensive line could not open any real running lanes for Ezekiel Elliott and not a single receiver seemed to create any separation from the Broncos secondary.

Dak Prescott, who I firmly believe is the future of this franchise, played about as poorly as we have ever seen him play. Though one of his two interceptions was clearly not his fault, Prescott was still rather inaccurate all night long, finishing the day off with a pick six to Aqib Talib.

DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 17: Domata Peko (94) of the Denver Broncos Todd Davis (51) and Adam Gotsis (99) tackle Ezekiel Elliott (21) of the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter on Sunday, September 17, 2017. The Denver Broncos hosted the Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

But, with all that being said, this is not completely on the offense either.

This was, by far, the worst tackling performance by a Cowboys defense in two seasons. There are obvious holes in this defensive unit which we have all acknowledged, but when Byron Jones and Sean Lee have bad days, the unit simply doesn’t stand much of a chance.

Just about the only bright spot from this 42-17 loss was defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who pressured Trevor Siemian multiple times and came away with a strip sack to set up a Cowboys touchdown. Besides Lawrence, and a Jourdan Lewis interception, the defense was abysmal.

But, even with all of that said, I can’t blame this all on the players either. Dallas was completely out-coached yesterday, from the top down. Jason Garrett made some very questionable decisions late in the game which, while may not have really affected whether a comeback would have happened, still caused me to scratch my head.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan tried to get cute a little too often, and left his young quarterback in some terrible situations. Especially on the road against this defense. And, of course, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s unit just did not seem ready to play whatsoever.

The season is far from lost, though, Cowboys Nation. The Cowboys now travel to Arizona to play a 1-1 Cardinals team which barely squeaked by the lowly Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Then, they face an improved Los Angeles Rams team at home, in another game in which they should be favored.

The point is, the Cowboys should have plenty of time to right this ship and get back to playing the way they did over 17 games last season, and have once this season already.

This is still a very talented football team, and one that should win a lot of games and compete for the NFC East crown. It’s been a long time since the Cowboys were beat down like they were yesterday.

Maybe they were just due.

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Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the ‘boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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9 Comments
  • Reynaldo Laporte

    Good article brah, I look forward to the content this site provides…. Now onto the task at hand.

    This game came further highlighted an area where we have been struggling for some time and that is coaching and the failure to adapt both seem to be our Achilles heel. I swear if I see JG clapping on the sideline one more time I’ll go crazy. I am so happy that this was only week 2, but we have to get it together and fast.

  • Matthew Harrell

    Sadly the USS Prescott will have to actually hit the bottom before anyone sees it’s a ship full of holes. He just can’t throw deep and he can’t pick up an offense. Man I miss watching Romo carve up defenses. He did it with no RBs, no blocking, on the road, against top defense. Teams used to talk about fearing Romo and how they had to game plan to stop him. No one will ever say the key to the game is stopping Dak’s passing. No one.

    • Wayne Young

      I strongly disagree. Dak showed several times last year that he could overcome adversity in a game and pick up the team. Just don’t expect him to do it on a timely basis, YET. You forget this is only his second year and this was by far the worst game he’s had so far. He was definitely due for one. Romo certainly would have fared better yesterday than Dak, but that’s only because Romo has been there and done that time and time again. Like any young player Dak needs time to grow and get experience. It is completely unfair to expect that he can just put the entire team on his shoulders in only his second year in the league and win games by himself. It took YEARS for Romo to be able to do that and even then, he always had one or two games where he had a complete meltdown. What will be telling of Dak is how he responds the next few weeks. Usually Romo played just fine the rest of the season once he got that one terrible game out of the way. So far nothing shows that Dak will not overcome this game. Another thing, this offense is built to run the ball, not have a second year quarterback chuck it 50+ times. The Cowboys usually didn’t fare well when Romo had to throw it that many times either. Regardless of who it is they’re playing, they can’t start the game throwing 10 times out of their first 15 plays. That’s not who they are. JG and Linehan got out coached on the offensive side of the ball. They needed to keep running it to protect Dak and keep Denver’s dominant defense honest and they didn’t do it. Anybody talking about Dak not being the answer for the long term success of the Cowboys after ONE game needs to chill out.

    • Herman Taft

      Are you always this wrong? “…carve up defenses” to the tune of TWO playoff wins in ten years?!

  • Hector Espindola

    You nalied it: outcoached. But still we need help on the backfield and Caroll is not the answer, but hey there is a roster spot wasted on Moore. The problem can go beyond week 2…

    • l.a

      Your right about Carroll not the answer

  • l.a

    Lack of effort all together players coaches not 1 player but all as a whole need to reevaluate and fans relax

  • l.a

    And Shannon Sharpe is just a hater

  • l.a

    And make a note of la Collins being exposed by Miller several times

Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys headed to New York a couple of days ago with a mission: survive a potential trap game versus a 2-10 New York Giants team. Despite not getting most of the help they needed from other teams around the league, at least Dallas was able to do the job they could control.

Through three quarters, the Cowboys struggled a lot. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when they decided to have a touchdown party, outscoring the Giants 20-0 in the final eight minutes of the game.

What did we learn from the Cowboys’ seventh win of the season? Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday! 

Dak Prescott Bounced Back

Although the Cowboys are a team that’s barely breathing in the playoff race, the truth is there’re a lot of ways that Dak has improved as a QB. It’s easy to look at a team lose football games and blame the QB without hesitating. That’s been the case most of the season.

It’s fair to say that Prescott hadn’t had an awesome game in a long time, though. But this time, he did just that.

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

Dak Prescott needed a performance like this one. He threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns last Sunday. He made some key throws and key reads during the game and managed to beat the Giants’ blitz with ease. Glad to see you hush the haters, 4.

Certainly a good thing to see when you need to go 3-0 in order to stay in the postseason conversation.

Concerns Around Dez Bryant Continue to Increase

Listen, I love Dez Bryant. He’s been one of my favorite players to ever watch. But at some point, you have to start admitting there is a problem. Yes, Dez Bryant has been struggling this season. Whether you want to blame Dak or Dez about it, it’s fair. I think they both are to blame.

The thing about Dez is that he can have quite a few bad plays and makes you forget about it when he  does something awesome. A perfect example of this is his 50-yard TD against the Giants last Sunday. It came at a perfect moment, but he had dropped some easy balls earlier in the game.

Dez – Streamable

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Dez is getting paid like an elite WR, and despite some great moments on the field, he’s been having a lot of bad ones lately. If you have a $70M contract, you can’t frequently drop passes like that.

It may be about chemistry with his new QB, it may be about age, or it may be just about a couple of bad years for the guy. Whatever it is, as much as we hate to say it, Dez isn’t anywhere close to the “top receivers” conversation this year.

Sean Lee Proved to be Invaluable Once Again

Less Is More For Sean Lee And Cowboys' LBs?I’m constantly amazed by the difference the Cowboys’ veteran linebacker makes when he’s on the field. In his heroic return against the Giants, he finished the day with 18 total tackles, 10 of which were solo. With Sean Lee on the field, this defense has been able to be a headache for opposing offenses.

Sean Lee could easily be this team’s MVP. For Cowboys Nation, it’s been a season of constantly missing football players in Dallas. Out of everyone, I think Sean Lee is the player we missed the most. Including Ezekiel Elliott.

This defense transforms into a very capable one with Lee around. The Cowboys need Zeke back if they want to have success in their hunt for the playoffs, but without Lee, they wouldn’t stand a chance.

Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis Are Still Killing It

Coming into this game, one of the biggest question marks was the cornerback position for Dallas. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis were going to get the start, and there’s always uncertainty around rookies going up against a QB like Eli Manning.

lewis – Streamable

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Look at that coverage by Jourdan Lewis. Look at him turn his head around when the ball’s coming. The way this secondary will grow is exciting to think about. The Cowboys have something special in these two guys. They’ll make for an amazing CB duo for years to come, and I’m excited about what they bring to the table.

Chidobe Awuzie has played the last two games, and he’s been very impressive. Throughout the entire game, his converge was pretty impressive. Eli only targeted him 5 times in the ballgame and was able to complete just two passes against him.

Sean Lee ended up with the interception late in the fourth quarter, but it was perfectly set up by Chidobe Awuzie.

Awuzie – Streamable

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It was a very fun fourth quarter for the Dallas Cowboys, and even though it looks difficult… this football team’s playoff hopes are still alive. Jason Garrett must keep this team focused in the Oakland Raiders for now, though.

Hope dies last, Cowboys Nation. Keep your head up.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Game Notes

Forget Elliott For Now, Cowboys Must Focus On Raiders

Kevin Brady

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Despite looking dead to rights just two weeks ago, back to back wins have put the Dallas Cowboys into the playoff hunt with just three games remaining.

In order to even have a chance at sneaking in as the sixth seed, Dallas will need to win each of its remaining games to finish 10-6. In some ways, the playoffs started two weeks ago when Dallas took on the Washington Redskins. But even though this Sunday’s contest is another must-win, elimination game for the Cowboys, it’s also a classic “trap” or “look ahead” game as well.

Before the season started, most expected the Oakland Raiders to be competing for AFC supremacy. Like the Cowboys, Oakland bursted onto the scene in 2016 with a young quarterback, a dynamic offense, and an exciting roster. But, like the Cowboys, they have faltered a bit this season due to underperforming stars, injuries, and a somewhat undermanned defensive unit.

The Raiders are now 6-7, and while still alive in the AFC West race, saw their best shot at overtaking the division go up in a smoke last Sunday as they were demolished by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Simply put, the Raiders are not a very good football team right now. And though this will be a road game for the Cowboys, it is one they should win if they are truly a playoff team. In fact, it’s one they have to win if they want to keep their slim playoff chances alive.

The reason why this could potentially be a “trap” game of sorts is who the Cowboys are scheduled to play after traveling to Oakland. A team who has been a perennial playoff contender in the NFC, and a team directly in front of the Cowboys in the current NFC standings – the Seattle Seahawks.

Not only will that Seattle game be massively important to the Cowboys if they can sneak out of Oakland with a victory, it will also feature the return of star running back Ezekiel Elliott from his six game suspension.

December 24th will be a huge day in Dallas if the Cowboys can get to 8-6 this week, but they can ill-afford to look ahead to that potentially important showdown with the Seahawks. Because if they do and the Raiders upset them at the home in primetime, the Cowboys season will end before Elliott even gets the chance to come back.

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Game Notes

Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants’ Blitz

Kevin Brady

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Film Room: How Dak Prescott Beat The Giants' Blitz

While much of Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants featured some ugly football from the Dallas Cowboys, the team continued to fight until completing a 20 point route of their division rivals.

Of course, stars emerged on both the offense and the defense throughout the game. Rod Smith had a breakout day, Dez Bryant made a couple of “vintage” plays, and Sean Lee returned to health and led the defense to a fantastic performance.

But as we all know, quarterbacks make the world go ’round. And no matter how great the other pieces play, it’s hard to win football games unless you can maintain high level quarterback play.

Dak Prescott returned to that high level against the Giants on Sunday.

Even if Prescott is missing throws or having accuracy issues, he had never lost his composure or made the wrong reads until that Atlanta Falcons debacle. I really believe that Dak lost faith in his protection, began abandoning clean pockets, and ended up having a few bad games in a row.

All seems right with Prescott now, as he threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns during the Cowboys’ big win. The area he was most impressive, was with those reads – specifically against the blitz.

dalvsnyg dak to dez td – Streamable

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On his first touchdown pass of the game, Dak Prescott beats the blitz perfectly. Just before snapping the ball, Prescott notices the safety roll down into the box. You can see him subtly move his arm to point out the safety, while calling it out to his linemen as well.

As soon as he gets the snap, Dak knows exactly where to go. The Giants tried to beat him with a delayed safety blitz, but once that safety comes, Prescott knows he has Dez Bryant in man coverage on the perimeter.

His eyes immediately snap that way, and his throw replaces the blitzer quickly. This allows Bryant to do the rest, and the Cowboys to tie the game.

dalvsnyg 17 cole beasley – Streamable

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Later in the game we see more of the same from Dak Prescott. With the game tied at 10 the Cowboys faced a critical third down backed up in their own territory. The Giants once again show blitz, bring the  blitz, and Dak burns them for it.

The Giants show man coverage across the board pre-snap, with safety Landon Collins on the near hash. Cole Beasley is in the near-slot, and while he technically has a man over him directly, the Giants show 2-over-1 in the slot pre-snap. This usually tips off a blitz, as the Giants plan to bring their slot defender off the edge, and allow Landon Collins to cover Beasley one on one.

Prescott notices this pre-snap once again, and makes the defense pay. He quickly replaces the blitzer with his throw, allowing Beasley to make the easy catch underneath and then do the rest after the catch.

This may not seem all the difficult to do to those analyzing the game the next morning, but these reads indicate high level quarterback-ing from the Cowboys’ franchise leader, Dak Prescott.

Last season against the Giants, their defense was able to bring more than the Cowboys could block on key third downs a few times. Too often, Prescott and the passing offense could not beat those blitzes.

That was not the case this week at all.

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