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Game Notes

SEA 21, DAL 12: Cowboys Offense Implodes in Season-Ending Loss

Jess Haynie



Dez Bryant

The Dallas Cowboys were several steps closer to the playoffs after losses by Atlanta and Detroit today. All they had to do was keep winning. They didn't, giving away today's game to the Seattle Seahawks and ending their season with a 21-12 loss.

The Seahawks only managed 136 yards of offense thanks to one of the best defensive games the Cowboys have had all year. But Dallas ruined that with three turnovers and questionable offensive decisions that kept the scoreboard in Seattle's favor.

Dak Prescott threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He overthrew Ezekiel Elliott in short yardage and the ball landed in the arms of Seattle's Justin Coleman, who took it to the house. The other pick was thrown a little behind Dez Bryant but enough he could get his hands on it, only to tip it up and into the hands of linebacker K.J. Wright.

That was one of a few bad moments for Dez today. After being visibly upset about his lack of opportunities in the game, Dez caught his first pass and then fumbled it to set up Seattle's first touchdown. He had another drop in the open field and was otherwise a non-factor in the game. Even Troy Aikman was questioning his status as a franchise receiver from the booth.

Ezekiel Elliott's return became an afterthought in the season-ending collapse. He had 97 yards on 24 carries, but this game will be remembered for the touches he didn't get. With Dallas at 1st-and-Goal on the Seattle 3-yard-line, Zeke never got a touch. A holding penalty followed by a sack set up one of Dan Bailey's two missed field goals.

The Cowboys had every opportunity, both in this game in the NFC playoff picture, but threw away their season with perhaps the worst loss of Jason Garrett's head coaching tenure.

Other Notes

  • Dan Bailey had one of his worst games, missing two from 34 and 48-yards that would've pulled Dallas within one score in the 4th quarter. He also had two that barely made it in, one of which banked in off the post, in a 4-of-6 performance.
  • Lost in the loss will be one of the best sacks you'll ever see by DeMarcus Lawrence. He chased Russell Wilson down towards the sideline and then Wilson tried to do his signature turn to change direction. Lawrence showed incredible athleticism to close on Wilson and finish the play.
  • Sean Lee was everywhere today, totaling 14 tackles and shutting down plays left and right. It was just another reminder that if he'd been on the field more this year, Dallas probably would've already clinched a playoff spot.
  • The Cowboys will now head to Philadelphia next week with nothing to play for. If they win tomorrow, the Eagles will clinch the top seed in the NFC. Perhaps both teams will go with backups and we'll get to see more of Cooper Rush, Noah Brown, and other bench darlings.

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

  • Daryl

    One misprint….Sean Lee “14 sacks” instead of tackles lol

    • Bryson Treece

      Saw it and corrected before I got to the comments, but good looking out, Daryl. Thanks.

    • Woodrow johnson

      There’s always a change that can make a team better. For instance my hometeam college team the Georgia Bulldogs, Went from mark Reich to Kirby smart , an look what Georgia did in two years. Rams got the youngest coach in theNFL an fired Jeff fisher so don’t fucking tell,me Jerry Jones it can’t be done, because a new change is good.

  • TreFKennedy88

    Dak was 11-21 121 yards and 2 ints, smh Dez is trash smh this season

    • Bryson Treece

      Couldn’t agree more. Saw BB mentioning earlier in the year that that it’s “unlikely” the Cowboys pay him what’s owed for 2018, either a cut or paycut coming, and I’d say “unlikely” is understating it. He’s as good now at tipping the ball up for INTs as he was 2 years ago at catching the ball. Pathetic decline and way too early. #SaltyAF

  • ICCJ2020

    Who throws it on 3rd and 3 in the red zone with a great o-line and the best RB in the league averaging over 4 yds/carry?

    • Dave Anson

      The idiot we have as head coach

      • Teejay

        Jason didn’t call those plays Scott linehan did. So if anyone deserves to be fired it should be Scott. I truly think he should be fired

        • ICCJ2020

          They did that last year against GB in the playoffs. Poor play calling in the red zone.

        • Troy M.

          Garrett is on the head set and needs to make sure that they give the ball to Zeke when down there. It’s on the Head Coach, end of story!

          • Lee Washington

            Jerry obviously doesn’t believe so.

          • http://Team%20stream Tony

            That’s typical Garret FYI when we had Murray and Julius jones they would be killing it on the run then first and goal we would line up in the shotgun and this is when Garret was calling the plays all these plays are what Garrett implanted it’s the same lane crap he been running for years minus the half back draw on 3rd and 18 thankfully .yea Garrett sux always has and as a coach always will he thinks he can run the same offense he ran as a third string qB in dallas but let’s face it Dak ain’t aikman dez ain’t Irvin and zeke isn’t emmitt we need a coach that can in game adjust and coach our players strengths not just clap his hands when they screw up

        • Lee Washington

          How bout fire the guy who hired him !!!

    • Lee Washington

      Dummy move of the year.
      And Jerry approves of this guy.
      As an Eagles fan that is heartwarming.

  • Dave Anson

    Dez is a disgrace just like the owner…both need to go!

  • Russ_Te

    So bad, in the worst possible spot for it, I doubt a single ‘Boys fan could believe what they were seeing.

    This is the kind of game where you are stinking & getting blown out for it (4 times previously this year), but you are in the game because the opponent is also putrid.

    Seattle’s game was worthy of a 21-point loss. Instead they win by 9. That’s how bad – and with the playoffs in the balance.

    – Dak. Easily his worst NFL game by appearances. Yes he was getting beat up, but between those hits he was hesitant, and wild with his accuracy. It looks now (1st time I really thought so), like he is pressing and aiming the ball.

    But it’s correctable and my remedies do not include bailing out on Dak. Not at all.

    – Dez. Thanks for carrying the ball in the wrong arm against contact and not locking it down. I think I could have punched that ball out.

    – J Lewis: maybe some promise but not ready to cover NFL receivers down after down. Too many reps on big downs IMO.

    But the defense gave up 14 and were not the problem today. That 21-yard sack Lawrence had reminds of the classic Bob Lily sack on Bob Griese in SB VI (link below)

    – Linehan / Garrett. Flip a coin for who was worse. You simply cannot put this weak of a product on the field at home in a game the playoffs are riding on. Win today and you just need the win in Philly next week and an Atlanta loss against a tough opponent. Instead we had to watch a game where the longer it went the more ways the Cowboys found to implode.

    – Byron Bell. It’s established there are no competent backup OT’s on this team, so why is one of those guarding Dak’s blind side against the opponent’s best pass rusher? Better to move Collins over there while Smith is out, and let Bell or Green work RT. And with no reliable pocket with Bell at LT, why does Linehan keep acting like pocket plays are a good idea? If I have to play Bell at LT then I’m calling all kinds of rolls, sprint outs and bootlegs. If for no other reason than so that Dak is still walking after the game.

    But yes this is Garrett’s worst career loss because of the stakes and how hapless his team was in that situation. I doubt Jones is of a mind to keep putting up with it while the window on a Lombardi closes in his lifetime.

    So Jones will pledge support tomorrow, but I think it’s more likely Garrett is out after next week’s season closer.

  • Charles Vine

    Dak Prescott and his Cinderella season in 2016 caught teams by surprise. His only great games are against the Redskins. Dallas is doomed to mediocrity in the coming years. Being back Romo!

  • Stephen

    Del Bryant can’t open a window. He sux….

  • Travis Diggs

    Dez cried, Scott linehan wouldn’t run zeke when needed, just overall bad offense. Defense played well. Side note: Earl Thomas heard telling Jason Garrett “Come get me” after the game. Time to get ready for the Draft fellas. #LostSeason #GaveUp #DefenseOutplayedOffense

  • dallas1966

    The continue adventure of mediocrity of being in the NFL Purgatory for the past 22 years. I went personally to the Broncos Cowboys game back in September, when they was taken to the wooshed. And after that game Owner Jerry Jones emphatically stated, that this Cowboys team, was NOT the one t get ju support got taken to the wooshed.

    Once again led to the NFL Purgatory for mediocrity, for another year of dashed hope, that this is the year that 5he Cowboys finally make it over the hump, only to be let down by coaching staff, that fails to give the best running back in the NFL, the ball at the goal line when the football game is on the line.

    Rather it’s the Cowboys offense or defense, lose a specific player of importance. The Cowboys always find an innovative way to lose. This current coaching staff has won 1 playoffs game during its tenure. But the owner plays and have high regards, as if it’s the second coming of Coach Landry, who won 2 SB.

    I’ve notice on various websites a lot of diehard Cowboys fans are passed and talking boycott, for 22 years of having to continue to accept the product on the playing field, that had produced no super bowls.

  • Al Greene

    Garrett, Linahan need to go just give the defense bodies dez needs to take a pay cut or he needs to go this team the last 5yrs get into the red zone they want to pass no team in football has run the ball better then the boys this,is pathetic play Garrett doesn’t make adjustments never should have hired him s coach

  • CashfloFromSTL

    One of the worst loses in our recent history. To need all the help we needed to make it to the postseason, and to somewhat get it, and then theses bums turn in this effort… I’m at a loss for words. Linehan has been terrible this year. Dak isn’t as naturally talented as a Wentz he needs coordinator help! And Jerry says he feels good about his coach man GTFOH. F… Dez too. What this team needs is a culture change. And we want get that until Jerry retires. Button line.

Game Notes

Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles

Kevin Brady



Film Room: WR Ryan Switzer Showed Flashes Vs. Eagles
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There's no doubt the Dallas Cowboys passing game faltered in 2017. Though never expected to throw for many yards, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys failed to maximize their attempts down the stretch. The passing game was simply inefficient and ineffective.

One reason the passing game took a step back was the disappearance of slot receiver Cole Beasley. Whether you blame defenses adjusting their coverages on third downs towards Beasley, Beasley growing another year older, or quarterback Dak Prescott, Beasley simply didn't look like the same player in 2017.

In the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cowboys selected a wide out who many anticipate could replace Beasley, in time. Rookie wide receiver Ryan Switzer rarely got chances to make an impact on offense this season, designated as the return man for much of the year. With Cole Beasley out for the season finale, however, Switzer got his chance to make a name for himself.

While the numbers were far from gaudy, Ryan Switzer showed some things we should be excited about for the future.

dalvsphi2018 switzer - Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Ryan Switzer's first target came on a third down -- something Cowboys Nation should get used to heading into 2018. Switzer is lined up inside in trips on the near-side of the formation. The Eagles show man coverage pre-snap, and with just one safety over top and the other rotated down on top of Jason Witten, it is clear to Dak Prescott they plan to bring some pressure.

As soon as Prescott gets the snap, his eyes go to Ryan Switzer.

The cornerback plays Switzer with inside leverage, refusing to be beat with a hot slant route. Switzer instead keeps the defender on his back hip and creates separation with an out-breaking route.

Prescott delivers the ball towards the sideline where the defender can't catch up to it, and Switzer comes away with the first down.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 2 - Streamable

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Later in the game, we once again see Ryan Switzer targeted from this inside-alignment.

Switzer is a pretty prototypical slot receiver, and if used correctly he should win in man coverage situations often. The cornerback attempts to maintain inside leverage on Switzer and get physical at the top of his route. Ryan Switzer does a nice job of fighting through that physicality and crossing the defender's face over the middle. He flashes open pretty quickly, and Prescott delivers a strike for the completion.

If Switzer can create this type of separation often, I see no reason why he shouldn't be a focus of the offense in 2018.

dalvsphi2018 switzer 3 - Streamable

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Switzer's third target is actually an incompletion, but it is worth studying, regardless. Switzer is in the slot on the far side and the Cowboys once again are in trips alignment. The cornerback over Switzer is in man coverage, but gives him room to breathe at the line of scrimmage.

Switzer exploits the cornerback -- who is cheating to the inside -- with his footwork and route running. He gets to the sticks, breaks to the outside, and creates enough separation for a first-down completion. Prescott delivers the ball a bit late and behind Switzer, causing an incompletion instead.

I'd still like to see Switzer adjust to the ball and make this catch, but I put more of the blame for this play on Prescott.

With a full offseason to work within the offensive system, as well as to develop chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott, Ryan Switzer will prove to be an important piece to the 2018 Dallas Cowboys.

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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game

Mauricio Rodriguez



Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer's Good Game 1
AP Photo / Michael Ainsworth

The Dallas Cowboys put an end to a long, long season last Sunday after they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in a game that had absolutely no meaning for either team. Surprisingly, the Cowboys played with their healthy starters most of the game, but were barely able to put six points on the board, which were enough to take the win home.

The Cowboys might've lost more than what they actually won, and most of the fans were unhappy with the victory. Despite it being a pretty boring football game, we still learned a few things about the Dallas Cowboys.

The season's finally over. It wasn't easy, but we're still here. Here's to 2018. Let's hope it's a good one for our Cowboys. Here's this week's edition of Takeaway Tuesday!

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Coaching Staff Didn't Help Its Cause

It's more than fair to say that a lot of us want to see changes in Dallas. And specifically, changes in the coaching staff. After the Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett's job was not an issue. Now, Jerry's even talking about Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan being back in 2018. Who knows if it's true.

While I don't think we'll see a new head coach anytime soon, I'd dare say that after the horrible game versus Philadelphia the front office at least got to thinking.

Dak Prescott, Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Coming into this game, the team had a choice to make: play with the starters to win it, or let guys like Cooper Rush in the game and see what happens. A loss would've meant a better draft position for the Cowboys and a chance to see what rookies and other young players could bring to the table.

But they decided to manage the game like it was a "real action" game. Being conservative. Not going for it when there was nothing to lose. They did so after a team that, with the NFC's #1 seed secured, basically played with its B team. Not only that but for the Eagles, most of the game was played by a third string QB.

Despite all this, the Cowboys could hardly beat the Eagles 6-0. Poor execution and all, I can't help thinking about the coaches.

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Cowboys Should Keep Datone Jones for 2018

In late November, the Dallas Cowboys signed Datone Jones after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. The former Packers' first-round pick made an impact when he was given the chance. His play at DT was pretty solid and he showed very promising flashes.

DatoneJones - Streamable

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Jones will be under contract in 2018 and I'd be surprised if the Cowboys don't keep him another year. Per Over The Cap, he'll be paid $790,000 next year which isn't at all expensive for a 27-year-old player.

The Cowboys would add depth and even a potential starter at DT for next season.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Ryan Switzer Can Play as a Wide Receiver

With Cole Beasley missing the game because of an illness, we finally got to see Ryan Switzer at WR. We had already seen good things from him as a kick returner, but on offense, he hasn't been as involved as Cowboys Nation expected him to be.

Last Sunday though, Switzer was used for more than a jet sweep.

SwitzerWR - Streamable

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He still has a long way to go, but I was impressed by his ability to create separation. I really hope he's used more next season.

At the end of the day, he's a fourth-round pick. He should be playing more on offense, not just on "gadget plays" or special teams. Could Ryan Switzer be Dak Prescott's best friend in the future? Only time will tell. Right now, it's too optimistic to expect something like that.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Dan Bailey's Confidence is Shattered

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey's 2017 season hasn't been easy at all. We've seen him miss kicks we never imagined he would, including extra points. One of the most painful moments of the Cowboys' season came late in the season finale when he lined up to kick a simple 20-yard field goal.

The ball went up, but failed to split the uprights. Dan Bailey stood in complete disbelief, with a blank look in his face. His confidence, shattered.

For kickers, it's all about confidence.

For years, we referred to Dan "Automatic" Bailey as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Now we're not sure about calling him "Automatic" anymore. Bailey will have a lot of time to pick himself up though, and will probably be back at it next year.

Let's hope that's the case.

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For now, the only thing left to say is one of the most encouraging, yet sad phrases in sports... Maybe next year. We're on to the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Datone Jones Should Be Back, Switzer’s Good Game" 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

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Cowboys Starters Produce Uninspiring Week 17 Win

Playing more than enough of their starters in hopes of ending this 2017 season on a high note at the Eagles, the Cowboys produced a lackluster 6-0 win that will surely leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cowboys Nation - despite it being a victory.

The win put the Cowboys at 9-7 on the season, and it is a shame they had nothing to play for in this regular season finale. Once again in week 17, it was the offense holding back another fantastic performance by Rod Marinelli's defense.

We'll discuss both units in this final 2017 Dallas Cowboys version of Sean's Scout.

  • You have to love the way Chidobe Awuzie was able to bring physicality to a young Cowboys secondary that had another solid game. 

There were times earlier in this season when it seemed the Cowboys' second-round pick would have a lost season due to multiple hamstring injuries, but Awuzie quickly tuned around his rookie campaign by coming in and playing with exceptional technique and awareness.

With enough length to turn and run, Awuzie thrived in this zone scheme by keeping everything in front of him, as he did on his interception of Nick Foles. With Dallas in Cover 2 on the play, Chidobe read Foles' eyes the whole time to the boundary and was in position to cut off the pass.

This is a topic we'll now have much more time to discuss, and it is a hollowing one considering it was truly the Cowboys offense that kept them from the playoffs this season. The need for new talent at WR is clear, but the need for a target that better suits Prescott's strengths going into year three is even more important.

His pass catchers, along with inconsistencies in pass protection, were the main reasons Prescott struggled in 2017, although in this game it seemed like the only time he was affected in the pocket was when forcing the ball late to Bryant.

Coming from a spread system in college, Prescott simply does not have experience throwing his receivers open -- relying on route combinations and separation ability to hit open targets. Dez Bryant hasn't been that type of player through his career, and certainly isn't now that he's lost a step.

  • 9 wins for a team unlike their usual selves up front offensively is still pretty impressive. 

The Cowboys got nearly no impact from any of their free agent signings this season, which is why the depth of the team held them back once again. Veteran Byron Bell was brought in as a backup swing tackle, but he is simply not a scheme fit at tackle here.

Dak Prescott should not have been playing with Bell as his LT, and eventually Joe Looney at LG after Jonathan Cooper went down.

Bell lacks the quick-twitch ability and athleticism needed to be successful on every down, and it showed as he was again beaten by both speed and power against the Eagles.

The Cowboys have proven their acumen drafting young OL talent that performs at a high level early and often. So, instead of relying on more free agents, like Bell and Looney, drafting talent up front to spark the running game and give Prescott adequate protection is likely the best answer.

  • Ryan Switzer's ability to separate late in the down really stood out, as he finally got his chance at WR without Cole Beasley

Growing calls for more of Ryan Switzer on offense will surely take root this offseason after he caught four passes for 32 yards in the absence of Cole Beasley yesterday. More of a one-speed player at North Carolina, Switzer's spacial awareness and smoothness in giving Prescott somewhere to throw the ball as plays developed was really impressive.

In order to be a great team at the NFL Draft, you have to accurately scout your own roster. It will be fascinating to see just how the Cowboys feel about their current pass catchers, with not only Ryan Switzer but the likes of Lance Lenoir and practice squad addition K.D. Cannon in the fold as well.

  • The Cowboys found themselves a valuable addition to their rotation at DT with Datone Jones. 

Jones was able to push the pocket throughout this game in Philadelphia, and has done so consistently since getting here, at both the 1T and 3T positions. Using his hands to generate power as a down-the-line player, Jones plays with great pad level. That allows him to shoot gaps when needed, or anchor the line of scrimmage.

The Cowboys have not prioritized adding premier talent at DT in recent years, and may forego it again this offseason as well. The Cowboys expect Maliek Collins to contribute further with another season at 1T and David Irving back at 3T.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

To everybody who made this 2017 season at Inside The Star as enjoyable as ever, I would like to thank the readers of Sean's Scout. All this aspiring scout can ask for is to enhance the fan experience through both wins and losses, and your feedback on this series helped me to confidently do just that.

As we prepare for an even better 2018, Sean's Scout won't be going anywhere! I'm shifting my full attention towards the NFL Draft, looking for prospects that could help the Dallas Cowboys reach the playoffs again next season.

Thank you for another roller-coaster ride we call football season, Cowboys Nation. Truly the best fans anywhere.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Starters Uninspiring in Week 17 Win" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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