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Game Notes

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

Jess Haynie

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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!

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22 Comments
  • Daryl

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

    • https://InsideTheStar.com/ 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

    • https://InsideTheStar.com/ 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 !!!
          LMAO.

    • Lee Washington

      Garrett.
      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.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBm1m37-vuk

  • 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

Takeaway Tuesday: Randy Gregory is a Big Time Player

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles

It was a dramatic win for the Dallas Cowboys but a win nonetheless. The Philadelphia Eagles gave the Cowboys one hell of a fight at AT&T Stadium in a great rivalry game. It was undoubtedly one of the most exciting games this season has seen as it ended with a walk-off touchdown that gave the home team the victory.

Here is this week's Takeaway Tuesday on what we learned from such a thrilling match!

Amari Cooper Trade Shouldn't Even Be a Discussion

Once a complicated debate, the Amari Cooper trade has a clear winner. It's simple, really. If it wasn't for Amari Cooper, the Cowboys would not be 8-5 en route to the NFC East title. Cooper has literally saved the 2018 season for the once 3-5 Cowboys team.

Since becoming a part of the Cowboys, the former Oakland Raider has accounted for 40 catches, 642 yards and six touchdowns. Last Sunday alone, he was responsible for 217 yards and three scores. Not to mention the amount of times he's moved the chains for this offense. The 24-year old can seriously play football. Despite struggles, this offense is very promising with that caliber of a WR1 and an elite RB such as Ezekiel Elliott.

What was it again? A first rounder? Should've asked for more, Raiders.

Randy Gregory is a Big Time Player

Gregory's journey to be back on a football field was a difficult one. But it was worth it. Versus the Eagles, his presence was constantly felt by Carson Wentz. He was able to get in five pressures, one of which resulted in a sack.

The last couple of games, Gregory has drawn a few costly flags, but his play is still amazing. He's one of the fastest defensive ends in the league and he continues to improve in bending around the corner. He has five sacks in the last eight games. If you weren't convinced #94 should be our starting right defensive end, you should be by now.

Dalton Schultz

Tight Ends Rise

The lack of a tight end did not stand out this past Sunday. But Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin did. With Geoff Swaim out with an injury, this couple of young rotational players had their best games of their careers. Both were targeted in key moments of the game. Blake Jarwin had 56 yards in seven catches and a big third down conversion and Dalton Schultz finished the night with 37 yards.

A promising sign for the Cowboys moving forward. The offense is clicking at wide receiver with Amari Cooper, having a tight end (or a couple) stand up will only make this unit better.

Report: Jason Garrett "Not Going Anywhere" with Possible Extension Coming Soon

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, HC Jason Garrett

Garrett Deserves a Round of Applause

Whether or not you think Jason Garrett is a good head coach, the guy deserves an applause. I get why you might not like him. In fact, I still question if he should be in Dallas in 2019 if the Cowboys fail to have success in the playoffs. But the way this team has come back from such a terrible start can't be ignored.

The players on this team fight for this guy. The Dallas Cowboys went from a team everyone had written off from playoff contention to legit Super Bowl contenders since they fired Paul Alexander and got Amari Cooper.

Dak Prescott is One of the Best Facing Adversity

Dak Prescott's career continues to cause a great debate among Cowboys' fans. You see, in the NFL, things are not white or black. When judging a player, there are a lot of gray areas. Take last night's performance from Dak Prescott. He threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball once and pretty much played bad football for three quarters. But his night ended with 455 yards and three touchdowns and a 78% completion percentage in 54 attempts.

In the NFL, not any quarterback comes back from turning the ball three times. With the help of his tremendous defense, Dak did. In the fourth quarter, he completed 17 out of 20 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns. His performance was clutch.

This isn't a one thing either. Since 2016, Dak is tied for the most game-winning drives in the NFL. Prescott might be inconsistent and can have some pretty bad plays. But he's one resilient quarterback. As T.O. would've said: "that's my quarterback."

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: Randy Gregory is a Big Time Player" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

In Swaim’s Absence And Among Witten Rumors, Jarwin And Schultz Shine

Kevin Brady

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In Swaim's Absence And Among Witten Rumors, Jarwin And Schultz Shine

"Starting tight end for the Dallas Cowboys" has been about as stable a position as there is in sports over the last decade. It's been Jason Witten. End of story.

Beginning in 2018, however, that stability went out the window with Witten's retirement. The starting role was left in the hands of Geoff Swaim, with even younger and more inexperienced players filling out the depth chart behind him. There was clearly reason for concern, and once Swaim went down during the Cowboys' win in Atlanta, those concerns only grew.

Swaim's absence has brought with it rumors of a Jason Witten return, with reports last weekend even suggesting that Jason Garrett reached out to Witten to see if he's looking to end his retirement and rejoin the Cowboys.

His absence has also brought about the emergence of two young tight ends, however, who are each succeeding in their own ways and showcasing why the Cowboys felt confident in allowing them to take the bulk of the tight end snaps while Swaim is injured. Those tight ends, of course, are Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz.

Last Sunday during the Cowboys big overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, both Jarwin and Schultz had impressive days. Blake Jarwin has become one of the go-to third down options for quarterback Dak Prescott, extending drives and getting open over the middle of the field. Jarwin had a career best 7 catches for 56 yards on Sunday, including a spectacular third down grab to make up for Prescott's poor ball placement on his crossing route.

Blake Jarwin looks like the big, athletic, middle of the field threat that many fans wished Rico Gathers could be. The next step in unlocking his potential would be to get him more involved in the red zone. Dallas is struggling to convert and-goal situations into touchdowns, and logic would say a big target like Jarwin should be able to help in those moments.

Fourth round rookie Dalton Schultz had a good day as well, catching 3 balls for 37 yards including a 16 yard reception down the seam. Where Schultz really shines, however, is with his run blocking, as he did at Stanford. The move to more of a zone blocking scheme has benefited Schultz as a run blocker, just as it has the entire Cowboys rushing offense.

Schultz looks to be improving as a pass catcher by the week, and a year in a professional offseason program should do him wonders in terms of play strength, in turn helping him as a run blocker. He may not ever turn into a top 5 or 10 tight end in football the way Witten once was, but he is clearly already a functional and valuable player on this roster.

The Cowboys are insanely young throughout most of their roster, and tight end is one of those young spots. Tight end is also a spot you typically don't want (or need) to address within the first round of the NFL Draft. Dallas is secretly in a good spot moving forward at tight end, with Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz emerging as solid players.

This doesn't mean the Cowboys shouldn't look around in the offseason to see what's available, but they should also feel comfortable with what's on their roster at the moment.



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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

If an overtime win over the defending Super Bowl champions that ends their dreams of repeating while increasing your own playoff odds can be both ugly and beautiful, then the Dallas Cowboys 29-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles was certainly that - and a whole lot more.

Extending their winning streak to five didn't come without the Cowboys toying with a total collapse, as Quarterback Dak Prescott turned the ball over three times. Fresh off a win against the New Orleans Saints where the Cowboys managed just 13 points, the Eagles pushed this defense to the edge thanks to continued struggles on offense.

In overtime, Prescott made sure Carson Wentz and the Eagles would never see the ball, putting four indescribable quarters behind him to lead a game-winning touchdown drive. The Cowboys are a win away from claiming the NFC East. The full scope of how this season has turned on its head goes well beyond this most recent Cowboys win, at least back to their first win at the Eagles five weeks ago.

For now, my first attempt at sorting out what we saw at AT&T Stadium on Sunday will have to do, with another post game edition of Sean's Scout.

  • With both Tight Ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz setting new career highs in receptions, I was waiting for the Cowboys patience on offense to pay off with a big play on the outside, finally provided twice by Wide Receiver Amari Cooper.

In the Cowboys previous win over the Eagles, their receivers had their way with a depleted Philadelphia secondary. Dealing with injuries at cornerback mid-game that are still effecting this group, the Eagles were in no position to line up against Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Cole Beasley.

The counter for the Cowboys offense this week was to use heavier formations, pound Ezekiel Elliott, and get their tight ends involved more than they've been all season. Perhaps the only normal thing to come out of this game was Elliott's 40 touches.

Despite it being a career high, there's no reason Elliott shouldn't be this involved in the Cowboys offense. The Cowboys patience with Elliott was eventually rewarded when Cooper scored from 28 yards out to break a 6-6 tie, and again from 75 yards to put Dallas ahead 23-16 in the fourth quarter.

If not for a few missed shots to Michael Gallup and a missed Brett Maher field goal, the Cowboys efforts on offense could have kept this game out of overtime, though their execution on the winning drive is hard to dispute.

  • The Cowboys are last in the league at scoring touchdowns in the red zone over their last three wins, something that has to change quickly in preparation for the playoffs. 

The Cowboys were 3 of 5 in the red zone in the win that started this streak in Philly, and 2 of 3 the following week at the Falcons. Their decline on offense has been a recent trend that must come back up over the last three weeks of the regular season.

Only six of Elliott's 40 touches came in the red zone, which feels inexcusable from Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, considering also it was an adjusted play call by Cooper and Prescott that created their long touchdown to force overtime.

Perhaps the trust the Cowboys showed in Schultz and Jarwin will lead to more red zone opportunities for tight ends, of which the Cowboys have no true middle-of-field threat.

  • There is no reason for Prescott to be falling away on his first interception in the end zone, targeting an open Cooper to the back corner. 

Prescott never saw Rasul Douglas break off his man and end up under a throw to Cooper that was placed in a horrible spot. Cooper was open, but thrown into coverage on a ball he never really came close to.

After another look at the play, it's even more disturbing to see Prescott's mechanics. Sliding in a clean pocket, Prescott was falling away slightly when he released the ball. The Cowboys defense would bail out Prescott after probably his most egregious turnover, forcing a three and out.

This was not the case after Prescott's second interception that turned into the Eagles first touchdown, or fumble that lead to a tying field goal.

  • For as good a pass rushing duo as DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are, Defensive Tackles Maliek Collins and Tyrone Crawford don't get enough credit for their all-around game. 

Before kickoff, I wrote about the Cowboys not needing David Irving, who missed his sixth straight game. This is a compliment to not only Collins and Crawford, but Antwaun Woods as well. All three played their part in keeping the Eagles offense in check once again.

Crawford may be playing the best football of his seven-year career. No longer struggling to fit in as either a defensive end or tackle, Crawford is simply a leader by example for the Cowboys defense wherever he lines up.

Carson Wentz is a quarterback you have to make reset his feet defensively, and Crawford was able to force this a number of times. His speed rush ability paired with the power of Collins and Woods on the inside is incredibly disruptive for Dallas.

Following Maher's missed field goal, Crawford turned in one of the hustle plays of the season for the Cowboys to strip Wentz. Beating the left guard off the snap, Crawford dipped Jason Peters at left tackle on his way to a forced fumble that produced another field goal before the half.

This game was that close to having a first half all about the Cowboys taking advantage of Eagles mistakes, instead leaving points on the field and letting the Eagles punish second half mistakes on the way to overtime.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

With a win at the Colts, vs. the Buccaneers, or at the Giants the Cowboys will have gone from 3-5 to NFC East champions for 2018. The merits of just how good this division is will be worth discussing prior to the playoffs, but with two wins over the Eagles and one over the Redskins within an ongoing five game win streak, the Cowboys are objectively one of the hottest teams in the league right now.

Amari Cooper has probably made six or seven plays "better" than his miraculous overtime touchdown, proving his worth more and more each week, though his winning score will surely be a lasting moment from the Cowboys week 14 win.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Resilient Prescott Inches Cowboys Closer to NFC East Title" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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