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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

Sean’s Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys are halfway through their 2018 preseason. Given the injuries they're left to deal with to Zack Martin, Xavier Woods, and Jameill Showers, the Cowboys were happy to see their first home game of the season come to an end when it did. Despite the 21-13 loss, the Cowboys starters made another strong impression before exiting for backups that once again failed to hold the lead.

This is a game I'm looking forward to getting another look at on film, but for now here are a few thoughts the first time through.

  • Rookie Connor Williams is still a work in progress at guard, as he'll get himself in trouble trying to catch rushers too often. 

This "catch blocking" is not uncommon for young offensive linemen, particularly ones learning a new position in preparation to start on the league's best front. On the Cowboys second drive of the game, Williams was caught back in his stance dealing with a twist from the Bengals with Left Tackle Tyron Smith.

The result of the play was an incomplete pass on third down from Dak Prescott. With Williams' footwork being as consistent as it has, I wouldn't worry too much about his upper body technique and strength improving greatly before week one of the regular season. Perhaps most importantly, Williams has looked smooth playing in space, something the Cowboys are prepared to ask the second round pick to do plenty of.

  • With Randy Gregory back in the lineup, the Cowboys potential to have a great rotation of defensive ends was on full display. 

The play that stands out is a tackle for loss by Safety Jeff Heath. On the play, Defensive End Tyrone Crawford did a great job setting the edge against the run, allowing Heath to come down and make the aggressive play.

Crawford created penetration against a tight end, staying disciplined in his rush lane from the right defensive end position to force the run outside.

On the Bengals' offensive series prior to this play by Heath, the Cowboys forced a punt following a missed Andy Dalton throw to A.J. Green. Despite not being tight in coverage on third down, Randy Gregory looked sharp coming off the edge to rush Dalton slightly.

With Taco Charlton also looking strong against the run, and rookie Dorance Armstrong continuing to develop as a weak side pass rusher, the possible match ups the Cowboys can create up front are seemingly endless.

Almost all of them will include last year's sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence, who was also disruptive on nearly every snap in this game.

  • Give credit to Joe Looney for handling the reps he did at center, but the backup interior lineman left a lot to be desired from this position. 

It should come as no surprise that Looney is a better guard than center, or that the Cowboys would look significantly worse at center without Travis Frederick in the lineup.

Overall, this was a disappointing game for the Cowboys thin offensive line depth. Paul Alexander's unit was unable to give quarterbacks Cooper Rush and Mike White a fair chance to settle into the game.

Looney's contact balance was suspect throughout the evening. Not the most powerful player, it's important for Looney to play with leverage and balance, which he did inconsistently last night.

Awaiting news on Zack Martin's first quarter injury still, the Cowboys should have already been concerned about their backups at tackle, with the guard position becoming a late concern now.

  • This is becoming the standard for Jaylon Smith, but I did not see one Bengals blocker effectively slow him down.

The power that Smith is playing with is an outstanding sign for continued success. Not only is Smith physically up for the challenge of starting at MIKE for the Cowboys, but he's physically dominating opponents with strength, speed, and range.

Whether he was running laterally and avoiding blocks with great awareness, or attacking the pocket, Smith's path to the ball was rarely impeded against the Bengals.

No matter who the Cowboys lined up in their front seven, the group did a great job setting a strong tone. Antwaun Woods was once again impressive at the one technique position inside, and Brian Price made a flash play from this position late in the game as well.

Thanks to Smith's gap shooting ability, and the Cowboys willingness so far this preseason to be creative with the Notre Dame product, the team's defensive tackles don't have to be asked to do too much. Holding their spots while drawing blockers will be more than enough to free Smith and the rest of the Cowboys linebackers to make plays.

Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1

Dallas Cowboys CBs Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

  • Chidobe Awuzie's interception in the second quarter is a reminder of just how high the second-year cornerback's potential is. 

Sure, Awuzie's length put him at an advantage to take a leap into year two once Kris Richard arrived as the Cowboys passing game coordinator.

Being productive on the ball, as Awuzie was here, is a testament to just how athletic he is as a boundary cornerback though. A beat late recognizing the ball coming his way, Awuzie remained in perfect position to get a hand on this pass.

Doing so with an explosive leap off the ground and full extension, Awuzie snagged the ball with one hand before bringing it into his body to secure another turnover for the Cowboys first team defense.

The Cowboys cornerback depth proved suspect beyond Awuzie and Byron Jones in this game, but being as good as they already are on the boundary is a huge step in the right direction for Rod Marinelli's defense.

I also thought that UDFA Tyree Robinson did a great job answering the bell at safety, showing up a number of times in run support with the Cowboys in desperate need of depth at his position.

It's in the slot, where Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis continue to feel the pressure of competition, that the Cowboys are struggling to find the right starter - even trying Lewis on the outside well into the fourth quarter of this game.

 ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys will remain in their home state to conclude their training camp and preseason. Needing to see more out of their second and third team, practices will resume at The Star on Monday before another preseason game at AT&T Stadium.

This time, it will be the Arizona Cardinals coming in for a Sunday Night Football tune up. The Cowboys starters could very well see even more playing time than they have through the first two weeks, giving them a better chance of sustaining success and coming away with a preseason win.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

CIN 21, DAL 13: Dak Prescott Continues Strong Preseason in Loss

Jess Haynie

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Dak Prescott, Bengals

The games may not count yet, but Dak Prescott looks ready for the 2018 season. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback continued his strong preseason play in the team's 21-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Prescott played three series, going 10/15 for 86 yards and a touchdown. He got the offense out of trouble a few times with his feet, avoiding sacks and ultimately getting the scoring pass off on a redzone scramble.

Dak's strong play has coincided with shutdown performances from the starting defense. The Cowboys' first-team defenders have yet to allow a score in two preseason games. Tonight, the Bengals were forced into four punts and two turnovers on their first-half possessions.

Overall, the Cowboys are a combined 24-7 in the first halves of their first two preseason contests.

The second half has been the problem, and for two weeks now Dallas' reserves have squandered halftime leads and given up losses. Thankfully, most of the responsible players will not be on the final 53-man roster.

Other Notes

  • There were several concerning injuries for the Cowboys tonight. None was scarier than when All-Pro guard Zack Martin went out with a knee injury, but it does not appear to have been serious. Starting defensive backs Byron Jones and Xavier Woods also got banged up; Byron returned to the game but Woods did not. Defensive lineman Datone Jones also left with a knee injury.
  • Even more concerning was the play of the second-team offensive line. Chaz Green was typically awful, but we also saw swing tackle Cam Fleming struggling and just an overall lack of protection for the backups quarterbacks. Green got benched in the second half and may have finally played his way off the team.
  • Credit to Terrance Williams for getting open in the endzone to give Dak Prescott a receiver for the touchdown throw. Even with his warts, Williams' two years of experience playing with Dak can't be ignored in deciding who makes the team.
  • Tight end Blake Jarwin continues to run with the starters on offense and may have quietly taken the job away from Geoff Swaim.
  • Darius Jackson took advantage of some extra playing time tonight after Bo Scarbrough left with a hip injury. He broke off a few nice runs to amass 42 yards on just six carries, plus had four receptions.
  • We finally get to see Dan Bailey kick a field goal again, and it was an easy 35-yarder with no issues.
  • Shout out to Chidobe Awuzie for one of the pretty interceptions that a Cowboys DB has made in some time. Awuzie had to bend like Beckham (Odell, that is) to get a hand on the ball, then tipped it to himself for the pick.
  • Preseason fun continues for the Cowboys next Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals on NBC's Sunday Night Football.



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Game Notes

#DALvsCIN: Can WR Lance Lenoir Continue To Impress?

Kevin Brady

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Lance Lenoir

Entering training camp projecting who would make the final roster from the Dallas Cowboys wide receiving room was a crapshoot. The combination of misfits from other teams, unproven young guys, and a couple of Cowboys veterans makes this position group the most questioned across the entire roster.

But while Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, and Michael Gallup were stealing headlines, Lance Lenoir was making a name for himself among the Cowboys faithful.

After serving on the practice squad for the Cowboys a year ago, Lenoir seems to have entered 2018 with one goal in mind: to make the official game-day roster. And even if he falls short of this goal, it won't be due to any fault of his own.

Day in and day out Lance Lenoir has been a consistent wide out, catching nearly everything thrown his way and running some of the crisper routes on the team. Under new receivers coach Sanjay Lal, Lenoir has become a technical route runner and dangerous receiving threat.

Maybe most importantly for his future with the team, Lenoir has developed an obvious chemistry with starting quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott has continued to compliment Lenoir throughout training camp, and you know that the Cowboys front office is well aware of Prescott's trust in Lenoir on the field.

During the preseason opener against the 49ers, Lance Lenoir caught his first touchdown of the season, dazzling with his toe-tap ability. If he is going to steal a roster spot away from one of the more seasoned wide outs, however, he will have to remain that consistent target.

This Saturday, Lenoir gets another shot to prove why he's not only deserving of a roster spot, but of a starting spot. Sure, it might be a bit of a stretch, but if he continues to play like he has during camp and preseason, Lenoir could find himself working with the 1's more frequently.

Look out for Lance Lenoir against the Bengals this week, as he makes it harder and harder for the Cowboys to cut him by the second.



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