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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Defense Lags Behind In Blowout Loss At Broncos

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Defense Lags Behind In Blowout Loss At Broncos 1

The Dallas Cowboys suffered their first loss of this young 2017 season yesterday, showing up flat in the high altitude of Denver as the Broncos handled them for an easy 42-17 win.

Coming into this game, the Cowboys seemingly had another chance to control the action with Ezekiel Elliott on the ground and a defense that swarmed to the ball in a week one win against the Giants.

Elliott carrying nine times for a career-low eight yards while Trevor Siemian and the Denver offense put the game away behind his four touchdown passes was hardly an expected outcome for Cowboys Nation, but it is the reality the team will have to live with as they learn from their week two mistakes and begin preparing for a week three Monday Night Football trip to Arizona.

As always, here are some of my immediate thoughts on the Cowboys’ performance in Sean’s Scout:

Sean's Scout: Defense Lags Behind In Blowout Loss At Broncos

  • There is no question who the most encouraging player on Rod Marinelli’s defense has been through these two games, as DE DeMarcus Lawrence added two more sacks by winning his favorable match up against Menelik Watson. What continues to stand out from Lawrence is his ability to effectively rush inside of his blockers, which keeps them guessing and makes his edge ability even more dangerous. Lawrence has never been a rusher that will capture the corner with great initial quickness, speed, or bend. This isn’t to say that he won’t convert his power into the ability to “run the arc” and finish at the quarterback, but it is the consistent use of this power as an inside and outside rusher that has him leading this Dallas pass rush – with help on the way in the form of Damontre Moore set to return for week three off of his two game suspension.


  • The ability to tackle underneath is so incredibly important against a Broncos offense that will scheme plenty of ways for their receivers to catch the ball on the move, and it was the lack of execution in this area on all levels that really wrecked the game for the Cowboys yesterday. Nolan Carroll’s rough day was cut short when he entered the concussion protocol, but prior to that he struggled to react on the boundary and give the Cowboys anything on his side of the field. An underrated part of Anthony Brown’s game is his ability to play with this toughness and technique against the run, which could go a long way in ushering in a secondary of Brown, Jourdan Lewis, and Chidobe Awuzie as soon as this week. The failures to wrap up and limit the damage against Denver extended to players you would never expect it from on Rod Marinelli’s defense as well on Sunday though, as Sean Lee had one of his worst games reacting to the breaks in front of him and getting to the ball on time. When Lee visibly struggles the way he did, it is going to be a long day for the Cowboys defense, and some added breakdowns from Jeff Heath and Byron Jones at safety only put this game further out of reach early.


  • This was obviously not the performance that Dez Bryant was expecting to have after struggling once again with Janoris Jenkins to start the season, but he was able to get the best of Aquib Talib on a touchdown reception to tie the game in the second quarter. The play was an example of where this Dallas passing offense is hopefully heading as Prescott has better days, with Bryant taking advantage of how Talib wants to play his route at the stem on a great play call. Using his size and physicality, Bryant caught Talib with a lower center of gravity trying to break on the route, but the throw from Dak was timed so well that all Dez had to do was extend against Talib and snag the pass in the end zone above the outstretched arms of Aquib.


  • Anytime this Cowboys team rushes for 40 yards in a game, it is safe to say that the offensive line hardly achieved what they set out to do each and every week. As we continue to monitor La’el Collins’ progress at right tackle though, I thought his ability to deal with Von Miller was nothing but another positive in his development back at his college position (where he played LT at LSU). Collins’ technique is where it needs to be, and he’s made the mental adjustments to deal with speed rushers like Miller without feeling like he needs to initiate contact – a difference from his previous experience at guard. Collins’ hand placement against Miller was also a noticeable positive, while his strength and light feet allowed him to steer Von behind the pocket when needed.


  • There are plenty of reasons I always expand on these takeaways in Sean’s Scout after getting to the tape of the game, but the most important one is to hopefully gain context on player’s assignments that are lost during the live broadcast of the game. With that said, I’ll be hoping to be proved wrong on Jaylon Smith during tape study this week, as it appeared he was well off with his depth on drops at MIKE linebacker, creating even more windows for the Broncos to exploit throwing the ball and running away from both Smith and Sean Lee at will.

Tell us what you think about “Sean’s Scout: Defense Lags Behind In Blowout Loss At Broncos” in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we’re not how you think we are. Host of “Upon Further Review” on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

1 Comment
  • Mr. Jaguar

    I was at the game. It appeared with the naked eye that jaylon was too deep, hesitant or would be blocked out of the play. As I saw it none of the Cowboys linebacker had a good game. Dak need an alarm clock in his head to get rid of the football instead of taking the sack to live to play another day. The big play ism always there.

Game Notes

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

Mauricio Rodriguez



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



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



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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