If you watched tonight's preseason opener to see the Cowboys win, you came away disappointed. But if you were just wanting to see early positives from key players, you didn't mind watching Dallas give up 14 points in the 4th quarter and fall late to the San Francisco 49ers.
Most of the players who gave up that 20-10 lead won't make Dallas' 53-man roster this year. Rather, it was the crew who had the Cowboys up 14-0 in the 2nd quarter that will comprise most of our 2018 squad.
Quarterback Dak Prescott only saw one series in tonight's game, and QB1 was a perfect 3-for-3 for 39 yards and a touchdown strike to rookie Michael Gallup. Dak also had a 12-yard run to convert a 3rd down and keep the opening drive alive.
Gallup's 30-yard touchdown catch was his only one of the night, but it was a great start to his Cowboys career. The third-round pick left his man in the rear view as Prescott dropped the ball in perfectly to put Dallas up early.
On defense, franchised stud DeMarcus Lawrence was disruptive early despite not registering a sack. Solid play all around from the Cowboys' first and second-team defenders kept the 49ers scoreless until just before halftime.
- With Ezekiel Elliott sitting out tonight, several running backs were used. Rod Smith started the game and had 32 yards on eight carries. Bo Scarbrough 33 yards and a goal-line touchdown on his nine touches. Darius Jackson played later in the game, rushing for 21 yards on six carries.
- The ball got spread around as no Dallas player had more than two catches out of the team's 24 total receptions. Lance Lenoir had the other touchdown catch, dragging his toes while diving out of the endzone to catch a pass from Cooper Rush.
- Rush got the most playing time of the Cowboys QBs, going 15/23 for 145 yards and the one touchdown. He wasn't quite as sharp or brilliant as we saw last preseason, missing a couple of opportunities, but was also under a lot of pressure. Overall it was a good showing from the second-year backup.
- One reason for Cooper's struggles was our old friend Chaz Green, who struggled at right tackle with the second unit. Already on the bubble, Chaz didn't appear to help his job security with several blown blocking assignments.
- Rookie guard Connor Williams got shown up on one of the first plays of the game, getting beat by DeForest Buckner and allowing Dak Prescott to get sacked. That was only the clear letdown from Connor, though, as Dallas recovered to score on the drive.
- The Cowboys defense had two interceptions off tipped balls. Free agent Linebacker Joe Thomas plucked one out of the air in the 2nd quarter, deflected by a blitzing Kavon Frazier. Cornerback Duke Thomas had the other in the 4th quarter after Richard Ash got a hand on it.
- Defensive End Charles Tapper also got in on the turnover game, recovering a 3rd quarter fumble by 49ers RB Raheem Mostert.
The Cowboys will return to Oxnard, CA to resume training camp until their next preseason game; Saturday, August 18th in Dallas against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Brett Maher’s 62-yard FG Gives Cowboys 6-0 Halftime Lead over Eagles
Brett Maher drilled a 62-yard field goal, a new Dallas Cowboys record, to give his team a 6-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime.
A holding penalty by Tyron Smith seemingly took the team out of field goal range, but Maher bailed him out with the monster kick.
The lead could be bigger it not for some Dallas mistakes. Dak Prescott threw an interception on an otherwise strong drive, and Maher ended another drive with a missed field goal.
However, the Eagles have also struggled. A strip sack by Tyrone Crawford ended their last drive of the half. Randy Gregory also got a sack on Carson Wentz earlier in the game.
Overall, though, Philadelphia just isn't converting downs and being stifled by this exceptional Cowboys defense. They only have 70 total offensive yards at the half.
Ezekiel Elliott is putting together a big day, already with 72 rushing yards and another 20 yards receiving. Rod Smith also has 24 yards of offense, adding to the major production from the RB position.
Speaking of position production, the Cowboys tight ends have already accounted for six catches for 37 yards. Blake Jarwin has four of those receptions, which is a new career high.
The Eagles will get the ball to start the second half.
Cowboys Vs Eagles Leads NFL in Playoff Leverage for Week 14
The Dallas Cowboys are certainly playing like a playoff team as of late, but aren't in the clear yet when it comes to holding off Sunday's opponent -- nor the Washington Redskins -- in the NFC East. At 7-5, the Eagles and Redskins sit a game behind the Cowboys with identical 6-6 records.
The Cowboys going 5-0 from their first win at the Eagles in week 10 to their third divisional game of this stretch would go a very long way in cementing the Cowboys mid-season turnaround. As has always seemingly been the case in this division though, the same is said of the defending Super Bowl champs.
With a loss, the Cowboys stand just over a 50% chance at the postseason. A win would add 42 percentage points to this figure, setting up the Cowboys favorably through a December schedule that features the Colts, Buccaneers, and Giants.
NFL playoff leverage week 14
The only team with more at stake today is the visitors of AT&T Stadium. The Eagles gain 47 percentage points on their playoff hopes with a win, though even this marginally moves the needle over 50% for them. An Eagles loss all but ends their chances of repeating as NFC East winners.
Though the Redskins are reduced to their third quarterback in Mark Sanchez, their early kickoff at the 4-8 Giants provides hope that they'll remain in contention through the regular season. In a division that will be dictated by the moves made at the trade deadline, it sure feels like the Cowboys and Eagles are pulling away however - with Dallas in prime position to lap the competition starting Sunday.
If the Cowboys and the Giants win today, Dallas would have to lose out, and the Redskins or Eagles would have to win out in order for the Cowboys to lose the division. In other words, Dallas and NYG winning today would mean one more victory and the Cowboys clinch the NFC East.
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper has made a bigger difference than Dallas could have ever hoped for. With the Eagles secondary banged up again for their meeting with the Cowboys, a home team with sights set on playoff football could begin to fine tune their offense to match a defense that set the tone against Philadelphia last time out.
National pundits may be forecasting a "classic" late season collapse for the Cowboys, but fans know better than this. It was in fact early season losses that dug the hole the Cowboys are viciously fighting out of. Asking for this opportunity against the Eagles is as good as it gets for Jason Garrett's young team, once 3-5 after eight weeks that feel like ages ago.
So does any dominant stretch of football from the Eagles, though the Cowboys shouldn't be quick to find out just how much Philly wants to play spoiler.
Cowboys Wishlist: Dak Prescott Exploits Eagles’ Secondary
It's rivalry weekend for the Dallas Cowboys as they get ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles. It will undoubtedly be a special game since the Eagles are practically playing to save their season this time around. Tables have turned for these two teams with now the Cowboys as home favorites for this fun matchup.
As always, here's this week's edition of Cowboys Wishlist. Enjoy!
Wish #1: Get Jourdan Lewis Playing Time
Cornerback Jourdan Lewis did a fantastic job versus the New Orleans Saints last week and I'm intrigued to see if the Cowboys will continue to find a job for him and get him on the field. Lewis had an interception and some other key plays in just eight snaps. Lewis has been an interesting narrative this year.
He's a good player and getting him more involved could result in good things for this team. We'll see if the Cowboys use him in this important divisional game.
Wish #2: Get The Early Big Lead, Rest Elliott
Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has done an amazing job for the Cowboys over the past four weeks. Both in the passing and running game, Zeke has been able to consistently move the chains as he's received a huge workload to carry the offense and control the time of possession. He currently leads the league in touches per game.
If the Cowboys are able to get a big lead early, I wish we get to see a lot of backup RB Rod Smith. As much as we all love to watch Zeke be fed, this time Cowboys Nation should appreciate seeing him on the sideline a bit more than usual. For that to happen, though, an early considerable lead is required.
Wish #3: Improve on Red Zone
So far, the Dallas Cowboys have been able to efficiently move the ball and get first downs. What they have struggled with though, is the red zone. Many times, we've seen the offense settle for three instead of getting seven.
This Saturday I argued why, if the Cowboys are able to improve on red zone, this could be a playoff caliber unit. This team shouldn't struggle as much in this area. With Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, Amari Cooper lined up and a mobile QB, Scott Linehan's squad simply needs to do better.
Wish #4: Dak Prescott Gets 300 Yards
The Philadelphia Eagles have placed CB Jalen Mills on IR. With Ronald Darby out already, the Cowboys are about to face a very injured secondary. Philadelphia ranks 26th in passing defense. Dak Prescott's stats have greatly improved since week 7.
However, a big 300-yard performance has yet to occur. I wish he gets just that against the Eagles. For this, he'll certainly need help from his receivers, including Amari Cooper, who has been outstanding with a Star on his helmet.
What are your wishes for this week's matchup versus the Eagles?
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