It's pretty impressive how the landscape of a football team can dramatically change on a week-to-week basis. The Dallas Cowboys' performance on offense through the first three games of the season had some fans already thinking about the 2019 NFL Draft. But even though the Detroit Lions are not among the NFL's finest, the Cowboys' second win of the season came with a huge sigh of relief by Cowboys Nation.
The offense was able to move the chains, the coaching was pretty decent and simply put, the team was able to execute. Not only that, but they did so against one of the league's best passing defenses. Now granted, their play was far from perfect and there are still tons of aspects this team must improve to be a serious playoffs unit.
Let's get to this week's edition of “Takeaway Tuesday” as we discuss some of the things we learned in last Sunday's victory over the Lions!
Dak Prescott was on fire against a top passing defense.
Yes, Dak Prescott has a lot to work on before the Cowboys decide whether or not he's the franchise quarterback they thought he was when handing him the starting job in 2016. However, as far as his performance against the Lions is concerned, there's not much to criticize. This was one of Prescott's best games, completing 17 passes for 255 yards in a game in which his team ran for 186 yards.
Prescott wasn't afraid to throw downfield (something we had seen very little of) and he did so against Darius Slay and the Lions' passing defense, which entered week 4 as the top one in the nation. He threw some pretty good passes and made very few mistakes. That pass to Ezekiel Elliott in the final drive was an absolute dime. He also put the ball in Tavon Austin's hands despite perfect coverage from Darius Slay, although Austin didn't keep the ball. Also worth nothing was Prescott's pass to Allen Hurns for a sideline catch which was really impressive. These were not the only good throws from Dak, but they show consistently on last game's tape.
Some in Cowboys Nation won't stop criticizing Dak, but man… that was one hell of a game from his part and he deserves a big part of the credit for this win.
Ezekiel Elliott should be used as a pass catcher.
Ezekiel Elliott hauled in a perfectly thrown 34-yard pass by Dak to end the football game. Before that a great screen play designed by Scott Linehan resulted in a 38 yard receiving touchdown for Zeke. Now, how many times have we talked about the coaches reluctance to use their top RB in the passing game just like the Rams have with Todd Gurley or the Steelers with Le'Veon Bell?
Now, I know these were only a couple of plays and we shouldn't overreact because of them, but these were game-changing plays. The Cowboys' offense would be more dangerous with him threatening the offense as a receiving RB as well.
Chidobe Awuzie hasn't met expectations.
Although one of the most discussed Cowboys' defensive backs is Jourdan Lewis and the reason he hasn't seen any playing time, I wonder if we should also be concerned about the other sophomore, Chidobe Awuzie. Byron Jones has stolen the show at CB, basically erasing his side of the field for opposing offenses, but the same hasn't been the case for #24.
According to Pro Football Focus, Awuzie allowed eight receptions in 11 targets for 138 yards and one touchdown. This stats don't tell the entire story, but he certainly needs to improve or Cowboys Nation will start having flashbacks of the 2017 version of Anthony Brown.
Geoff Swaim has emerged as Cowboys' TE1.
Tight ends have been a weakness for this 2018 Dallas Cowboys team, but one has emerged as the starter at the very uncertain position. Geoff Swaim caught three passes for 39 yards and his first career touchdown in last Sunday's game.
Out of four weeks, Swaim has led the tight ends in Dallas with over 90% of the snaps in each game. He's been able to stay on the field longer than any of the other guys who were also expected to earn a fair share of the TE snaps. Hopefully, Dak can develop some sort of chemistry with Swaim because this offense needs a tight end who can serve as a weapon in the passing game.