Talk about a dramatic football game. One of my favorite sayings about this sport goes “Football is a game of inches.” And as Derek Carr reached for the goal line trying to end the Dallas Cowboys’ season… he fumbled a tiny bit before breaking the plane, proving that football is indeed, a game of inches.
The Cowboys were able to survive the last game they had to play without Ezekiel Elliott, and their season remains alive. Whether it seems unlikely or not, at least this team will have something to play for during the next two weeks.
It may have been ugly, but a win is a win and those are not easy to get in the NFL. As they fought for survival, we learned some things about this team last Sunday night. Here is this week’s edition of Takeaway Tuesday!
The Coaches’ Trust in Chris Jones is Awesome
Chris Jones is an amazing football player. He is a punter who can punt balls, tackle returners and be the clutch runner Dallas sometimes needs to step up. We saw it versus the Eagles in 2016, and we saw it again versus the Raiders a couple of days ago.
On fourth and eleven, Chris Jones took off and moved the chains right when the Cowboys needed a spark. Impressive, right? Well, even more impressive when you find out that Jones actually made that call by himself.
To be fair, that doesn’t mean the coaches didn’t have anything to do with it. NFL teams design and practice these plays for whenever they find themselves in certain, specific situations. Even still, a big round of applause for the trust that this coaching staff has on Chris Jones to let him decide whether to run it, or punt it.
Chris Jones is underrated.
Jeff Heath Saved The Day… Twice
There’s something about Jeff Heath. We can’t deny it. Cowboys Nation jokingly refers to him as the GOAT on social media, but this guy has been clutch in more than one critical moment during his career. Heath isn’t the ideal starting safety, but even if it’s just a coincidence what he does sometimes is impressive.
Last Sunday, he saved the 2017 Cowboys’ season in back-to-back plays.
After batting away what would’ve been a TD pass to Michael Crabtree, Jeff Heath hit Derek Carr as he reached for the goal line. The short-term result? A fumble and a touchback. The long-term result? The Cowboys’ eight win of the season.
I hate to be the guy who says stuff like this, but it’s fair to say that Heath is an average safety at best. But his ability to show up in big moments like this has been pretty impressive for a long time.
Let’s keep calling him the GOAT.
Cowboys’ Defense Silently Shined
The defense missed some opportunities last Sunday night, but they actually did a pretty good job throughout the game. Despite some drops on what could’ve been key interceptions, the secondary had a good football game. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis had a very good first half, and although they both made a few mistakes in the second half, overall they had a good night.
Cowboys finally found a CB1 who can make plays on the ball and create turnovers. https://t.co/vAPS8p3Kyn
Even after Marshawn Lynch tried to welcome Awuzie to the NFL by running into him, Oakland’s beast had no yards after contact and was stopped short of the first down.
Derek Carr only completed 21/38 passes for 171 yards and that was in big part thanks to the pressure that Dallas’ front seven was able to get in. Even if they finished the night with no sacks, they were able at getting Carr out of the pocket a lot of times. Even Taco Charlton has a few nice rushes.
No interceptions, no sacks… but the Cowboys’ defense made a silent impact on this week’s victory.
Elliott Will Come Back Just in Time
Alfred Morris had some good games. Rod Smith had his moments, too. But hey, they’re not anywhere close to Ezekiel Elliott’s level. The Cowboys’ running back committee was decent during 21’s time away, but it wasn’t consistent enough.
This Sunday, between Smith and Morris the Cowboys ran for only 74 yards.
With Elliott finally back, the Cowboys will be able to run the ball with confidence on third and short opportunities and they’ll be able to get positive gains consistently. Forget about those no-gain carries by Morris and Smith.
The Seahawks haven’t been playing quality football lately, but it’s still nice to know the Cowboys have one of their best players back when they can’t afford to lose another game.
It’s time to feed Zeke.