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Game Notes

Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss VS Broncos

Mauricio Rodriguez



Well, it was a tough weekend. The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Denver Broncos 42-17… It wasn’t pretty at all. From beginning to end, this team was dominated by the Von Miller led defense and the Trevor Siemian led offense.

I was in shock. I’m a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan but even still, I objectively thought Dak Prescott and company would comfortably win their first road game of the season. But this is the NFL, and things happen.

Yes, the Cowboys lost last Sunday. But they say that losing is what teaches you the most. So today on Inside The Star, I present to you the second Takeaway Tuesday of the year. I invite you to share your thoughts and takeaways in the comments below. Even if they’re not happy takeaways.

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CB Nolan Carroll Shouldn’t Be Starting

After taking a hit from his own teammate, Jeff Heath, Nolan Carroll is in the concussion protocol. Now, I hate to go after a guy who has just been injured… but Carroll was being destroyed in just about every play out there.

CarrollSucks – Streamable

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Carroll missed tackles, left receivers wide open and simply forgot how to play football. The Cowboys secondary is far from deep. The Cowboys need Carroll to be at least decent. And he hasn’t been.

With such a young group of defensive backs, the former Eagle is supposed to bring experience  to the table.

With Bene Benwikere waiting for his chance, maybe the Cowboys give him the opportunity to wear the uniform next Monday. The Cowboys could aso take a chance and start preparing Jourdan Lewis to play a lot more than expected in week 3.

And one name the Cowboys can’t forget about is Marquez White. Unlikely? Perhaps, but possible.

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Worst Career Loss For QB Dak Prescott

Dak PrescottWhen the Cowboys lost against the NY Giants for the second time last year… it sucked. But I truly believe this was way worse. This wasn’t a three point loss. It was a 25 point loss. And frankly, when I hear the number 25, I wonder why it felt like a longer deficit.

The Cowboys weren’t able to establish the run, and Dak Prescott struggled completing the passes since the first quarter. The receivers struggled to get open too, and some even dropped a few balls when they were.

After all of the “sophomore slump” talk there was during the offseason, it’s only going to get louder now.

The truth is, Dak may be blamed for the loss against the Broncos and any other game the Cowboys lose in 2017. That’s the price of being the Dallas Cowboys QB.

But last time Dak couldn’t get it going, he rallied the week after. And led his Cowboys to victory. I expect him to do so again. The Arizona Cardinals game will be an easy one. Look out for a big win as the Cowboys try to make up for their horrible loss to the Broncos.

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The Dallas Cowboys Offense Is Stoppable

Looking on the Bright Side of an Ugly Dallas Cowboys Loss

I won’t lie. Nothing surprised me as much as the fact that Ezekiel Elliott ran for just eight yards. I considered the possibility of Dak Prescott having a bad day, but I expected Zeke to run the ball efficiently.

I’m certain that if we were discussing which is Dallas’ biggest strength, we would be talking about this offense. It is supposed to be a machine. Dez on the outside, Beasley on the slot, Gold Jacket Witt at TE and Ezekiel Elliott at running back. All at the same time. How are you supposed to cover that?

It’s simple, if you have the weapons necessary. The Denver Broncos have the personnel required to beat this football team. It’s a good match-up. This isn’t about the Broncos setting “the blueprint”, as many have claimed.

The Broncos happened to have two elite CBs and arguably the best pass rusher in the league. They played better than the ‘Boys. Period.

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DeMarcus Lawrence Continues To Play Great

DeMarcus Lawrence, BroncosOne of the few positive things this week showed in one of the biggest question marks of the team. The pass rush. For the second consecutive week, Lawrence had two sacks. I know it seems irrelevant after such a loss, but think about it. Last year, Benson Mayowa led the team with six sacks.

Lawrence has four after just two weeks of football, and he is getting to the QB often. He is emerging as a face for this pass rush If this team can rely on him all season, the defense will have quite a weapon in Lawrence.

Remember, Damontre Moore and David Irving will come back soon which can only mean good things for Dallas. If Moore turns out to be a good player, the DL will look a lot better.

Unfortunately, this is a contract year for Lawrence. So we’ll have to enjoy his time in Dallas while we can, for he may not be here in 2018.

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The Dallas Cowboys Have No Excuses

I had many takeaways after watching the Cowboys lose the way they did. And after seeing many angry reactions blaming a specific player or coach, I felt like this takeaway might be the most important of all.

The Cowboys have no excuses. They were out-coached. They were outplayed. They were out-everything. If we, as fans, are going to point fingers after this poor performance, we better point to the entire team.

Dak Prescott, Broncos

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

This was a game in which Sean Lee missed tackles, Zeke had eight rushing yards, and Jason Witten dropped an easy TD pass… But we’re going to blame Garrett only? Or just Dak? That’s simply not fair.

The team simply didn’t show up. It happens. They had a bad day. Now it’s time to move on and get ready for the Arizona Cardinals. The Dallas Cowboys have a lot to work on, and the Cardinals may be the right team for these guys. Let’s see a bounce back.

Tell me what you think about “Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss VS Broncos” 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!


I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve been rooting for America’s team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I’m in… You’ll find me at @PepoR99.

  • Stuart Brereton

    I agree with the comment, The Dallas Cowboys have no excuses. That was exactly the way I saw it. The team as a whole sucked, and no one person or persons should be singled out for the loss.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Agreed. It happens, time to move on. On to the Cardinals. Thanks for reading, Stuart!

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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