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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Victory Over Cardinals

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Victory Over Cardinals 1

Oh, boy. Didn't we all miss this Dallas Cowboys victory feeling? I sure did. The Cowboys beat the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 last Monday Night and it was a good one. After a long loss week, the Cowboys are 2-1 and ready to roll.

It was an ugly start, no doubt. The Cowboys were slow at the beginning of the game but fortunately, they picked it up.

A win is a win. At the end of the day, that's what matters.

And like losses, you learn a lot from victories. Here are my takeaways from yesterday's win over Arizona. 

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DeMarcus Lawrence Is a "War Daddy"

This franchise has been looking for a legit "War Daddy" for a long time now. The Cowboys may have depth in their defensive line, but they need someone who can consistently pressure the quarterback for this defense to get to another level.

DeMarcus Lawrence is proving to be that guy. Lawrence has been in this team for a while, but this is the first season he is completely healthy. And he is killing it.

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Demarcus Lawrence continues to ball https://t.co/08lTJRFrdx

He currently leads the NFL with 6.5 sacks in just three games. He is one and a half sack away from his career record. We're three weeks into the season. These are All-Pro kind of numbers.

D-Law and the Cowboys have faced three pretty bad offensive lines, but a healthy and confident #90 might keep it up all season.

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Yes... Dak Is Still Dak

It's amazing how two weeks of NFL action are enough for people to claim a player isn't good anymore. And while it is true that Dak has struggled a little bit, it isn't fair at all to say he isn't a good QB.

Dak Prescott remains a very talented and poised player. And he still has a great arm. He showed it twice in two amazing plays with Brice Butler. While running to the sidelines on both plays, Dak threw two great throws to #19.

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The offensive line hasn't been as good as it should be. The running game could be better, to be honest. Dak will inevitably struggle more than he did last season because of this same reason. Teams want to stop Zeke.

Without a great running game, he will need to pull these wins off. Let's hope he does. I'm sure he will.

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The Cowboys Need Their Playmakers

For a moment, the game was feeling exactly like the Denver Broncos game. The Cardinals easily drove the ball down the field to get a TD, the Cowboys had a three and out, and it simply felt like the Cowboys were being dominated.

Then Dak Prescott injected life into the offense. After throwing a precise throw to rookie WR Noah Brown to get the first and goal, Dak executed the best play of the game. From the 10-yard line he faked the handoff to Zeke just to keep it and dive into the end zone to score six points upside down.

Cowboys en Español: Proyectando el Roster de 53 Jugadores

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Dez Bryant Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

On another drive, Zeke ran for 20 yards even though he was contacted at the line of scrimmage. Elliott's run set up the next Cowboys TD, featuring Dez Bryant.

Dez had to shake off two defenders before dragging about half of the Cardinals' defense for the TD. It was awesome, and it was one of those plays only Dez could pull off.

These three guys, these three playmakers gave this team life when they needed it the most. And if the Cowboys want to keep winning games this season, especially with such a tough schedule, they will need them just about every week.

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Jourdan Lewis Will Be So Good

DeMarcus Lawrence may have had three sacks last night, but Jourdan Lewis could easily be awarded the MVP of the game award. He saved this defense from a lot of problems.

With six tackles and a deflected pass, all of them in key moments, Lewis shined in his second NFL game. His open field tackling and awareness skills are truly insane. The guy didn't have a single preseason snap!

Cowboys Nation on Twitter

Jourdan Lewis has ball skills. https://t.co/REgDhUg80o

Lewis should get a lot more snaps from now on, even if Awuzie and Carroll return. He is better than both of them, and he is proving it. He has a certain aggressiveness to him, it seems natural. Not many players have that... that's special.

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The Dallas Cowboys Are Fine

I won't lie by saying the Cowboys don't have a single problem. Because they do. For some reason, the offensive line hasn't lived up to the hype, the team has had slow starts and more issues. But there's no reason to press that panic button yet.

Last year, after week three, the Cowboys were 2-1. They are 2-1 after three games now, too. This team has a lot to work on, but they are okay for now.

We're talking about a league were neither of the two defending conference champions are winning in dominant fashion.

This team can be better. And they probably will get better. That doesn't mean they're not contenders... they are. They'll get there.

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The Dallas Cowboys will be back at AT&T Stadium next week, ready to face the 2-1 Los Angeles Rams. It will be an interesting matchup... But hey, it's Tuesday... How about we enjoy another victory week?

Tell me what you think about "Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Victory Over Cardinals" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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.

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12 Comments
  • Donny King

    this maybe just nit picking, the Dallas defense left 4 INT’s on the field, 1 by Xavier Woods, 1 by Scandrick, 1 by Heath and 1 by D-Law, but other then that, a satisfying win, but how fitting is it last time Dallas faced Arizona in the regular season they lost 28-17

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Interesting fact, didn’t know that. I agree about the INTs. Thank you for reading!

      • Donny King

        ya the 28-17 loss is the week after Tony went down against Redskins in 2014 and brandon weeden took over, offense only put up 10 points, the other 7 came from a 59 yard pick 6 from tylar patmon

  • Ethan Chazin

    First off, great game (and start to the season) by Tank but let’s hold off on the rush to give him that huge contract #2, since we saw how that worked with Tyrone Crawford. Next, just curious when someone who is an “expert” analyst is going to call out Taco Charlton for being a bust of a #1 pick so far and point out how our #2 draft pick Awuzie has been a non factor so far. It will be nice to get David Irving back in 2 weeks. It is surprising to see Alfred Morris be active/McFadden and Charles Tapper inactive. Good win. Resilient! Welcome to the team Brice Butler!

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Great game, I agree! I’m not sure I understand who are you blaming of calling Taco a bust and saying Awuzie has been a non factor though. You have a point as to the contract for Lawrence. We have to see if he keeps it up.

      • Ethan Chazin

        I am suggesting the announcers who cover games and reporters on blogging the boys, dallascowboys.com acknowledge taco as a bust at pick 28 and hopefully awuzie can return next week also zack martin is gonna get paid as top o lineman this season so the cap is gonna be tight plus room dead $$$

        • Mauricio Rodriguez

          Leggo.

        • Donny King

          unless your picking at 10 or below you cannot expect a defensive end taking in the high 20’s to have an immediate impact,, he’s still learning, and he’s had a few QB pressures

          • Ethan Chazin

            Donny quote a few folks were saying that about taco b/4 the draft that he was a project but then why draft him in that spot? Because we were drafting for need DE and available talent at that spot so given he amount of development he requires did it make sense to in effect take a flyer on a 1st round pick???

          • Mauricio Rodriguez

            I’m not calling him a bust or anything but Donny does have a point here, IMO. Pick 27 for a DE usually means he will need some developing. We’ll have to wait a bit.

          • Ethan Chazin

            Ok so we disagree I believe a 1st round draft pick at ANY position starts and must contribute. Not all will be Joey boss but come on, you have to show up in the stat sheet it is inexcusable to talk about his playing time as # of “pressures”

          • Mauricio Rodriguez

            Yeah, I disagree. I don’t believe that at that point you have to be a immediate starter., especially if it’s a DE.

Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Coming into their week two match up against the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys knew they could control the game with -- for the first time in years against Eli Manning -- their pass rush and strong secondary. Exposing a weak Giants offensive line went well beyond the Cowboys front four in this win though.

The Cowboys put Manning on the turf six times, with Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard relentlessly dialing up pressure. With the depth at linebacker to match up with Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, along with Byron Jones' efforts on Odell Beckham Jr., it's no secret how the Cowboys defense forced Manning to dump the ball to his running back for 14 receptions.

Barkley's longest catch going for ten yards, this was a nearly flawless game for Rod Marinelli's defense to even the Cowboys record at 1-1. Expecting much of the same from their front seven against a poor Seahawks OL, now is a good time to look back at some of the pressure packages the Cowboys used in week two.

With a core of versatile linebackers they can trust, the Cowboys deployed Jaylon Smith, Sean Lee, Damien Wilson, and Leighton Vander Esch all over the field to present the Giants with different looks. What made the Cowboys defensive play calling so successful was their LBs ability to cover ground quickly and create depth in coverage.

By doing so, the Giants could not take any chances down the field, their longest passing play going for 37 yards.

Blitz1

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On this play, even with the Giants looking to get the ball out quickly, the pressure from Smith and Wilson disrupt the timing. Sean Lee, the only Cowboys linebacker not sent after Manning on the play, ends up rallying from his starting WILL position to get in on the tackle. The Giants did not have the numbers up front to block Damien Wilson attacking from SAM, although more impressively, Smith was able to rip through a partial block from the right guard and get ahead of Wilson on their rush.

Blitz2

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This next blitz shows off the Cowboys strong coverage downfield against the Giants. Cornerback Anthony Brown had his fingerprints all over this game in the back end for Dallas, but on this play comes out of the slot after Manning. Sensing the pressure at his feet, Manning steps up and actually puts himself in position to deliver a good ball, but is forced into yet another check down.

While linebacker blitzes are part of the "Richard effect" on the Cowboys defense, a well-timed slot blitz is a staple of Rod Marinelli's scheme. Using Brown a number of times in this role off the strong side, the Giants had no answers for the different pressures Dallas sent their way against Ereck Flowers at right tackle.

Blitz3

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Even when Smith was picked up, as he was in the above play, the Cowboys capitalized on missed blocking assignments to get home with their front four. Taco Charlton the benefactor at RDE here, watch as Barkley rushes to keep Lee from having a straight run at his QB - allowing Charlton to do the same off the edge. Running untouched on the play, Charlton does a nice job taking a sharp angle to Manning and chasing him to the ground.

Blitz4

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As much as the Cowboys cornerbacks were a huge part of the team's confidence in sending pressure, their safeties also performed well in coverage. I wrote about the above play on Monday morning in my Sean's Scout that immediately follows every Cowboys game:

"That's a fantastic play by Jeff Heath to run across the field and tackle Evan Engram short of the line to gain on third down.

The Giants drive would continue with a fourth down conversion, but the Cowboys defense did eventually force a punt.

The Cowboys safeties were primarily called upon to play in run support in this game, a role Heath has struggled in previously. Showing off his strengths as an athletic and rangy defensive back on this play, Heath didn't get pushed up the field by Engram on his release, hunting him down after the catch in front of a fired up Dallas bench."

Heath picking up Engram is just one example of a Cowboys defender exceeding expectations in coverage. Smith was able to run with Beckham Jr., as was Charlton on separate plays later in the game.

Blitz6

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The only fitting way to conclude this film study is with a DeMarcus Lawrence sack. The Cowboys best individual defender, Lawrence had his way with Flowers as we all expected. Playing to another one of Tank's strengths here though, Lawrence rushes to the inside off a well-executed T/E stunt with Tyrone Crawford.

Also sending Brown at Manning again, the Giants pass pro leaves Lawrence unabated to the quarterback. Unlikely to escape the grasp of Lawrence on such a free rush, Manning does try to abort the pocket, but had Brown crashing down on him to collapse things.

Lawrence might not earn many easier sacks this season. None of the Cowboys starters on defense are more capable of using their own ability to get to the QB than Lawrence still, who is getting all the help he needs from Richard as his play caller.

Through just two games, the Cowboys commitment to forcing the issue on defense has potential to keep this team atop the NFC East as the offense comes into its own.

Depending on the development of their own passing game, this may have to be a defense that can win Dallas games. The only way to do so is with sacks and turnovers.

The latter is something Marinelli's defenses have always excelled at when at full strength (the Cowboys are expecting Randy Gregory back as early as this week and DT David Irving comes off suspension in week five). The former is something the Cowboys are creating with a deeply talented front seven, orchestrated by one of the best in the business.

The Cowboys will look to build on their nine sacks this season against the Seahawks on Sunday, a team that's allowed the most in the league at 12. Their timing to go after Russell Wilson will be tested more than it was against the Giants, with Richard also better positioned to aid the Cowboys against his former team.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Blitzes Keep Giants Play Makers in Check" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys’ Path to Victory Over the Seattle Seahawks

John Williams

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Dallas Cowboys' Path to Victory Over the Seattle Seahawks

In every game, whether it's a sporting event or a board game there is a path -- and sometimes more than one -- to victory. For the Dallas Cowboys, it's no different. As they get set to face a Seattle Seahawks team that is 0-2 for the first time since 2015, they'll have to win in several areas to bring home the W.

After starting out 0-2 in 2015, the Seahawks finished the season with a 10-6 record and won their wild card game over the Minnesota Vikings before falling in the divisional round to the Carolina Panthers.

The Seahawks are one of those teams that you can get down, but can never count out. If the Dallas Cowboys want to come out on top in their trip to the Pacific Northwest, they are going to have to come ready to play.

In particular, these are the things that the Dallas Cowboys have to achieve to be the victors on Sunday.

Limit Big Plays

The Seattle Seahawks are a very interesting offensive case study. They have one of the better quarterbacks in the league, but have invested very little in trying to protect their most important asset.

They rely on Russell Wilson's improvisational ability and penchant for big plays.

In 2017, Wilson had a quarterback rating of 100.9 on attempts greater than 20 yards down the field, per Pro Football Focus. He threw the ball "deep" 91 times, completing 31 passes for 1,134 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He had the most deep attempts in the league last season and tied with Alex Smith with the most touchdowns on deep attempts. Wilson's yardage was nearly 200 yards more than the next best in the NFL on deep passing.

Wilson's going to take some deep shots. If you watched the Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears, you noticed that even though Wilson was getting battered, it didn't deter him from taking shots deep down the field. Sometimes into unfavorable coverages.

The secondary has an advantage over the Seattle Seahawks group of wide receivers, but they'll have to stay disciplined and not allow the big pass plays to beat them.

In a game where they were being dominated for more than three quarters, the Seahawks were able to hang around and had a chance at the end because of their penchant for big plays.

Don't get beat deep.

Wrangling Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks have allowed the most sacks in the league through two weeks. They've allowed six in each of their first two games this season. The Dallas Cowboys are going to have opportunities to sack Russell Wilson this week.

They have to take advantage.

Like Cam Newton in week one, Russell Wilson is a very elusive quarterback. Not only is he really good at making plays with his legs, he can be difficult to bring down. The Dallas Cowboys will have to work to keep Wilson in the pocket and finish when they get an opportunity to bring him down. He's not a physical presence like Newton is, but he's slippery and has some of that Tony Romo elusiveness to him.

If the potential tackler doesn't get Wilson down on first contact, it could lead to big plays both through the air and on the ground. Wilson averages 33.6 yards per game on the ground in his career and 5.7 yards per attempt. In order to get off the field on third down, they're going to have to prevent Wilson from using his legs to pick up third downs.

Establishing the Pass to Set Up the Run

At this point in the Dallas Cowboys offensive approach, everyone in the world knows what the Dallas Cowboys want to do on offense. They want to run the ball.

The Dallas Cowboys did a great job using this knowledge to their advantage on the first series of the game against the New York Giants.

On the first play of the game, they used a Run-Pass Option, with a clear out to the flat by Tight End Geoff Swaim, and found Allen Hurns on a slant to set up a second and short. Then after picking up that second and short with a run by Ezekiel Elliott, they used a straight play action out of a two running back, one tight end set, and hit Tavon Austin for the 64 yard touchdown.

Dak's willingness to throw the ball deep on a couple other occasions helped open up the run. The deep ball has to be a threat in order to back defenses off the line of scrimmage and do what you do best: Run the Ball. If they aren't going to back off, then you have to keep throwing it until you hit the deep ball enough that it forces them to do so.

The Dallas Cowboys were able to run the ball pretty effectively for the rest of the game, even if they didn't hit a lot of big plays. With the New York Giants interior defensive line, it was going to be tough sledding anyway. Getting things going through the air, helped out immensely.

The Seattle Seahawks are going to try to do what everyone does; put the ball in Dak Prescott's hands. If they're going to win on Sunday, it's going to be because Prescott had another efficient game throwing the ball.

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This game sets up really well for the Dallas Cowboys to improve their record to 2-1 and keep pace with the upper tier teams in the NFC. Every win matters, but these NFC games matter even a bit more. No game in the NFL is a cakewalk and this game is no different. If the Dallas Cowboys aren't able to do the above, it could be a long day for America's Team. 



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Game Notes

#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Wishlist Christmas Edition: Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.

Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys

After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.

Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.

Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.

Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.

The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.

Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.

Trends

  • The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
  • Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
  • Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
  • The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.

Prediction

While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.

This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.

I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.



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