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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.

Dak1 – Streamable

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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 @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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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

Takeaway Tuesday: Awuzie and Lewis Impress, Concerns Around Dez Bryant

Mauricio Rodriguez

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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

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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

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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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