With the win against the Giants, the Cowboys improve their record to 7-6.
Thanks to the past two weeks, the Cowboys finally put behind them the three-game losing streak, and they are now trying to fight out their postseason spot. Since they lost one too many times, they now need a lot of help and a bit of luck. What they must do is control the games in front of them. Sunday was a great example of how the things should be done when they defeated NY Giants. The result was 30-10, but it wasn’t easy.
That game was also their second in a row with 30 or more points, and they won against another NFC East rival – the Washington Redskins by a large margin. The scoreboard read 38-14 against the Redskins. The Cowboys have proven with these two duels that they have enough talent and know how to play proper football. The team will be even more dangerous and better when the star running back Ezekiel Elliott returns.
The top performer of their last win was the man himself, Dak Prescott. He struggled without Elliott and even against the Redskins his performance wasn’t up to scratch. But, on Sunday this guy demonstrated that those previous were just a rough patch and not what we will be seeing from him in the future. At the end of this game, his figures were standing at 332 passing yards and 3 TDs with no interceptions.
But we didn’t notice Prescott’s performance only. Here is what also caught our eye:
The coaching staff
It’s easy to see why people think that everything is up to scratch with the 30-10 win in the last game. But the coaching really needs some work. Why? Well, they fell behind 10-3, and they also went into the fourth quarter locked in a 10-10 tie. The 20-point outburst was good for them to get the win, but it also showed this match probably never should have been close.
The Cowboys were slow and that happened due to some mistakes made by the coaching staff. During the Giants first drive, Dallas made two fumbles with the second coming on the first defensive third-down play. Running back Wayne Gallman passed past the first down marker but fumbled, and the ball bounced backward. It was recovered by New York about two yards behind the line of scrimmage, but the ref called a first down. Jason Garrett never even flinched, when he probably should have at least talked to the ref about that one and seen if he could have challenged the spot.
Couple times the defense was not ready. The Giants would hurry up on third-down plays, and at one moment Dallas had to use a timeout because of that. In the third-quarter, New York hurried to the line and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli inexplicably tried to sub players out even though the Giants did not. The following drive New York did it again, and this time Marinelli’s crew left Roger Lewis wide open for a first down as they were kind of shocked.
That one badly used timeout never hurt them but if you think thoroughly it could have. What if the game stayed close until the end. That mishap could have cost them big time in a tight contest. Marinelli being over-matched is the norm for Dallas, and fans have to hope that the Cowboys realize this. It was a nice win, however, the coaches have to learn to adjust to the post in moments like this.
The question of wide receiver
Dallas secondary has been improving. Chidobe Awuzie got his first start and deflected three passes against the Redskins last week. This week he managed to break up two more passes, one of which found its way into the hands of linebacker Sean Lee for the first of two Dallas interceptions.
Jourdan Lewis also played well in this match. He ended the game with six tackles and three pass defenses. There is also safety Xavier Woods, their sixth-round pick, who had four tackles, a pass break-up and a shot on Eli Manning.
Even though there are some struggles on the Cowboys’ team, we see that the secondary overhaul Dallas had this offseason seems to be working well. After the Sunday game, it is inevitable that they should do the same thing to the wide receivers.
Letting some veterans go allowed the youngsters to take over and watching Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley struggle at receiver makes it seem like the same actions will indeed aid the receivers. The argument against this has to be the 50-yard touchdown Bryant had, as well as the huge third-down play Beasley had that went for 54 yards. We saw that, but there is another problem.
Those plays have been too few and far between. Beasley dropped an open third-down play, and Bryant missed a long-touchdown that was right in his hands. They both had only 3 receptions in the game even though Bryant spent the majority of the day in single coverage. That would be punished by most No. 1 wideouts more than just once. Both are in line for a season well below expectations, which means they could use some more of Ryan Switzer on offense and potentially a new No. 1 in the next draft.
Why did they sack McFadden?
We have to say that Rod Smith is excellent. Everyone in Dallas was excited to see linebacker Jaylon Smith return this season since he was recovering from nerve damage in his knee but no one expected his big brother to be such an exceptional player.
Rod Smith quietly waited for his chance to turn in the offense. He’s spent time lined up as a receiver, moved to fullback and then was promoted to the No. 2 position when the team lost Elliott due to a six-game suspension. They then sacked veteran Darren McFadden, and many wondered why. Now it’s really easy to see why.
Rod has been quite solid so far this season when given a chance, and in Week 14 he was on fire. Smith made a catch on third-and-2 in the fourth quarter and managed to take off for an 81-yard touchdown to break the game wide open. He wasn’t done there as he then rushed a 15-yard score after a turnover.
He scored his first career NFL touchdown for Thanksgiving even though he has been in the NFL since 2015. Now, he has a streak of three-straight weeks scoring the TD and has three on the ground and one through the air. He ended his game with 47 yards on just six carries but was the leading receiver with five catches for 113 yards and the score. That was all done including a heads up play early where he caught a deflected pass on third down and ran it just past the sticks. He got some play due to Elliott’s suspension, but we can definitely agree that Smith made the most out of that opportunity.