It’s been a wild ride, and it’ll continue to be one until the end of the season. On the verge of clinching the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys have to win one more game, then will need a little help from the rest of the division. The Giants helped by losing to the Titans, but the Skins up-ended the sliding Jaguars in a game that feautures Josh Johnson (who?) vs Blake Bortles (lol).
But with the Cowboys getting shut out by the Colts, let’s take a look of some adjustments that need to be made to take advantage of the rest of the regular season schedule.
EVERYTHING (Kidding, not kidding)
The offense finally caught up and bit the Cowboys in the wrong side of the back, as they were held to under 210 passing yards, also sacking Dak Prescott 3 times against an injury-riddled offensive line that is missing All-Pro’s Zack Martin and Travis Frederick. But the lack of success on 3rd down was alarming. 4-12 on the day and then 1-5 on 4th down when Garrett decided to go for it.
One example is the first attempt on fourth down on the goal line. The Cowboys offense lined up in a goal line formation, pretty much telling the defense that it’s a run play. So the Colts stacked the box with everyone they had, and stuffed the run, then proceeded to get the ball back on offense. The play calling has to improve in situations like this. On the season before the Colts game, the Dallas Cowboys went 6-8 on 4th down, but every single attempt was a running play. Not too diverse, you think?
The receiving corps was absolutely shut down as well, with the leading receiver being Ezekiel Elliot with 7 catches. The next highest was a tie between Blake Jarwin, Amari Cooper and Cole Beasley with 4 receptions a piece, none truly making a positive impact on offense.
The Colts came into the game with the 10th ranked defense in the NFL according to ESPN, and next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’ll be facing a defense that gives up over 29 pts per game. In order to beat them, the Cowboys will need to stay effective in the passing game, converting more than just 33.3% of 3rd down attempts if they want any chance of keeping up with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans.
Let’s switch it up though, and look at what the defense has been holding up. Not many average fans knew who Marlon Mack was before the game, but I bet they do now after Mack racked up 139 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys defense only allowing 86 yards per game coming into the contest. Converting 66.6% of their 3rd downs, the Colts were steadily tiring out the number 4 ranked defense in the NFL, pounding the ball play after play.
The plus side, however, is that Andrew Luck, who has 31 passing touchdowns on the season so far, was held to under 200 yards passing and no touchdowns thrown. Although there wasn’t a sack recorded by the defense, the secondary shut down Eric Ebron and TY Hilton to under 100 yards receiving combined, forcing the Colts to utilize other skill players, which they did, unfortunately. The defense in my opinion did not have much blame in this however, since the offense didn’t do much to keep them off the field at times.
Yea we knew this was coming. The Cowboys committed 9 penalties for 74 yards vs Indy. It never seems to amaze fans, as the Cowboys commit bonehead penalties and the most inopportune times. Penalties happen, yes, but if the Cowboys don’t buckle down and discipline themselves, those same calls can and will impact future games, possibly in the NEAR future while vying for a playoff spot.
Next up is a date with the Buccaneers. Jameis Winston and his squad come in with the #2 ranked passing offense, although they have thrown 25 interceptions thus far. It will be an excellent opportunity for this team to bounce back with a chance to clinch the NFC East division before it’s too late.
Hold on Cowboys Nation, it’s going to get even bumpier.