Yard Stick-Wk3: Cowboys-Redskins Stats Observation

Cowboys fan, worldwide, are rejoicing because of the victory over division leader, Washington Redskins. After much trash-talking, started by the Redskins' DeAngelo Hall, the Cowboys come out with the last laugh. The best performance by DeAngelo Hall was his post-game interview because his on-the-field performance was pitiful.

In this article; however, we won't be focusing on DeAngelo Hall. We'll be comparing the stats of what we expected from the Cowboys' Offense and Defense.

If you recall, I posted three articles about what amount of net yards and efficiency the cowboys would produce in this game and here we'll be comparing and observe the outcomes.

Dez 3rd and 21

Dez Bryant converted 3rd & 21 on DeAngelo Hall

It is important to point out, which was very clear to everyone watching the game, the absence of Miles Austin was huge in this game. This affected our passing game tremendously! Also, the absence of Scandrick and an injure-free Newman is hurting our secondary as well.


net Rushing Yards
net Avg/Play
Rushing Plays
vs DAL
65 3.0 22
Expected 90 3.0 30
Difference -25 None -8

The Redskins averaged exactly what the stats predicted, 3.0 yards a play. They gained 65 yards, I predicted 75 while the stats predicted 90. The stats were right. Why? Because if they would have ran the ball another 8 times, then they would have exactly what the stats expected them to gain.

Although they didn't gain 90 yards, this was the least amount of times they've ran the ball, so far, this season. It seems to tell us that either the Redskins were discourage about running on the Cowboys or that passing on the Cowboys is a much easier task.

Redskins net Passing Yards
net Avg/Play
Passing Plays
vs DAL
233 5.8 40
Expected 247 6.1 40
Difference -14 -0.3 None

Again, we see how close the stats predicted what the Redskins' Offense would gain on the Cowboys' Defense. Exactly 40 passing plays and a slight difference in average per play. If the Redskins would have average 0.3 more, they would have had exactly 247 passing yards. This is the least, the Redskins, have passed for this season, so far.

Redskins Total net Yards
Total net Avg/Play
Total Plays
vs DAL
298 4.8 62
Expected 338 5.2 65
Difference -40 -0.4 -3

Another close prediction by the stats. Just 3 plays off from what was actually expected. Also, just 0.4 average per play difference between what was expected and what actually occurred. All-in-all, I say this is very good defense by the Cowboys to keep a team, averaging 393 total yards a game, under 300 total yards.

For those wondering, "why 65 total plays and not 70?" I did not add Rushing Plays and Passing Plays from the two tables above. Instead, I took the Total Plays from both Redskins' game and came up with an average from that. As you can see, that was much closer to the actual game then if I would have added the plays from the two previous tables.

Redskins 3rd-Down
Time of Possession
vs DAL
28:24 (Less Then DAL)
Expected 40%
53% Longer Then DAL
Difference -15%
Wrong -6

The stats were pretty much wrong in this table; however, we must credit the defense for playing much better in this game then in previous games. The Cowboys allowed 42% of 3rd-Downs to be converted by the Jets and 50% by the Niners. So you can see why the stats would predict 40% for the Redskins. Same for the RedZone. Jets converted 50% of RedZone opportunities and the Niners converted both of their opportunities for 100% efficiency.

As for Time of Possession, the Redskins held the ball longer against previous opponents. The reason for that was that they converted more 3rd-Downs. The fact that the Cowboys played better defense is the reason for the Cowboys holding the ball longer.

In points, there was only a TD or 2 FG difference. Mathematically, it doesn't look like much. However, its much more in football. Its not a lot, but its a significant amount that could have changed the tide of the game.


Cowboys net Rushing Yards
net Avg/Play
Rushing Plays
vs WAS
125 4.8 26
Expected 84 3.5 24
Difference 41 1.3 2

As expected, the Cowboys would have their best running game, so far, against the Redskins. However, the stats didn't predict it to be this good. Off by 1.3 average per play, the Cowboys ran for over 100 yards. A difference of 41 yards from expected. The only thing that was similar was the number of rushing plays; a difference of 2.

Cowboys net Passing Yards
net Avg/Play
Passing Plays
vs WAS
250 6.8 37
Expected 336 8.0 42
Difference -86 -1.2 -5

It was predicted that the Cowboys would pass for less because they would run better then previous games and that is exactly what happened. However, the absence of Miles Austin and an unhealthy Dez Bryant really brought the yardage down to its lowest point, so far, this season.

We must not look blindly at the stats and say its completely wrong. The stats are unbiased and could care less who is injured and who isn't.

Cowboys Total net Yards
Total net Avg/Play
Total Plays
vs WAS
375 6.0 63
Expected 375 6.4 59
Difference None -0.4 4

The stats were right on with the Total net Yards! The average was slightly different, with the Cowboys average 0.4 less a play then expected. However, they also have 4 more total plays then expected. Not much explaining needed here, the stats speak for themselves.

Cowboys 3rd-Down
Time of Possession
vs WAS
31:36 (More Then DAL)
Expected 31%
50% Less Then WAS
Difference -8%
Wrong -2

The lack of receiver and sloppiness by the OLine really shows in the stats. There isn't enough credit that can go on the defense and special teams for winning this game for the Cowboys, as the offense was really inefficient. The points, however, was as expected. The Redskins give up an average of 17 points a game and the Cowboys were pretty much there.

In conclusion, we can see that the majority of the stats were pretty much on point and gave us an idea of what to expect from each team. As mentioned before, the stats don't care about injury or sloppiness. It is unbiased, only looking at the numbers produced and giving us an expectation.

We already know that there is a connection between 3rd-Down efficiency and Time of Possession, but a stat that can be looked at is the correlation between run defense and time of possession. We won't be looking at that on Yard Stick, but it remains to be seen whether there is a connection.

The Cowboys, whether they're effective in the run game or not, have held the ball longer then all their opponents up to this point. Showing us, you don't need a run game to hold the ball longer.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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