FanPost

Comparing 2012 to 2011: is it really that different?

In 2011, the Cowboys opened the season on a very emotional evening in the New Meadowlands. Dallas then had to play on the west coast the following week. The Cowboys finished those two road games to open the season 1-1.

As in 2011, Dallas stands 2-2 after losing to a NFC North foe after Romo threw multiple interceptions returned for touchdowns. Just as last season, the Cowboys face an elite AFC team following their bye week.

The similarities between the two seasons do not end there. Much has been made of the floundering Dallas ground game. Not surprisingly, these maladies are not new to this team.

SEASON

ATT

YDS

YD/A

LONG

20+

TD

YDS/G

FUM

FUML

1DN

2011

101

347

3.44

40

2

1

86.75

3

0

12

2012

79

271

3.43

48

1

1

67.8

2

0

13

Through four games, the Cowboys rushing statistics are almost identical when comparing 2011 and 2012. These problems are hardly new to the Dallas offense. Notice the average yards per rushing attempt in 2011 and 2012: it is almost identical.

The major difference is that in 2011, the Cowboys averaged about 5 ½ rushing attempts more per game than the team has this season. But that was not the only difference:

2011 OPP

DEF RUSH RANK

DEF PASS RANK

2012 OPP

DEF RUSH RANK

DEF PASS RANK

NYJ

13

5

NYG

18

23

SF

1

16

SEA

4

8

WAS

18

12

TB

1

25

DET

23

22

CHI

3

14

The average defensive total rushing yards rank of the first four opponents the Cowboys faced in 2011 was 13.75. In 2012, the same average ranking of the Dallas opponents has dropped to 6.5 through five weeks of the NFL season.

The Cowboys are unquestionably facing tougher run defenses this season. No wonder that the only game where Dallas rushed for over 100 yards so far this season came in the opener, against the 18th ranked rushing defense in the NFL.

Conversely, the average passing yardage defensive ranking for Dallas' first four opponents in 2012 is 17.5. That has dropped from the 13.75 average defensive ranking from last season. Considering the drop in the quality of pass defense the Cowboys have faced through four games this season, a slight improvement in passing statistics should be expected.

ROMO

CMP

ATT

YDS

CMP%

AVG

LNG

TD

INT

SACK

RAT

2011

99

152

1,273

65.13%

8.375

77

7

5

7

92.9

2012

101

151

1,148

66.9

7.6

49

5

8

8

78.5

A few things stand out:

1. Through four games, Romo has attempted one less pass in 2012. Alarmingly, that means Dallas has had 22 fewer plays this season: all in the running game.

2. Considering that Romo has been sacked one more time than he had at this point in 2011, it seems that the length of Tony's passes have more to do with the available time he has to throw.

3. Despite the higher completion percentage, Romo has thrown three more interceptions so far this season.

4. Even though the Cowboys have scored 34 fewer points than they had to this point last season, the passing game has only one fewer touchdown pass (Orton has a TD pass); the running game has produced one TD each season.

Subtracting the 22 carries over four games only yields a difference of less than 19 yards per game. Adding the 31 yards per game that the Dallas passing game lacks in comparison to last season brings the total to just over 50 yards per game. Remembering the amount of drops the receivers have had to this point, adding 50 passing yards per game is not that far fetched.

Those 50 yards per game would rank the Cowboys offense among the top five in the league in total yardage. More importantly, those 50 yards are likely half of the reason why Dallas had 99 points scored through four games in 2011, as opposed to the 65 scored so far in 2012.

BAILEY

FG ATT

FG MADE

FG POINTS

2011

14

13

39

2012

5

5

15

The Cowboys have not been able to generate scoring opportunities because of offensive ineptitude. The special teams and the defense have contributed to terrible field position for the Cowboys, compounding the offensive problems (http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2012/10/5/3459420/dallas-cowboys-to-do-list-for-the-bye-week). Penalties have also added almost 10 yards per game when compared to the totals from last season.

PENALTIES

TOTAL

YARDS

2011

28

211

2012

33

248

The offensive line is obviously a weak link on the Cowboys offense, is preventing the running game from achieving its potential, and is limiting the passing game to shorter routes. The receivers have not been sharp so far in 2012, and have directly been responsible for several interceptions. Dallas is committing penalties leading to more yardage lost. The special teams are not making a positive impact on field position, and have struggled through several errors leading to opponent scores. The Dallas defense, though improved, is still collecting very few turnovers leading to short fields.

It seems that Dallas is suffering a death through a hundred cuts. All of these errors are correctable. With gradual improvements that result with more attention to detail, the team will perform better. In the absence of improvement, however, this team will continue to flounder and finish with their third top ten draft pick in three years.


Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker