clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Film review: Cowboys vs. Vikings (offense)

It’s film review time, and this week contains some good stuff. The Cowboys added a few new wrinkles on offense and defense, a good sign going forward in the season. I was starting to get the feeling teams were reading our formations and getting the jump on us but this week they showed that they could be unpredictable.

This is part one about the offense with special teams at the end.

Coaches – I usually start with the QB position, but I wanted to throw a little in about Jason Garrett and the team’s offense. The first drive provided a lot of new film material for other teams. The Cowboys were determined to get something going on offense on the first drive and they employed the no-huddle to kick it off. Romo was able to walk to the line and assess the defense then choose between a couple of plays. He also did some more audibiling later in the game and they ran the no-huddle a couple of more times. Plus, they opened the game with a pass to the FB, lined T.O. up in the backfield for a play, threw a screen to JJ from that formation, and decided to run only enough to keep the Vikings honest, and went with the pass the rest of the time. Good game plan all around.

QBTony Romo was red-hot in the first half. On the first drive, the Cowboys converted four 3rd-downs. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that if Romo wanted to take the next step, he’s needs to convert 3rd-downs consistently like Tom Brady did on us. That’s what he did, including converting a 3rd and goal for a TD. {EDIT} I guess I confused some people here, what I meant is that Romo needs to do to other teams what Brady did to us, convert 3rd downs on early drives and put other teams in the hole. My reference to Brady before was mainly about starting strong which Romo hadn't been doing. Sorry for the confusion and poor choice of words. {END EDIT} I counted six different plays throughout the game where Romo was under pressure or rolling-out and made great passes, including a 3rd and 9 to T.O. that was a great throw. I also liked the throw-away on a 1st and goal instead of forcing the pass into traffic. In the second half, they didn’t throw much, and Romo had a few bad/dangerous passes in the half, but he didn’t make any mistakes and he was protecting his hammy. The only thing that kind of worried me is that on both his fumbles, including the one he got back, he was handling the ball with one hand and not very securely. Remember that ball security, Tony.

RBJulius Jones was OK in his limited chances. He was actually more effective as a receiver than he was as a runner. He picked up a first down on a screen, had a nice run on a draw, and had a couple of good runs after short catches. He did have one awful block in pass protection, but Romo saved him. Marion Barber can take over games in stretches. On the series when we scored our second TD, MB3 ran on four of the five plays and pancaked Ben Leber on the goal line and scored the TD on the next run. When Dallas wanted to kill the clock in the 4th quarter, MB3 ran the ball nine straight times and ran over five minutes off the clock, down to 28 seconds left in the game. Throw in three great blocks in pass protection and a few pass catches, and you got a complete game. My only problem with MB3 is he gave up first down yardage going for extra yards and we punted on the possession. Combined with the run against the Patriots in the endzone, MB3 has a tendency to go backwards at inopportune times lately.  

WRTerrell Owens checked in with a very productive day; a TD, some great catches and no drops. He also drew double-teams that helped other receivers. On one play, they put an OLB on him with a safety over the top, and that left JJ open underneath and Romo hit him. Owens had a sweet catch on a 3rd and 9 and he picked up 14 yards by running the ball after catching a hitch pass. But his best catch was the one that set up the MB3 TD when he caught a high pass and was drilled by Darren Sharper. Patrick Crayton, on the other hand, had a bad day. He only caught two passes and had the big fumble that the Vikings scooped up for a TD. Disappointing day for the #2 WR. Sam Hurd had a couple of good blocks on running plays but no catches.

TEJason Witten caught 10 passes on the day. That’s just fantastic work by a TE. He also ran a wide receiver screen that picked up 11 yards. It goes unnoticed sometimes but Witten has really improved as a blocker and was Romo’s security blanket all day in the passing game. One last thing, on T.O’s TD, he was so wide open because the Vikings had three guys covering Witten. Great game from Witten. Anthony Fasano had a couple of catches on the day and on one had a nice run after the catch for a first down.

FBDeon Anderson is most definitely improving. His blocking is better because he’s finding the right guy to hit most of the time although he whiffed on a run block that doomed a JJ run. He also caught a couple of passes in the game and battled after one catch to get a first down. With his recent showing of catching the ball, it adds a little bit more for other teams to consider on defense.

OL – They weren’t as air-tight as they have been recently in pass protection, but it wasn’t a total jailbreak either. The run blocking was good at times, but at other times they had a lot of problems moving the DT’s out of the way. The Vikings linebackers also did a great job of filling the gaps and making tackles.

Andre Gurode had an up and down game. There were times when Pat Williams was able to beat the run blocks and disrupt plays. But they didn’t have any success rushing from the middle of the line over Gurode and he also got out for a nice block on Witten’s screen. Leonard Davis was solid for most of the game although getting room in the middle for runs was tough going. Later in the game, Davis had a missed block on a pull-play and he got beat by Pat Williams on another run. But he mostly had a good day and was solid in pass protection. Kyle Kosier had problems in the game. Kevin Williams cooked him for a sack on Romo, and on two other plays Kosier lost Williams in the pass rush but Romo saved him. He also had some bad run blocks. The best thing he did was trying to tackle Kevin Williams on the Romo fumble and drew a holding call to nullify the TD. He also got a good block on a screen. But Kevin Williams gave him trouble when he was in the game, it could have been worse if Williams didn’t miss so much time after his called-back TD run.

Flozell Adams had a pretty good day but he did have a few problems with pass protection, but for the most part Romo was able to erase those. He did a solid job on run blocks. Marc Colombo had some bad moments in the game, he gave up a sack on an up-and-under move and had two false start penalties, one on the five-yard line of the Vikings. He also was partly complicit in the Romo sack and fumble, although he wasn’t really at fault, as explained here. He had two really good run blocks that sprung MB3.

KNick Folk missed a kick. I guess it had to happen sometime, even though missing a 50-yarder isn’t that bad. He did connect on a 45-yarder and had good kickoffs.

PMat McBriar had three kicks down in the 20-yard line and still averaged 53 yards a kick. He is just a stud.

Kick, punt coverage – We didn’t have many punts with returns but the kickoff coverage was solid this week. Sam Hurd had great coverage, Pat Watkins had a good tackle and Deon Anderson got one, too.

Kick, punt returns – The kickoff return unit is not really getting it done this year. Tyson Thompson has had a few moments, like in the Buffalo game, but we haven’t had consistent returns. Patrick Crayton is still doing a solid job in punt returns, but Terence Newman decided to run backwards, and backwards some more, on his punt return. He and MB3 need directional signs.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys