If you want to get a feel for the ups and downs of the Cowboys 2014 season, you probably don't need to look much further than the weekly snap counts (which is one reason why we post them every week). For the sixth game in a row, the Cowboys defense was on the field for more snaps than the offense, and it's no coincidence that the Cowboys are only 3-3 over that stretch after starting 5-1.
|Cowboys Snap Count by Week|
The defense was on the field for a season-high 77 snaps, and got off comparatively easy with 33 points allowed, in part because the defense managed to hold the Eagles to only one TD in five red zone possessions. Overall though, those 33 points on 77 snaps translate into 0.43 points per snap, the fifth time that value has been above 0.4 this season.
|Points per snap
|OPP||Week||Pts per Snap||Result|
|San Francisco||1||0.48||L: 17-28
|St. Louis||3||0.41||W: 34-31
It's no coincidence that the Cowboys have given up the highest points per snap against the four NFC playoff contenders they've faced. And it's not a surprise either: nobody expected the 2014 defense to be world beaters. But you're not going to win a lot of games if you only score 17 points or less.
The 2014 Cowboys are overreliant on their offense. They need their offense to score a lot, and they need the offense to keep the defense off the field. When the offense can't deliver, there's not much this defense can do.
Here's what they did do, at least in terms of snaps.
|Defensive Tackles||Defensive Ends||Linebackers||Cornerbacks||Safeties|
|T. McClain||36||D. Lawrence||32||Carter||41||Moore||56||Spillman||17|
On offense, the Cowboys went 4-for-12 on third downs, which is not a ratio that's conducive for scoring a lot of points. The really worrying thing is that the third down malaise has been going on for a while, as Rabblerousr wrote earlier today:
After sitting atop the NFL pile (and not just the 2014 pile, but the history-of-the-league pile) in this key category after seven games (when they had a 59% conversion rate), the Cowboys have fallen off in this regard, and drastically. In the last five games, the Cowboys are 20-58 in third down conversions, which translates to .35, or just a hair above one in three.
|Cowboys' Offensive Snap counts vs Eagles
And finally, on to special teams:
|Special Teams Aces|
|Lawrence||19||Tow tied at 13|
Orlando Scandrick is this week's ironman. He played on all but one of the 77 defensive snaps and added 11 snaps on special teams for 87 total snaps, the most of any player on the team.