It is always a challenge to hand out a game ball for the Dallas Cowboys after a loss. It is especially hard when they really, really stink up things. Brandon Weeden looked so bad, so Cleveland Browns bad, that he almost rendered observers blind to anything positive that could be taken from the game.
For the trained onlooker, of course, there have unfortunately been too many similar really, really bad games in the past, and we have become hardened to such things. There were a few players wearing the Star who did good things.
I only have one honorable mention to make before handing out the game ball. Tyler Patmon had the Dallas highlight of the game with his 58-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was one of the very few plays that had a good result for the Cowboys, but it also was one of the very few plays for Patmon. He was only on the field for 14 snaps. I am using this same Tweet in more than one place, because it begs the question of why, given his impact, this rookie is seeing such little time on the field.
In 23 snaps this yr, Tyler Patmon has 7 tackles, an INT return for a TD, a QB hurry & has allowed just 2 catches for 8 yds. @Lion_Hearted_33— Jordan Ross (@TheJordanRoss) November 3, 2014
The winner of the game ball this week goes to a player who was on the field for just under twice as many snaps as Patmon, but who is also having a very big impact. Henry Melton collected 1.5 sacks in the game. He also, according to Pro Football Focus, had a quarterback hit, two quarterback hurries, and two stops (plays that were considered a win for the defense). He did all that with only 27 snaps taken during the game. The team appears to still be working him in slowly as he comes back from his knee surgery, but in the past two weeks he has started to show the burst off the line and the strength that the Cowboys were hoping he could recover. As he works his way back into shape, the Cowboys are also getting DeMarcus Lawrence back (who had a solid if unspectacular debut) and will be looking at Josh Brent to see what he may be able to provide. The possible loss of Tyrone Crawford to a sprained ligament is not good, but it looks like it may only be for the next game, with the bye week coming up, and the team may be able to weather his absence.
The past two games, while losses, are also back-to-back multi-sack games for the Cowboys. That is the first time that has happened all season. The five sacks those two games are almost half of the eleven the team has scraped together all season. And Melton has been in on four of those five.
Now the team needs to figure out how to combine the increasing success in getting to the quarterback with some offensive success. If they do, then this season can be righted and the team can get into some postseason play. Maybe then Melton can get some consideration for a game ball that means something.