I have no witty puns, funny anecdotes, or humorous stories to begin this article. After Sunday's win my happiness is too complete to cheapen it with corny jokes. On to the takeaways.
1. Chip Kelly - Super Genius: So instead of jokes let's go straight to the snark! While doing some research before the game I came across an interesting little fact. Coming into the game the Eagles were the "quickest" team in the league, going 22.17 seconds between plays. Who was the slowest team? Our very own Dallas Cowboys, averaging 29.75 seconds between plays. On the flip side Dallas was ranked 6th overall in TOP holding the ball for 31.37 minutes, while the Eagles ranked 31st, with an average TOP of 27.01.
Both styles have their advantages and disadvantages just like every system, (and there will be an article up on that tomorrow!). But on Sunday one system clearly won. Both philosophies, (fast pace vs. TOP) are designed to stress the defense, to wear them out physically and mentally. Yet at the end of the game the Dallas defense was making plays. It was the Eagles defense that was tired and worn out. Dallas's two longest runs of the night came late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter.
When Kelly's offense is working it's a beautiful thing to watch. But when the offense is not in sync that quick pace puts a ton of pressure on the defense as they have no time to rest. Kelly may not worry about TOP, but when his defense is on the field for 42 minutes, that's a problem, and a self-inflicted wound. Which is why Kelly earns my honorary Wile. E. Coyote, Super Genius award.
2. Monsters Are Such Interesting People: And Dez Bryant was an absolute monster Sunday night, catching six receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns. It was Dez' first three touchdown game of his career, which is stunning considering how many TDs he has racked up so far as a Cowboy.
What's interesting is how he got those numbers. On the game Dez averaged 19 yards a reception, his second highest of the season and a full five yards higher than his season average. Over the past five games, (starting from Tony Romo's return in London), Dez has caught 29 receptions for 513 yards which is good for 17.7 yards per reception. Those 17.7 yards would be good for 9th place in Y/PR on the season and beat his career high by a full two yards.
What we are seeing is Dez becoming a complete wide receiver. He's always been a monster at the goal line, and on slants. He's always been good at catching contested passes. But on Sunday there were no contested passes. Dez was able to use his route-running to create separation and get open deep. If you took his past five games and pro-rated them over a full season you would see this stat line:
93 catches, 1642 yards, 22 touchdowns.
That ladies and gentlemen, is a season worthy of a monster.
3. Be Wery, Wery, Quiet, (I thought I saw Bruce Carter): And we did! Dallas's enigmatic linebacker had one of his "good" games on Sunday, leading the team in tackles with six. Those six tackles came on just 25 snaps, meaning if we include his game clinching interception Bruce Carter made a play on a ridiculous 28% of his snaps.
He played very well in coverage as well. On the night Carter was targeted four times and gave up three receptions, (which is not great). But those three receptions went for a paltry 12 yards. He also only gave up three yards after the catch. Not on average, on the night. When you factor in his interception, the Eagles had a 37.5 QB rating when throwing towards Carter.
It's that kind of play, (as inconsistent as it is), which is going to make the decision to re-sign Carter so difficult.
4. You're Dethpicable: One weak after one of his best games of the season, Brandon Carr had one of his worst. Right now he's the only Dallas defender that PFF has graded in the red, (subject to change when coaches film comes out!). It's easy to see why. Like Bruce Carter, Carr also gave up three receptions on four targets. But his three receptions went for 93 yards, including a ridiculous 72-yard catch and run by Jeremy Maclin.
That was one of the worst plays I've seen this season. Upon initial viewing I thought that Carr had just gambled for the pick and missed, which is bad but forgivable. But looking at it again, that's not what happened. Carr didn't try to undercut the ball. Carr got beat on the outside move and just couldn't recover.
Again, it's one thing to get beat; Maclin is a good WR and he's beat plenty of CB's this season. But Dallas was playing in Cover 3 zone. Carr knew that he had no help on the outside and deep. This wasn't a matter of simply getting beat physically; that happens. But Carr either panicked and didn't remember the coverage, or he didn't understand the coverage. He has to play soft over the top and outside, because there's no one else there. Getting beat deep and outside on that play shows a mental breakdown that's inexcusable in a veteran of Carr's experience.
5. That's All Folks!: Here are some meme's that we should finally be able to put to rest.
- Dallas, (especially Romo), chokes in December
- Romo can't win a big game
- Dallas collapses when pressured under Jason Garrett
Dallas 38 Eagles 27. Enjoy it Cowboys Nation!