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Falcons @ Cowboys Snap Counts: Backups Don't Come Through For Cowboys

Want to know which Cowboys players were on the field for how many plays? Look no further.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Today we’re going to review all the snap counts from Sunday’s game to get a better feel for what is happening all over the roster. With more and more starters missing, a significant amount of the snaps are being taken by players previously considered backups - or just recently signed.

On to the snap counts on offense

Cowboys' Offensive Snap counts vs Falcons (53 total snaps)
QB O-Line RB TE WR
Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps
Weeden 53
Smith 53 Randle 22 Witten 53
Williams 41


Collins
53 Dunbar 20 Hanna 10 Butler
35


Frederick 53 McFadden 12 Escobar 8
Beasley 30


Martin 53 Clutts 9

Street
21


Free 53


Whitehead
2


Brown 2

Running Back: The running backs showed what they are capabale of when they rushed for 131 yards and four TDs in the first half. In the second half, when they rushed for -4 yards, the coaches showed what happens to the running game when you allow the opponent to stack the box.

Wide Receiver: Williams was targeted twice (no catches), Beasley was targeted four times (four receptions). Outside of that the receivers had 123 snaps of futility.

Backups: Brandon Weeden is the obvious backup here, and you don't expect to lose when you put up 28 points and have 14-point leads three times in a game. But you also can't really expect to win when you don't throw the ball deep. La'el Collins is the other backup here, subbing for the injured Ronald Leary, though the dropoff in performance wasn't as noticeable here. Charles Brown and Brice Butler are the most recent additions to see snaps on offense.

On to the defense:

Cowboys' Defensive Snap counts vs Giants (74 total snaps)
Defensive Tackles Defensive Ends Linebackers Cornerbacks Safeties
Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps
T. Crawford
49 Lawrence 57 Hitchens 63 Carr 74 Wilcox 74
Hayden 46 J. Crawford 54 Lee 62 Claiborne 74 Church 61
Coleman 29 Russell 33 Wilber 40 Patmon
36 Heath 1
Bishop 24
Gachkar 8 Jones 26
Wilson 2 White

In the season opener against the Giants, Davon Coleman, Ken Bishop, and Ryan Russell were gameday inactives. Against the Eagles, Coleman played 15 snaps. On Sunday, those three players were asked to play 86 combined snaps. On Monday, the Cowboys released Coleman, and today signed David Irving off the Chiefs practice squad. I'm getting visions of 2013 ...

But the biggest issue for the defense were the 74 total snaps they had to stay on the field for, a -21 snap differential versus the 53 offensive snaps. They started off the year with a +9 differential against the Giants and a +23 differential against the Eagles. For the Cowboys, limiting the snaps of their defense was (and remains) a key part of their success model, and Sunday's -21 was their worst differential in quite a while, as the snap count tally from last year shows:

Cowboys Snap Count by Week, 2014

SFO TEN STL NWO HOU SEA NYG WAS ARI JAC NYG PHI CHI PHI IND WAS
Offense 69 80 56 66 76 75 62 65 64 60 54 61 62 82 63 63
Defense 58 49 76 61 59 49 63 67 67 71 73 77 69 55 62 69
Difference +11 +31 -20 +5 +17 +26 -1 -2 -3 -9 -19 -16 -7 +27 +1 -6

You'll also notice that Sunday's 53 snaps are lower than any game last season and lower than the first two games (71 & 85), yet the Cowboys still managed to score 28 points.

And with that, we move on to special teams:

Special Teams Aces
Player Snaps Player Snaps
Gachkar 24
Wilson
19
Wilber 23 McCray
19
Heath
20 Wilcox
14
Patmon 20 two tied w. 13

That makes J.J. Wilcox our ironman from Sunday, as he played on all 74 defensive snaps and added 14 special teams snaps for a total of 88 snaps.