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Snap Counts For The Cowboys’ Defense: Sean Lee Dominated The Giants

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Who played, and who produced, for the Dallas Cowboys defense? In our weekly look at the snap counts, we’ll evaluate whether Dallas is using it’s players well, and how well each of them is producing.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Overview

As bad as the Dallas offense was, the defense in many respects made the Giants offense look worse. The real difference was the Odell Beckham got free on a slant with Brandon Carr trailing and Barry Church unable to make the tackle that went for 61 yards and the Giants only touchdown in a 10-7 loss for the Cowboys. Even with that play, Dallas held the Giants to 260 yards, 12 first downs, and two for 14 on third down.

Three turnovers — two Eli Manning fumbles and an Anthony Brown pick — were a season high, but Dallas should have had more. Barry Church dropped an interception thrown right to him by Eli with no one else nearby, but with his cast on the arm he was unable to corral it. It could have been a game-changing play. Turnovers may have blunted Giants’ drives, but the Cowboys’ inept offense couldn’t cash any of them in for points.

Dallas also sacked Eli three times for 26 yards, and hit him four more times. They had four tackles for loss and four passes defensed.

The Giant drives in the first half were - punt, punt, fumble, punt, fumble, punt, punt. In the second half, they went punt, field goal, touchdown, interception, punt, punt, punt, end of game. It wasn’t the defense that lost this game.

The Giants rushed 33 times for 93 yards, or 2.8 yards per carry. Dallas is the only team in the NFL that hasn’t given up 100 yards to a rusher this season.

The defensive star was Sean Lee, with Anthony Brown getting a shoutout for his interception, and Benson Mayowa for his sack and forced fumble.

The Defensive Line

Benson Mayowa took DeMarcus Lawrence’s spot in the starting lineup, joining Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, and Terrell McClain. Here are the counts out of 67 snaps.

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Total Season Percent
Tyrone Crawford DE/DT 13 384 36 49 49 50 568 849 67%
Maliek Collins DT 13 333 28 34 49 46 490 849 58%
Jack Crawford DE/DT 13 356 20 25 22 23 446 849 53%
Terrell McClain DT 13 314 21 24 31 29 419 849 49%
DeMarcus Lawrence DE 9 168 41 52 55 13 329 849 39%
David Irving DE/DT 13 179 26 43 41 36 325 849 38%
Cedric Thornton DT 13 193 18 21 21 24 277 849 33%
Benson Mayowa DE 10 202 0 0 22 42 266 849 31%
Ryan Davis DE 7 80 14 24 0 0 118 849 14%

Benson Mayowa played his second in a row, got more snaps than in any other game (42), and registered a sack for the second week in a row. He also forced a fumble (that Sean Lee recovered), had six tackles, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit.

The official stats were:

  • Benson Mayowa - see above.
  • Tyrone Crawford, three tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit.
  • Terrell McClain, six tackles.
  • David Irving, three tackles.
  • Cedric Thornton, three tackles and a fumble recovery.
  • Maliek Collins, two tackles and a quarterback hit.
  • Jack Crawford, three tackles.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence played only 13 snaps, and had no stats. He must have been hobbled by his back injury.

This defensive line showed more life this week than perhaps at any other point in the season.

The Linebackers

Here are the stats:

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Total Season Percent
Sean Lee LB 13 576 55 75 74 67 847 849 100%
Anthony Hitchens LB 13 284 26 44 52 44 450 849 53%
Justin Durant LB 12 220 28 5 0 13 266 849 31%
Damien Wilson LB 13 70 15 42 26 7 160 849 19%
Kyle Wilber LB 8 37 0 0 0 0 37 849 4%
Andrew Gachkar LB 9 29 0 0 0 0 29 849 3%

Sean Lee had a dominant game. Cris Collinsworth just raved about him all night on the NBC broadcast. Here are the stats.

  • Sean Lee, 18 tackles, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and a fumble recovery.
  • Anthony Hitchens, seven tackles.
  • Jason Durant, one tackle.
  • Damien Wilson, no stats.

The Secondary

Barry Church was back for the second game in a row, but no Mo Claiborne or J.J. Wilcox. Brandon Carr seemed to track Odell Beckham Jr. all game, so he moved sides. He was mostly excellent, but Carr and Church got caught on off guard on Beckham’s 61-yard touchdown catch and run. It was the key play in the game.

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Total Season Percent
Brandon Carr CB 13 574 55 75 74 67 845 849 100%
Anthony Brown CB 13 338 42 59 74 67 580 849 68%
Orlando Scandrick CB 9 249 53 75 54 60 491 849 58%
Morris Claiborne CB 9 408 0 0 0 0 408 849 48%
Leon McFadden CB 2 17 0 0 0 0 17 849 2%
Byron Jones S 13 515 55 75 74 67 786 849 93%
Barry Church S 9 379 0 0 72 67 518 849 61%
J.J. Wilcox S 11 371 55 47 0 0 473 849 56%
Jeff Heath S 13 69 17 42 24 16 168 849 20%
Kavon Frazier S 1 0 0 14 0 0 14 849 2%

Eli Manning was 17 of 28 for 193 yards, for a 78.4 quarterback rating. I’ve already recounted all the punts and turnovers forced by the defense. Dallas held the opponent to a season-low 10 points, but lost. Can’t blame the defense for this one.

Here are the stats.

  • Barry Church, eight tackles and a pass defensed.
  • Byron Jones, five tackles.
  • Brandon Carr, five tackles and a pass defensed.
  • Orlando Scandrick, four tackles, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble.
  • Anthony Brown, two tackles, an interception, and a pass defensed.
  • Jeff Heath, one tackle.

Special Teams

There are six special teams: field goal kicks and blocks, kick off returns and coverage, and punt returns and coverage. The numbers below are mostly for kick off and punt returns and coverage.

  • Kyle Wilber, Jeff Heath, 25 snaps.
  • Damien Wilson, 23
  • Andrew Gachkar, Vincent Mayle, 21
  • Leon McFadden, 19
  • Byron Jones, 15
  • Anthony Hitchens, 14
  • Gavin Escobar, Keith Smith, 12
  • Anthony Brown, 10

In a field position battle, special teams hurt the Cowboys more than it helped them. The Giants were able to pin Dallas deep on several punts, and their punter had a net of 42.9 on nine punts to Chris Jones’ net of 39.8 on nine punts. Lance Dunbar foolishly tried to return a kickoff, costing Dallas 11 yards of field position. There was also a very costly penalty on a Cole Beasley punt return that would have put Dallas in Giants’ territory. Dan Bailey also missed a 55-yarder that hit the middle post and bounced back.

Defensive snap counts - game 2 - Washington

Defensive snap counts - game 3 - Bears

Defensive snap counts - game 4 - Niners

Defensive snap counts - game 5 - Cincinnati

Defensive snap counts - game 6 - Green Bay

Snap counts at the bye

Defensive snap counts - game 7 - Philadelphia

Defensive snap counts - game 8- Cleveland

Defensive snap counts - game 9 - Pittsburgh

Defensive snap counts - game 10 - Baltimore

Defensive snap counts - game 11 - Washington

Defensive snap counts - game 12 - Minnesota