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Snap Counts For The Cowboys Offense: Dak And Zeke Shine Against The Bucs

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

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Overview

On Sunday, the Cowboys bounced back from their worst showing of the year to put up the most yards in regulation on the season - 449 - beating a hot Tampa Bay team 26-20. This marks the first Cowboys team to rack up nine 400 yard games in a season.

This game largely returned to the successful formula Dallas had used in the eight game streak of 400+ yard games. Run the ball, dominate time of possession, complete a high percentage of passes, convert third downs. Dallas won the time of possession 36:04 to 23:56, and outgained Tampa Bay by 449 yards to 276 yards. Most of the difference was in the running game, which Dallas won 185 to 52. Dallas ran 74 plays to Tampa’s 62. Tampa turned the ball over four times, Dallas just once.

Given the domination of yards and turnovers by Dallas, the game shouldn’t have been nearly this close. But as recounted in my weekly Dak and Zeke Report, penalties and ill-devised plays blunted several drives, which led to field goals instead of touchdowns, as well as two missed field goals from outside 50 yards.

Both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott had outstanding games. Eight receivers caught passes. There was a roster change on offense, with Chaz Green going on IR to have surgery. Darren McFadden was activated to take his spot, and he replaced Alfred Morris among the 46 active players.

Offensive Line

There were 74 snaps on offense this week.

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Travis Frederick C 14 627 71 56 52 66 74 946 946 100%
Zack Martin G 14 627 71 56 52 66 74 946 946 100%
Doug Free T 14 623 71 56 52 66 73 941 946 99%
Tyron Smith T 12 475 71 56 52 66 74 794 946 84%
Ronald Leary G 12 428 71 56 52 66 74 747 946 79%
La'el Collins G 3 186 0 0 0 0 0 186 946 20%
Chaz Green T 4 151 0 0 0 0 0 151 946 16%
Joe Looney C 14 43 12 6 5 11 10 87 946 9%
Emmett Cleary T 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 946 1%

The Cowboys' five linemen played all the snaps again this week, except Doug Free, who missed one play. Joe Looney was in for 10 plays as an extra blocker. The line did a great job opening holes for Zeke, who rushed for a season-high 159 yards on 23 carries. Dak was sacked three times for a loss of 15 yards. But he was given enough time to complete 32 of 36 passes for an 88.9% completion rate, the second highest completion percentage in NFL history for a quarterback throwing more than 30 passes.

Quarterback

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Dak Prescott QB 14 622 71 56 52 66 74 941 946 99%
Mark Sanchez QB 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 946 1%

Dak had a tremendous bounce-back game, nearly doubling his completion percentage from 45% to 89%. Overall, Dak was 32 of 36 for 279 yards, no touchdown passes but a touchdown run, and twenty yards rushing on four scrambles. See the Dak and Zeke report for more details.

Running Backs

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Ezekiel Elliott RB 14 443 50 46 43 44 58 684 946 72%
Alfred Morris RB 13 99 5 5 1 2 0 112 946 12%
Lance Dunbar RB 11 63 15 5 5 19 5 112 946 12%
Keith Smith RB 14 69 9 8 10 4 10 110 946 12%
Darren McFadden RB 1 0 0 0 0 0 12 12 946 1%

Zeke had 159 yards rushing on 23 carries for a 6.9 yard average. He also caught three balls for 29 yards, and ran for a touchdown. This set a new Cowboys’ rookie rushing TD record with 13 rushing scores. Zeke really turned it on in the fourth quarter, with 78 yards, including a 42-yard run that put Dallas in position for its last points. This was a complete flip from the Giants game, when Zeke was stymied in the fourth quarter. Details in the Dak and Zeke report.

Darren McFadden was the backup running back. He had ten plays, with three carries for 10 yards, including one where he was used like a fullback and handed the ball for a short-yardage first down. He caught one pass for minus two yards. Lance Dunbar had five plays, but no carries. But he was used effectively as a receiver, splitting out wide and catching two passes for 20 yards. He also caught a 20-yard touchdown that was called back on a holding call by Tyron Smith. Dak Prescott ran four times for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Wide Receivers

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm14 Total Season Percent
Terrance Williams WR 14 441 43 36 38 52 50 660 946 70%
Dez Bryant WR 11 362 62 43 37 61 63 628 946 66%
Cole Beasley WR 14 346 44 35 25 42 45 537 946 57%
Brice Butler WR 14 291 18 12 14 16 15 366 946 39%
Lucky Whitehead WR 13 106 6 6 5 0 6 129 946 14%
Vince Mayle WR 4 0 0 10 7 4 7 28 946 3%

Dez Bryant, like Dak Prescott, had a bounceback game, with eight catches on ten targets for 82 yards, though he did lose a hand battle for one ball in the end zone. Cole Beasley was next with four catches on five targets for 48 yards. Terrance Williams caught three balls on four targets for 30 yards. Brice Butler was targeted once and caught it for 21 yards. Lucky Whitehead and Vince Mayle were not targeted.

Tight Ends

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Jason Witten TE 14 624 67 56 52 66 74 939 946 99%
Geoff Swaim TE 9 203 0 0 0 0 0 203 946 21%
Gavin Escobar TE 14 46 17 12 18 9 16 118 946 12%

Jason Witten played every snap this week. He caught ten passes on ten targets, for 51 yards. He passed Terrell Owens and is now seventh all time in receptions with 1,086. Gavin Escobar was not targeted.

Offensive and special teams snap counts Game 2 - Washington

Offensive snap counts Game 3 - Chicago

Offensive snap counts Game 4 - San Francisco

Offensive snap counts Game 5 - Cincinnati

Offensive snap counts Game 6 - Green Bay

Snap counts at the bye

Offensive snap counts Game 7 - Philadelphia

Offensive snap counts Game 8 - Cleveland

Offensive snap counts Game 9 - Pittsburgh

Offensive snap counts Game 10 - Baltimore

Offensive snap counts Game 11 - Washington

Offensive snap counts Game 12 - Minnesota

Offensive snap counts Game 13 - New York