clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Snap Counts For The Cowboys Defense: David Irving Helped Seal The Win Against The Bucs

New, comments

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

Defensive Overview

While Dallas returned to its formula for winning on offense, the defense continued to build on its new ability to generate sacks and turnovers. After a five game streak without getting a single turnover, it followed up a three-turnover game against the Giants with a four turnover game — three interceptions and a forced fumble with recovery — against the Bucs. They also generated four sacks for 23 yards, after sacking Eli three times for 26 yards. The final was Cowboys 26, Bucs 20.

Dallas now ranks tied for eighth in turnover ratio at plus-5, and is 17th with 30 sacks. Last year, Dallas was dead last in turnover ratio in 2015, and 27th in sacks.

After being held to 105 yards and six points at the half, almost all of Tampa’s offense was in the third quarter, when they engineered touchdown drives of eight plays for 75-yards, and ten plays for 80 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Dallas’ defense was stifling. Here were Tampa’s five possessions:

  • Three plays, minus four yards, interception.
  • Three plays, three yards (despite starting first and five after a Dallas penalty), punt.
  • Three plays, five yards, punt.
  • Three plays, minus eight yards, punt.
  • Five plays, nine yards, interception.

On any one of these drives, had Tampa scored a touchdown it would have extended or regained the lead. But Dallas wouldn’t allow it.

Tampa couldn’t run the ball, with 20 rushes for 52 yards, or 2.6 yards per carry. Dallas is first in the NFL in shutting down the run, allowing only 80.9 yards per game, and it’s not just because teams have to pass to try to catch up. Dallas’ run-stuffing is legitimate. Dallas remains the only team in the NFL that hasn’t given up 100 yards to a rusher this season.

The defensive star was David Irving, who had a monster fourth quarter after moving out from tackle to left defensive end. He had two fourth quarter sacks, multiple quarterback hits, and a tipped pass that Jeff Heath intercepted.

The Defensive Line

DeMarcus Lawrence was held out for his back injury, and Cedric Thornton missed the game due to an ankle injury. This led Dallas to activate Zach Moore from the practice squad. Like the games when Dez was missing on offense, the defense more than compensated for the missing players by getting after Jameis Winston. Benson Mayowa started again with Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, and Terrell McClain. Here are the counts out of 62 snaps.

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Tyrone Crawford DE/DT 14 384 36 49 49 50 25 593 911 65%
Maliek Collins DT 14 333 28 34 49 46 46 536 911 59%
Jack Crawford DE/DT 14 356 20 25 22 23 21 467 911 51%
Terrell McClain DT 14 314 21 24 31 29 40 459 911 50%
David Irving DE/DT 14 179 26 43 41 36 38 363 911 40%
DeMarcus Lawrence DE 9 168 41 52 55 13 0 329 911 36%
Benson Mayowa DE 11 202 0 0 22 42 34 300 911 33%
Cedric Thornton DT 13 193 18 21 21 24 0 277 911 30%
Ryan Davis DE 8 80 14 24 0 0 28 146 911 16%
Zach Moore DE 1 0 0 0 0 0 11 11 911 1%

The official stats were:

  • David Irving, two tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, five quarterback hits, and a pass defensed.
  • Benson Mayowa, five tackles, two tackles for loss. He went out with some type of arm injury off one of his tackles.
  • Tyrone Crawford, two tackles.
  • Terrell McClain, two tackles, a sack, a quarterback hit, and forced fumble.
  • Maliek Collins, one tackle, one sack, two quarterback hits, a forced fumble (that the Cowboys didn’t recover) and a fumble recovery (of the McClain forced fumble).
  • Jack Crawford, no stats.
  • Ryan Davis, one tackle.

This defensive line built on a good showing against the Giants, and may be hitting its stride. Next week Randy Gregory can be active against the Lions (Zach Moore is almost certainly going to be cut to make room). He’s been working out and bulking up under team supervision. He just hasn’t been able to practice with the position coaches. But he could add a critical speed element to Dallas’ pass rush. And if Dallas can somehow get all of its linemen going together, they could be formidable. David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, Terrell McClain, Cedric Thornton, and Benson Mayowa have all had standout games, just not all at the same time. Even Jack Crawford has 2.5 sacks.

If you take Bob Sturm’s weekly splash plays tallies (they are not out yet for the Bucs’ game), and factor in my snap counts, as Mike McCarter has done, you get this table for splash plays per 1,000 snaps as of last week. With Irving’s monster showing, he may move into first place. It’s worth noting here that the defensive linemen occupy the top four, and six of the top seven spots.

The Linebackers

Here are the stats:

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Sean Lee LB 14 576 55 75 74 67 62 909 911 100%
Anthony Hitchens LB 14 284 26 44 52 44 37 487 911 53%
Justin Durant LB 13 220 28 5 0 13 16 282 911 31%
Damien Wilson LB 14 70 15 42 26 7 18 178 911 20%
Kyle Wilber LB 8 37 0 0 0 0 0 37 911 4%
Andrew Gachkar LB 9 29 0 0 0 0 0 29 911 3%

Sean Lee is always dominant. He just didn’t have a record-setting night. Here are the official stats.

  • Sean Lee, 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit.
  • Anthony Hitchens, three tackles.
  • Jason Durant, three tackles and a pass defensed.
  • Damien Wilson, one tackle.
  • Kavon Frazier (listed as LB), no stats.

The Secondary

Mo Claiborne and J.J. Wilcox missed another game. The secondary was shaky in the third quarter, but excellent for the rest of the game.

Player Pos Games Gms 1-9 Gm 10 Gm 11 Gm 12 Gm 13 Gm 14 Total Season Percent
Brandon Carr CB 14 574 55 75 74 67 62 907 911 100%
Anthony Brown CB 14 338 42 59 74 67 61 641 911 70%
Orlando Scandrick CB 10 249 53 75 54 60 46 537 911 59%
Morris Claiborne CB 9 408 0 0 0 0 0 408 911 45%
Leon McFadden CB 2 17 0 0 0 0 0 17 911 2%
Byron Jones S 14 515 55 75 74 67 61 847 911 93%
Barry Church S 10 379 0 0 72 67 57 575 911 63%
J.J. Wilcox S 11 371 55 47 0 0 0 473 911 52%
Jeff Heath S 14 69 17 42 24 16 17 185 911 20%
Kavon Frazier S 2 0 0 14 0 0 2 16 911 2%

Jameis Winston was 17 of 35 for 247 yards, three interceptions and a forced fumble, for a 55.3 quarterback rating. Jeff Heath intercepted a ball tipped by David Irving that led to a Dallas field goal. Orlando Scandrick’s interception iced the game. Byron Jones got his first career interception on a Hail Mary pass to end the first half. Brandon Carr had a deep pass go off his fingertips to the Tampa receiver for a touchdown.

Here are the official stats.

  • Byron Jones, seven tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and two passes defensed.
  • Barry Church, six tackles.
  • Orlando Scandrick, one tackle, an interception, and three passes defensed.
  • Anthony Brown, three tackles.
  • Jeff Heath, one tackle, and interception, and a pass defensed.

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, 22 snaps.
  • Damien Wilson, 21
  • Byron Jones, 19
  • Andrew Gachkar, 18
  • Anthony Brown, 14
  • Leon McFadden, Vincent Mayle, 12
  • Lance Dunbar, 11
  • Kavon Frazier, 10 (he had a great special teams hit)
  • Lucky Whitehead, 8
  • Gavin Escobar, Keith Smith, 7

There wasn’t much punting in this game. Chris Jones punted twice with a net of 41 yards, while the Tampa kicker punted four times for a net of 42.8 yards. No punts were returned. On kickoffs, Dallas pinned Tampa inside it’s 25 on more than one occasion, including after Zeke’s penalty for jumping in the Salvation Army kettle. Dan Bailey missed 56- and 52-yard field goal tries, but hit his four other attempts and both extra points.

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

Defensive snap counts - game 13 - New York