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Cowboys’ offensive snap counts: Terrance Williams had a very fine day against the Chiefs

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The Cowboys offense took a while to get going, but once it did, three touchdown drives in a row got the victory.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys beat the Chiefs at home 28-17.

Offensive Overview

The Cowboys sputtered quite a bit in the first half, with two punts then a touchdown, followed by two more punts. Two of those were three-and-outs, and the other two each gained 28 yards. The 71-yard touchdown drive in between was almost set back by a Tyron Smith holding call (if that was holding, then KC held numerous times without being flagged), but a 27-yard pass to Terrance Williams overcame it.

At the end of the first half, the Cowboy made one of the drives of the game. Starting with 1:44 left in the half and backed up on their own 18-yard line, the drive started with Dak’s only sack of the game. Faced with third and 15 from the 13-yard line, instead of going for a safe call and punting, Dallas elected to go for it. With only a three-man KC rush, Dak had all day to load up and fire a strike to Dez Bryant for 21 yards and a first down. On the next play, Dak was forced to scramble and found Terrance Williams wide open on a 56-yarder to the KC 10. After two incompletions, Dak ended up running the ball in for a touchdown.

The next 13 seconds would drive Dallas fans crazy, as KC scored to cut the deficit to 14-10, then opened the second half with their only real TD drive of the game to take a 17-14 lead.

But Dallas would right the ship, using a ground and pound attack on back-to-back touchdown drives of 12 and 13 plays of 75 and 87 yards to seize the game. The last possession killed enough clock to leave KC with no chance at the end.

Terrance Williams was the offensive star with nine catches on nine targets for 141 yards. Zeke had 93 yards rushing and a touchdown. Dez caught six passes for 73 yards. Cole Beasley caught two short TD passes. And Dak ran three times for 27 yards and a score. Alfred Morris had one play - an 11 yard run. Jason Witten was held to one catch for five yards (with a second wiped out by penalty).

Passing Game

Player Game Snaps Targets Catches Percent Yards TDs Yds/Snaps 2016 Snaps 2016 Yds 2016 Y/S
Dez Bryant NYG 67 9 2 22% 43 0 0.64
At DEN 66 16 7 44% 59 1 0.89
At AZ 41 2 2 100% 12 1 0.29
LAR 58 13 5 38% 98 0 1.69
GB 64 8 5 63% 52 1 0.81
At SF 54 10 7 70% 63 1 1.17
At WASH 60 6 4 67% 39 0 0.65
KC 46 11 6 55% 73 0 1.59
Total 456 75 38 51% 439 4 0.96 688 796 1.16
Terrance Williams NYG 38 7 6 86% 68 0 1.79
At DEN 49 5 4 80% 17 0 0.35
At AZ 33 4 3 75% 47 0 1.42
LAR 47 6 4 67% 34 0 0.72
GB 55 3 2 67% 14 0 0.25
At SF 41 3 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At WASH 41 3 2 67% 36 0 0.88
KC 55 9 9 100% 141 0 2.56
Total 359 40 30 75% 357 0 0.99 746 594 0.80
Cole Beasley NYG 52 5 3 60% 32 0 0.62
At DEN 57 8 4 50% 33 0 0.58
At AZ 25 1 1 100% 4 0 0.16
LAR 31 6 3 50% 17 0 0.55
GB 37 6 4 67% 23 2 0.62
At SF 34 2 1 50% 24 0 0.71
At WASH 27 3 2 67% 8 0 0.30
KC 45 6 4 67% 24 2 0.53
Total 308 37 22 59% 165 2 0.54 603 833 1.38
Brice Butler NYG 35 3 1 33% 30 0 0.86
At DEN 22 2 1 50% 18 0 0.82
At AZ 7 2 2 100% 90 1 12.86
LAR 22 2 2 100% 12 1 0.55
GB 22 2 2 100% 57 0 2.59
At SF 23 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At WASH 18 1 0 0% 0 0 0.00
KC 27 3 1 33% 6 0 0.22
Total 176 15 9 60% 213 2 1.21 429 219 0.51
Ryan Switzer NYG 2 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At DEN 6 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At AZ 2 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
LAR 8 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
GB 3 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At SF 11 1 1 100% 2 0 0.18
At WASH 12 1 1 100% 7 0 0.58
KC 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
Total 44 2 2 0% 9 0 0.20 NA NA NA
Noah Brown NYG 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At DEN 5 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At AZ 8 1 1 100% 13 0 1.63
LAR 7 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
GB 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At SF 19 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At WASH 5 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
KC 0 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
Total 44 1 1 100% 13 0 0.30 NA NA NA
Jason Witten NYG 74 9 7 78% 59 1 0.80
At Den 71 13 10 77% 97 1 1.37
At AZ 47 4 1 25% 3 0 0.06
LAR 71 2 1 50% 9 0 0.13
GB 73 10 8 80% 61 0 0.84
At SF 63 4 4 100% 54 1 0.86
At WASH 68 5 3 60% 31 0 0.46
KC 66 1 1 100% 5 0 0.08
Total 533 48 35 73% 319 3 0.60 1017 673 0.66

The passing game was different from any other game this year. Terrance Williams was the stud. Dez was second. Cole Beasley had maximum impact on only four catches. Jason Witten was largely a non-factor. Zeke had 27 runs, but no targets in the passing game. And Brice Butler caught his first pass in three weeks for six yards.

The Cowboys really need another threat in the passing game, and his name is Rico Gathers. Gathers may not be healthy, but as soon as he is, the Cowboys need to use him. Williams stepped up in this game, but hadn’t been a factor for weeks. Brice Butler is still the “deep” threat, but it’s almost non-existent. He has only 15 targets in eight games. Yet he’s outgained Cole Beasley by 50 yards, who has 37 targets.

You may not remember Gathers from the preseason, as it was so long ago. And you might also discount it as “preseason.” But Gathers caught seven passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns, for 15.3 yards per catch. Brice Butler is catching at an insane 23.7 yards per catch, but the next highest Cowboy with more than two catches is Terrance Williams at 11.9. Jason Witten is at 9.1 YPC and Cole Beasley is at 7.5. If the Cowboys were to give Gathers some of their targets they would likely gain considerably from it. Not only is Gathers too tall for most defenders, he has great hands, and he isn’t easily tackled. And if you don’t think he can block, Jeber posted this clip recently.

Here’s Bob Sturm’s take after Rico wowed us, but before Kavon Frazier made the most damaging hit of the season by any Cowboy.

This is where Rico Gathers can offer something that most tight ends cannot, and will remind us of a younger Jason Witten and the reason the Cowboys thought that Martellus Bennett (and Anthony Fasano and Gavin Escobar) was worth a 2nd-round pick. Remember, 12 personnel says to the defense that runs are likely and that you better have the proper personnel on the field. In fact, you are tempted to bring on linebackers because the Cowboys in 12 will have as many as 7 run blockers on the field, so if you counter with nickel, you are outmanned up front.

This is also why Rico Gathers can get better and better as he learns to run block. As many have mentioned, he doesn't ever have to be great at this task (Jimmy Graham never learned), but the better he is at it, the easier his life gets. If he can run block - even a little, then you force the defense to respect the Cowboys offense as Dak Prescott would simply see how his tight ends are being defended in presnap and counter with audibles. If Witten and Gathers have "bigs" (LBs) on them, they run verticals. If Witten and Gathers have "littles" on them (DBs), then you audible into a run and go right at them.

In this case, the Rams were determined to go with the traditional matchups. Our LB should be able to defend your TE. It is preseason, they are just getting everyone work, and who is Rico Gathers, anyway?

The result was a simple pitch and catch from Cooper Rush to Gathers in a play that was painfully simple.

****

If he is going to show that he can catch the ball easily with his hands and then finish plays, the Cowboys will have found a future piece that can be a matchup issue today.

Remember last week when they defended him with a DB?

This is either the start of something big, or we can look back at August 2017 as the time we lost our minds about a project basketball player who showed his ability for one shining moment.

But, man, he is looking like a real piece to have on the chess board moving forward. And since I had to look, the number of times Martellus Bennett caught a 25-yard (or more) touchdown as a Dallas Cowboy? Twice. Both in 2008. Once from Brad Johnson at the end of a blowout loss in St. Louis and just one from Tony Romo (in 4 years) in Washington that same rookie year. Gathers has 2 in 2 weeks, albeit both in exhibitions.

Click over to the article to see the videos.

Offensive Line

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Travis Frederick C 26 8 74 71 47 71 74 75 68 67 547 547 100%
La'el Collins T 24 8 74 71 47 71 74 75 68 67 547 547 100%
Zack Martin G 27 8 74 71 47 71 74 63 68 67 535 547 98%
Tyron Smith T 27 8 74 71 47 71 74 63 68 61 529 547 97%
Jonathan Cooper G 27 5 0 0 0 71 74 75 68 67 355 547 65%
Chaz Green G 25 5 74 71 47 0 0 12 0 6 210 547 38%
Joe Looney C 27 3 0 0 0 2 0 12 0 1 15 547 3%

The offensive line has gelled pretty well since the Cowboys finally accepted that Jonathan Cooper was a much better guard than Chaz Green. La’el Collins still has some trouble with speed guys on the edge, but he will continue getting better. Cowboys need to hope Tyron Smith’s back and now groin hold up, as he missed the end of the KC game with the latter flaring up.

Quarterback

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Dak Prescott QB 24 8 74 71 47 71 74 63 68 67 535 547 98%
Cooper Rush QB 23 1 0 0 0 0 0 12 0 0 12 547 2%

Dak Prescott had a stellar game. See the Dak and Zeke report.

Running Backs

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Ezekiel Elliott RB 22 8 60 63 43 64 64 50 58 62 464 547 85%
Keith Smith FB 25 8 2 2 5 7 13 13 11 1 54 547 10%
Alfred Morris RB 29 8 8 1 0 3 5 9 6 1 33 547 6%
Rod Smith RB 23 8 2 4 3 1 3 13 3 1 30 547 5%

Zeke was the only rusher on the day, with Alfred Morris only getting in for one play and one carry. It was for 11 yards. But don’t be fooled. Morris can hit holes, but he can’t push the pile like Zeke often has to.

Wide Receivers

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Dez Bryant WR 29 8 67 66 41 58 66 54 60 46 458 547 84%
Terrance Williams WR 28 8 38 49 33 47 55 41 41 55 359 547 66%
Cole Beasley WR 28 8 52 57 25 31 37 34 27 45 308 547 56%
Brice Butler WR 27 8 35 22 7 22 22 23 18 27 176 547 32%
Noah Brown WR 21 5 0 5 8 7 0 19 5 0 44 547 8%
Ryan Switzer WR 22 8 2 6 2 8 3 11 12 0 44 547 8%

We’ve covered this above. Terrance Williams had the most snaps because he was super productive, and because Dez went out with a sprained ankle.

Tight Ends

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 GM8 Total Season Percent
Jason Witten TE 35 8 74 71 47 71 73 63 68 66 533 547 97%
James Hanna TE 28 8 21 9 14 30 20 23 14 10 141 547 26%
Geoff Swaim TE 24 8 9 0 7 4 9 22 17 10 78 547 14%

Jason Witten only had a single catch (though one was negated on a penalty). James Hanna was targeted once, but Dak was pressured on a rollout and couldn’t get the ball to him. Personally, I want to see Rico Gathers in a bad way (see above).

Offensive snap counts 2016

Offensive snaps Game 1 - New York Giants

Offensive snaps Game 2 - At Denver

Offensive snaps Game 3 - At Arizona

Offensive snaps Game 4 - Los Angeles Rams

Offensive snaps Game 5 - Green Bay

Offensive snaps Game 6 - San Francisco

No article for Game 7 - Washington