clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Cowboys’ defensive snap counts: A solid effort stifled powerful Chiefs offense

New, comments

Other than a near-disastrous end-of-half touchdown surrendered to KC, the Dallas defense likely turned in its best game.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys beat the Chiefs at home 28-17.

Defensive Overview

This might have been the defense’s finest day, other than for the last two seconds of the first half, when the Cowboys allowed Tyreek Hill to score from the KC 44-yard line. That had to be one of worst plays in Cowboy’s history!

Aside from that last play of the half, KC came into the game averaging 29.5 points and 377 yards per game, but could muster only 267 yards and 10 points. Dallas shut down the NFL’s leading rusher, Kareem Hunt, who gained only 37 yards on nine carries. Tyreek Hill had only one catch for eight yards other than the end of half play. And Travis Kelce was held to seven catches for 73 yards. Plus, Jeff Heath got the first interception of Alex Smith on the season.

Defensive Line

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 GM8 Total Season Percent
DeMarcus Lawrence DE 25 8 34 45 56 48 49 52 37 42 363 525 69%
Maliek Collins DT 22 8 50 48 60 49 34 40 31 40 352 525 67%
Tyrone Crawford DE 28 8 23 37 51 40 37 40 36 40 304 525 58%
Benson Mayowa DE 26 7 29 40 31 35 23 0 27 19 204 525 39%
Taco Charlton DE 23 8 26 33 20 22 8 37 22 18 186 525 35%
David Irving DE/DT 24 4 0 0 0 0 45 36 36 44 161 525 31%
Brian Price DT 23 8 10 33 17 21 14 25 20 9 149 525 28%
Stephen Paea DT 29 4 39 46 31 29 0 0 0 0 145 525 28%
Richard Ash DT 25 4 0 0 0 0 0 27 24 12 63 525 12%
Damontre Moore DE 25 3 0 0 26 21 11 0 0 0 58 525 11%
Charles Tapper DE 24 2 11 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 36 525 7%

My son noted, off a comment he read on BTB, that Dallas hadn’t had an offensive holding call registered by an opponent in the last four games. I’m not sure where you check those game-by-game stats. But you can check the total penalties by team at this site, and it’s not pretty. Dallas has been called for 16 offensive holding calls this year, to 6 for opponents. The overall penalty imbalance is 500 yards overall against Dallas, and 351 yards against Dallas’s opponents. That’s the second largest spread in the NFL, behind only Seattle. I note this because it seemed like the Cowboys pass rushers never were able to get holding calls, despite being held.

Benson Mayowa returned in this game, but didn’t have much impact. Taco Charlton had fewer snaps, but his first NFL sack. DeMarcus Lawrence was held without a sack for the first time, but David Irving continued his streak, and now has six sacks in four games, as many as the Cowboys’ leader had last year. Brian Price got hurt and needs surgery, so he’ll go on IR. The Cowboys will need to find a replacement.

Here’s the production.

  • David Irving, three tackles, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, a pass defensed, and a sack for loss of five yards.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence, two assisted tackles and a quarterback hit.
  • Taco Charlton, one tackle, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and a sack for loss of three yards (leading to a fourth-down interception).
  • Benson Mayowa, one assisted tackle.
  • Brian Price, one assisted tackle.

Linebackers

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Sean Lee LB 31 6 56 77 75 0 0 49 57 54 368 525 70%
Jaylon Smith LB 22 8 36 68 54 69 33 32 17 17 326 525 62%
Anthony Hitchens LB 25 4 0 0 0 0 50 41 26 28 145 525 28%
Damien Wilson LB 24 8 17 23 16 27 11 18 11 19 142 525 27%
Justin Durant LB 32 5 2 1 32 48 27 0 0 0 110 525 21%
Kyle Wilber LB 28 5 0 3 0 2 13 7 1 0 26 525 5%

With Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens, the Cowboys run defense has been solid. Lee finally has taken over the snap count lead from Jaylon Smith, who has been relegated to 17 snaps each of the last two games. HItchens has only had 26 and 28 snaps over that same period because either five or six defensive backs have had more.

Here’s the production.

  • Sean Lee, eight tackles, four assists, two tackles for loss.
  • Damien Wilson, two tackles, three assists.
  • Anthony Hitchens, one tackle, three assists.
  • Jaylon Smith, three tackles.

Secondary

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Anthony Brown CB 24 8 50 77 81 69 59 60 58 56 510 525 97%
Byron Jones S 25 8 56 76 81 61 60 62 56 57 509 525 97%
Jeff Heath S 26 8 56 77 78 55 49 59 43 47 464 525 88%
Orlando Scandrick CB 30 7 9 0 69 69 58 58 58 56 377 525 72%
Jourdan Lewis CB 22 7 0 65 48 56 48 58 51 44 370 525 70%
Xavier Woods S 22 7 0 34 43 16 21 15 37 24 190 525 36%
Nolan Carroll CB 30 2 56 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 81 525 15%
Kavon Frazier S 23 7 18 10 22 22 0 7 1 1 81 525 15%
Chidobe Awuzie CB 22 3 38 5 0 0 9 0 0 0 52 525 10%
Ben Benwikere CB 26 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 4 525 1%

Byron Jones had an awful game. His 15-yard penalty on the kickoff just before half helped give KC the field position it needed to have a chance at the ridiculous Tyreek Hill TD pass. On that same TD play, his 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty helped KC gain field position on the second half kickoff that led to KC’s only other touchdown of the game. And he was covering Travis Kelce on that other touchdown.

Did anyone else notice that teams have avoided Jourdan Lewis in the passing game the last couple of weeks? It seems like Anthony Brown is much more likely to be targeted.

Chidobe Awuzie continues his absence with hamstring issues. The Cowboys need him to get healthy.

Here’s the production.

  • Orlando Scandrick, three tackles, two assists
  • Byron Jones, two tackles, three assists
  • Anthony Brown, four tackles.
  • Xavier Woods, two tackles and a pass defensed.
  • Jourdan Lewis, two tackles.
  • Jeff Heath, one tackle, an interception, and a pass defensed.

Special Teams

Player Pos Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Total Season Percent
Damien Wilson LB 6 19 27 27 29 22 19 25 21 189 227 83%
Kyle Wilber LB 6 19 27 27 29 22 18 24 21 187 227 82%
Rod Smith RB 6 17 19 23 20 16 16 19 17 147 227 65%
Jeff Heath S 6 17 20 22 20 22 19 5 17 142 227 63%
Kavon Frazier S 5 18 19 23 19 0 16 19 17 131 227 58%
Xavier Woods S 6 13 17 14 20 17 11 19 15 126 227 56%
Keith Smith FB 6 6 19 17 18 16 14 17 14 121 227 53%
Byron Jones S 6 14 12 17 16 13 14 15 11 112 227 49%
Geoff Swaim TE 6 12 15 18 14 11 10 12 12 104 227 46%
Anthony Brown CB 6 11 15 16 17 12 8 13 11 103 227 45%
James Hanna TE 6 6 16 11 12 13 6 8 8 80 227 35%
Ben Benwikere CB 4 0 0 12 8 16 13 15 12 76 227 33%
Ryan Switzer WR 6 8 10 11 11 10 6 9 6 71 227 31%
Noah Brown WR 4 0 11 6 9 0 7 7 0 40 227 18%
Damontre Moore DE 3 0 0 10 11 11 0 0 0 32 227 14%
Jourdan Lewis CB 4 0 8 1 0 2 5 5 2 23 227 10%
Sean Lee LB 4 1 8 4 0 0 1 6 3 23 227 10%
Chidobe Awuzie CB 3 13 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 16 227 7%
Nolan Carroll CB 2 13 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 227 7%

The Cowboys did a very good job covering punts, with Tyreek Hill gaining no yards. Kavon Frazier and James Hanna stuffed Hill and D. Thomas for no gain on two punt returns.

The most absurd penalty was called on Xavier Woods for an “illegal blindside block” when Woods made textbook shoulder-to-shoulder block on the KC player covering the punt. It negated Ryan Switzer’s best return and backed Dallas up to its own 13-yard line late in the third quarter. But Dallas overcame the penalty by driving 87 yards for its final TD.

A week after Mike Nugent kicked four field goals in the rain, he had no attempts in Dallas.

2016 Defensive Snap Counts

Defensive snaps Game 1 - New York Giants

Defensive snaps Game 2 - At Denver

Defensive snaps Game 3 - At Arizona

Defensive snaps Game 4 - Los Angeles Rams

Defensive snaps Game 5 - Green Bay

Defensive snaps Game 6 - At San Francisco

No article for Game 7 - At Washington