The Cowboys defeated the Indianapolis Colts 24-19 and there were plenty of things to be excited about. Here are seven quick observations:
1. How’d that Jaylon fella do?
It’s been nearly 20 months since Jaylon Smith last saw live football action, but that is no more. The Cowboys linebacker finally took the field and gave fans their first look at the Notre Dame star. So, how’d he look?
There were a couple plays were he got caught out of position which lead to some good runs by the Colts. But that’s okay. For all intents and purposes, he’s a rookie and will do rookie things. Those things can be corrected. The bigger issue was how well he moved around and he looked pretty good. He made a nice third down stop after dropping into coverage. It’s not a that big of a deal to hold a team short of the first down, but in this case...it sorta is.
There's nothing else I can say except... congratulations, @TheJaylonSmith... you've worked hard and deserve this. #SWIPE! #ClearEyeView pic.twitter.com/MtJUvrSQia— ✭ DCBlueStar ✭ (@DCBlueStar) August 19, 2017
Here is a breakdown of his plays:
It's great to see Jaylon Smith back on the field doing what he does best pic.twitter.com/tosQERU6Fd— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 20, 2017
2. Sophomore slump for Dak?
The first team offense looked incredible. Right out of the gate, Dak Prescott led the team on a seven-play, 95-yard drive that took only three and half minutes. Prescott was a perfect 4/4 on the drive, capping it off with a 32-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant.
In true Prescott fashion, he evenly distributed the ball around to all his favorites. Bryant caught two passes for 55 yards. Jason Witten caught two passes for 24 yards. Cole Beasley caught two passes for 23 yards. Overall, Prescott went 7/8 for 106 yards and a TD for a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.
I’d say he looked pretty darn good in his 2017 debut.
3. How did the running backs look?
While most of the attention was on Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris as they compete to replace Ezekiel Elliott during his suspension, the Cowboys got good rushing performances by all three of their running backs as Rod Smith played really well. Here are their stats:
McFadden, nine rushes for 59 yards (6.6 ypc)
Morris, nine rushes for 49 yards (5.4 ypc)
Smith, seven rushes for 53 yards (7.6 ypc)
Ronnie Hillman played too, but nobody cares much about him.
All three running backs did a good job finding the holes and made fans feel a little better about not having Elliott around for some games. McFadden did have a fumble deep in the red zone which stymied the Cowboys second drive of the game.
4. The offensive line looked dominant
It was such a refreshing sight to see the first unit operate so smoothly. It is looking more and more like the answer at left guard is Jonathan Cooper. Look at the path cleared for McFadden.
Looks like the #Cowboys Offensive Line is already in midseason form! Sheesh pic.twitter.com/B4lcBSEqcn— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) August 19, 2017
And while Cooper played well, it was great to see La’el Collins play as well as he did.
La'el Collins handled himself well and pass protection tonight pic.twitter.com/6qbCVBOTqR— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 20, 2017
It wasn’t all good though. Chaz Green struggled in his first action. He was playing with the second team at left tackle and got called for two penalties, holding and a chop block.
4. Any pass rush standouts?
I was expecting to see the Cowboys defensive line wreak havoc against the a poor Colts offensive line. They were disruptive, but it wasn’t as impressive as I was hoping. Benson Mayowa had a nice stop in the backfield. David Irving was constantly shoving his blocker back into the quarterback. He had several pressures.
Irving ate his face.— Patrik Walker (@VoiceOfTheStar) August 20, 2017
I also liked what I saw from Taco Charlton. He was always around the ball. My least favorite moment was when he made a great tackle in the backfield and then proceeded to watch the replay on the jumbo-tron. Then, he realized the next play was about to start so he then quickly turned around and got in his stance and didn’t realize he lined up in the neutral zone. Focus, kid.
Then, he was able to get around the edge and pressure the quarterback. He was able to disrupt the pass and cause an incompletion, but if he would have went for the ball, it could have been a huge play for the defense. He also caused a holding call.
Overall, it was a nice game from the rookie.
6. Nice performance by Orlando
With all the young corners taking a seat nursing hamstring injuries, that meant more snaps for veterans Orlando Scandrick and Nolan Carroll. I was particularly interested in watching Carroll, but it was the Cowboys savvy veteran that stole the show. Scandrick was everywhere. He had great coverage in the slot and had a nice pass deflection when he came blitzing off the edge.
Batted ball by @OScandrick32! pic.twitter.com/bAxQU49vQG— ✭Cowboys News✭ (@DemBoyz_News) August 19, 2017
He looked like the Scandrick we all remember.
Orlando Scandrick showing tonight that he is fully recovered from that knee injury in 2015.— Mark Lane (@therealmarklane) August 19, 2017
Scandrick did leave the game late in the first half and there were worries that he suffered a concussion.
Jerry Jones says Orlando Scandrick is "fine."— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 20, 2017
7. This Cooper Rush thing needs to be taken seriously
Whenever Kellen Moore is in the game, it just feels like the offense is getting themselves ready to punt. I have no confidence whatsoever in his ability to move the ball down the field. I hate that feeling.
Conversely, as soon as Cooper Rush came in the game, it felt perfectly normal to expect him to lead the team down the field for a score. I love that feeling.
One of these things is not like the other. pic.twitter.com/wheg0Wvcja— Tom Ryle (@TomRyleBTB) August 20, 2017
That was just after Rush’s first drive of the game. He would go on to finish 8/9 for 92 yards with a 148.2 QB rating so Tom completely oversold his numbers there.
Kellen Moore leads the preseason in passes batted down at the line of scrimmage as he’s been able to do that in each game so far.
The only thing I didn’t like about Rush was the fact that he really only got two possessions to drive the ball down the field. Of course, he made the most out of each of them, throwing TD passes on both of them.
Another Cooper Rush possession and another touchdown. What else needs to be said?— 214 (@_WeDemBoyz_) August 20, 2017
Just this - put him on the roster!
What things did you like in this game?