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Position group analysis: It’s a shame for Cowboys to lose with receivers this good

The Cowboys’ receivers, two in particular, were absolutely incredible in a losing effort.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

[Each week we will look back at the game to focus on a single position group and how they performed. Whether it’s high-praise for the Cowboys biggest contributors to another victory formation, or the scapegoats for any potential losses, we’ll spotlight one personnel grouping for review.]

Let’s take the high road this week because nobody needs much reliving of the Cowboys recent 28-24 loss to the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Instead of pointing out the failures of the linebackers and defensive tackles, let’s look at how good the Cowboys receivers were on SNF.

First, a look at the stats for this past week’s game:

AMARI COOPER 14 11 147 13.4 9 1 20 1.8
RANDALL COBB 8 6 106 17.6 6 1 13 2.2
MICHAEL GALLUP 10 4 76 19 4 1 31 7.8

Amari Cooper

11 of 14, 147 yards, TD

There isn’t much you can say anymore about how incredibly one-sided the Amari Cooper trade has worked in the Cowboys’ favor. Once again, it’s over the century mark in receiving yards with double-digit receptions for Cooper as he led the team in receiving. Cooper was outstanding and he put up a handful of ‘Sportscenter-worthy’ highlights in this past Sunday’s game. The new nickname for Cooper might as well be “Toe-Tapper”:

#1 Toe-Tapping on Third Down

On 3rd-and-12, this play is reminiscent to former Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s 3rd-and-20 connection with Terrance Williams in their 2014 win over Seattle:

#2 Toe-Tapping Two-Fer

Just four plays later on the same drive, Amari Cooper completes the Holy Trifecta of Toe-Taps:

#3 Toe-Tapping Touchdown

Amari Cooper was making play-after-play for the Cowboys’ offense while also dealing with nagging foot and knee injuries. If that was Amari Cooper at less than 100%... just wow. Cooper’s response after the game on those phenomenal sideline catches speaks volumes about the man:

Another addition to any great receiver’s repertoire is the ability to work back to your quarterback in pressure situations. Watch Dak Prescott rope one to Cooper while running for life, perfect example of the rapport the two have built:

How great has Amari Cooper been? Pretty great folks:

Randall Cobb

6 of 8, 106 yards, TD

Finally, a performance for Randall Cobb worth praising instead of one nullified by penalties or drops. Randall Cobb went right back to work against a formidable foe and as it turns out, the Vikings still struggle to guard him. Just ahead of the two-minute warning before the half, Prescott finds Cobb on a free play for the game-tying touchdown:

Check that play again from a different angle, what a catch for Randall Cobb right over the defender, on third down, no less:

Later on in the third quarter, on 3rd-and-8 at the MIN-24, Cobb caught a 12-yard pass that set up Amari Cooper’s toe-tapping touchdown. Perhaps Cobb’s best play though was on a dime from Prescott, backed up on their-own goal line. It’s certainly a phenomenal throw by Dak Prescott on 3rd-and-14 but credit is also deserved for the receiver; Randall Cobb was positioned perfectly.

Cobb’s receptions were of gains of 8, 22 (TD), 12, 20, 24, and 20 yards respectively. All but two of those receptions came on third-down conversions. Coincidentally, all of Cobb’s receptions set up a new set of downs for the Cowboys offense.

Michael Gallup

4 of 10, 76 yards, TD

Michael Gallup did not have the stellar night that Cooper and Cobb did, but what he did with his four receptions was just as important. Gallup was the first receiver to breath life into the Cowboys offense, on 3rd-and-6, just a beautiful design and execution:

Though that drive stalled, it was another big play that got the Cowboys’ engines turning. Here is Michael Gallup’s 20+ yard touchdown to finally put the Cowboys on the board, trailing 14-0:

Sometimes a quarterback’s best friend is the receiver that can make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. Well, before Randall Cobb tied the game up for Dallas, it was Michael Gallup who set it up with this 3rd-and-12 conversion:

Though the Cowboys’ play-calling ultimately bungled this game in the end, the effort by the receivers and quarterback did not go unnoticed. This was a huge performance for the receivers and when you watch how on fire the passing game was, it just makes you red hot that they left with the ‘L’. A phenomenal passing performance was shamefully wasted and hopefully it’ll serve as the Cowboys’ wake-up call for the remainder of the season.

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