The Dallas Cowboys won on Sunday and that’s the most important thing. It was definitely a closer contest than most would have liked; beating the Jeff Driskel-led Detroit Lions by only eight points is definitely disappointing, but a win is a win.
There are definitely things for the Cowboys to clean up from their performance and communication might be near the top of the list. The level of communication for the Cowboys came under fire last week after Tavon Austin’s fair catch call near the end of the game against the Minnesota Vikings, but that was hardly the team’s only mistake that night.
You’ll recall that there was an infamous moment against Minnesota where Dallas only had 10 men on the field on defense. Dalvin Cook picked up a lot of yardage on a screen and people wondered why no timeout was called by Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, or anyone really.
Short a player, the Cowboys didn’t call a timeout. (They didn’t use any of their three timeouts in first half.) Here is the play as it developed. pic.twitter.com/QQOEpUtfWq— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 12, 2019
Stuff like this happens. It’s not ideal, but the Cowboys are far from the first team in NFL history to play with less than 11 players on the field. A timeout should have been called, but that’s what happens when your communication isn’t working properly.
Dallas had a similar penalty against Detroit on Sunday
Towards the end of the first quarter in Detroit, the Cowboys were facing a third down. Thankfully Dak Prescott found Amari Cooper for seven yards and moved the chains.
This is important context for what happened next. The Cowboys moved on to first down and were called for 12 men in the huddle. Not great!
What’s more is that the Cowboys took a timeout after getting called for 12 men on the field. It was a sequence that certainly wasn’t their best, but the Cooper catch may have had something to do with it.
You’ll recall that Cooper was actually hurt briefly on his third down catch. The FOX broadcast showed him on the sidelines clearly in some sort of discomfort and when the 12-men penalty was called analyst Charles Davis noted that the Cowboys got their personnel packages mixed up. Clearly Cooper being out caused some confusion and while that’s not ideal or acceptable, it is at the very least some sort of explanation.
Justified in some sense or not, the Cowboys cannot be giving away yardage like this. That’s two weeks in a row that they’ve compromised their game with either too few or too many men on the field. That just cannot happen.