The Dallas Cowboys did what they were supposed to do on Sunday. They beat a short-handed Detroit Lions team on the road to go 6-4 on the year. Part of the game was filled with a lot of excitement as the Cowboys no. 1 ranked offense in terms of yards churned out a 500+ yard performance for the second time this season. But there were also some not-so-great moments that have us tapping the brakes before jumping in the fast line of believing this team is on the path to a special season.
To get a better feel for what went down on Sunday, let’s review the tape and examine some of the things that stood out in this game.
I can’t help feel partly responsible for putting the hex on Amari Cooper because before the game, I had this tweet...
Amari Cooper is on pace for 1,507 yards receiving. The Cowboys record is Michael Irvin with 1,603 (1995).— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 17, 2019
Do you think Amari will set a new Cowboys record in his first full season with the Cowboys?
(h/t: @dallascowboys pre-game)
And then wouldn’t you know it, he had his worst game of the year excluding the New York Jets game when he exited early in the game with an injury. Give the Lions credit for taking away the Cowboys top receiver. Cooper caught just three passes for 38 yards as All-Pro corner Darius Slay was all over him.
Luckily for the Cowboys, the Lions had no answers for no. 2 and no. 3 receivers Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb. This duo each had 100+ yards receiving and totaled 263 yards on the day. Cobb did have a couple drops, including one that would’ve allowed them a great chance at an insurance field goal, giving them a season-high in points. But he had so many yards after the catch that we’ll forgive him for that. Some people thought that this Cowboys team would feel the effects of losing Cole Beasley, but so far Cobb is averaging more yards per game and more yards per target than Beasley ever had in his career in Dallas.
While Cobb was great, Gallup continues to show his growth as a receiver. Watching him getting his body turned around to be in a better position to haul down the catch is a thing of beauty.
And let’s not forget this play by Tavon Austin. I know his quarterback sure isn’t.
You have to love a defensive line that features DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, Maliek Collins, and Michael Bennett. That’s a fearsome foursome. This group continues to be disruptive, and although they have quite a few near misses when getting to the quarterback, the impact they have on plays doesn’t go unnoticed.
Quinn is so quick off the snap that he had a pressure in this game where the left tackle never even got out of his stance before Quinn had blown passed him. And the nonstop pursuit of all these pass rushers is something worth appreciating.
Bennett had two sacks on the day, but he should’ve had three. Don’t ask my how Jeff Driskel got out of that one.
It still amazes me that the Cowboys were able to land to really good trench warriors for such a low cost. Well done, front office!
Robert Quinn, 8 games, 8.5 sacks.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) November 18, 2019
Michael Bennett, 3 games, 3 sacks.
If you can get a sack/game from a 6th round draft pick investment, I say do it. If you can get it twice? pic.twitter.com/lwAMMxZ2Y0
Third-year corner Chidobe Awuzie has been under fire most of the year as he’s given up more plays that we’re used to seeing. He absolutely refuses to get his head turned around and opposing offenses are taking advantage.
But on Sunday, Awuzie was sharp. He handled a tough assignment in Kenny Golladay, who is having a great season. Golladay entered the game leading the league in touchdown receptions. The Lions top receiver was held to just one catch for 34 yards as Awuzie did a fantastic job closing on him whenever Jeff Driskel looked Golladay’s way.
There was a lot not to like on special teams. The return game was terrible. The coverage was terrible. The Cowboys are at a distinct disadvantage in this department.
One thing that was puzzling is how Tony Pollard handled the kickoff return duty. It seemed as if he was given clear instructions to try to take a touchback every opportunity he could. Maybe the team wants to start at the 25-yard line and doesn’t want to risk a holding penalty. Even when the Lions come up short on the kick, Pollard let it bounce, hoping it went into the end zone. In most cases, it did.
Unfortunately, it seemed like every decision Pollard made was the wrong decision.
I really don’t understand why the Cowboys don’t turn this guy loose. Pollard’s clearly a dangerous player in space and had quite an impressive resume at Memphis returning kicks. If he’s given enough opportunities, he’s liable to break on.