The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up their dress rehearsal game with a 34-0 win against their in-state rivals, the Houston Texans. The boys in white came out strong as they scored early and often. The Cowboys actually found the end zone four times before the first quarter ended, however two of those touchdowns were called back due to penalties. It was great to see the offense scoring points. It was great to see the defense shut the Texans down. And it was great to see the special teams do some scoring of their own.
Here are 10 thoughts on the Cowboys win over the Texans.
1. Third time’s a charm
Dak Prescott’s completion streak may have ended after he wasn’t able to connect on his first pass of the game to Michael Gallup, but he kept looking for his young receiver. On the very next play, the pass again went incomplete to Gallup as it went right off his hands. It was pretty close, and might’ve been caught had the defensive back not jammed him as Gallup was breaking from his route.
If first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Dak looked Gallup’s way again and this time - things worked out a lot better.
This is just Dak doing Dak things. His ability to escape the pocket has helped him be a huge playmaker for this offense. As for Gallup, he continues to show evidence that he’s ready for a breakout season. He caught a pass from Cooper Rush and did a great job staying on his feet to find the end zone. Unfortunately, it was called back due to a Connor Williams holding penalty.
2. It’s Taco’s time
The Cowboys former first-round draft pick Taco Charlton played like a man on a mission on Saturday. He was relentless at getting after the quarterback, and finished the game with two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. It would have been three sacks had one of them not been nullified by a defensive holding penalty.
While Charlton may have been going against the Texans backup tackles, what really stands out about his performance was his effort. All his splash-making plays were a result of him staying with it to finish the play. It was really great to see this type of high motor from the team’s young edge rusher.
Charlton left the game early after his leg was undercut, but he then returned to deflect a ball and force another fumble. What an outstanding half of football for Taco.
In two years Taco Charlton has recorded 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovered and 2 passes defensed.— Michael Strawn (@LifeInCharts) August 25, 2019
In one half tonight he has 3 sacks (one negated by penalty), two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed.
Unfortunately, Charlton exited the game again as he was holding his leg. It’s unclear the severity of his injury.
Taco Charlton limps back to the locker. pic.twitter.com/1gziyrEbMo— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) August 25, 2019
3. A special team’s score
The Dallas Cowboys blocked a punt! Sure, it’s just preseason, but it was great to see Joe Thomas take advantage of a clear path to the punter and come up with a defensive score. The Texans completely forgot to put a body on Thomas, allowing a free shot to block the punt. The veteran linebacker almost had another shot at a defensive score when he had the tight end played perfectly and jumped the route. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hang on, but still had a nice pass break up.
Thomas is having a great training camp and has secured his spot as the team’s no. 4 linebacker behind Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and Sean Lee. It’s a comforting feeling knowing that if Lee goes down, Thomas will be a solid backup to fill his spot.
4. Tony Pollard is still awesome
While fans remain on pins and needles waiting for Ezekiel Elliott to return, we have been treated to the deliciousness that is Tony Pollard. With each new snap, Pollard validates the Cowboys decision to draft this college backup running back in the fourth round.
The rookie ran well on Saturday, showing great patience as he maneuvered his way for a nice 20-yard gain.
Pollard also converted on 3rd-and-14 when he caught a screen pass and took it 26 yards near the end zone; however, it was called back due to an illegal block in the back by Jason Witten.
Cowboys with some bad luck... another hold negates a beauty by Tony Pollard. pic.twitter.com/7jHFmMeJrM— DynastyFeed (@dynastyfeed) August 24, 2019
It was another great performance by the Cowboys young running back.
5. Goodwin likely secures a spot on the roster
Backup cornerback C.J. Goodwin was a guy on the fringe to grab one of those last spots on the CB depth chart. After reminding us why the coaches love him with a great special teams play against the Los Angeles Rams when he was in perfect position to recover a muffed punt, he was at it again this week. Goodwin made a great tackle on punt coverage against the Texans, but he stepped it up a notch by coming down with an interception on a deep pass. Goodwin tracked the ball and timed his jump perfectly.
A few days ago, we pondered whether some of the special teams aces are in jeopardy of getting cut, but when they can make plays like Goodwin made on Saturday, that bodes well for your job security.
6. The itsy bitsy Hyder
Free agent Kerry Hyder may be the shortest defensive end on the roster, but he sure came up big against the Texans. Hyder was all over the place. It didn’t matter whether they lined him up on the outside or in the middle as he had a sack from each spot.
The defensive line for the Cowboys is really deep as so many players continue to make a case for a roster spot. Hyder has been very consistent, showing up over and over, which is why he’s a lock to make the team. The veteran free agent is going to be a nice addition to this defensive line rotation.
7. Rush looked pretty good
Cooper Rush has the backup job locked down, and against the Texans - he showed why. The third-year quarterback showed a lot of poise as he just looked real comfortable in the pocket. His footwork was good, he wasn’t bothered by pressure, and he stepped up to deliver some nice throws. Rush did a great job looking down field rather than settling for the short stuff underneath. He also took a deep shot after he caught the Texans jumping off sides, resulting in a nice 27-yard completion to backup tight end Marcus Lucas.
Rush finished the game 15-for-25 with 175 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but he led a couple nice scoring drives with some very good completions to Cedrick Wilson and Devin Smith.
8. Hello, Mr. Wilson
On Friday, we had rookie safety Donovan Wilson penciled in as a lock for a roster spot, so it’s a great feeling to see him play so well on Sunday. After it looked like a Texans receiver had gotten loose down the sideline, Wilson showed up in the nick of time to come down with the pick. It was a great catch, but credit the young defensive back for doing a great job keeping his feet in bounds.
If you scroll back up and look at Goodwin’s pick, you’ll see Wilson was also in position to make the grab had C.J. not got there in time. Wilson is showing up all over the tape. He also made a nice shoestring tackle as the rookie just has a knack for making plays.
9. It’s a sack party
They don’t call them Hot Boyz for nothing. Of course, the defensive line was without their veteran pass rushers DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Robert Quinn. But that’s okay, as the defense was in good hands with the young guys holding down the fort.
Eight different defensive linemen got in the books for a sack, led by Charlton and Hyder who each had two. Christian Covington and Shakir Soto each had one, and Dorance Armstrong, Trysten Hill, Joseph Jackson, and Daniel Wise all got in on the action with half a sack a piece.
It was a total domination by the Cowboys defense in the trenches, and it’s really going to be hard for this coaching staff to figure out who they’re going to keep.
10. Escaped unscathed?
Other than the Taco injury, the Cowboys appear to have come out of this one okay. This is refreshing news as the team should start the season in pretty good health. The Texans weren’t so lucky as running back Lamar Miller appeared to suffer a knee injury on their first possession of the game. With the fourth preseason game consisting of backups and bottom roster guys fighting for a spot, the Cowboys won’t be putting any of their stars at risk.
It was a good preseason for the first string group. They got some valuable reps without suffering any huge blows. And they have a young quarterback that isn’t retiring anytime soon, so that’s always a bonus. Overall, I’d call that a big win.
What stood out to you in from this game?