The Dallas Cowboys were significantly more competitive this week against the Miami Dolphins, only losing the game at the very last second. That meant a better overall effort from everyone, including the rookie class. Unfortunately, one of them found the spotlight for all the wrong reasons right at the start of the game. Let’s break it down.
iDL Mazi Smith
For as good as Mazi Smith was last week, he took a clear step back this week. He played on 26 defensive snaps, once again being second among interior defenders in total workload and most of them coming against the run. But unlike last week, Smith was frequently losing the leverage battle and getting pushed around a bit.
Smith also didn’t do much with his opportunities as a pass rusher. After getting his first career sack last week, Smith saw a healthy portion of pass rush reps, but came up with zero pressures. In the context of his whole body of work this season, it’s easy to chalk this game up as a rare miss for Smith, but still frustrating to see this late in the year.
TE Luke Schoonmaker
Luke Schoonmaker may or may not have been demoted to TE3 now that Peyton Hendershot is more up to speed since returning from the injured reserve. He played on 13 offensive snaps, three fewer than Hendershot, and primarily served as a blocker.
He did catch his lone target of the day for four yards, which is noteworthy because Hendershot failed to reel in either of his two targets. The battle between these two could continue to unfold ahead of the start of the postseason.
LB DeMarvion Overshown
DeMarvion Overshown tore his ACL in the preseason and is on the injured reserve for the year.
EDGE Viliami Fehoko
Viliami Fehoko is on the injured reserve.
OL Asim Richards
Asim Richards was inactive for this game.
CB Eric Scott Jr.
Eric Scott Jr. was inactive for this game.
RB Deuce Vaughn
Deuce Vaughn was inactive for this game.
WR Jalen Brooks
Jalen Brooks was inactive for this game.
G T.J. Bass
After filling in for Zack Martin last week, T.J. Bass went back to his usual role of blocking for kicks, with four total special teams snaps on the day. He also briefly saw action on offense, with two snaps as an extra lineman in jumbo packages.
FB Hunter Luepke
The Cowboys clearly had a plan for Hunter Luepke in this game. He saw four touches on the opening drive alone, which started with two successful carries and a catch on his lone target. Unfortunately, it all came crashing down when Luepke fumbled the handoff (though Dak Prescott was officially credited with the fumble) on a first and goal touchdown call.
Luepke didn’t get an offensive touch the rest of the day, but he still played on 11 offensive snaps, tying Rico Dowdle for second among running backs. Luepke had some successful reps in both run blocking and pass protection later on in the game, though he’ll surely be kicking himself for that fumble.
K Brandon Aubrey
Brandon Aubrey continues to put up an all-time great debut season for a kicker. He connected on both field goals and both extra points, preserving his status as the only kicker to have made every field goal on the season.
LB Tyrus Wheat
Tyrus Wheat continued his usual role on special teams, with 16 snaps on kick and punt coverage units.