Dallas Cowboys vs San Francisco 49ers: Standouts, Notes, and Observations

October 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates after a run during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi
October 2, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates after a run during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi /

The Dallas Cowboys improved to 3-1 on Sunday by beating their storied rival, San Francisco 49ers 24-17. Here are the game observations.

The 49ers represented the Dallas Cowboys biggest defensive challenge so far this season They forced the Dallas Cowboys to do something they don’t always do well — adjust mid-game. This was a big win for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff.

Here are the Dallas Cowboys Game 4 standouts, notes, and observations…

  • Dak Prescott had an off day but it also may have been his best. He was slow to make decisions and failed to deliver the ball to open receivers. He also sailed a couple passes and threw behind on two occasions. But he stayed patient, didn’t press the ball, and calmly guided the team back from 14 down. Huge step in his development.
  • The Dallas Cowboys rarely blitz, and for good reason. They are terrible at it. If you bring extra rushers you must, at a minimum, rush the throw. The Cowboys usually fail to do this resulting in easy completions time and time again.

  • Instead of blitzing, the Cowboys should take a page out of the 49ers playbook. When they sacked Dak Prescott in the first quarter, they sent NaVorro Bowman on a delayed blitz. Zack Martin fell victim to the delay and abandoned his assignment giving Bowman the easy lane. The best part is that Bowman was only the fourth man rushing on that play meaning the 49ers had fully staffed coverage.
  • DT

    Maliek Collins

    is decisive and explosive. He’s the primary reason the Dallas Cowboys feel ok moving

    Tyrone Crawford

    to DE for the foreseeable future. He looks better and better each week and is progressing faster than most rookies do at DT.

    More from Dallas Cowboys

  • Speaking of improving. DE/DT Tyrone Crawford had by far his best game on Sunday playing primarily at DE. He’s not what you want in a #1 pass-rusher on the right side but he should be an excellent #2 option on the left once DeMarcus Lawrence returns this week.
  • Stunts and games remain the primary method in applying pressure. It leaves the defense vulnerable against the run but is the safest and most effective means to rush the passer.

  • CB Anthony Brown has been the Cowboys second best CB this season. He allowed numerous completions on Sunday but his coverage was as tight and his recognition and awareness was veteran-like. I’ve said it before many times but nickel cornerbacks are at a major disadvantage covering the slot receiver. The best you can do is force perfect throws and show that you can be a threat to make a play on the ball. And unlike Scandrick, Brown seems to have natural ball skills that could set him apart. Get used to seeing him because he will likely be a starter next season.
    • 2nd and 1 and the 49ers are showing press single coverage on Terrance Williams. This is the perfect opportunity to try something deep, yet the Dallas Cowboys opt to run the ball. This happened three times on Sunday to either Williams or Brice Butler. Eventually, the Cowboys are going to need to start stretching the field and going deep.
    • Chaz Green did seem to preemptively jump before the snap a couple times but not nearly as often as the TV crew were making it seem. All in all, it was an excellent day for the man I once dubbed as the “offenses most concerning player”.

    Next: Get Lance Dunbar the Dang Ball!

    • Three false starts for the Dallas Cowboys TEs is unacceptable.
    • Cole Beasley was clearly the focus of the San Fran secondary. Dak did a great job of not forcing the ball to Dallas’ surprising #1 receiver.