Cowboys at Falcons Film Review: Standouts, Notes, and Observations

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: Adrian Clayborn
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: Adrian Clayborn /

The Cowboys were routed by the Falcons on Sunday but after rewatching the game a few times, there were plenty more noteworthy observations

  • Alfred Morris is always going to have a handful of zero and even negative yardage plays. His style of play is devoid of explosion, making it an inevitability in a zone/trap blocking scheme. But the thought is he makes up those negative plays by adding extra yardage to plays where he gets to use his patience and showoff his ability to follow blocks.
  • Those early hits to the opposing Falcons running backs by the Cowboys linebackers really set the tone of the game. We saw it last week when Damien Wilson laid the wood against the Chiefs and we saw it early Sunday when Anthony Hitchens knocked DeVanta Freeman out of the game. Never underestimate the lasting mental impact that makes going forward. If the Cowboys offense could have competed, the Falcons would have been completely one dimensional.
  • Xavier Woods’ interception illustrates what the offseason makeover of the secondary can bring. In the past (with previous personnel) that would have been nearly an interception. It was always nearly a good play. Nowadays that actually was an interception. Woods, Jourdan Lewis, and Chidobe Awuzie all have a nose for the ball, unlike their predecessors.
  • Combine Woods’ interception with his downed punt on the three-yard line, and you have a field position difference maker.
  • Love the play that brought Dallas their only six points of the day. Dak rolled right showing handoff, he turned the corner with a option to throw towards the sideline to Rod Smith or inside to Noah Brown, or he could keep the ball and split the two targets. As we know, Dak opted to keep and run. The cool part was it could have easily gone to either receiver had the Falcons played it differently and since both routes flowed with Dak to the sidelines (nearly parallel to each other), they were easy completions to make.
  • Once again, Jaylon Smith’s play declined as his snaps increased. This is likely to be a trend all season and one that is easily avoidable if Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee can stay healthy enough to play.
  • Obviously this was a poor day for the Cowboys bookends on the offensive line but it was also a poor day for guard Jonathan Cooper. The Atlanta front seven are talented but we all expected better things out of the Cowboys offensive line.
  • I feel like captain obvious saying Chaz Green had a rough day but the epic disaster #79 was, needs to be pointed out again. The best QB in the history of the NFL couldn’t win with Green playing the way he did, much less a second year signal caller.
  • What’s curious is the Cowboys unwillingness to adapt to the poor tackle play. Clearly Chaz Green needed extra help, especially when

    Adrian Clayborn

    lined up in an extremely wide technique. Why did Dallas refuse to adapt and offer TE or RB help? At least in the form of a chip block?

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    The game was a blowout but it could have gone dramatically different if replacement players didn’t utterly cave on the first drive of the third quarter. Dallas was only down 10 points. The Cowboys were inside the 15 and looking to score when Chaz Green gave up another sack. This would take away the TD opportunity and push back a chip shot field goal — A FG the Cowboys would then miss. From that point, the rout was on.

  • By the time Byron Bell came in, I didn’t want the Dallas offense to get the ball. Dak Prescott was a sitting duck and he’s too important to risk in a lost game. Again, why the Dallas coaches didn’t do more to protect Dak Prescott is beyond me.
  • From what I saw, newly activated tight end, Jarwin, looked good in the role of run blocking. He ran well and put his hat on the second layer of the defense. I’ll be sure to watch him in the All-22 film review because his future this season is directly related to Rico Gathers’.

    There were a ton of uncalled facemasks that would have favored the Cowboys. Just an observation.

    Dak Prescott played a great game considering the pressure he was forced to endure. The coverage of this will separate real analysts who watch film from the personalities who just watch stats and highlights (see video below). If anyone pins any disappointment on Dak, you’ll know which camp they fall into. I’ll have more on this tomorrow…

    Next: How the Cowboys were exposed without their stars

    The Cowboys were dominated, there’s just no question about it. If not for the early opportunistic interception by Xavier Woods, this game would have been much worse.