Cowboys vs Eagles WK11 Film Review: Standouts and Observations

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 19: La'el Collins #71 of the Dallas Cowboys protects Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys who looks to pass int he first quarter of a football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on November 19, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 19: La'el Collins #71 of the Dallas Cowboys protects Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys who looks to pass int he first quarter of a football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on November 19, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Cowboys were dominated in the second half of Sunday night’s game but beyond the score, what did we learn from the action against the Eagles…

Prior to the All-22 film release we always take the time to watch the game a time or two in order to isolate and assess performances. This week was no different as we rewatched the Cowboys host the first place Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.

The Cowboys did Sunday night what every armchair quarterback was clamoring for last week: give help to the left tackle. Whether it’s a chip block from the tight end or a full on double team from a halfback or tight end, it was clear the port-side bookend would need help in his pass protection. I hate even writing this because the move is so obvious it should go without saying, yet, as the Dallas coaches proved last week, it wasn’t obvious to everyone.

It’s worth noting RT La’el Collins received very little help and stood up relatively well.

Speaking of coaching staff, it was pretty embarrassing that Philly was able to score a TD and a 2-point conversion on their first two drives of the second half. We knew they were without a kicker, making the play-calling more transparent than normal, yet the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage. Furthermore, defending the 2-point conversion appeared to be pure chaos.

  • Rod Marinelli may not value the 1-technique DT very much but it’s clear the Cowboys need a plugger in the middle to take away those inside runs. Richard Ash and Maliek Collins aren’t doing much in the way of run-stopping this season and while the Cowboys appear to have multiple options on the edge and at under tackle, they have nothing at 1-tech.
  • Anthony Brown had a big play in the second quarter when he effectively defensed a deep ball down the sideline. As pointed out in the broadcast, Brown never turned his head while playing bump and chase but still perfectly timed the breakup avoiding any possible pass interference call. Officials don’t give DBs much latitude when they don’t turn their heads so it’s important to be as calm and calculated as possible. “Face guarding” is when the DB watches the receivers eyes and arms to tip him off when and where the ball is coming. Brown did that and saved a big play on a key third down.
  • Missed opportunities are what led to the Cowboys’ secondary overhaul this past season. All too often the Cowboys secondary failed at pulling in easy interceptions. It’s those plays that potentially determines  games and those plays that don’t get scrutinized enough. One of the biggest mistakes of the game was Anthony Brown dropping an easy interception with 15 seconds remaining in the half. It would have put Dallas near FG range with a timeout left. Anthony Brown had a terrible game.

  • With the success of the Cowboys’ top two pass rushers, DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving, people have a tendency to overrate the Dallas’ defense. But that defense was underrated much of Sunday evening when you consider the following: Dallas threw two interceptions in the second quarter, giving Philly the ball twice in Dallas territory. The Dallas D somehow found a way to hold one of the best offenses in the NFL scoreless on those two instances, keeping the Cowboys in game and allowing Dak to potentially overcome. Not many QBs get a chance to come back from two INTs in his own territory. The ineptitude of the offense finally crushed the Dallas defense but that Dallas D deserves less blame than the offense this week. I’m saying this sober and well aware Philly dropped 37 points on them on the road. THAT’s how poorly I think of the Dallas offense this morning.
  • I didn’t love Dez Bryant or Dak Prescott’s game on Sunday night. Both for different reasons: Dak misfired passes throwing into the ground, releasing late, and making poor decisions (see also 3rd and 17 pass into coverage that resulted in an interception). It was Dak’s worst game of career. Dez couldn’t break tackles and make opponents pay for giving him a cushion. He’s still a true No. 1 WR but he’s becoming very limited as to what he offers this offense.
  • Taco Charlton didn’t get much of anything accomplished rushing the passer. I’m not one to pile on (I still like his long-term potential) but he seems content with just competing and doesn’t look like a player trying 100 percent.
  • The Rod Marinelli 1-gap attacking defensive line is easy to like when the plays take place in the backfield but when the defensive linemen repeatedly penetrates right past the play it can get pretty frustrating. Normally

    Sean Lee

    is back there clearing up the mess, but without Lee, it looks ugly. Every player has single gap responsibility (on most plays) meaning if one player can’t control his gap, no one else is there to help out.

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  • The Cowboys’ willingness to call a hot route when facing pressure is a breath of fresh air. In the Tony Romo era, this was often ignored as Dallas pressed for plays deeper down field. Dak Prescott has embraced it. He sees pressure coming, he calls the adjustment, and dumps the ball quickly instead of being pressured into a mistake. It’s not as flashy but it’s much safer and still holds big play potential as long as the “hot” player can make his man miss.
  • Dallas did just that on the Cowboys’ second drive. Seeing a big blitz coming up the middle, Dak pulled Cole Beasley back into the backfield to assist with protection and signaled the hot route to Dez Bryant. The blitz cam and Dak dumped to Dez. If Dez could have broken the tackle he would have had an opportunity for six. He didn’t and the gain was minimal but it was unquestionably the smart call to make.
  • Next: Top 15 all-time Cowboys QBs

    Negative standouts: Anthony Brown and Dak Prescott

    Positive standouts: Tank Lawrence and Alfred Morris

    Players to focus on in All-22 review: David Irving, Anthony Hitchens, La’el Collins, Xavier Woods