Dallas Cowboys at Seattle: Standout players, plays, and observations

Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys fell to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon and after re-watching the game and slowing things down, here’s what we found…

  • The offensive line is still in disarray. Dak Prescott dropped back 38 times and was knocked down 8 times, hit 12 times, and sacked 5 times. For a QB that doesn’t like to get hit (but then again what QB does), that’s not a great pathway to success.
  • As always, I try to avoid critiquing the playcalling since it’s something every fan in the history of the game does after a disappointing effort. This game was more about terrible play and poor execution. But since I’m a major believer of the run-pass option and the zone-read, and we’ve seen them work with great success on the Cowboys and in the NFL, I’m going to point out how many I counted in the first half:

1st half Zone Reads: 1

1st half RPOs: 0

I never saw anything that looked like a legitimate RPO on Sunday and only saw a handful of zone reads later in the game. But by then the game was lost. These option plays offer instant offense so it’s a mystery why the Dallas Cowboys are so reluctant to use it.

Saw the Dallas Cowboys employ the 3-3-5 against Russell Wilson and the Seattle attack.

We spoke of it this past offseason about how it’s a preferred defense

to RPO and zone read attacks. It puts the most versatile players on the field (LBs) and disguises the pass rushers.

I try to avoid critiquing the playcalling since it’s something every fan in the history of the game does after a disappointing effort.

On Seattle’s first drive (which seemed never-ending given the Tyrone Crawford drive extending penalty) used a 3-3-5 nickel twice. One time they sent a DB and the other time they sent a pair of LBs. The beauty of this defense is you can see the offense has no idea who else is coming and from where. The versatility of the Dallas Cowboys defenders makes pretty much everyone a pass-rushing option.

  • The 3-3-5 was working great on 3rd downs but for some reason the Cowboys moved away from it. On Seattle’s first scoring drive, twice the defense chose to forego the 3-3-5 and twice Seattle converted. Additionally, why they are big blitzing against a team who’s proven they can’t even block four rushers is a complete mystery. We praised the aggressiveness last week but this week the aggressiveness was reckless (given the state of the Seattle O-line).
  • The offense picked up some early yards using Tavon Austin on a sweep in the first quarter. What’s noteworthy here is Tavon isn’t just used in the traditional “jet” variety popularized by Lucky Whitehead, but they are also using him on orbital sweeps, where he rounds off behind Prescott. This may make him more vulnerable to losses on runs, but it sets him in motion to run down field making him an interesting passing option should the play be a pass. We haven’t seen this come to fruition yet, but it clearly must be in the playbook.

    • Good things happen when Tavon has the ball. We saw it early and we saw it late. Why can’t Linehan? Tavon needs the ball more and it should come at the expense of the TE corps.
    • Michael Gallup has been a standout this season but for all of the wrong reasons. Last week he failed to pull in a deep sideline ball (bobbled it out of bounds) and this week he bobbled a ball into the waiting arms (or should I say, shoelaces) of Earl Thomas. Even Week 1 he dropped a tough ball for a potentially big gain. Yet… Dak Prescott still likes to target him. That says something. It says Gallup is reliable in practice and he’s someone we need to be patient with because if the much-scrutinized Dak is willing to target him, we should probably trust the promising young WR as well.
    • Be wary of anyone damning Dak Prescott right now. The interceptions were not his fault and had Ezekiel Elliott not stepped out of bounds, the narrative would be much different. When gven time in the pocket and/or an opportunity to run on zone reads, Dak is a pretty good QB. The problem is the offensive line isn’t giving him time and Scott Linehan isn’t using enough RPO or zone-reads. It’s also worth pointing out Dak didn’t throw a single ball deep on Sunday. This is an indictment on all parties involved.
    • Since the All-22 has yet to be released, we can’t remotely assess Dak’s performamce. I mean, we don’t know the routes, progressions, view, or even complete coverage with the TV version. Why are so many people blindly confident they know what happened in the passing game?
    • Oh yeah, Byron Jones is a star

    Is it time to rebuild the O-line?. dark. Next

    At this point I feel pretty good being critical of the offensive line and Zeke. The O-line was terrible and Zeke stepped out of bounds on a TD reception and fumbled the ball away on what could have been a TD run. Sure his YPC were pretty, but his gaffes were horrific.

    • Published on 09/24/2018 at 12:01 PM
    • Last updated at 09/24/2018 at 11:41 AM