Numbers Don’t Lie: Dallas Cowboys Defense Hands out Career Days Like Halloween Candy

Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Demarcus Lawrence #90 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

A lot happens during the course of a football game.  Here are some numbers from the Dallas Cowboys defense that you may have missed.

When an opposing offense is struggling in a particular area, the remedy is to play the Dallas Cowboys.  Haven’t scored more than 20 points in 5 weeks?  Haven’t been able to establish a run game?  Receivers not having success gaining separation from defensive backs?  Not being able to protect your quarterback from knockdowns and sacks?  All of these are easily fixed by playing the Dallas defense.

On with the numbers…

0: Points scored on Washington’s opening drive.  The Washington Football Team had not scored on an opening drive all season, and on 3rd and goal from the 2-yard line it appeared they finally had thanks to the Dallas defense.

The refs ruled a touchdown on the field, but upon further review Jourdan Lewis, the much-maligned corner, made a spectacular play to quickly bring down Terry McLaurin for only a yard gain on a quick out to the flat.  Washington decided to go for it on 4th down and Kyle Allen was stuffed for no gain.  This was about the only good thing the Dallas defense did all afternoon.

82: Washington’s rushing yards per game entering Sunday.  By the end of the first quarter they had already tallied 91 yards on just 12 carries (a sickening 7.6ypc).  Yes, the average was skewed because of a 40-yard run on Washington’s first possession.

However nice Washington did on the design of that run, Leighton Vander Esch, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown were never fooled by all the motion; they simply did not make the play.  Vander Esch actually made the offensive lineman responsible for him reach for air as he made his way around the block, but just couldn’t put himself in position to tackle.

Outside of that run, Washington finished the 1st quarter with 51 yards on 11 carries (4.6ypc) which is still more than half their average rushing yards in just 3 possessions.

Also, Washington ended up with 208 yards rushing for the game (5.3ypc), so its not like that 40 yard gain was all that abnormal for the game.  Washington racked up 250% more yards on the ground than they had averaged all season.  Dallas literally has the worst rushing defense in the league, allowing over 178 yards per game on the ground.

34: Washington’s 3rd down conversion percentage entering Sunday; 3rd worst in the NFL.  By the time Washington kneeled out the clock at the end of the game they had converted 9 of their 15 3rd downs which is good for 60% conversion rate.

That 60% would lead the NFL this season, besting the New Orleans Saints for offense for 1st place.  This is the state of the Dallas defense: they make the team with no name and backup quarterback look like Drew Brees and the Saints.

If you want to use this stat as an indicator of the lack of effort the Cowboys were showing by the end of the game you can go look at the last third down Washington faced before the end of the game.  It was 3rd and 9 yards with 30 seconds left and Washington was just trying to run out the clock with a 22-point lead.

Kyle Allen turned around to give the ball to Peyton Barber on a simple run straight up the middle.  Barber gained 11 yards in a situation where Dallas stuffed the box knowing that the Football Team was going to run the ball.

1: The number of times Washington had scored more than 20 points in a game this season.  Washington hung 27 on Philadelphia in a Week 1 loss.  After that game the Haskins/Allen offense have only been able to muster barely 16 points per game.

Again, welcome the Dallas defense to the building!  Washington scored 22 points in 30 minutes of game time against Dallas.  Had Dustin Hopkins not sent his 4th quarter field goal a little too far right, Washington would have ended the day with the most points they had scored all season; while playing with a backup quarterback no less.

37: The number of game-time minutes it took for Washington to punt for the 2nd time, which also happened to be the last time they punted.

Washington finished the game with eight meaningful possessions (they ran the clock out at the end of both halves).  They scored points on exactly half of them.

There were two drives where Washington failed to gain points: the first was the opening 11-play, 74-yard drive that reached the Dallas 6-inch line.  The other was a 10-play, 42-yard drive that ended with Hopkins’ previously mentioned missed field goal.

Only twice the entire game was Washington forced to punt.  This is a great place to note that Dallas had only 2 sacks in the game.  Would you care to guess which drives those sacks came on?  Yes, the only two drives Washington was forced to punt on.  There is definitely something odd about the NFL stat referred to as “sacks,” and the Dallas defense and Mike Nolan should read up on how to get more of them.

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6: The number of snaps Randy Gregory had in the game according to Pro Football Reference.  This makes sense given that he was returning from the devastating injury…Oh wait.  In a game where Dallas could get no pressure on the quarterback, one of their top 3 pass rushers was not allowed on the field.  This is startling when all everyone could do was talk up how awesome he had looked in practice.

12: The number of tackles Jaylon Smith had in the game, tied with Leighton for most in the game by either team.  Ok, so I guess numbers do lie sometimes.

Jaylon officially is the leading tackler in the NFL.  Jaylon has been credited with 75 total tackles so far this season.  He ranks 8th in solo tackles (39) and he also has the most assists in the NFL (36).  Look on many blogs around the internet and you’ll surely see many that mention Jaylon as constantly being “washed out” of the play or overrunning the play.  Whatever he is doing wrong, he is obviously around the ball a lot cleaning things up.  This is not to say that he has been playing well, but there are so many things going wrong with this defense right now, that maybe he is not the worst part as some would have you believe?

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59: Years it’s been since Dallas has trailed by at least 14 points at some point during the game.  I found this nugget from Richie Whitt among other observations.  During Dallas’ second year in existence, the Dallas defense had yet to become the dominant force Tom Landry would form it into.  Only one time that season did Dallas even hold a team under 20 points: a 17-16 win over the Giants.  They allowed at least 25 points in 10 out of 12 games during that 1961 season, and ultimately finished the season giving up 30.3 points per game.

Fast-forward 59 years and this version of the Dallas defense is surrendering 35.3 points per game.  Just looking at points per game, this is literally the worst defense in Dallas Cowboys history.

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1: Number of teams in NFL history who have given up at least 20 first-half points in six consecutive games.  It is the defense that cures your offensive woes: your 2020 Dallas Cowboys.  This defense is truly historic!

  • Published on 10/27/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 10/27/2020 at 12:51 PM