Numbers Don’t Lie: Dallas Cowboys Defense Finally Shows Up

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

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

7.0 – Carson Wentz’s passer rating during the 2nd quarter.  Wentz finished the quarter going 4-11 (36%) for only 33 yards (3.0ypa), with no touchdowns and one interception.  Eighteen of those yards came on his first completion of the quarter to Travis Fulgham.  After that first pass he went just 3-10 for 15 yards (1.5ypa).  Oh, he also had one of his two fumbles during this quarter.

Just for fun I wanted to see how much a difference that one completion to Fulgham made for Wentz during the quarter.  If you take that 18-yard completion away, Carson had a 0.0 passer rating on all other throws in the quarter.  Most of the country wondered how the Cowboys were leading at the half – this is why.

3 – The number of turnovers the Dallas Cowboys had forced in the first seven games of the season.  That is good for, once again, last in the league.  The Cowboys forced 3 in the first half against the Eagles, which means they doubled their forced turnovers in just 16:29 of possession time.  The defense would add one more in the 3rd quarter.

Trevon Diggs had himself a game with four passes defensed and two interceptions.  If you have watched all the games you can tell the talent is there despite getting beat at times.  I think in a few years more people will appreciate how much of a steal this young man was at the 51st pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Related Story. Trevon Diggs Keeps Getting Better. light

15 – Points allowed by the Dallas Cowboys defense.  The defense entered the game giving up a league-worst 31.9 points per game (Dallas was giving up a total of 34.7ppg).  Not bad for the worst defense in the league.  I really believe had Andy Dalton been playing Dallas would have won this game given the way the defense played.

0 – Percent of Philadelphia’s 4th down attempts converted.  Philadelphia tried to convert 4th downs of 3, 1, and 8 yards.  The last one was an incomplete pass on 4th and 8 inside the 2-minute warning. Wentz tried to find Jalen Reagor in the endzone which was expertly defensed by Anthony Brown.  That was an odd call given the time and score (23-9).

The first 4th down attempt came early in the second quarter when the Eagles faced 4th and 3 at the Dallas 44.  Despite rushing for 9.0 yards per carry in the first quarter, Doug Pederson called for a pass play.  Leighton Vander Esch recorded a sack-fumble on Wentz and Dallas recovered.

The second was at the end of the 2nd quarter when the Eagles were again at the Dallas 44 and faced a 4th and 1.  At this point Philadelphia was averaging 5.6 yards per carry, but still opted to throw the ball.  The pass fell incomplete.  Dallas was able to travel 14 yards in 23 seconds to set up a 59-yard field goal to take the halftime lead.

222 – The total yards surrendered by the defense against Philadelphia.  This is the least amount of yards a Dallas Cowboys defense has surrendered since they traveled to New Orleans in 2018.  In that game, the Saints only were able to gain 176 yards and the Cowboys were able to do just enough to win 13-10.

The Eagles average 330.0 yards per game and this the least amount of yards they have gained in a game this season.  Their previous low was 265 yards in a Week 1 loss to Washington.

1 – The number of games this season when Dallas finished with a positive turnover differential.  This is that game.

The defense forced Carson Wentz into 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles.  This isn’t always a difficult thing to do, as Wentz has now fumbled 55 times (losing 23), and has 70 total turnovers in 64 career games.  Still the Dallas defense took advantage of a quarterback who turns the ball over at least once per game on average.

However, the Dallas Cowboys still have the worst turnover differential in the league at -11.

13 – Points Philly scored on Dallas’ two turnovers.  The Eagles drove 83 yards in 10 plays after Ben DiNucci fumbled on 2nd and goal from the Philly 7-yard line.  This drive was aided by a neutral zone infraction by Jaylon Smith on a 3rd and 2 from the Dallas 36.  At this point Jaylon doesn’t need any help in making the opposing offense look good.

Do the Cowboys Even Need Jaylon Smith?. light. Related Story

The 2nd touchdown came when the officials decided not to overturn their call on the field, and allow a 53-yard fumble return for a touchdown, despite the entire country seeing otherwise.  The Eagles took their 1st round quarterback off the field in favor of their 2nd round quarterback when they decided to go for a 2-point conversion; the attempt failed.

Obviously given how Wentz was playing, it would have been nice for him to have the ball back to see how he could help the Dallas Cowboys defense a little.

Meanwhile, while the Cowboys’ defense kept giving their offense the ball back, the offense repaid their efforts by scoring 0.75 points per turnover.

49 – Percent of snaps played by Randy Gregory.  Last week he only played 6 snaps (9%) and this week he played 31.  Dallas is 18th in the league with 2.1 sacks per game (and that is actually up due to Sunday night’s 4-sack outing).  They need all the defensive line help they can get, especially after cutting Dontari Poe and trading away Everson Griffen.  It’ good to see Gregory playing more.

2 – The number of really poor calls that went against the Dallas defense by the officials.  Even the broadcasting crew understood how bad these calls were.

First, there was Randy Gregory’s roughing the passer penalty on Carson Wentz.  The official claimed this was for a low hit on the quarterback.  However, Gregory clearly made contact with Wentz’s upper thigh and and then slid down as he continued the hit.  This type of penalty is to prevent defenders from jumping into the knees of a quarterback, especially while lunging from the ground.

Of course, on the very next play Carson Wentz realized their mistake and played catch with Trevon Diggs for the first time.

Next there was the fumble recovery touchdown.  I believe the officials rightly let the play go on after the clear fumble.  Too many times defenses are penalized and points are taken off the board because the officials stopped the play.

However, after review, how is it impossible to tell that Eagles’ DT Vinny Curry was on his back, with both hands pinning the ball to his chest, and the only reason it was loose again was because Connor Williams pulled it out?  To this point, the NFL still has not admitted the mistake.

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Hopefully the Dallas Cowboys will build on this performance for the future.  Although this team probably won’t win many games the rest of the season, it will be important to see some fight and talent show up.

  • Published on 11/04/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 11/04/2020 at 07:36 AM