Dallas Cowboys: Some telling numbers
229 – The amount of yards the Steelers gain on 3 consecutive possessions in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The drives:
6 plays, 75 yards, Touchdown
11 plays, 75 yards, Field Goal
6 plays, 79 yards, Touchdown
That’s 15 points in 3 possessions after Dallas had held them to just 9 points in 7 previous possessions.
During the same stretch the Dallas offense decided to do this:
6 plays, 31 yards, Interception
6 plays, 15 yards, punt
5 plays, -1 yards, turnover on downs
364 – The yards the Dallas Cowboys offense put up against this Pittsburgh defense.
Pittsburgh ranks 6th in the league in total defense at 317.4 yards per game. Only the Baltimore Ravens have moved the ball better against Pittsburgh than Dallas has. Baltimore has an MVP quarterback, Dallas has (for the second week in a row), a first-time starter. That’s fairly impressive for Dallas.
However, to win games those yards must be converted to points, and the Cowboys failed to that over and over.
144 – The rushing yards by the Dallas offense, the most this year in a game.
Dallas rushed the ball 31 times at 4.6 yards per carry. Meanwhile the Pittsburgh defense only surrenders 102 yards per game on the ground. This is interesting because when a really good defense doesn’t need to worry about a quarterback, then the running game is often shut down, but it wasn’t.
A really interesting thing about the run game is when Dallas chose to utilize it. The Cowboys faced 16 third downs during the game, and ran the ball on 8 of them. This included a 3rd and 5 where Tony Pollard gained 20 yards and a 3rd and 9 where Ezekiel Elliott gained 8.75 yards.
One concerning note is that Elliott had 18 carries and gained only 51 yards (2.9ypc), while Tony Pollard got only 9 carries and churned out 57 yards (6.3ypc). I do not mean to imply that the Cowboys should start Tony Pollard (and please don’t let him return kickoffs again), but he seems to justify more carriers as he seems to have a little more juice than Elliott at the moment.