Dallas Lucks into a Win

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard is playing like a six million dollar back. That is Ezekiel Elliott’s cap hit this year. On Sunday, Zeke played like a role player as opposed to a feature back. He had 3 more carries for 71 yards averaging 4.4 yards a carry. Pollard averaged 8.4 yards a carry. It might be time for the Cowboys to consider trading Ezekiel Elliott for a legitimate pass rusher if one is to be had.

Jayron Kearse was the player of the game on the Cowboys defense. Kearse made plays at critical moments of the game. He was all over the field. Kearse jumps off the screen. He had 5 solo tackles. He is credited with assisting in at least one other tackle. He also had a tackle for loss, a pass break-up and a quarterback hit. Jaylon Smith had a bounce back week collecting 6 solo tackles and another 3 assisted tackles. The defense is aggressive and fast, but they lack a pass rush. They will have to tighten things up in the secondary as well. They cannot rely on the opposing offense to make unforced errors and hope to win games.

Conversely, the player of the game on offense was right tackle Terrence Steele. Fresh off the practice squad, Steele held Joey Bosa to zero tackles for loss and zero quarterback hits. This would be a great performance for any tackle. This is an outstanding performance for a practice squad tackle.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The Chargers left at least fourteen points on the field today. Justin Herbert threw lasers all over the field on Sunday. He ended the day 31/41 and 338 yards passing, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Chargers had two touchdowns called back on penalties. Dallas barely capitalized on the Chargers unforced errors. With three minutes and 54 seconds to go, Coach McCarthy mishandles the clock so badly they are forced to kick a 56-yard field goal to end the game. Coach McCarthy failed to get CeeDee Lamb or Tony Pollard involved at this critical juncture of the game. Instead, he bled out the clock and left the fate of the Cowboys on the uncertain, inconsistent leg of Greg Zuerlein. Coach McCarthy gambled. He won.

The Cowboys defense missed Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence on Sunday. The Cowboys were forced to manufacture pressure on Justin Herbert thru blitzing exposing their relatively young secondary. Still, they managed to hold a highflying Chargers offense to 17 points. The Cowboys defense had help though. The Chargers committed a litany of penalties on offense. Two of the worst penalties caused two touchdowns to be called back. The first occurred with 84 seconds left in the third quarter. Justin Herbert throws a 36-yard strike to Donald Parham Jr. The touchdown was called back because Leighton Vander Esch was held by Jared Cook. Two players later, Damontae Kazee snags an interception in the endzone. The second gut wrenching penalty occurred with five minutes and 42 seconds left in the game. Herbert tosses a two-yard pass to Jared Cook for a touchdown. The play was called back for an illegal shift made by two Chargers players. Two plays later Justin Herbert is scrambling all the way back to the 25-yard line and he launches the ball to throw it away. The referees called Justin Herbert down when he clearly was not. Micah Parsons was credited with a sack, but he never pulled Herbert to the ground. It was a horrible call by the referees. The Chargers were limited to a field goal call two plays later due to this grievous error by the referees.

Dallas ran the ball exceptionally well. Their success rushing is a credit to their offensive line. Tony Pollard ran for 109 yards and a touchdown while Ezekiel Elliott ran for another 71 yards and a touchdown. Both running backs combined for 5 catches and 57 receiving yards. The offense runs thru Dak Prescott, Pollard, Elliott and Cee Dee Lamb. Everyone else seems to be a role player. That is not the case though. Amari Cooper is still one of the best wide receivers in the game and the Cowboys need to find a way to get him more involved.

All in all, this was a sloppy game for the Cowboys. They have work to do. At least they walk away from a mistaken ridden game with a win.

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