Week after week I throw a lot of data around and I know at times it can make your head spin. But, there is a method to the madness and if this is your first season following this type of research, then I think you will be interested in seeing the picture take focus as the season goes on.
Now, before I reveal the following numbers and conclusions, I do want to admit that there is a certain cause/effect debate about how this relates to winning and losing. Do the Cowboys run to win or because they are winning? Do the Cowboys pass when they are behind or do they get behind because they are passing?
But, here is the thing about the Cowboys in their present form. Yes, they are 1-3 and yes, you are what you are. But does anyone watch the Cowboys and say, they just aren't as good as their opponent? No chance.
When you watch the Cowboys, you do not see the Cleveland Browns. You do not see the truly bad teams in this league who struggle to play offense and gain even 200 yards.
Further, the argument that the Cowboys have to pass so much because they are way behind is absurd. The Cowboys have lost 3 games, but in none of those games were they behind by more than a score in the 2nd half. The biggest deficit was early in the Tennessee game, but it was surely not early enough to throw your game-plan in the trash.
Anyway, now that we have said all of that, here is the interesting truth: In the Cowboys 3 losses, they are a 30% run/70% pass team that seems to be more than fine slinging the ball around the lot and adopting a high-risk, high-reward offense. If they were really good at this strategy, I would not make it a big deal. But, they have lost all 3 of those games.
Meanwhile, in their masterpiece in Houston, they were 47% run/53% pass. Balanced throughout the game, and the Texans were confused and frustrated.
How about on simple 1st Downs? In the 3 losses, the Cowboys have had 101 first downs - and run only 35 times. (34.6%) This is 1st and 10 and in every situation. In the 1 win? 14 runs/12 passes on 1st Down (54%).
Whether it is Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett, or Tony Romo - someone on this team thinks the Cowboys are the Saints, Colts, or Patriots. The numbers argue hard in the other direction. This team is best when it is 50/50 run/pass and the defense is not sure what is coming. The Cowboys have never demonstrated a proficiency when the defense knows what is coming and cannot stop it. That just isn't what they do best.
On to the Tennessee data, we see that their 2nd Down yards to go is the worst of the season. Of course, it was not helped by a 2nd and 32 throwing off the average, but you cannot get much done when it is 2nd and 9 all of the time. 3rd Down average distance was 2nd longest of the year to the Washington Game.
|1st Down Run-Pass||14-20|
|2nd Down Avg Distance to Go||8.84|
|2nd Down Run-Pass||9-16|
|3rd Down Avg Distance to Go||8.28|
|3rd Down Run-Pass||0-14|
|3rd Down Conversions||7-14, 50%|
How about Drive Starting plays? This is where Jason Garrett can set the pace for the drive with any play on his sheet - Houston sticks out like a sore thumb:
At Washington, Week 1: 10 Drives - 6 Run/4Pass
Chicago, Week 2: 10 Drives - 7 Pass/3 Run
At Houston, Week 3: 8 Drives - 8 Run/0 Pass
Tennessee, Week 4: 12 Drives - 7 Pass/5 Run
Here is the breakdown by groupings:
Totals by Personnel Groups:
As you see the numbers, you might think that S11 is the greatest package ever. It is the "Hurry Up" 2-min offense for the Cowboys. If they are taking 33 snaps out of this offense, then you can bet the Cowboys are trying to rally in a game. The raw numbers look good if you are playing fantasy football, but the fact is the Cowboys were sacked 5 times in Shotgun, and it just telegraphs to the defense what to prepare for. In 3 years of collecting this data, nothing is more deceiving than yards rolled up in a 2 minute drill against a soft prevent defense.
Totals by Personnel Groups on 3rd/4th Down:
Very nice numbers when you get more than 500 yards, but not enough steak with that sizzle this week.
For a more expanded definition of the Personnel Groups, click here.
Make sure you check use these numbers when you look at the video breakdowns that will be posted later today.