Every QB needs a 1st start in the NFL, and when Stephen McGee began his journey (whether he ends up with 1 start or 300 starts) on Sunday in Philadelphia, it appears pretty clear that the Cowboys wanted to make sure that A) they made things as easy as possible on the young lad, B) they did not have to consider playing a gimpy Jon Kitna, and C) you would never know that Chris Greisen was the emergency 3rd QB on Sunday for your favorite team.
They had 25 1st Down snaps - thought of as the only neutral down in football - and elected to run on 18 of the 25 1st Downs. A run-heavy commitment that we have never seen out of Jason Garrett.
Further, 36 of the 62 snaps they ran with heavy personnel in order to keep McGee as clean as possible. Multiple TE formations were the order of the day.
On drive starting plays, the Cowboys called a run on 7 of the 1st 8 drives.
Any way you look at it, they were attempting to set a tone that would not ask McGee to do too much.
And they were successful. He didn't do too much.
He attempted 10 passes to WRs, and with the exception of the 1 pass downfield that could best be described as a heave down to Miles Austin, the other deepest completion was about 5 yards. 4-10 to WRs for 74 yards.
Otherwise, mixed reviews from the running game, but when you add the 55 yards from McGee when he scrambled, they actually accumulated 159 yards on 34 carries.
Honestly, when it is Game 16, and you are starting a 3rd QB against a team that is scratching most of its regulars, I think it would be folly to spend too much time breaking this one down. But, for a complete database, here are our statistical findings:
Wk 1: 33
Wk 2: 33
Wk 3: 22
Wk 4: 37
Wk 5: 18
Wk 6: 37
Wk 7: 51
Wk 8: 36
----------------Wade Phillips Fired---------------
Wk 9: 12
Wk 10: 14
Wk 11: 33
Wk 12: 20
Wk 13: 29
Wk 14: 26
Wk 15: 32
Wk 16: 24
Here is the Data from a season ender against Philadelphia:
|1st Down Run-Pass||18-7|
|2nd Down Avg Distance to Go||8.25|
|2nd Down Run-Pass||10-10|
|3rd Down Avg Distance to Go||7.68|
|3rd Down Run-Pass||5-11|
|3rd Down Conversions||5-16, 31%|
You will seldom see 18 runs on 25 1st Downs. Practically never. And then with 8.25 to go on 2nd Down, Dallas kept running quite a bit.
Wk 1-At Washington: 10 Drives - 6 Run/4Pass
Wk 2-Chicago: 10 Drives - 3 Run/7 Pass
Wk 3-At Houston: 8 Drives - 8 Run/0 Pass
Wk 4-Tennessee: 12 Drives - 5 Run/7 Pass
Wk 5-At Minnesota: 11 Drives - 7 Run/4 Pass
Wk 6-New York: 14 Drives - 3 Run/11 Pass
Wk 7-Jacksonville: 11 Drives - 3 Run/8 Pass
Wk 8-At Green Bay: 10 Drives - 3 Run/7 Pass
Wk 9-At New York: 12 Drives - 8 Run/4 Pass
Wk 10-Detroit: 11 Drives - 6 Run/5 Pass
Wk 11-New Orleans: 12 Drives - 5 Run/7 Pass
Wk 12-Indianapolis: 11 Drives - 10 Run/1 Pass
Wk 13-Philadelphia: 12 Drives - 5 Run/7 Pass
Wk 14-Washington: 11 Drives - 6 Run/5 Pass
Wk 15-Arizona: 13 Drives - 7 Run/6 Pass
Wk 16-Philadelphia: 11 Drives - 7 Run/4 Pass
92 Run/87 Pass
11 Drives, 7 run/4 Pass against the Eagles - but 7/1 was the split through 8 drives.
Here is the breakdown by groupings:
Totals by Personnel Groups:
Yes, the Cowboys converted 5 of 16 3rd Down conversions, but they actually ran for 3 of them. On 3rd Down passes, the Cowboys were much worse, at 2 for 11.
Totals by Personnel Groups on 3rd/4th Down:
Make sure you check out the video supplement that will be posted a bit later today.
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.
Bob Sturm is host of BaD Radio on The Ticket 1310 AM Mondays through Fridays at 12-3 p.m. He also hosts The Ticket's Cowboys pregame show. Follow Bob on Twitter at
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