Friday, November 29, 2019

The Morning After: Walls cave in on Thanksgiving as Buffalo routes collapsing Cowboys


Week 13 vs BUF

Date published: Nov. 29, 2019

“A game where everything seemed connected.”

“The Bills took the game over in the second quarter with a number of plays on both sides of the ball that Dallas almost seemed to cooperate with, looking dazed and confused as Buffalo snatched the ball away again and again. 

When Buffalo paused to take a breath, Dallas would then commit another self-inflicted mistake. 

By the time the fourth quarter began, the game was already over. Basically, a number of moments in the middle two quarters of the game made the final 15 minutes a complete formality. A touchdown favorite in a game it needed to win at home with the entire football world locked in faced nearly impossible odds by the end of the third quarter.”

Garrett “cowardly punt” alert: 4th and 5 from BUF 42 yard line

Garrett “weird” alert: 4th and inches from OWN 20

(Both drives ended in punts)

BUF ran a blitz most of the day that DAL had trouble with: It is a five-man pressure that has a DE drop into coverage, but the opposite side runs a LB and then a trailing blitz into the same hole. 

Buffalo dominated this game from the second quarter on. 

Remember Brett Maher? Following this game, Maher is 35 out of 37 kickers DURING HIS TENURE ON THE COWBOYS from the 3-50 yard range. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Cowboys Pregame Riffing: Preparing for the Buffalo Bills


Week 13 vs. BUF

Date published: Nov. 27, 2019

Only Jason Garrett and Dave Campo have losing records on Thanksgiving as Cowboys coach.

DAL has won two of the last three, but both wins were against WAS

Famous DAL-BUF games:

  • 92 + 93 Super Bowls

  • 2007 MNF (Romo 5 INTs, but Cowboys still win)

  • Kellen Moore’s first game in 2015

  • Overall (before game): Cowboys 8-4 vs. BUF

Matchup to Watch: Amari vs. Tre’Davious

  • Opposing QB’s have a passer rating of 51.1 against White

New BUF offensive toys: John Brown, Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox, Tyler Kroft, Devin Singletary

Matchup to Watch: Cole Beasley vs. Jourdan Lewis

The Pick: Cowboys 23, Bills 20

The Richard Report: Cowboys defense holds its own in New England, special teams does not


Week 12 vs NE

Date published: Nov. 27, 2019


Following this game, DAL remains in the bottom third of the league in four major special teams categories.

Also, DAL continues to suck in road games where they are not favored: 5-49-1 in last 55 games, and 1-17 since 2004. Being horrible on turnovers doesnt help. 

Tom Brady: 17-37, 190 yards passing, 1 TD

5 explosive plays - 3 passes to Edelman (over 20 yards), 2 to Meyers (over 20 yards)

DAL defense Splash plays - 16

3 - Jaylon, Quinn

2 - Maliek Collins

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore - Cowboys offense misfires at key moments in Foxborough


Week 12 vs. NE

Date published: Nov. 26, 2019

Some quick NE offensive notes that played into DAL struggling in wet, windy conditions:

  • The Patriots won this game with a passer rating of 70.8 in a season where the average QB game has a passer rating of 91. Dallas lost the game with a passer rating of 64.2.

  • The Patriots won this game with a third-down conversion percentage of 21 percent in a season where the average team has a rate of 38.5 percent. Dallas lost the game with a third-down percentage of 15 percent. Their season rate had been 52 percent entering the game.

Cowboys are now 1-7 in games where third-down-conversions are under 35 percent

(2-of-13 against NE)

Cowboys stats:

30:22 TOP

2-13 3rd down conv

0-2 red zone conv

7.4 3rd down avg to go

Dak: 19/33, 212 passing, 1 INT, 0 TD

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Morning After: Cowboys disappoint on the biggest stage, reinforcing their new status quo


Week 12 vs. NE

Date published: Nov. 25, 2019

Things got off to a bad start with 1:45 left in the 1Q: Joe Thomas doesn’t block Matthew Slater, and Slater blocks Chris Jones’ punt. Two plays later: Brady to N’Keal Harry.

Next drive: Jarwin drops a pass, Zeke run on second down, Frederick snaps ball high to Dak on third down. Dak attempts sidearm throw to Cooper, but its’ intercepted by Stephon Gilmore.

Plenty more mistakes, and before we know it, 10-0 NE.

DALLAS DOES GET INTO THE REDZONE: On 4th-and7 after three plays that weren’t close, Garrett chooses to kick a field goal. Not a bad decision, cutting the NE lead to 13-9.

AND IT WORKED! DAL gets the ball back, drives to midfield. But a suspect tripping call sends the drive to a fourth-and-11, and Cooper dove for a pass that was ruled incomplete. Game over.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday Cowboys Riffing: The challenge in Gillette Stadium, with the NFL world at rapt attention


Week 12 vs NE

Date published: Nov. 22, 2019

So far, the only road wins the Cowboys have had this year: WAS, NYG, DET

So far, the road losses: NO, NYJ

“Since the day Tom Brady was drafted, this franchise has played 179 games in Foxborough and won 82.3 percent of them (148-31). They have lost 31 home games in 20 years and have lost only 11 home games in the last decade. The last home game they lost was in October of 2017. The last time they didn’t win the AFC East in a healthy Tom Brady season was 2002.”

Matchup to Watch: Dallas’ third-down offense that is the best in the NFL versus New England’s third-down defense that is the best in the NFL

Going into this game the NE defense had allowed a third-down conversion only 19.3 percent of the time.

Going into this game, DAL had converted on 52.1 percent of their third down opportunities

All-time mark: 2011 Saints with a 56.7 percent conversion rate

Matchup to watch: Robert Quinn vs. Isaiah Wynn

PICK: Pats 26, Cowboy 24

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Richard Report: Cowboys defense allows Detroit a worrisome number of big plays


Week 11 vs DET

Date published: Nov. 20, 2019

Thank goodness for the offense. The DAL defense aws shredded by a backup quarterback and backup running back vs. DET.

Only gained 312 yards, but with aforementioned backups, that’s concerning. Also scored 27points, but a Zeke fumble did give them a short field on one drive / bad special teams play.

202 of the 312 yards came on 7 big plays:

49 pass to Golladay 

39 pass to Hall

25 pass to Jones

23 run Scarbrough

23 Driskel run

22 pass to McKissic

21 pass to Amendola

7 explosive plays is the most the DAL defense has given up all year

DAL defense: 

6-13 third down conv

3-3 red zone conv

5.5 yards per play

20 defensive splashes (that’s a lot, but they were “empty” splash plays)

Best splash play of the game was D-Law, who hits Driskel’s arm on a would-be screen pass to McKissic with 2:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore: Explosive passes become routine as Cowboys offense transforms before our eyes


Week 11 vs. DET

Date published: Nov. 19, 2019

“Dallas is No. 1 in total yards. In fact, Kansas City has played one more game, and the Cowboys still have more yards than the high-powered Chiefs. Dallas is also No. 1 in passing offense, No. 2 in total offensive points per game, No. 1 in third-down conversion rate, No. 1 in first downs per game, No. 1 in fewest sacks per pass attempt and No. 1 in yards per attempt.

“From 2017 through 2018, the Dallas Cowboys produced 73 20-yard pass plays in 32 regular-season games. That total was 31st in the NFL. If you roll the sample size back to the day of the Amari Cooper trade, the Cowboys produced just 50 explosive passes in 24 regular season games — dead last in the league! As we sit here today, on a per-game basis, almost nobody has more.”

Following this game, here’s Dak’s last 16 games:

69.3 comp pct

4,968 yards

8.5 YPA

37 TD (32 pass, 5 rush(

12 INT

104.8 passer rating

11-5 record

2019 is a full season with Cooper, Gallup, and Cobb - team went from worst team in offensive football to the top with new receivers for Dak to throw to.

Cowboys offense:

509 yards

26 first downs

30;54 TOP

7.2 YPP

9.2 YPA

8-14 3rd down

3-5 RZ


29-46, 444 passing, 3 TD

Offense ran 16 play action passes, completed on 9 for 132 yards

Dagger play: Perfectly executed screen pass to Zeke, with Dak letting the safety get all the way home before letting the pass go. Martin, Frederick, Witten all nail their blocks.

10 games in, Cowboys have just one offensive performance with less than 399 yards.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Morning After: Defense still lacks sharpness, but Cowboys’ offensive showcase demonstrates growth


Week 11 vs. DET

Date published: Nov. 18, 2019

“Several DAL players stepped up to make plays that were the difference between another catastrophic defeat and a victory that was not always aesthetically pleasing but nevertheless added to the win column.”

DAL offense runs up over 500 yards of offense, 400 yards of passing and 35 points.

Jason Garrett and Kellen Moore seem to be putting the ball in Dak’s hands more. Offense is averaging more than 400 yards in the past four games - 59 percent of their plays and 73 percent of their yards coming through the air. 

Trailed 14-0, started throwing way more.

Got Tony Pollard involved a ton in this game.

HUGE PLAY: Tavon Austin breaks up a bad Dak pass that would have been intercepted by Slay.

Turned game around with a 35-21 lead.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Friday Cowboys Riffing: Previewing High Noon in Detroit, plus Q&A on playcalling, Zeke’s usage and more


Week 11 vs. DET

Date published: Nov. 15, 2019

“There were 15 different quarterbacks selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. None of them have started more games, thrown for more yards, scored more touchdowns and won more games than Dallas’ Dak Prescott. His win total (37) outpaces Jared Goff (29) and Carson Wentz (28) by a pretty healthy margin, and his new contract might outpace those two top picks in 2016 before too long.”

Can DAL defense dominate Jeff Driskel?

  • No defense plays more man coverage than DET

  • DAL should try some offensive plays that they want to use against NE, since DET and NE defenses are very similar

  • Key DET defenders: Slay, Trey Flowers

Matchups to watch: Xavier Sua-Filo vs. Lions DTs, TJ Hockenson vs. DAL safeties

The Pick: Cowboys 27, Lions 17

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Richard Report: How the Vikings took Green Bay’s game plan and beat the Cowboys with it


Week 10 vs MIN

Date published: Nov. 13, 2019

Aaron Jones had a field day vs. DAL. So, what did MIN do? Unleash Dalvin Cook!

In 2018, Cowboys made a concentrated effort to upgrade their LB corps so teams couldn’t attack them with shifty running backs. Drafting LVE and Jaylon’s health really set the defense on a much-improved path. 

Unfortunately, the took a step back in 2019, and Cook and Jones feasted.

Cook offensive numbers: 26 rushes, 97 yards; 7 receptions, 86 yards

DAL defense:

  • 33:27 MIN TOP

  • 1 sack

  • 8-14 third down

  • 3-5 red zone

Kirk Cousins accounted for three big plays - two to Cook - and Cook had a 23 yard run. Basically, Cook destroyed DAL today.

15 splashes

  • 5 DLAW

  • 2 LVE

MIN scored a TD on a screen pass, which DAL has been horrible against all year.

Super disturbing from this game: MIN had no Thielen, and still ran all over DAL.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore: Cowboys stall against Vikings despite Prescott’s finest performance


Week 10 vs. MIN

Date published: Nov. 12, 2019

To date, best passing performance of Dak’s career:

  • 28/46, 397 yards, 3 TD

Randall Cobb game:

  • 6 catches, 106 yards, 1 TD

Trailing 28-24, in the MIN red zone with 2 minutes remaining.

  • Hit Cooper for 8 yard gain on first down, then gain no yards + go backwards for next three. DAL doesn’t score, game over.

DAL offense: 9-15 third down conv, 1-3 RZ conv (including one at the end of the game)

Zeke was stuffed all evening:

10rushes against 6 men in the box for 20 yards...10 rushes against other fronts durin the game and didnt average more than 4 yards a carry on any of them.

What’s frustrating is how imposing the DAL passing attack was all night, but only converting once in the red zone is a recipe for a loss. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Morning After: After another ominous Cowboys loss, familiar feelings of mediocrity creep back in


Week 10 vs. MIN

Date published: Nov, 11, 2019

This game seemed important, with Dallas already notching losses to Green Bay and New Orleans and precious little tie-breaker games remaining - except against the NFC East, of course.

Cowboys always talk about “Fast starts,” but…

  • Saints go up 9-3

  • Packers go up 31-3

  • Jets go up 21-3

  • Vikings go up 14-0

Why? No risks!

  • Garrett is super risk-adverse

  • Vs. vikings in first quarter, have a fourth-and-six from MIN 39, but settle for a 57-yard field goal

  • Second drive, fourth-and-6 from MIN 48 and down 7-0, Cowboy spunt

  • PUNTS ON FOURTH AND 4 AGAIN from Vikings 39 yard line  on DAL third drive

  • Offense continued to feed zeke even though MIN clearly selling ou tto stop the run.. Cowboys only averaged 2.4 yards per attempt

In a super close game, you can’t get to the Red Zone and not register any points at all. 

This was also the game Tavon Austin fair-caught a punt that looked like he could run another 25 yards without getting touched. 

Dalvin Cook had a great game for MIN.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Friday Cowboys Riffing: Previewing a vital matchup against the Minnesota Vikings


Week 10 vs. MIN

Date published: Nov. 8, 2019

Entering this game, have MIke Zimmer and Jason Garrett used up all of their good will wth their respective franchises?

Entering game: Cowboys lead head to head all time, 16-14

Notable games: Drew Pearson hail mary; Randy Moss’ first game against Dallas with three TD catches of more than 50 yards; playoff game in 2009, routed DAL 34-3 with Brett Favre

Vikings have a really good defense again (built to defeat Aaron Rodgers with a pass rush and good DB play)!

Cowboys have a really good offense again!

Fun matchup to watch is 11 personnel vs 11 personnel - Cowboys have been the best team in the league in 11 personnel and the Vikings play 11 personnel super well on defense. Vikings are also not shabby in 11 personnel offense themselves. 

Matchup to watch: Danielle Hunter vs. La’el Collins

Matchup to watch: Vikings interior OL vs. Maliek Collins and Mike Bennett

Bob’s pick: Cowboys 31, Minnesota 24

Thursday, November 07, 2019

The Richard Report: Michael Bennett and Sean Lee check in, defensive surge continues


Week 9 vs. NYG

Date published: Nov. 7, 2019

It was a rough start to the season for this unit, but the team seems to be rebounding nicely following the ugly Jets loss:

“But here we sit at the eight-game mark, and we see a defense that has consistently stepped up now for quite a while. We see a defense that is now getting consistent sacks, limiting big plays, crushing third downs and now adding takeaways to the mix.”

Now, we add a healthy Sean Lee and the mid-season signing of Bennett to this unit.

Stats vs. NYG offense

5-16 3rd down

1-5 red zone

5 sacks

3 takeaways

20 splashes

Following this game, Cowboy vault to second in NFL in third down defense and third in NFL in red zone defense.


3- DLaw

3- Jourdan Lewis

2- Sean Lee

2- Michael Bennett

2- Dorance Armstrong

2- Jaylon

2- Xavier Woods

Fantastic plays by Xavier Woods in this game: With GIants leading 12-10 and driving, Woods baits Daniel Jones to throw towards the sideline, but recovers and intercepts the ball, taking it all the way back into Giants territory. Woods also recovers a fumble that he helped cause with Jourdan Lewis.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Decoding Kellen Moore: Putting Cowboys’ sloppy MNF game in proper context


Week 9 vs. NYG

Date published: Nov. 6, 2019

This game is an odd one to “decode,” because the Cowboys were sloppy for three quarters on offense, yet carried the lead into the fourth quarter and then executed a solid attack plan to win the game. 

Leading 23-18 in the fourth quarter and time on their side, Kellen Moore chose a myriad of passing plays to “attack” and put the Giants away - instead of relying solely on Zeke to pound the ball and kill the clock. 

Witten goes for 22 on a pass play, but a Cobb penalty negates it and gives the Cowboys 3rd-and-12 with plenty of time for NYG to get the ball back and take the lead. 

Moore answers with a perfect play call: Cobb runs a vertical to clear out the field, and Cooper sneaks underneath into the open area for an easy catch-and-run to convert the third down and ice the game.

So far in 2019, Cowboys have gained more than 400 yards in six of eight games (a “successful” day, per Sturm). 

This is the Gallup tiptoe-touchdown game, which was actually all improvised: Cowboys thought they had a free play due to an offsides, but the flag never came. Dak flat-foots a throw to 13-Gallup, who grabs it, tiptoes down the sideline, scores. 


4-11 on third down

1-3 red zone

429 yards

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Cowboys have multiple giveaways in this game, but they still win on the road!

Following this game:

Dallas explosive passes (20+ yards), 2017-19:

2017: 34

2018: 39

2019: 31 (in 8 games)