THE COWBOYS REPORT

Are the Dallas Cowboys in trouble after 1-2 start?

Jason Garrett and the Cowboys are looking to bounce back. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Sunday afternoon, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Seattle Seahawks by the score of 24-13 and in reality it should have been a much closer game.  The main factor in this matchup was turnovers and Seattle created them all.

Quarterback Dak Prescott was 19 of 34 for 168 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.  Once again, the offensive line played well below average when pass blocking and allowed the Seahawk defense to sack him five times for a loss of 31 yards total.  He never had any time to set his feet and SHOCKINGLY, anytime he was able to set up there was nobody open downfield. At least this week, there was a tight end sighting.  Geoff Swaim (TE) led the team with five catches for 47 yards. No other receiver had more than three, and yes that includes $12 million dollar man Allen Hurns, who had two for 22 yards.

One bright spot for Dallas was the O-line was able to open up holes for Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had 16 carries for 127 yards and a 7.9 yard per carry average.  Most notably, however, early in the fourth quarter with the score 24-6, Elliott broke through for a 26 yard run deep into Seattle territory but fumbled the ball and Seattle took over at their own 13 yard line.  The Dallas coaching staff needs to take a step back to figure what they need to do to get the offense on track. They tried to get speedster Tavon Austin the ball but essentially ran three bubble screens to him which resulted in three catches for 2 yards.  Jason Garrett and staff need to get a bit more creative.

When it was all over, Dallas had given the ball away three times and weren’t able to force any takeaways themselves.  Turnovers are key in this league and whoever wins that battle usually wins the game. Seattle was the hungrier team on Sunday as they went in at 0-2 and when you combine that with a clutch performance from Russell Wilson, they were due for a much-needed win.  If you read last week’s article hopefully you took Seattle (-1) and cashed in, I know I did!

3 Players to Watch

  1. Ezekiel Elliott (running back): The Cowboys only offensive star is going to have to put last week’s game behind him and help push his team to another victory and right now he is the only playmaker on offense.  Also, Detroit is the worst defense in the league against the run.

  2. Jaylon Smith (linebacker): This 6’2, second-year player out of Norte Dame is going to be a key part of the Dallas defense with the health of Sean Lee in question.  He is second on the team in sacks with two and has 22 total tackles so far.  He is going to have his work cut out for him going against Detroit’s good pass catching running backs.

  3. Jason Garrett (head coach): The coaching staff needs to be smarter.  They need to call more appropriate plays for the type of team they have.  With the O-line not being able to block very well some regular screen passes and roll out plays togGet Prescott some easy completions would help create positive yards.

Coming Up

Sunday afternoon the Cowboys (1-2) will be hosting the Detroit Lions (1-2) at AT & T Stadium (AKA: Jerry’s World) at noon.  It will be their second home game of the season and they are looking for any advantage they can get.

Once again, the Cowboys are going to need their offensive line to play well in order for them to be victorious.  The Dallas coaching staff needs to be able to make in-game adjustments to keep the offense moving, especially making good play calls on third downs.  The Cowboys are 8 of 34 on third down conversions for the season. They are only ahead of the winless Arizona Cardinals. Luckily, the Lions are coming off a big win over the New England Patriots and could be primed for a letdown this week.  Hopefully, Elliot can make amends for last week’s fumble and help carry the team to another win.

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are Elliott, Lions QB Matthew Stafford and his trio of wide receivers Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay.

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas -3.  The only play here would be if you can get the Cowboys at less than 3, if not I would stay away from it.  The over under is 43.5, and the over could be interesting if starting middle linebacker Sean Lee is out for Dallas.  He left last week’s game with a hamstring injury. I can see both teams scoring over 20 points if Lee does not play along with Detroit’s possible letdown.



 

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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After dropping the middle game to the Rangers to split the first two games, the Astros looked for an improved offensive showing in the finale on Thursday night to take the series. Here is a rundown of the rubber game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.

Record: 25-25, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Valdez another Houston pitcher to thrive against Rangers

Much like Jose Urquidy on Tuesday and Lance McCullers JR. on Wednesday, Framber Valdez put up an excellent pitching line on Thursday against the Rangers. After allowing two singles in the first and a single in the second, he would settle in and hold the Rangers to just one baserunner, which came via a walk through six frames.

He would try to get through the seventh, but after a long at-bat and one-out double, Dusty Baker would stop his night and go to the bullpen. Unfortunately, that double would end up scoring as Josh James would allow an RBI-single, charged to Valdez, before finishing the inning. Along the way, Valdez was able to ring up eleven Rangers. His final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Kyle Tucker gets the big hit of the night

Luckily, Houston was still in the lead after the Rangers' run, thanks to a big hit by Kyle Tucker back in the second inning. After Alex Bregman reached base on a walk to become the first runner for the Astros, Kyle Tucker would break out of his recent slump with a two-run home run, putting Houston ahead 2-0 at the time.

Jordan Lyles was otherwise handling the Astros just like Kyle Gibson the night prior, who threw a complete-game shutout. Other than the Tucker homer, Lyles allowed another hit in the second and one in the third before retiring the next 12 Astros in order before an error in the seventh broke that streak, giving Houston their first baserunner since two outs in the third.

Houston takes the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James returned to the mound to start the eighth, and he would get a 1-2-3 inning against the top of Texas' lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it. After another scoreless inning by Houston at the plate, that would set up a save opportunity in the top of the ninth. The opportunity would go to Brooks Raley, and he would notch the save with a scoreless inning, giving Houston the series and moving them back up to .500 at 25-25.

Up Next: The Astros' final three regular-season games played at Minute Maid Park in 2020 are this weekend in a series against the Diamondbacks. In Friday's 7:10 PM opener, Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston while Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will be the starter for Arizona.

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