THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys’ Cooper debut spoiled in loss to Titans; Eagles up next

Dak Prescott had a rough night. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost another heartbreaker on Monday night to the Tennessee Titans by the score of 28-14.  The addition of Amari Cooper paid dividends right away but bad play calling and costly turnovers were the Cowboys downfall.  

Dallas came out fired up right out of the gate and seemed to be the better team on the field for the first quarter and a half.  They had a good balance between run and pass plays and the defense was swarming all over the Titan offense. The game turned when the Titans intercepted Dak Prescott in the end zone that would have given Dallas a 14-0 lead.  Instead, Tennessee marched down the field, tied the game at 7, and never trailed again.

The loss drops the Cowboys to 3-5 and makes next week’s game against the Eagles a must win game if they have any hopes of winning the division.  Dallas was never able to get super star running back Ezekiel Elliott going. He ended up with 17 carries for 61 yards and 4 catches for 51 yards.  Zeke never had a great chance to make any plays because the play calling was very predictable. The coaching staff basically called a running play on every 1st and 10 and the Titan defense as ready for it every time.

Quarterback Dak Prescott quickly put to use the speed and skill of newly acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper by connecting with him for a 5 yard touchdown on their second offensive possession.  Cooper’s talent was seen instantly, his has the ability to create separation from almost any defender and was clearly the best pass catcher on the field for Dallas.  Prescott finished the game 21 of 31 for 243 yards with two touchdowns and the lone costly interception. One issue for him was his offensive line did not play very well. They were flagged for numerous penalties and allowed Prescott to be sacked five times which also included a fumble that was recovered by the Titan defense.   

If there is a silver lining, it is that the presence of Cooper to the Cowboys offense is a real threat to opposing defenses and they will have to worry about him in their game plans.  This could lead to a boost in the Dallas offense as it opens possibilities for Prescott, Elliott, and Cooper to make big plays down the field as long as they coaches are smart enough to call the right plays.  

Players to Watch

  1. Amari Cooper (wide receiver): Caught 5 balls for 58 yards and a touchdown in his first game as a Cowboy.  The Eagles have an average pass defense and the Cowboys should be looking to get their best receiver the ball more than 5 times.

  2. Ezekiel Elliott (running back): as good as Zeke is, he will be going up against the #2 rushing defense in the league.  Hopefully, the Cowboy coaching staff can get him the ball in space with misdirection plays and line him up as a receiver to give him the ability to make plays.

  3. Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith (linebackers): Once again defensive star Sean Lee is injured and it will be up to these two players to help stabilize the defense.  They are the top two tacklers on the team and are only getting better.

The Cowboys (3-5) will be on the road playing their division rival Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night at 7:20 pm Central time.  Dallas must win the keep from falling further back in the NFC East race. A victory will put them in 2nd place and keep them in the hunt to win the division.  

If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:

Cowboys:  Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR).

Eagles:  Carson Wentz (QB), Alshon Jeffery (WR), Zach Ertz (TE), Golden Tate (WR).

  • Tate will be playing his first game as an Eagle he was traded from Detroit last week

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are +6.5 and the over/under is 43.  The only play that you should make is taking the Eagles at anything less than 7.


 

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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