THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys head into bye week with 3-4 record after loss to Redskins; add Cooper in trade

Jason Garrett and the Cowboys get a week off. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost another close one on the road, this time to their division rival Washington Redskins by the score of 20-17.  They now go into their bye week with a record of 3-4 (All four losses have been road games).

The score doesn’t really tell the story of the game though.  Dallas lost the most important battle of every game, the turnover battle (2-0).  The Redskins created two fumbles from Dak Prescott, including what was the game winning strip sack that they took back for a touchdown with less the five minutes remaining in the game and gave them a 20-10 lead.

The Cowboys offense had no answer for the Redskin defense when it came to getting the ball to Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott.  The NFL’s second leading rusher in the league was held to 33 yards on 15 carries and two catches for 9 yards which is Zeke’s second worst professional game ever.

With the Washington defense locked in on Elliott, head coach Jason Garrett had to find other ways to move the ball.  The Cowboys put game in quarterback Dak Prescott’s hands by running multiple play action fake passes and giving him the option to run the ball himself.   

Prescott was 22 of 35 for 273 yards and one touchdown which was a beautiful 49 yard pass to rookie receiver Michael Gallup to tie the game at 7 right before halftime.  He also ran the ball six times for 33 yards and another touchdown. He was able to spread the ball around and completed passes to seven different receivers. Top free agent acquisition Allen Hurns had his best game of the season with five catches for 74 yards and looks to finally be developing a good rapport with Prescott.  The issue was he was sacked four times and turned the ball over twice via fumbles.

The Cowboy defense was solid only giving up 305 yards of total offense and one touchdown early in the first quarter.  The teams were even in almost all categories of the game except for the most important one, turnovers.  

Dallas did have a chance to tie the game in the last few seconds but ended having to kick a field goal from 52 yards away instead on a 47 yard try due to a snap infraction on the long snapper.  Brett Maher’s kick was no good after hitting the left upright. He had made his previous 16 field goal attempts.

The loss leaves Dallas in a tie for second place with the Philadelphia Eagles and two games behind Washington.  The Cowboys now have a bye week to reload for the second half of the season that they will start with a Monday night game at home against the Tennessee Titans (3-4) on November 5th.  

The big news was the acquisition of former Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper. The Cowboys gave up a first-round pick in hopes he can step in and help the offense. They now have extra time to work him in.


 

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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