THE COWBOYS REPORT
Cowboys lose a heartbreaker in Houston; face Jags this week
The Dallas Cowboys took a tough 19-16 overtime loss to their interstate rival Houston Texans Sunday night and this time the score does show that it was a close contest.
It was a back and forth game for its entirety and the teams ended with similar stats in all aspects of the game except for yards gained. The Texans outgained the Cowboys by almost 200 yards (462 to 292).
The Dallas defense played extremely well whenever the Texans entered the red zone and only allowed one touchdown. They stopped Houston three times when they had first and goal throughout the game. The Cowboy linebackers were exceptional at containing the mobile Texans quarterback and held Deshaun Watson to 40 yards rushing. The defense in all only sacked him once but hit him 10 times and slowed him down a bit by causing a chest injury. Watson was moving a lot slower than normal as the game went on.
The Cowboys offense was another story. Quarterback Dak Prescott did pass for over 200 yards again but was sacked twice. His final stat line was 18 of 29 for 208 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. NFL leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott was held to only 54 yards on 20 carries for a 2.7-yard per carry average. The Texan defense locked in on him and never let him get anything going. Even when he lined up as a receiver the Texans were able to cover him up. With the Houston defense keyed on Zeke, someone else needed to step up. The problem was nobody did. No other Cowboy other than Elliott caught more than three balls.
At the end of the night and even with all the offensive struggles, the Cowboys made a clutch drive late in the fourth quarter to score a game tying field goal to send the game to overtime. In OT, Dallas took the opening drive to the Texan 42 yard line and had a crucial third and 1 play. The Cowboys opted to run Elliott up the middle from a shotgun formation and he got stopped for no gain. Head Coach Jason Garrett decided to punt the ball away and trust his defense. The difference in the game was that the Texans playmakers stepped up when it counted most and the Cowboy’s playmakers didn’t. Texan superstar wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took a short pass and ran through multiple Cowboys defenders, which sealed the game.
A bright spot for the Cowboys is all other NFC East opponents lost as well. This keeps in second place and one game behind the Washington Redskins.
3 Players to Watch
Ezekiel Elliott (running back): Zeke stays No. 1 on the list because he needs to have a good game for the Cowboys to win. He is the only playmaker on the team and needs to make something happen against a great Jaguar defense.
Geoff Swaim (tight end): Swaim seems to have found a nice connection with Prescott and is his check down receiver whenever he gets in trouble. He was the seconding leading receiver last week with three catches for 55 yards.
Brett Maher (kicker): Has not missed a field goal since his first attempt in the NFL which was in Week 1. He has made 11 straight and needs to keep it going as points are going to be hard to come by against Jacksonville.
Coming Up (Week 6)
Sunday afternoon the Dallas Cowboys (2-3) will be back at home to host the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) with the kickoff scheduled at 3:25 pm Central time.
This should be a compelling matchup in which the Cowboys should have a good chance of winning. The Jaguars are without their superstar running back Leonard Fournette and much like the Cowboys; don’t really have any big time playmakers on offense. Points are going to come at premium and the team who plays the better defense will probably be the victor.
If you have any fantasy players, the only must start players are:
Jaguars: T.J. Yeldon.
For you gamblers out there, the current line is Dallas +3 with an over/under of 40.5. If you are going to play I think you would want to catch Dallas at a number over three and maybe take the under. Both offenses tend to struggle and I don’t see both teams scoring 20 points.