THE COWBOYS REPORT

Cowboys win 3 in a row; Saints up next

Zeke Elliot has been a beast for the Cowboys. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys (6-5) are on a three game winning streak after defeating the Washington Redskins (6-5) by the score of 31-23 and taking over first place of the NFC East on Thanksgiving Day.  

Once again, they had a solid game plan with a good mix of run and pass plays.  For the second game in a row they took their opening possession for a 10-plus play scoring drive, this one ended with an Ezekiel Elliott rushing touchdown.  Head coach Jason Garrett has finally realized that they must get to ball to their best players if they want to win.

Elliott touched the ball 31 times which amounted to 26 carries for 121 yards and one touchdown as well as five catches for 22 yards.  With the Redskins defense having to worry about Zeke; Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper was able to have his best game as a Cowboy.  He had eight catches on nine targets for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Most notably was a 90 yard catch and run towards the end of the 3rd quarter.  

With the Cowboys offense clicking on all cylinders, Quarterback Dak Prescott was 22 of 31 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and NO turnovers!  He looked for Cooper early and often as well as completing passes to 8 other players. Prescott also capitalized on his running ability by rushing in for a touchdown down on the goaline early in the 4th quarter to put the Cowboys up 31-13.

The Dallas defense played great as well.  They held the Redskins to 80 yards rushing, intercepted Colt McCoy three times and had three sacks.  Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was tied for the team lead in tackles with nine (seven solo).  

With the win, the Cowboys are ahead of Washington via a better divisional record but they still have to keep winning.  They are going to have their hands full this week as the host the New Orleans Saints (10-1).

Players to Watch

  1. Ezekiel Elliott (running back): Zeke is now the NFL’s leading rusher and has big load to carry on his shoulders this week.  He will be going against the #1 rushing defense in the league. The Saints have only given up 805 rushing yards this season.

  2. Dak Prescott (quarterback): Is going to have to throw the ball quite a bit to keep pace with the No. 1 scoring offense in the league.  Luckily, the Saints are ranked 30th in pass defense and he should be able to connect with Cooper for more big plays.

  3. Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Xavier Woods, and Jeff Heath (defensive secondary): These guys are going to have to be up to the challenge and make big plays against Drew Brees and the high scoring Saints offense.

Thursday night the Dallas Cowboys (6-5) will be hosting the New Orleans Saints (10-1) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and kickoff is set for 7:20 pm CST.  Dallas is facing their best opponent left on their schedule and could have trouble keeping up with New Orleans. They are going to have to try and control the clock and minimize the number of times MVP candidate Drew Brees has the ball.  If they can get Elliott and Cooper plenty of touches they could have a good chance at getting another win.

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

Cowboys:  Ezekiel Elliott (RB), Amari Cooper (WR), Dak Prescott (QB)

New Orleans:  Drew Brees (QB), Alvin Kamara (RB), Mark Ingram (RB), Michael Thomas (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the Cowboys are +7.5 and the over/under is 53.  The Saints have won their last five games by double digits. If you play anything, I think the right side would be New Orleans.

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome