Did Dallas just save its season with win over Lions? Texans up next

Demarcus Lawrence could feast on the Texans weak offensive line. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon by the score of 26-24 and with the win, might have just saved their 2018 season.   

The Cowboys were trailing by two with less than 1:20 left in the game when Quarterback Dak Prescott hit Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott (Zeke) for a 34-yard gain down the right sideline on a fly pattern.  The result put Dallas in prime position for a game winning field goal and rookie kicker Brett Maher nailed a 38-yard kick as time expired. The victory moved Dallas to a record of 2-2 and one game behind the first place Washington Redskins.  

Credit to the whole team, especially the coaching staff for the play calling. This was the best game they have played to date and hopefully they can keep the momentum going.  Midway through the first quarter the Cowboys ran a bootleg pass to Geoff Swaim who turned a short catch into a 31 yard gain and help set up a field goal.  They also closed the first half out with a perfect screen pass to Elliot for 38-yard touchdown and a 13-10 halftime lead.  The play calling was very creative and included lining Elliott up in the slot position.

Prescott was 17 of 27 for 255 yards, two touchdowns, and NO interceptions.  The offensive line only allowed him to be sacked three times as he threw for more than 200 yards for the first time since Dec. 24, 2017.  He showed his poise and confidence throughout the game, which included a 37-yard pass to rookie Michael Gallup in the first quarter and a short play action pass for a touchdown that he made with a rusher right in his face.  

Looks like Head Coach Jason Garrett has finally realized that they must lean on their superstar Elliott to carry them to victory.  He finished the game with 152 yards on 25 carries and caught 4 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. They found different way to get him the ball and always got it to him in key moments before the end of both halves.

3 Players to Watch

  1. Ezekiel Elliott (running back): The Cowboys win or lose depending on how their offensive star does.  Houston had a good rush defense and it will be up to the Dallas coaching staff to get Zeke in position to make plays.

  2. Michael Gallup (wide receiver): This rookie seems to be understanding the game and picking up the speed of the NFL.  Prescott connected with him twice last week, which included a deep ball for 37 yards. With a shaky Texans secondary, let’s see if they can make a few big plays down the field.

  3. DeMarcus Lawrence (defensive end): With the health of Sean Lee up in the air it is going to be up to him to help slow down Texans QB Deshaun Watson.  He had three sacks last week but will have his hand full this Sunday as Watson is very mobile and can elude pass rushers easily.

Coming Up (Week 5)

Sunday night the Cowboys will be on the road taking on the Houston Texans (1-3) at NRG Stadium.  Both teams are coming off a victory in which they both needed late scores to win.

The game should be very interesting seeing how both teams have just come off their best offensive performances of the year.  Much like the Cowboys, the Texans changed their play calling from what it was before and got the ball in their playmakers hands.  The Dallas O-Line should be able to protect Dak and allow for Zeke to pick up a lot of yards on the ground. Houston is the 27th ranked pass defense in the league and Dak will need to take advantage of that.  The problem is going to be on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboy defense is going to have to contain second year sensation QB Watson and his Pro Bowl receiver DeAndre Hopkins.  Hopefully All Pro linebacker Lee will be able to play and help contain Watson from making any big plays.

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

Cowboys:  Ezekiel Elliott (RB)

Texans:  Deshaun Watson (QB), DeAndre Hopkins (WR), Will Fuller (WR)

For you gamblers out there, the current line is Houston -3.5 with an over/under of 45.5.  I have watched both of these teams play all season long and I don’t believe Houston is the better team.  Give me the Cowboys with the +3.5 all day long. Also, with both defenses not playing very well I would play the over as well especially if Sean Lee is out again.  Last week’s over worked out just fine.


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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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