THE COWBOYS REPORT

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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Texans to hire David Culley. Composite image by Jack Brame

Ian Rapoport is reporting that the Texans will hire former Ravens assistant head coach David Culley as their new head coach. John McClain reported earlier on Wednesday that the coaching hire was narrowed down to Culley and Bills DC Leslie Frazier.

Now the question becomes, what does Deshaun Watson think of the hire? Culley has no experience as a head coach but did work closely with Andy Reid from 1999-2012 in Philly and 2013-2016 in KC. Many believed that Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy would be the next Texans coach because of his years learning from Reid. But the Texans opted for the lesser-known Culley instead.

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