Cowboys Week 1 Deep Dive: 23-20 Loss at Rams

Not a great start for America’s Team, but we would’ve won if not for that cowardly flop by Jalen Ramsey or if the fans hadn’t whined PI reviews away. I’m not worried by the loss.

Also, the Rams are good again. I was leaning on them at +6000 and that definitely should’ve been a full bet. They dropped to +2200 overnight and that’s still a play. They’re also a pick em at Philly on Sunday and that’s a lock.

McVay’s o-line is healthy again and he’s got that RPO scheme rolling like the new age triple option – so simple, yet so diverse and dangerous. 60% time of possession, including a devastating nine minute, 17 play drive in the first quarter.

Still, the Cowboys found a way to enter halftime with a lead and nearly managed to end the game with a win if it weren’t for that cowardly flop. We did have some issues yes, but the two minute drills nearly made up for them.

Great teams find ways to win after playing poorly, and the Cowboys almost did that against a good Rams team. I’m not panicking yet, especially considering the circumstances of a brand new coach with no preseason or offseason.

McCarthy’s first game certainly didn’t win anyone over, but it’s way too early to judge him. Nothing to complain about on that front yet.

The most controversial coaching decision was the late 4th and 3 attempt. It fell a yard short and failed, but NFL fans these days will blindly laud all 4th down attempts as good decisions so McCarthy is not getting heat for it.

Aggressiveness is good, obviously, but this was the wrong decision. If it was 4th and 1, maybe 4th and 2, I’m okay with it. Otherwise, just tie the game and guarantee us to be within one possession of the lead max til the end.

Losing like this is still way better than how we lost with the last coach… I won’t complain.

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After a further deep dive into the game, here are the main takeaways…

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1. Blake Jarwin Tore His ACL and Fucked Us

Jarwin looked pretty great for almost two quarters until he tore his ACL without contact. God damnit what a shitty Week 1 blow.

Our replacement, Dalton Schultz, was in way over his head. The 4th and 3 failure was technically on him for not getting enough depth on his pick route. He was likely being overcautious because, on his first series after replacing Jarwin, he had a terrible OPI that negated a badass slip screen touchdown by Zeke.

On a screen pass, man? Come oonnnnn. Definitely not the type of mental mistake we should expect from a Stanford alum ‘lunch pail’ guy.

In fact, the 4th and 3 would’ve never happened to begin with if he doesn’t have this awful drop two plays earlier.

Hopefully we can chalk this up as a preseason game for him and see some better results with starter reps. He did have a sick conversion on 3rd and 10, making a play that Witten hasn’t been capable of finishing for years.

That’s a good sign at least.

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2. We Need La’el Back ASAP

We started UDFA rookie Terence Steele at right tackle. It was surprising considering we had just signed a decent swing tackle in Cam Erving, but Erving got injured himself on a field goal play anyway. Jesus Christ.

At least the offense stayed functional, unlike what happened under the previous regime with o-line injuries, but that Rams front made for a brutal mismatch. By the end of the game, LA was basically overloading the entire left side because they knew Steele couldn’t block 1v1.

You can’t fault a UDFA rookie for not being good in Week 1. The fact that he didn’t completely fall apart is somewhat commendable.

Instead, the scorn should be directed at whatever fuckhead driver cut off La’el Collins during training camp and caused his injury. Whoever that person is should be outed and banished from the state of Texas. We need Collins back on the field ASAP.

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3. Connor Williams Sucks So Much

According to PFF, our worst lineman was not Steele, but rather Connor Williams. He graded out at 49.5 overall with a pass blocking rating of 27.2, (half that of Steele’s).

What a fucking awful second round draft pick. He sucks so fucking much.

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4. Skill Position Players Looked Sick

Zeke had a good game (and so did Tony Pollard). The overall scheme didn’t look much different from last year, but we were definitely activating the backs in the passing game more. In the first half especially, it was a big time red zone multiplier.

The second TD was called back because of the Schultz OPI, but still those are some badass scores by Zeke. He had some slick as hell runs too, and you can tell that he’s gonna destroy lesser defenses this year. Feed him!

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No complaints on the WR front either. Cooper had 10 catches, Ceedee looked sick, and Gallup had an outstanding game that would be getting a lot of noise if it weren’t for that flop. Man that catch against Ramsey was so awesome.

Most importantly, Gallup didn’t have any drops. He dropped an absurd 10% of his passes last year and still went 80 yards per game. His hands were amazing in college and his rookie year, so we’re hoping last season was an outlier. So far, so good. He’s breaking out this year.

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5. Dak Was Decent

Dak was alright. No turnovers, a sick TD run (pretty much), good two minute drills, but a couple of bad 3rd down mistakes in the second half.

The first was losing field goal range after a terrible sack (although more fault goes to sorry ass turnstile Connor Williams). The second was a piss poor throw on what should’ve been a routine conversion for Cooper. Both cost us points.

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6. LVE Is the New Lofa Tatupu, Probably

Vander Esch broke his collarbone and is out 6-8 weeks. The neck injuries are piling up and he’s looking more and more like the next Lofa Tatupu. That blows.

Next to him in the lineup, Jaylon Smith had a decent but not dominant game. He’s being paid to be dominant. Need better.

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7. Keep Cranking up the Earl Thomas Talk

Our pass D was weak as fuck down the middle, with slot men and tight ends running all day. I don’t care what kind of chemistry issues he may have… If our safety play doesn’t step up, I want ET coming home.

Players signed after Week 1 don’t get guarantees in their contracts, and it’s possible he and the Cowboys have a secret midseason agreement in place. At this rate, I hope so.

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8. Aldon Smith Is a Death Star Certified God

That question about how Aldon Smith’s five year layoff would affect his production? Turns out the answer is NONE AT ALL. Holy fuck what a find.

This means Everson Griffen and Randy Gregory will be BACKUPS to two of the most dominant ends in football. We won’t be lacking for pass rush this year.

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9. Trevon Diggs Is Gonna Be Awesome

Keep in mind that Trevon Diggs is a natural receiver with only 1.5 years of prior CB experience at Bama. Once his instincts develop just a tiny bit more, he’s gonna be a star.

There were three plays in particular that stood out where he was an inch away from changing the game.

The first was a perfectly thrown deep pass where he went for a pick instead of deflection. The second was a perfectly thrown short ball that he nearly blanketed. The third was an insane one-handed interception (almost).

He also had a BIG TIME tackle on the most important defensive play of the game. Run support like this from a CB is such an asset.

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10. Legatron, Cmoonnnn

Lastly, special teams. Legatron drilled a short field goal but missed a 54 yarder. I know its a long distance, but what the hell man? Where was this kicking in the dome?

Free agent kickers always have the risk of being damaged goods, but if the Rams thought this dude was better than Legatron then I’m confident they misevaluated.

These loud misses are gonna be hilarious this year.