Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins Review: Defense

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Well, the Dallas Cowboys played another ridiculously close game this week against the Miami Dolphins.

This pic has nothing to do with the article, but her facial expression deserves the front page.

I will list the things that stood out to me as I watched the game, and then conclude with my thoughts about Rob Ryan’s defense and the secondary.

When I read some of the game reviews this week, I was pretty surprised at how unhappy the Cowboy fans were. I sometimes think the fans will only be happy when we score at least 30 and hold the opposition to under 10 every game. I don’t think they played awesome, but I do think that holding a hot Miami team to 19 is better than average.

Click here to read my general thoughts about the defense against Miami.

General Observations:

Before we go getting downtrodden about the defense, let us remember that this was a Miami offense that was riding a three game winning streak in which they averaging over 28 points per game. Matt Moore had a QB rating of over 130 in two of those victories.

Newsflash: giving up 19 points is not that bad.

- There are only 6 teams in the league giving up less than 19 points a game. The Cowboys give up an average of 20.5.

- I thought the defense played very well in the first half. They came up with big stops to force FGs.

Miami had 7 possessions in the first half. They had 3 drives that started with excellent field position in the 1st Quarter (Miami 42, 50, Dallas 26). Miami also had a short field in the 2nd quarter when the kickoff was returned to the Miami 44. I think holding them to 6 points under these conditions is pretty impressive.

- The illegal contact by Abe Elam was a huge play. With less than 13 minutes remaining in the game, it was 3rd and 5, the Cowboys were still winning by 1. Ware sacked Moore which should have forced a punt. Instead, Elam’s penalty gave Miami a first down. To make matters worse, the penalty was unnecessary. Miami ended up scoring a FG on that drive to take the lead.

- I noticed more missed tackles this week then I recall seeing all year.

- Everyone is raving about Dez Bryant’s 21 yard punt return. Everyone was calling for Akawsi to be replaced last week. I think AOA deserves more of a chance; he was only active for 2 games before people were calling for him to be axed.

AOA only returned one punt this week; it was for 21 yards, and it got the Boys out to their 36 with only about 3 minutes left in the half.

- Scandrick continues to be used effectively as a blitzer; he had another sack this week.

- While Ryan continues to use DB’s and Safeties as blitzers, he is not using all the pre-snap movement that he was earlier in the year.

Click here to read about the Front 7.

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