The Dallas Cowboys moved away from their game plan last week. This week the Cowboys face another talented defense, they must control the tempo in Arizona.
The Dallas Cowboys were said to be humiliated by the Denver Broncos last week in Mile High Stadium. Glancing at the 42-17 score it would be easy to agree with the masses.
The final score doesn’t reflect how close the game could’ve actually been. Without an arguably bad call on a field goal and a forced pass in the fourth quarter due to a three touch down deficit, the Cowboys could have been looking at 31-24 in the fourth quarter.
The entire game in Denver doesn’t lie in these two plays. The greater question is why the Cowboys moved away from the run after a few failed tries?
Dallas has a dominant offensive line and a superstar running back in Ezekiel Elliott. Head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did the entire team no favors by abandoning the run game.
First and obviously the run game suffered and Elliott finished with the worst game of his young career. Dallas as a team finished with 40 yards total on the ground on 14 carries, nine of which came from Elliott.
Once Dallas gave up on the run Denver easily sold out on rushing the quarterback. This was leaving quarterback Dak Prescott in a position where he needed to get rid of the ball quickly and force a few passes.
The Cowboys defense started off strong and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence had two sacks quickly. But the effects on abandoning the run trickled down to the defense. Short drives by the offense meant short rest for the defense that was already undermanned.
Arizona carries a similar 3-4 defense and extremely talented on the defensive line and secondary.
Arizona has veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald which is equally if not more talented than Denver’s receivers. They will be without running back David Johnson entering the Monday Night matchup, but veteran quarterback Carson Palmer can pick up some of the slack in his absence.
Arizona’s 1-1 record doesn’t reflect that of Denver’s 2-0 record but the two teams share many similarities.
The Dallas Cowboys will need to stick to their offense and “Feed Zeke” if they want to win in Arizona. Many teams will look for ways to move Dallas off their game plan but they need to continue to rely on that dominant offensive line for the sake of the entire team.