Cowboys over Dolphins: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Week Three

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Bad

The Cowboys defensive scheme relies on a four-man rush. Through the first two games, the rush recorded two sacks with barely any pressure.

The first half was much of the same story. The Cowboys rushed four on 19 of 26 passing snaps.

Of the 19 snaps where the Cowboys rushed four, only three times did they get pressure on the quarterback. The first was a twist stunt where defensive tackle Christian Covington looped around the end and came close to sacking Josh Rosen who was able to throw the ball away before the tackle.

The second was a good play by end, Dorance Armstrong, to get a step on his man and beat him around the corner and pressure quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick out of the pocket allowing tackle Trysten Hill to get a hit on the quarterback. Yet, the Dolphins completed the pass for a 25 yard gain. The third was a design screen by the Dolphins where they let the rushers through.

The Dolphins determined that they didn’t want the pressure to derail their offensive plans this game after yielding 7.0 sacks in Week Two against the New England Patriots. As a result, they used tight ends and running backs to max protect on about six snaps the Cowboys rushed four.

On at least three snaps, the Dolphins got the ball out quickly to negate any pass rush effect. On the remaining snaps, the Cowboys defensive line simply did not beat their block.

With the $105 million man, DeMarcus Lawrence, at one end position, you would expect the blocking scheme to focus attention on him. Through the first ten quarters of the season, that hasn’t been the case.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, the defensive line woke up in the second half. As the ‘Boys competition ramps up with a road game in New Orleans followed by a home game against Green Bay the next two week, Dallas will need the front four to find a way to beat their blocks.