Dallas Cowboys: 2. ‘Code red’ in the red zone
This game should have been a blowout, just like in previous weeks for Dallas. The offense had many chances to score touchdowns in the first half, but the team kept shooting themselves in the foot.
After the Patriots took the lead 14-7, the Cowboy’s offense marched down the field. After a couple of penalties, which could have led to a chance in the red zone sooner, Dallas was on the Patriots’ 16-yard line. Dak Prescott throws a pass in traffic, which the ball deflected into the hands of New England safety Kyle Dugger.
On the very next drive, Prescott and the offense got the ball back after a strip-sack fumble by defensive end Randy Gregory. It was now 3rd and 11 from the Patriot’s 13-yard line and Prescott threw a pass to the corner of the endzone to wide receiver Cedrick Wilson that was incomplete. The drive stalls and they have to settle for three points.
After another Patriots drive ends with a three-and-out, Special teams coordinator John Fassel dials up an all-out blitz resulting in linebacker Luke Gifford blocking the punt. Prescott was again gifted with another short field opportunity to take the lead. Instead, on 4th and goal, he tries to leap across the goal line only to have the ball punched out by linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley.
With three chances in the red zone resulting in two turnovers and only three points, it could have easily been 28-14 Dallas leading at halftime. The game ended with a Cowboys victory, but the problems in the red zone seem to be apparent for this team week after week.
Hopefully, Head Coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can take this bye week to figure out their struggles when it comes to scoring. You wonder if this does not get corrected, will it cost them when it counts going forward?
Dallas Cowboys: 1. Play of the game
This one is simple. The play of the game should be the 4th down catch made by receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. in the 4th quarter.
If you skip to 3:19 in the tweet above, you can see the play. This was the first big test for the Cowboys on this drive. If they did not make it past this play, they would never have kicked the field goal to cause overtime and then scored the touchdown to win the game.
Dak Prescott did not want to burn a time out when watching the play, almost hoping to catch the Patriots out of assignment. It was a bold call because the game could have ended if defensive end Matthew Judon had sacked Prescott before he threw the ball.
Since Prescott was rushed in his throw, he had to make the quick decision and throw to the out route, which was to Wison. The ball was placed in a spot only Wilson could get it. He had to jump up and pull the ball in, making sure his body landed in bounds.
It was a ridiculous circus catch that was a redemption moment for Wilson. After not catching two would-be touchdowns earlier in the game, this one catch on 4th down made up for it all. Dallas has been without their third receiver in Michael Gallup, but Wilson has stepped up and created big plays for this offense.
With the report he has with Prescott and Gallup being in a contract year, it might make sense for General Manager Jerry Jones to bring back Wilson on a cheaper two-year deal and become the team’s third option at wide receiver next season.