Boy, oh boy; week two was most certainly an ugly one. From start to finish this was not an entertaining game if you are a Dallas Cowboys fan. The Denver Broncos defense completely dominated this game, without a doubt, and their offense pushed around the Cowboys defense all night. It was hard to find much positive in these Cowboys takeaways, but a few players flashed their ability making this game not absolutely horrendous. Week three is a bit more of a promising matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, but for right now, this loss really stings.
Week Two Dallas Cowboys Takeaways
1) Demarcus Lawrence Is Showing He’s Exactly What The Cowboys Need
While it was hard to find anything good about the Dallas defense in Sunday’s performance, one bright spot did appear in Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence led the way with two sacks against both the Giants and the Broncos. Lawrence also forced a fumble on Trevor Siemian which led to a Dallas touchdown, their first points, early in the second quarter. Lawrence did, however, follow his second sack up with a, questionable, but costly leverage penalty on a Denver field goal attempt that led the Broncos to trade three points for seven, extending their lead to 14-7 instead of 10-7.
After two weeks, Lawrence leads the league with four sacks, tied with Jacksonville Jaguars Calais Campbell who put up four sacks in week one against the Houston Texans. This is extremely encouraging for Dallas, however more players need to help contribute as only Charles Tapper has recorded a sack this season. Dallas fans have known what Lawrence can do, but have waited for him to be healthy. So far, he is playing fantastic and having a tremendous impact for this team during his contract year.
2) Losing The Run Game Is Costly
In a game where the offense overall just came out flat, Dallas found themselves down early. After not being able to get anything going on the ground, the team quickly had to abandon the run and heave it downfield to lessen the deficit. Unfortunately, doing that against one of the best secondaries in the NFL, isn’t something to be simply accomplished. Prescott ended the night with 50 attempts, his career high, and only 238 yards off those attempts. Dez Bryant had a lackluster performance of only seven catches on a whopping 16 targets, with one of his drops causing an interception.
After abandoning the run, Elliott ended his night with only eight rushing yards on nine carries. Before this game, Elliott had not been held to under 30 yards since his freshman year at Ohio State. Of Elliott’s nine carries, eight of them were between the tackles which lead to six yards. It may not have made a world of difference, but seeing more runts to the outside may have been a better fare for Elliott. With this tough performance, Elliott was also seen not running after a ball picked off by Chris Harris, causally watching him run by him. The lack of hustle is not a good look for a young player like Elliott, and it ought to be addressed by the coaching staff.
Hopefully the offense can find their balance in week three.
3) The Dallas Secondary Is And Will Be a Bare On The Team
This team definitely missed Orlando Scandrick in this one. While Scandrick isn’t a premier top corner, he’s currently the best on this roster, by far. In this game, the two starting corners Chidobe Awuzie and Nolan Carroll both went down to injuries and didn’t return. The team allowed four touchdowns to Siemian in only two and half quarters of play. Those states may be acceptable against an elite quarterback, however, Siemian, who was rumored to possibly be benched multiple times last year due to poor play, is the quarterback in discussion. Simply put, the defense as a whole needs to play better if they plan to win games. The difference between week one and week two’s performance was night and day.
There was, however, a tiny bright spot in this game for the secondary. Jourdan Lewis, the third round pick out of Michigan, made his debut and caught an interception off a miscommunication from Trevor Siemian and Demaryius Thomas. While Lewis was beat a few times for big plays or touchdowns, there is a need to remember all the practice time he’s missed due to a hamstring injury . Look for Lewis to most likely match-up with Larry Fitzgerald next week in the slot to try and prove he can cover one of the best in the NFL.