1)Dez Bryant has played against some outstanding cornerbacks in his day, but he has never played against one that was as good as Josh Norman was Thursday afternoon. I have a feeling that when I sit down and study this game, there were snaps where Norman was on Bryant without any help coming out of the middle of the field. It's rare when you see that with a defense when playing Bryant, but I believe that was the case.
2) I believe that you would be hard-pressed to find a linebacker in this league that is a more complete player than Luke Kuechly. It did not matter whether it was run or pass, this Dallas offense did not have an answer for him, and he made them pay for that.
3) Was worried about how this Cowboys defense was going to handle Cam Newton and the Carolina zone-read scheme. I believed that we were going to see Newton pull the ball more and test these defensive ends, but when he did, there was a defender there waiting for him. The discipline was one of the few bright spots in the game.
4)I know that Cole Beasley ended up with seven targets in the game, but honestly, I was expecting that many in the first half. I was surprised that Tony Romo didn't take better advantage of the matchup with Beasley and nickel cornerback Colin Jones. I bet the film will show that there were some plays that could have been had that were missed. Beasley could have been a big player in this game.
5) Even with the loss, I did see something from Randy Gregory. It appeared that his get-off was better and his technique in capturing the edge was far better than what we had seen since he returned from his ankle injury. He was active and more mobile, which was a nice sign as well.
6) For the most part, Greg Olsen was held in check by this Cowboys defense. Coming into the game, I had a feeling it was going to be a group of players who were going to be responsible for the coverage, and that's exactly is what happened. The only big play that the defense allowed him to make was a seam route on a second-and-19 when Brandon Carr was awful in coverage and allowed him to run up the field uncontested.
7) Make that back-to-back games where both Rolando McClain and Sean Lee played well together. The stat sheet shows that they were first and second in tackles for the game. I wrote earlier about defending Newton and this zone-read scheme. A lot of that was on the play of the defensive ends, but McClain and Lee had to play downhill and fill on a lot of those runs. The fact that they were able to do so was encouraging.
8) Probably should have spent more time studying Jerricho Cotchery instead of the other Panthers receivers. Cotchery ended up with five catches for 73 yards, which led their offense. I am interested in seeing who he was able to take advantage of in this Dallas secondary. In the game, it felt like every catch he had converted a third down. As a defense, you cannot allow the four option to beat you that way.
9)The Panthers have a tough run defense, but for the Cowboys to only have 31 yards rushing for the game is really on the offensive line, tight ends and running backs. As well as this group played collectively last week against the Dolphins running the ball, this was a huge disappointment. Their inability to establish any type of consistency cost them dearly, and the Panthers took advantage of that.
10) We always talk about turnovers and the lack of them with this club. There was a missed interception, a fumbled quarterback exchange and a ball that deflected off a blocker, no of which ended up in the hands of a Dallas player. This, unfortunately, has been the story of the season for a team that had every one go in their favor last year.
11)Might be overthinking things when you run a third-down screen to Gavin Escobar?
12)My Twitter timeline line should be fun this evening. Happy Thanksgiving folks.