Mailbag: What Can The Cowboys Do To Beat The Blitz?; Re-Visiting The No-Call

ALLEN APPLEGARTHTAMPA, FL
Great win first and foremost! Can you explain why the Cowboys can't adjust to beat the blitz or solid pressure with quick slants, screens, etc.? Am I missing something? Washington did it to us, Philly, and now Detroit.

Nick: Three wins, right? Two of those games they scored at least 38 points. Obviously Sunday was more of a struggle, but the Lions have an advantage because a lot of their pressure comes with four guys. When they did blitz, they did a great job of disguising it and bringing it from different spots. But I think you did see some adjustments in the game. That's where Beasley and Witten worked the middle of the field. They also started using Dez in the slot more. They adjusted and I think the Cowboys made them pay at times.

David:I really would like to see more screen passes from this offense. But the thing about screen passes is that they're slow-developing plays. If the Lions had sent six or seven men on a called screen pass, there would have been a good chance for something disastrous to happen. I think they did adjust well and start getting the ball out quicker after a bad start – both of Ndamukong Suh's sacks were more on Tony Romo than anyone else on offense. On top of that, it can't be forgotten that Romo made them pay for pressuring on the 76-yard touchdown to Terrance Williams. That was something they weren't able to do in the loss to Washington.

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FELIPE REYESBOULDER, CO
Everyone seems so concerned about the pass interference flag pick up, and how bad a call it was. Why didn't any one point out that Brandon Pettigrew had Anthony Hitchens' facemask at the time, or the poor offensive PI called on Terrance Williams in the first half?

Nick: I think you're right about the early call with Williams, and also the time Scandrick's feet got tripped up with Tate in the end zone. So they didn't really call a lot of P.I. in the game. Now, defensive holding on Hitchens might have been a better call. And yes, Pettigrew had the face mask as well. All in all, I think it was a good no-call. I think the bigger issue was announcing the call before they were done discussing it. Maybe the NFL's decision to split up the crews for the playoff games isn't such a great idea.

David:The game was officiated poorly all the way around. Dallas caught the brunt of several bad calls in the first half, and it turned back around for them in the second. In my opinion, the play between Hitchens and Pettigrew was the type where the ruling dictates the decision. If the refs had called it a foul, there was enough evidence to back them up; if they hadn't called a foul, it's easy to make the argument that that was a decent call too. The weird decision to spot the ball, then confer, then wave the flag off was the worst part of the whole situation. Not a good day for the officials on a lot of different fronts.

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