FRISCO, Texas – Well, this was a fun game to review.
That’s putting it mildly, as it’s simply not very often you see an NFL game won so decisively. The Cowboys handled business on offense, defense and special teams, sending the Jaguars home with a beating that very few people saw coming.
If the game was that entertaining, the film was bound to be, too. So let’s jump into this and see what we can see about the Cowboys’ best win of the year.
· The Jaguars’ offense had a difficult time controlling Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch inside, especially when both stepped up to take on the run. There were several snaps in the game where both Smith and Vander Esch were filling gaps and there was nowhere for these backs to even make a cut. The physicality that Vander Esch and Smith have played with has been impressive. They move together like they’re joined at the hip and it just continues to improve each week.
· I really liked the shot that Scott Linehan took on 3rd-and-short to Blake Jarwin that went over his outstretched hands. It appeared that Jarwin was late with his hands, which hurt his chances for the ball. I also thought that if Jarwin would have delayed just a count longer, Jarrod Wilson would have not been able to make it a contested catch. Wilson was staring in the backfield just as Jarwin flashed by him and made a heck of an adjustment to get back on the play.
· You need to have great technique if you’re going to rush the passer, and that includes a timely spin move or two on the way to the quarterback. Maliek Collins was able to get home for a sack off a spin move on A.J. Cann. On the very next series, Tyrone Crawford forced Blake Bortles forward in the pocket by executing the same move on Cann again and almost registering a sack of his own.
· I have been critical of Dak Prescott not making many anticipated throws this season, but the one to Cole Beasley in the middle of the field was a beauty. Prescott threw the ball to Beasley with Yannick Ngakoue right on top of him from the backside. Prescott let the ball go just as Beasley broke to the inside and had just enough on it that all Beasley had to do was go up and snatch it right in front of Tyler Patmon.
· It was probably because the score was 24-0 at the time, but Jourdan Lewis didn’t get enough credit for his tackle of Dede Westbrook along the sidelines right before the half. Blake Bortles threw the ball to Westbrook in the flat, and he raced to try to get out of bounds to save some time for another play or two. Lewis met Westbrook three yards from the sideline and executed a perfect form tackle to bring him down in the field of play. With no timeouts and the clock running, Doug Marrone had no choice but to let the half end.
· Great job by Dak Prescott finding Cole Beasley in the end zone when the Jaguars only rushed two guys on the play. I have seen plenty of clog and cover defenses in the red zone, but I had never seen it with a nine-man zone. Prescott was very patient on the play even looking away from Beasley two different times to move Tyler Patmon away from him. Beasley stayed active and the play had a nice result.
· Not only did David Irving get some snaps in this game at tackle, but he also had a rush or two at left end. On one of those snaps, he knocked Jeremy Parnell completely off balance with his right arm, which forced Parnell to quickly try to regroup as Irving worked inside on his rush toward Bortles. Irving didn’t have his normal juice coming off the ball, but in the snaps he played, the power sure was there.
· Allen Hurns might not have had a reception in the game against his old team, but the defensive play he made to prevent an interception by Jalen Ramsey was huge. Dak Prescott took an unnecessary chance with the ball and just blindly threw it in the direction of Hurns -- who was in no position to make the catch. Ramsey tracked the ball all the way and had the best shot at it. If not for Hurns hustling back toward Ramsey and pushing him out of bounds, he comes down with that ball. Instead, he preserves the possession and Brett Maher makes the field goal.
· The final Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run was just tremendous vision by him. The play was designed to be a trap inside with Connor Williams pulling to his right. Elliott took advantage of Myles Jack and Telvin Smith over pursuing on the pull and just cut the ball back to his left. There was no one in the gap, and once in space, he received a clutch block by Michael Gallup on Tyler Patmon to get into the end zone.
· What a difference a week makes in coverage. The Jaguars tried to run Byron Jones through the trash on fourth down with Donte Moncrief. It was a very similar play to what DeAndre Hopkins did to Anthony Brown. As we remember, Brown tried to undercut the route to knock the ball away. Brown wasn’t able to get his hand on the ball in that game -- but Jones was this week. Jones ran all the way across the field and with his off hand was able to make the deflection. It was a beautiful finish to a night where he once again proved why he’s making a name for himself around the league.
· I had a gut feeling that Joe DeCamillis was going to try some kind of special teams trick play in this game. Give newly signed C.J. Goodwin a lot of credit for winning off the line and getting down field quickly enough to not allow Jaydon Mickens and D.J. Chark to make a clean handoff on the reverse. The Jaguars were setting up a wall on the opposite side of the field and could have pulled off a return if they could have gotten Chark around the corner. As a side note, I was told last week that one of the reasons that they signed Goodwin was his ability to play gunner on the punt team, so that worked out well.
· If the league and officials are worried about player safety, they missed a call of a blind side block of Keelan Cole on Jourdan Lewis after a T.J. Yeldon reception up the middle of the field. Lewis was chasing the play and never saw Cole coming from his left. Cole put his shoulder in the neck/head area and blasted him right there for everyone to see. Last week, Xavier Woods got flagged for a clean hit and this week the officials don’t make a call that clearly needed to be made.