FRISCO, Texas – From my vantage point in our studio at The Star, here are some of my biggest impressions from Sunday’s win against Miami.
As always, I’ll be back Monday with a more detailed review of the game film.
- You have to appreciate the escape route Amari Cooper used on his first touchdown. He slow played Xavien Howard off the line, walking him down to the inside, buying space. Once Cooper felt Howard commit, he quickly adjusted back to the outside. Dak Prescott showed perfect patience in the pocket and was just waiting for Cooper to execute the move. Once Prescott saw that separation he put the ball in a perfect spot for the touchdown.
- Well-executed blitz to get Maliek Collins home for a sack. It appeared as if the twist stunt with Collins wasn’t going to get there, but a key blitz by Jaylon Smith drew the attention of Evan Boehm away from the twist. With Boehm having to pick up Smith, that left Collins with a straight shot on Josh Rosen for the sack. It was also a nice job by Robert Quinn and Kerry Hyder defeating their blocks, as well.
- Nice field awareness by Dak Prescott to take a look while on the move, see the down marker and deliver the ball to Jason Witten without going over the line. Witten showed field awareness as well by maintaining a little cushion along the sideline and then turning his body to adjust to the ball. It would have been really easy for him to drift out of bounds and kill the play, but the veteran tight end turned it into a huge conversion.
- Michael Deiter was put in a terrible situation of having to move from guard outside to tackle. The more Deiter had to kick for width, the more problems he was going to have. That’s just not his game. With Robert Quinn rushing from that “Wide 9” technique, there was no way Deiter was going to cut him off before he got to Josh Rosen. Call it fresh legs, but Quinn was relentless coming off the ball in this game.
- Outstanding kick out block by Dalton Schultz and an inside seal by Tyron Smith on Jerome Baker to get Tony Pollard into the end zone. What made the play even better was the power Pollard showed running through the arm tackle of Sam Equavoen, who had a shot of bringing him down for a short gain. It was very similar to the touchdown run he had against the Rams in the preseason.
- Give Robert Quinn an assist on the DeMarcus Lawrence sack. Quinn got up the field so fast that it forced Josh Rosen to step up to avoid the pressure. It was just that split second that took Rosen’s eyes from down the field that allowed Lawrence to put an inside spin move on J’Marcus Webb and chase down Rosen outside the pocket.
- I believe Dak Prescott got caught with too many options, which resulted in his interception. Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb were both open initially, which forced Prescott to pull the ball down. If he would have let the ball go to either player, he would have had a sizeable gain. Once he started to move, both Cooper and Cobb then became covered. Prescott could have scrambled for three to four yards and fought for another play, but he went for the home run shot -- which had no chance.
- Some days it’s better to be lucky than good. I think that’s the case with the fumble caused by Jaylon Smith on Kenyan Drake right before the half. Smith was initially in position to make the tackle, but then Drake made a quick spin move to the outside. When he made that move, it caused Smith to overrun the play. It was just instincts that allowed Smith to reach out and knock that ball loose and into the hands of DeMarcus Lawrence, who was aware to fall on it.
- Connor Williams generally plays with a wide base on his pass sets because he has the athletic ability to recover due to his foot work. On the play where he was flagged for holding, his base was far too wide -- even for his standards. Williams just couldn’t adjust to his left fast enough to keep Davon Godchaux from getting to his shoulder. With Godchaux moving past him, he had no choice but to grab him. That little pull by Williams kept Godchaux from delivering a face-to-face shot on Prescott.
- Nice bounce back game for Anthony Brown, who had some tackling problems last week in Washington. There were several snaps from his nickel position where he was able to come forward and force the run. One particularly nice play was when Kenyan Drake spilled the ball to the outside and Brown stepped up to chop him down for a loss.
- What a heads up play by Ezekiel Elliott to block two Dolphins on the third down pass from Dak Prescott to Devin Smith that keep the chains moving. The Dolphins ran a game with Sam Equavoen and Avery Moss which had a chance to get home. Equavoen knocked Connor Williams down, which allowed Moss to come to the inside. Elliott pushed Equavoen wide and then bounced to the inside to pick up Moss. Elliott got just enough of the block to allow Prescott to step up and make the throw to Smith for the first.
- I thought it was a heck of a play by Jeff Heath to knock the ball away from Allen Hurns. It’s a shame that Hurns was injured on the play, but think back to last week. Heath had a chance for an interception, but the ball hit him in the head because he was focusing on the receiver. Heath wasn’t going to let that happen again. This time he saw the ball the entire way and he did his best to come up with it even at Hurns’ expense.
- I wasn’t surprised that the Dolphins tried an onside kick. I talked about it all week that they needed to approach this game in a different way. As a club they were not good enough to go toe-to-toe with the Cowboys and win this game. Keith O’Quinn’s crew was fortunate that Ken Webster was offsides or that could have been a disaster for the special teams.