The Star’s Five Corners: Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Good: The defense showed up big time on Sunday. Sean Lee got his first interception of the season, which the offense turned into seven points. DeMarcus Ware added two sacks to his resume and forced two fumbles. The “No-Fly Zone” of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne has yet to allow a touchdown this season and really harassed the Buccaneers’ receivers. When your defense holds the opposing quarterback to 10-of-28 passing attempts for 91 yards, you know they were dialed in.
More Good: I have been critical of both Dez Bryant and Felix Jones as of late, but I feel that they had decent games today, not great, but good enough. Bryant struggled getting off the line against man-to-man again, but he managed to get free when it counted. He also had a 45-yard punt return that set up one of Dan Bailey’s three field goals. Jones didn’t have any game changing plays but he did catch both passes that were thrown his way. Jones also had an excellent block on a blitzing linebacker where he knocked the guy off his feet.
The Bad: The right side of the line is a mess and that’s an understatement. Doug Free either can’t play or hasn’t adjusted to playing right tackle. The addition of Mackenzy Bernadeau has yet to produce results. The only things I’ve seen Bernadeau do is give up sacks in three straight games and struggle against the bull-rush. Bernadeau was supposed to be an upgrade from last year’s starting guard Kyle Kosier, but so far he’s been worse in both the running game and in pass-protection.
More Bad: Where is Lawrence Vickers? One of the additions I was ‘giddy’ about during the off-season hasn’t done what I, or anyone else, expected for the run game. In fact the run game has regressed in three straight games. Sunday was one of the worst rushing performances in recent memory as DeMarco Murray only managed to gain 38 yards on 18 carries because the offensive line failed to win the battle in the trenches. The team also lost starting safety Barry Church for the season to what’s being called a torn Achilles’ tendon.
The Ugly: Special teams almost allowed another blocked punt on Sunday. It’s time to stop letting Joe DeCamilis off the hook; something has to change. I can’t figure out why the Cowboys are so undisciplined. At the half the Cowboys had eight penalties for 60 yards and ended the game with 13 penalties for 105 yards. The offensive line is atrocious. To put it into perspective, last week Eli Manning dropped back 51 times, was hit twice and was sacked zero times. In Sundays’ game Tony Romo dropped back 39 times, was hit 12 times and sacked four times leading to two lost fumbles and one scary 15-second moment where he lay motionless on the field with his eyes closed. The offensive line needs to collectively pull their heads out of their [expletive].
A win is a win, but there can’t be too many more games like the one on Sunday. I still feel like Jason Witten isn’t 100% evident by his six dropped passes on the season. It doesn’t get any easier for the Cowboys as next week they face the Chicago Bears, who are probably licking their chops after the performance the Cowboys’ offensive line turned in, on Sunday afternoon.
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