Film Breakdown: Cowboys vs Jets Week 6

The Cowboys lost their third straight to the previously winless Jets. It was an all around poor effort in all three phases of the game. The offense only managed 22 points, which is less than what the Jets defense allows on average. Defensively, they allowed Sam Darnold to move the ball well in his first game back from mononucleosis, including a 92 yard touchdown. The Special Teams unit was once again bad, missing a 40 yard field goal that ended up being the difference in the game. Here is the film from the loss.

DeMarcus Lawrence demands a double team (again), leaving Robert Quinn one on one. The offensive tackle wins initially, but Robert Quinn’s second effort gets him home. Sam Darnold also missed a wide open tight end that released to the middle of the field.

On 3rd and 9 Darnold gets the look he wants with his crossing receiver being picked up by a linebacker (Leighton Vander Esch). Against a lot of linebackers this is probably a good matchup but Leighton does a great job of recognizing the deep crosser and carrying it across the field, and runs stride for stride with him.

At some point, this Dak is going to have to understand you can’t hold the ball until a receiver is wide open against the blitz. He needs to audible to a hot or a blitz beater and he refuses to do so. Against a defense like Greg Williams’, you have to know the blitz is coming on 3rd and 5. Why is Dak still holding the ball so long against the blitz?

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch read the hats of the tight end and backside guard pulling left, it takes them straight to the runningbacks lane. Jaylon maintains positioning on outside shoulder of the blocker in order to force the back inside to LVE and Leighton cleans it up.

3rd and 4, Dallas likes to play tight man coverage on these downs. To combat tight man coverage, New York has the tight end run into Anthony Brown’s path, disrupting his coverage just enough for the #3 receiver to create separation on the wheel route. Beautiful playcall by the Jets, beautiful throw by Darnold. Anthony Brown beat.

Maliek Collins lined up at 3T (I think, no all-22 so can’t be sure), is a liability in the run. He gets take from the middle of the field to outside of the left hash here. If the runningback had seen the hole that opened up to the right because of Collins it would have been a huge gain.

It’s not that Ezekiel Elliott isn’t hitting the home run play this season. It’s that he has no interest in hitting the home run. Right here, he has Travis Frederick blocking in space and can break off a huge gain if he gets to the sideline but instead cuts back inside toward traffic. Good run, could’ve been better.

This is brutal because it’s a first down pass and you always want a first down pass to be successful so they will do it more often. Witten has no one near him. This is at least an 8 yard gain to set up 2nd and short, which is a very flexible down and distance for an offense from playcalling point of view. Instead, he drops it and it’s 2nd and 10, which is a down and distance that cuts your play selection in half compared to 2nd and 2 play selection.

Gallup had maybe his worst game of his career in this one. 2nd and 11 you have to catch this. Slightly high, but this is very catchable. 3rd and short at midfield is 100x better than 3rd and 11 from the 42. Poor play.

If you want to know why the Cowboys need a new head coach, look no further than this play. This type of conservative playcall has Jason Garrett written all over it. 3rd and 11 at the 42, and you run a pitch out of a pistol formation. This means two things, it’s not 4 down territory (it should be), and you’re okay with punting (you shouldn’t be).

2nd and 3 at the 45. This is the perfect down, distance, and area of the field to take a shot deep. Instead, they opt to run into the teeth of the defense. Connor Williams does an awful job at attempting to get to the second level.

Can’t help but think Zack Martin had the time and ability to help out the backup right tackle on this play. The pressure in Daks face causes a hurried pass that is a bit inaccurate.

4th and 2. I love aggressive playcalling. I won’t knock a team going for it on 4th and 2 in most scenarios, but if you’re going for it and you choose this play, you might as well take the field goal. There are SIX defenders within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage to the left of the ball. Only four or five blockers available that direction. Logic would say run this to the right or pass with the one on one coverage. Instead, the Cowboys call a quarterback run straight into the side where they are outnumbered.

Cover 3. Each corner has a deep half and single safety high has deep middle. In all three cases, the players can’t let a receiver behind them under any circumstance…and Awuzie slips. Heath doesn’t get there in time to either disrupt the pass or make the tackle. 92 yards.

Are you an offense facing the Dallas Cowboys defense? Is it 2nd and 10? Do you need a first down? Look no further than the deep crossing route! The Cowboys defense can’t seem to stop this route as long as it’s a good throw.

I can’t understand why Jeff Heath pauses right here. What is he waiting on? This ball was going to 84 the whole way. Jeff Heath is a liability.

This is a good play. Zeke has a nice run. It’s a first down… but once again Zeke cuts inside. You can’t make me believe he couldn’t get just as many yards popping this to the outside, probably more. You don’t have TO run to contact every time, even if that’s your main trait as a player.

1st and 10 on opponent territory. Trailing 21-6. This is NOT a running down. Passing is more efficient. When you’re trailing you need efficiency. Passing is also more time-friendly, it stops the clock if you aren’t successful, whereas a run that isn’t successful keeps the clock ticking. What makes this playcall worse is there are 8 defenders in the box staring straight into the backfield waiting for this to happen.

Remember what I said about crossing routes being the go to route when you need a first down? Here’s yet another example to back that up. The runningback holds the flat defender. Looks like the receiver runs an “over mike” crossing route which means he runs as deep as it takes to get behind Jaylon Smith and not cross his face, and no one picks up the crosser.

Watch Jaylon Smith on this play. Bites on the run fake, has to turn his back and run in order to get back to his zone quickly, then has a less than ideal attempt at a tackle.

Jourdan Lewis has his flaws, but he seems to be the only player in Cowboys secondary that isn’t completely allergic to turnovers. He gets limited snaps, but has his way of making the most of them. Down 21-9 and the Jets in scoring position, this game might be over right here without a turnover at this point. This kept the Cowboys in the game.

Once again, good run, but you once again, can’t tell me Zeke can’t get either the same amount of yards or MORE yards if he pops this further outside. He’s the highest paid back in the league, if he can’t make #27 miss one on one then he isn’t playing up to that contract.

The biggest (maybe ONLY) bright spot about the Cowboys defense this season has been the addition of Robert Quinn. He IS the Cowboys pass rush. He’s the perfect pass rusher for a defense that regularly drops 7 into coverage. Even at this point in his career he is extremely fast off the line, nearly untouched on his way to the quarterback.

Trailing 21-9 in the FOURTH QUARTER and the Cowboys still think it’s a good idea to be running the ball on first down. Again, there are 8 defenders in the box waiting for this to happen.

Different 1st down, same result.

During the Cardinals offense film breakdown after week 4, I said I don’t know why this play isn’t used more. If you have a quarterback that can run, this play should be used in goal to go situations more frequently. Good call, good play by Dak.

The refs miss an interference on Witten here. I still don’t like this call. The four outside receivers are just decoys, this ball is going to Witten the whole time. Dak holds the ball until he’s taking a hit (again), and it’s inaccurate. You can’t call a play at really any level of football with only one option… at least not in my opinion.