Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Week 2 Initial Post-Game Notes
This may be shorter than usual because I’m pissed. It may also take me a day or two to drum up the motivation needed to break down the film. Sorry for the delay, but I never hide the fact that I’m a fan first.
- The front line on kick returns is bailing too early. They will be susceptible to a surprise onside kick.
- Speaking of a surprise onside kick, I actually liked the Cowboys’ decision to try one in the first half. The execution, though, was terrible. That ball cannot be kicked up into the air so Chicago can make a fair catch. It has to hit the ground first. If that happens, there’s a 60 percent chance the Cowboys recover (over a large sample size). . .making the call statistically advantageous. Again, don’t hate the call. Hate the execution.
- The coaches don’t get a pass on all of their decisions, though. Although tough calls, I thought the Cowboys twice should have gone for it on fourth down in Chicago territory–once on 4th and 8 at the Bears’ 37-yard line, and once on 4th and 5 at their 27-yard line. Not only does the math say go for it in both situations, but David Buehler was struggling. To me, that makes the calls no-brainers. The Cowboys ended up punting it into the endzone (gaining 17 net yards) on one and missing a field goal on the other.
- The Cowboys lined DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer up on the same side at times, which was a new wrinkle. It seemed to work early, but they didn’t come back to it.
- On Greg Olsen’s touchdown, the Cowboys blitzed. Why? My Week 2 Game Plan said don’t blitz often, and clearly I am more knowledgeable than Wade Phillips (that’s a joke). Seriously though, they were getting a ton of pressure on Jay Cutler with just four rushers at that point.
- The second quarter false start by Marc Colombo wasn’t his fault. Romo called an audible too late and the play clock ran down, forcing him to change his cadence.
- If you didn’t notice, defensive end Marcus Spears was in the game in some short-yardage situations.
- Lining up Marion Barber at fullback in short-yardage situations isn’t fooling anyone. This isn’t high school football–the defense knows where he is, Jason Garrett. Instead, why not line up in a “regular” I-formation and hand the ball to Chris Gronkowski? He’s probably a better short-yardage runner anyway and his athleticism was likely why the ‘Boys kept him in the first place.
- In the beginning of the third quarter, the Cowboys lined up in a formation called “Gun 3 Wide Pro” which they run a lot, particularly in long-yardage situations. They usually line up with Jason Witten in the backfield as Romo’s personal protector.
Perhaps the Cowboys got word of our statistics that suggest Witten should be in a pass route more often, because they changed up the alignment on this formation today. Martellus Bennett was in Witten’s spot, with Witten in the slot.
I don’t like the change, at least not as Dallas ran it today. Bennett is a really good blocker and fine in the backfield, but the Cowboys lined up in the look on 3rd and long. The Bears knew the Cowboys would be passing in that situation, meaning Witten can’t really create any match-up problems for them. He (and other tight ends) are effective because their blocking ability forces teams to bring in linebackers in case the offense runs. On 3rd and long, though, Dez Bryant and even Roy Williams, I would argue, are better options in the passing game than Witten.
- Gerald Sensabaugh had an awesome game. He made a few really important tackles, wrapping up instead of going for the knockout shot.
- I am still sticking with my preseason prediction that Alan Ball will be replaced by Akwai Owusu-Ansah at some point this season. He hasn’t been good against the pass or the run.
- AOA fumbled the ball again, although his knee was already down. He needs to hold onto the football.
- Does anything really need to be said about David Buehler? He’s going to lose his placekicking job this week.
- I don’t think Felix Jones’ extra weight is serving him well. He looks noticeably slower than last year and he even appears hesitant on runs. He gets the handoff, stops, and tries to jump through a hole as opposed to hitting it at full speed. Tashard Choice needs more playing time.