In lieu of the 4th and Long podcast, we have decided to instead turn it into a weekly column where former host “JG Smooth” breaks down his top four takeaways from each weeks game. First up the Cowboys tough 19-16 overtime loss to the Houston Texans.
First Down: Defense
Say what you will about DeAndre Hopkins clutch catch and run in overtime the Cowboys defense again played a solid game. Thanks in part to again another poor offensive showing the defense did their best to keep the team in the game. They made big stops in the red zone forcing field goals and even a big 4th and goal stop before the half. Sure they allowed 462 yards but they didn’t allow a possible 31-35 points. A win in my book.
Second Down: Offensive Line
I knew the line was bad but I honestly thought some progress was being made. Guess I was wrong. Granted the Texans have the deadly duo of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney the line looked exceptionally worse especially left tackle Tyron Smith. Smith was never one to be great against a speed rush but he looked extremely slow tonight. It is apparent he is nowhere near what he used to be and a replacement needs to be found sooner rather than later. Right tackle La’el Collins struggled as well along with the rest of the line. Say what you will about Dak Prescott’s struggles passing, a lot of it falls on “the greatest line in football”.
Third Down: Red Zone Woes
Another game, another 50 field goals. Or at least that’s what it seems like. If the Cowboys could ever find a way to punch the ball in the end zone more then once a game they could be darn near undefeated. Instead, they head back to Dallas with a losing record. The problem? In my humble opinion a combination of poor line play, lack of a red zone threat and at times poor play calling. Even if they could punch it in twice a game they’d get more wins. Example A? Tonight.
Fourth Down: Jeff Heath
The unsung hero of the defense in my opinion. Heath brings everything he has every game and it’s apparent by the bumps and bruises he takes every game. Heath finished with five tackles and one pass break up but what a break up it was. It saved a touchdown. Sure Heath is by no means perfect and gives up his fair share of plays but he makes the plays when they count. Heath and Xavier Woods are one of the most underrated safety duos in the league and tonight proved it once again as both made game-saving plays.