IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys failed to create a single takeaway in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs after forcing six turnovers a week prior.
Safety Will Allen and linebacker Bruce Carter both had opportunities for interceptions, and it still sticks with them a day later that they weren’t able to secure the picks.
“Not creating the turnovers, not getting the takeaways, that’s what’s painful about (the loss),” Allen said. “If we get one at a crucial moment, that’s the game for us.”
The safety, who had an opportunity early on while crashing on a route to secure a tough pick, said the lack of takeaways sticks in his mind more than the fact that the defense allowed the Chiefs to eat up time and pick up crucial first downs to secure their win.
“If we get takeaways, it doesn’t even matter at the end of the game,” Allen said.
Pressure on the quarterback wasn’t the problem for the Cowboys’ defense, as they brought Alex Smith down four times for sacks. They just couldn’t capitalize on the pressures, failing to intercept a pass and allowing the quarterback to scramble and run for 57 yards on eight attempts.
Carter had one of those sacks, but he also had an opportunity to potentially take an out-route back for six points. He read the pass, but he couldn’t secure the catch near the sideline at midfield.
“That was a key play that I have to make to put my team in position to win the game,” Carter said. “I just have to finish and catch and go to the house. I was already thinking about going to the end zone before I caught it.”
Carter said it’s difficult to go through a game without a takeaway, considering how hard the defense works in practice to rip the ball out.
The special teams unit also had a chance to secure a fumbled kickoff return by the Chiefs, but Knile Davis recovered the catch he muffed inside the Chiefs’ 20-yard line. B.W. Webb was one of the defenders close to the play.
“I was pretty close, but I was hesitating because that really wasn’t my job to be in that area,” Webb said. “I was like, ‘Should I go or stay in my job?’ I was the safety on that play and didn’t know if he was going to get it back. When I looked at it, I was closer than I thought.”
The Cowboys had a few opportunities to make the game-changing types of plays the Kansas City defense came up with. The Chiefs ended the night leading the turnover ratio, 2-0, after forcing two fumbles.
Allen said the defense can’t go entire games without forcing a takeaway and that keeps him up at night, but they have to forget about it now and move on.
“Me and Bruce Carter both had opportunities to turn the game around, to get the offense an extra possession or two,” he said. “We didn’t do that.”
For Jason Garrett and his football team, this trip to Kansas City was a missed opportunity. There were plenty of outstanding efforts by players on both the sides of the ball, but when they needed a play the most, whether it was in the red zone or getting the ball back one final time for your clutch kicker to send you home with a victory, the defense wasn’t fresh enough to get a stop.
What we have learned about this Dallas Cowboys squad is that when it gets turnovers, it can play with anyone in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid will not turn over the ball on offense, but this afternoon, Alex Smith threw two passes that were the difference in 14 points.
On the Chiefs’ first drive, Will Allen was in perfect shape coverage-wise against Dwayne Bowe when Smith threw the ball behind his receiver. From the press box, it appeared that Allen had the ball in his hands, but instead of ending the drive right there and getting his defense off the field, he drops it, and six plays later, Smith is able to lead his team into the end zone for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The second missed opportunity came right before the half on third-and-10 from the Dallas 39-yard line. Smith drops back and makes a reckless throw to tight end Sean McGrath as Bruce Carter is driving on the route. Carter once again is in perfect position with both hands on the ball and nothing but green grass ahead of him, but he drops the ball. If Carter makes that play, he puts his team up 17-7 and with the offense getting the ball to start the second half.
As outstanding as Dez Bryant was against the Chiefs, there will be a play in the fourth quarter that will be on his mind during the flight home. With the offense backed up and facing a second-and-10 from its own 21, Romo appeared to signal to Bryant for an adjustment on his route, going one-on-one against Brandon Flowers. At the snap, Romo takes the ball in the pocket, and launches a beautiful floating pass in the direction of Bryant, who has separation on Flowers. The ball cannot be thrown in any more of a perfect spot for Bryant, but he loses focus and the ball falls away. Two plays later, the Cowboys have to punt. If Bryant catches that pass, he has a chance to take it all the way – another missed opportunity.
We knew it could potentially come down to one or two plays that could make a difference in the final outcome. The Chiefs were able to force turnovers and the Cowboys were not. The Chiefs made some key plays down the stretch running the ball to kill the game and the Cowboys did not. Teams that find ways to make plays on a weekly bases, find ways to win. In Kansas City, the Cowboys learned that lesson the hard way
The Dallas Cowboys continue to have a difficult time starting a season 2-0. It has only happened three times over the last 17 seasons and the Kansas City Chiefs made sure it wouldn’t be four times in 18 years.
Here are my five thoughts on the Cowboys dropping to 1-1 after losing in Kansas City 17-16 on Sunday.
1. Yes, it wasn’t as bad as the debacle in Seattle in Week 2 last season but it ended with the same result. All of the blown opportunities should make the Cowboys feel sick. The offense had multiple chances in the fourth quarter to answer with a go-ahead scoring drive but it never happened. Several short Tony Romo passes sailed wide and one of his best deep balls was dropped by Dez Bryant. The worst defensive play of the day came from Morris Claiborne, who was called for pass interference on a pass attempt to Donnie Avery that likely wouldn’t have resulted in a first down. Had the second-year corner not committed the infraction, Dallas would’ve had a couple minutes to get in range of a game-winning field goal.
2. The defense didn’t force any turnovers but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a solid showing. Yes, they gave up two long drives, which led to 14 points. The Cowboys should win a lot of games if their defense holds opponents to 14 points. Monte Kiffin’s group did its part for the second consecutive week. And remember, they’re still learning the system. If DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Brandon Carr and a few others can stay healthy, this group should be a strength.
3. Could the running game look any worse? You want to know why the Cowboys pass so much? Well, it’s because they can’t run the football. Dallas ran 16 times for only 36 yards on Sunday. If you didn’t know, that’s terrible. The addition of Brian Waters should help, but this doesn’t appear to be a problem that will be fixed over night. No running game means a lot of long third down attempts for Romo. How has that worked out? After converting 5-of-15 third downs against the New York Giants, the Cowboys were 3-of-11 on Sunday. You don’t win in the NFL converting only three third downs.
4. While Dez Bryant did have a terrible fourth quarter drop, that doesn’t mean the Cowboys should not be giving him more opportunities to make plays, especially when he’s dominating his coverage. Up until that drop, he was unstoppable. He had 100 yards in the first quarter! Brandon Flowers, one of the better corners in the league had no answer for him and the Cowboys stopped taking advantage of the mismatch in the second quarter. During 17 offensive snaps in the second quarter, the Cowboys went to Bryant twice. I think that was a mistake.
5. It sure is nice having Dan Bailey. The third-year kicker is 6-of-6 on field-goal attempts this season and they all certainly haven’t been easy. On Sunday, Bailey drilled a career-long 53 yarder. The other two were from 51 and 30 yards, respectively. It would be difficult to find a kicker better than Bailey is right now.
After a strong performance in their victory over the New York Giants in the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys head to Kansas City.
Defensive end Anthony Spencer is expected to play. So too is newly-acquired guard Brian Waters. They should help a Cowboys team that will look to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Here is a look at the Cowboys’ keys to victory in their game against the Chiefs:
Jason Garrett lauded the offensive line’s pass protection the Cowboys’ victory over the Giants last Sunday. But Tony Romo was still sacked twice and hit so hard he suffered bruised ribs that seemed to affect his performance in the second half. Considering Romo will be only seven days removed from the injury, shielding him from further harm is a priority. The Cowboys depend on Romo. He’s their biggest asset and Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali, one of the better pass rushers in the NFL, will be hunting him.
Pressure but don’t blitz
The player with the second-best passer rating last season in the face of blitzes wasn’t Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or even Aaron Rodgers. It was Alex Smith, the Chiefs quarterback who started nine games for San Francisco in 2012. When teams sent at least one extra defender to harass him, Smith completed 50 of 69 attempts for 611 yards and seven touchdowns against only one interception. Only Washington’s Robert Griffin III fared better than Smith when the pressure was cranked up. Smith, who is mobile, must be contained. But he has shown he can beat the blitz.
Contain Jamaal Charles
Kansas City coach Andy Reid has a reputation as a quarterback guru. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to run the ball. In 2011, when he was running the show in Philadelphia, the Eagles were fifth in rushing as Reid leaned heavily on LeSean McCoy. It can be argued that Charles is an even more dynamic running back than McCoy is. If the Cowboys can limit Charles, they know they can stymie Reid’s West Coast offense.
The Cowboys defensive coaches were beaming after their victory over the New York Giants. From the moment off-season practices began they had been preaching the importance of making interceptions and retrieving fumbles. So what did the Cowboys do? They forced six turnovers, five on defense. Still, the Cowboys beat the Giants by less than a touchdown, and that margin of victory shows how important those takeaways were. The Cowboys need more of them to show their turnover bonanza wasn’t a fluke.
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When: Sunday, September 15th, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Watch on TV: FOX; check local listings
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After a strong performance in their victory over the New York Giants in the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys head to Kansas City.
Defensive end Anthony Spencer is expected to play. So too is newly-acquired guard Brian Waters. They should help a Cowboys team that will look to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Here is a look at how the Cowboys and Chiefs match up:
When the Cowboys run
The Cowboys’ commitment to their ground game remains in question after they attempted 49 passes and only 23 runs in a 36-31 victory over the New York Giants last Sunday. But at least there seemed to be signs of improvement from last season. DeMarco Murray rushed for 86 yards – a higher total than he produced in all but two games in 2012. Murray will be challenged by the Chiefs, who had three linebackers – Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston – selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl.
When the Cowboys pass
Tony Romo’s condition is a concern after he suffered bruised ribs in Dallas’ victory over the Giants last Sunday. Romo, after all, remains the engine of the offense. He threw 49 times against the Giants, accounting for 263 passing yards and two touchdowns. Jason Witten and Miles Austin thrived, making a combined total of 18 catches. But Dez Bryant was held in check and he is dealing with a sprained left foot. Now he’ll face a Chiefs defense that surrendered the fewest passing yards – 107– of any NFL team in Week 1.
When the Chiefs run
Kansas City received a bit of a scare when Jamaal Charles suffered a bruised quadriceps last Sunday in the Chiefs’ 28-2 victory over Jacksonville. But Charles is expected to play and that is good news for Kansas City. Charles, a two-time Pro Bowler, has three 1,000-yard rushing seasons since being drafted out of Texas in 2008. Dallas, which allowed only 50 rushing yards against the Giants’ weak backfield, will face a stiffer test Sunday.
When the Chiefs pass
Quarterback Alex Smith’s debut with the Chiefs wasn’t spectacular. But it was efficient as he completed 21 of 34 pass attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Smith did a good job of distributing the ball as nine different Chiefs players made receptions. The Cowboys, who yielded 450 passing yards to Eli Manning but made three interceptions, hope to be stingier than they were against the Giants but just as opportunistic as they were last Sunday.
The Cowboys’ special teams looked much better than they did in the preseason. They recovered a fumble on a punt and Dan Bailey made each of his three field goal attempts. That’s no surprise for Bailey, who was the second-most accurate kicker in the NFL last season. Ryan Succop, Bailey’s counterpart on the Chiefs, wasn’t nearly as good, making only 82.4 percent of his tries in 2012. Of course the Chiefs have Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, who surprisingly has the worst net average in the NFL through one week.
Much is made of the supposed home-field advantage Kansas City’s crowd creates for the Chiefs. Arrowhead is regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. But visiting teams have had success there. Since 2000, the Chiefs are 54-50 at Arrowhead. Twenty teams, including the Cowboys, have better winning percentages on their home field during the same period. Dallas, which is 2-2 against the Chiefs at Kansas City, shouldn’t be intimidated.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” was pretty much dead-on with his predictions . We’re not sure if he spent extra time waxing his ball in the offseason, or exactly what happened! Quite impressive! Those results will be available by clicking HERE in the very near future.
Last weeks win over the evil arch rival New York Giants gives us die-hard Cowboys fans reason to celebrate. We’ve seen the sudden emergence of a takeaway happy defense, TE Jason Witten twice reacquainted with the end-zone, and offensive line that doesn’t make us quiver with every snap. Today, uppermost in our minds is the 450 yards the Texas 2 defense yielded to the New York Giants offense … and three banged up cowpokes from last Sunday. Bruised Romo, Dez, and Mo are expected to take the field against Andy Reid’s Chiefs … and put on a show for that sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium. When the fat lady sings, one of these teams will be kicking off the 2013-2014 NFL season at 2-0.
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the Cowboys – Chiefs incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys week #2 predictions:
‘Boys take names at Arrowhead
Dallas Cowboys mount up and head to K.C. with a wagonload of momentum. The ‘boys take out the big chief in a tough battle. When the smoke clears, they ride out with the W.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
Sean Lee INT
Jason Hatcher 1 sack
Church/Carter lead tackles
Alex Smith sacked 4x
Texas 2 Defense gives up 23 points
Texas 2 Defense shuts out Chiefs in one quarter
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 330 yards
Tony Romo 3 TDs
Dez Bryant TD
Miles Austin TD
DeMarco Murray TD
Lance Dunbar TD
Gavin Escobar 30 yards
Dez Bryant 70 yards
Jason Witten 35 yards
Williams 45 yards
Miles Austin 70 yards
DeMarco Murray fumble
Rushing committee 110 yards
Tony Romo sacked 3 times
Offense starts game with possession
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #2. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
JASON GARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE: 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs–First road trip of season
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media for the final time before heading to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. Garrett discussed:
- State of mind going into a road game after a big win
- Anthony Spencer’s progress
- DeMarcus Ware production draws double-teams
- Brian Waters progress
- Rex Ryan influence on Chiefs DC Bob Sutton (I got Rob Ryan flashback)
- Terrance Williams rebound
- Scandrick versatility inside and outside corner
- Morris Claiborne’s practice harness and limits
- Lance Dunbar’s role vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- Rookie C Travis Frederick vs. NT Poe matchup
- DeMarco Murray touches influenced by Dunbar’s return
- Linebacker Sims status – next man up (Bosworth)
- Activation of 7 or 8 offensive linemen vs. KC Chiefs
Andy Reid: Monte Kiffin Is Top Notch – Duration 9:04
Kansas City coach Any Reid speaks to the Dallas media about matching up against a familiar opponent in the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason Garrett: Bringing In The Right People
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks with the Kansas City media during his weekly conference call.
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IRVING, Texas – Any doubt about Lance Dunbar’s ability to play this weekend seems to be gone now.
The backup running back was a full participant in practice, and he said he’s finally able to do everything he needs to do to suit up on Sundays.
“That’s what I’m planning on,” Dunbar said. “I was able to do everything. (The foot) feels fine. I really don’t even think about it.”
Dunbar said earlier in the week he thought he’d still feel the sprain but could play through it. It sounds like he’s gotten past that mental block now.
“I was able to run and cut,” he said. “I went full speed and did everything, the whole practice – special teams and everything.”
With Dunbar absent last weekend, Murray took 20 of the 21 rushes by the running backs. Phillip Tanner took the other carry for two yards. If the preseason and offseason are any indication, Dunbar will play a more vital role as the Cowboys’ backup running back. He could also be a factor in the return game.
“Seeing all the guys get ready to play was tough,” Dunbar said. “But I look forward to being out there with them this week.”
IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant used as few words as possible, maybe in hopes of stopping the questions quickly.
How does Bryant’s foot — the one he sprained against the Giants and had an MRI on this week – feel?
“The foot feels great,” he said.
Was there ever any concern it would be an issue for the Cowboys’ Week 2 clash against Kansas City?
“No,” he added. “Never.”
Well, then. With those worries tossed aside, Bryant was free to field queries about the disappointing nature of his debut against New York last Sunday. This season comes with a high standard for Bryant – a standard that was placed there by himself as well as others.
The 2013 campaign didn’t get off to a rollicking start, with just four catches for 22 yards, but Bryant said patience is the key.
“You always want to catch the ball and make the play. But at the same time, we’re trying to win – you’ve got to play smart football. And you’ve just got to be patient,” he said. “There will be a time where Miles might get doubled, or Witten might get doubled. Like I said, when your number is called you’ve just got to make the play.”
Jason Witten and Miles Austin certainly did make the plays while the Giants focused on Bryant. The pair combined for 18 catches, 142 yards and two touchdowns – a type of firepower Bryant said makes it hard to be selfish about the ball.
“Come on, man. We’ve got, what? I don’t want to mess it up – an eight-time Pro Bowler? Nine? In Jason Witten – he makes plays,” Bryant said. “Miles is a Pro Bowler – he makes plays. Terrance Williams just came off a 1,800 yard season at Baylor – he makes plays. Whenever your number is called, you’ve got to make a play.”
Bryant’s attitude might not have been so selfless in the past, prompting the question of his well-documented maturation with the Cowboys.
“I guess you could say that — I agree with you,” Bryant said.
All of that aside, Bryant is going to have his opportunity to take the spotlight against the Chiefs. Witten said the Cowboys are committed to getting their playmaker the ball, regardless of the attention paid to him.
“He’s always going to get a lot of attention. That’s from now until he stops playing, because he’s that type of player,” Witten said. “We’re getting the ball to him. I think we’re trying to get him the ball. Really, in practice you watch and you can’t get it to him enough. That’s what type of player he is. I don’t see that getting in the way moving forward. I’m sure teams are going to try to take him out of the game, but we’ll find ways like we did last year and we’ve done for the last four years of getting the ball in his hands.”
With his foot apparently in the clear for the approaching weekend, Bryant echoed those sentiments.
“I promise you, my time is coming, and when it comes I’m going to take advantage of it,” he said.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team continues their preparation for the Kansas City Chiefs. Garrett discussed:
- Practicing at AT&T Stadium
- Condition of three injured starters (Romo, Dez, Claiborne)
- Brian Waters progress
- Thoughts on Selvie and Spencer rotation
- Preparation for Andy Reid and Kansas City Chiefs
- Challenges of Sutton/Reid’s 3rd down defensive schemes
- Evaluating Terrence Williams role on offense
- Importance of reps and timing for new players with Romo
- Competition, grading, and putting best guy on the field
- Harris and Williams make each other better, competition philosophy
- Joseph Randall progress
- Romo’s low yards per pass attributed to working through progressions
- Dez been getting double-coverage since he was a rookie, respected
- Notes on what Garrett says to team from week-to-week (motivation)
- Redzone and balance thoughts from New York Giants game
- Kansas City offensive challenges for Texas 2 defense
- Thoughts on Alex Smith’s west-coast style and past success
- Balance of KC’s offense with Bowe, runners, and Smith’s mobility
- AT&T Stadium tours during practice and security
- NFL fines and effects on some players over time
- Reflection on 2009 game in Kansas City
- Miles Austin example of making best of opportunities
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IRVING, Texas – Some of the greatest games in Dallas Cowboys history can be categorized by a single player.
There’s a “Clint Longley Game” with his 1974 comeback throw to Drew Pearson on Thanksgiving Day. Jason Garrett has a game in beating the Packers exactly 20 years later. Even Emmitt Smith has a game with his heroic effort against the Giants in 1993.
And without a doubt, Miles Austin is included on that list. The “Miles Austin Game” occurred at the very place the Dallas Cowboys will revisit Sunday afternoon when they take on the Chiefs.
There is where Austin made his first career start, thanks to a rib injury to Roy Williams the previous week in Denver. To that point in his four-year career, Austin had played in 41 games, but had a total of 23 catches for 436 yards and four touchdowns.
Three hours later, Austin set the Cowboys’ single-game record with 250 receiving yards on 10 catches and two touchdowns, including a 60-yard score in overtime to give the Cowboys a much-needed 26-20 win over the Chiefs.
“Right at the end, we score and everyone jumps on the pile at the end …” Austin recalled. “It was a turning point for our season and obviously a turning point for me and my life. I thought it was a great team win. And I was glad to be a part of it.”
But Austin was more than just a part of it – he was basically the reason for it.
Austin had a game-tying touchdown catch over the middle in the fourth quarter. He then came back in overtime with a sideline grab before he broke a tackle attempt by Brandon Flowers and jaunted down the sideline for the score. The 250 yards broke Bob Hayes (246) single-game record for the Cowboys and marked the first time in NFL history a player recorded 250 yards in his first career start. It was also the first time in league record books a player had scored a game-winning touchdown in overtime in his first start.
The Cowboys head coach knows a thing or two about taking advantage of the moment in his own right. The win over Green Bay in 1994 is one of the more memorable moments in Cowboys history and obviously of his own career.
But as a coach, Garrett said Austin’s game in Kansas City ranks pretty high as well.
“It really was one of the best days I have been around in football – both as a player and as a coach,” said Garrett, the Cowboys offensive coordinator that day. “Miles Austin comes from Monmouth University as an undrafted free agent. He has an unbelievable way about him as a person and the approach that he takes as a football player. When a guy like that who comes from where he comes from and goes about it the way he does has that kind of success when he gets his opportunity … to this day I still kind of feel the thing down the back of my neck.
“It’s what this thing is all about. He goes about it the right way. He’s a pleasure to coach. It was a great day for him. It was a great day for our team. “
The Cowboys entered the bye week after the Chiefs game with a 3-2 record. They followed the off week by winning three straight games en route to an 11-5 season. It was also the first time the Cowboys won a playoff game since 2009.
But while Austin’s performance in Kansas City is considered his most memorable, arguably as impressive was the follow-up game he had against Atlanta the next week. Austin proved his effort against the Chiefs was no fluke by torching the Falcons for 170 yards on six catches and two more scores.
So in the first 41 games, Austin had 436 receiving yards and four touchdowns. In those two starts, he had 420 yards and four touchdowns.
“I got lucky that the two teams we played were man teams. They had no film on me,” Austin said. “I had a big play in the Atlanta game, just running across the field. It was a great two-game stretch for sure. It’s been great ever since then.”
Austin made the Pro Bowl both in 2009 and 2010 and received a monster contract extension worth $54.1 million over seven years.
Hamstring injuries have plagued him the last two seasons but he had a relatively healthy training camp and started off the 2013 campaign Sunday night by tying his career-high in catches with 10. While he didn’t go for 250 like he did in Kansas City, Austin was effective in the first half with underneath routes as the Giants took away the deep ball. He finished with a team-high 72 receiving yards.
Any time a player is coming off a game with double-digit catches, he should be a focal point for the opposing defense the following game.
Then again, considering his last trip to KC, that was probably already in the plans.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin sat down with Nick Eatman to discuss his coming out party in Kansas City in 2009.