Xavier Woods, Dallas run defense looked lost in attempts to slow Ravens
Here are Jean-Jacques Taylor’s scores from the Cowboys’ 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium …
The cowboys ran the ball pretty well, but their running game didn’t have much of an impact. Ezekiel Elliott finished with only 18 runs for 77 yards. He had two runs longer than 10 meters, but his longest was only 14 meters. And when the Cowboys got first-and-goal in the fourth quarter, they gave it to Elliott three times in a row and he lost a yard. Tony Pollard wore eight times for 22 yards.
Andy Dalton averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt, and his longest completion of 28 yards occurred in the last minute of the game. Dalton had good protection, he was fired once but he doesn’t want to attack which means this offense doesn’t generate many big games or points. Dalton made 31 passes, but Michael Gallup’s deep completion was his only one of more than 20 meters. Scoring points is difficult without big games.
Run the defense
We thought Baltimore would outperform the Run Defense, and it did. The Ravens had three runs of more than 30 yards and dominated the front cowboys while reaching a total of 294 yards and 7.9 yards per carry. Lamar Jackson dazzled with 13 runs for 94 yards, Gus Edwards finished with 101 yards on seven runs and JK Dobbins had 11 runs for 71 yards. Everyone had at least a 30 yards or more gain. Safety Xavier Woods was terrible. Sometimes he looked lost. Another time it wasn’t physical.
Jackson only threw 17 passes, but one of them was a 38-yard touchdown pass and another was a 20-yard touchdown pass. He also missed many open recipients. The Cowboys never fired him, despite pressuring him a couple of times, and they were never credited with a hit on the quarterback. Darian Thompson was caught early on by a pass that was on the border with Scrimmage.
Can you tell me how you can get a game penalty delay for a field goal attempt in the first half when you have three time outs? I don’t know, but the cowboys did it. Then Greg Zuerlein missed the first of his three inaccurate field goal attempts that night. The Cowboys did a terrible job against the Ravens’ reading option crime, which is one reason Baltimore has had so many long runs. Kellen Moore’s game plan was heavy, which is fine, but there weren’t many deep shots, whether he called her or Dalton didn’t throw her.
All in all
This game turned out just as most people imagined it would. The cowboys had no chance of stopping the ravens running game – and they didn’t. The offense made its usual series of mistakes to stop drives, producing a single play of more than 20 yards. Now, can we stop all this ridiculous ownership talk and the players about Dallas making the playoffs if they can pull together a couple of wins?
Jean-Jacques Taylor, a former SportsDay columnist, is the host of the JaM Session Podcast, which can be heard Monday, Thursday, and Friday on Apple, Spotify, and anywhere you get your podcasts.
More cowboys coverage from the Dallas Morning News can be found here.