The Dallas Cowboys lost their week 4 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. After falling behind once again, their late fourth-quarter surge wasn’t enough to get the victory.
The Cowboys fell to 1-3 on the season and look to improve all-around from their week 4 disaster. Here are some key takeaways from their week 4 matchup.
The Cowboys New Defensive Scheme isn’t Working
The Dallas Cowboys defense has been atrocious through the first four weeks of the season.
As a result of Mike McCarthy taking over as the new head coach of the Cowboys, he brought in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to take charge of a very talented Dallas defense.
However, his new defensive scheme set to confuse offenses hasn’t done that at all this season. The Cowboys have always run a 4-3 defense, but Nolan implemented a 3-4 hybrid defense this season.
To say the least, the communication with the defense isn’t there. Consequently, they have allowed several big plays including two in their matchup against Cleveland.
They allowed wide receiver Jarvis Landry to throw a deep 37-yard touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. Also, on a critical must stop drive late in the fourth quarter, they let Beckham Jr. rush for a 50-yard touchdown sealing their fate in the game.
Not to mention, their defense has allowed the most points through four weeks. They have given up 39 points, 38 points and 49 points in three consecutive games. On the season, the Cowboys defense is yielding an average of 36.5 points per game.
As a result, the defense is on pace to break the record for most points given up in a season. The Baltimore Colts currently own the record when they gave up 533 points in the 1981 season. In that season, the Colts gave up an average of 33.1 points per game.
The Cowboys would shatter that record and are currently on pace to give up 584 points.
Things need to change on defense for the Cowboys, whether it be to acquire Earl Thomas or fire defensive coordinator Nolan.
Dak Prescott Can’t be Stopped
Although the Cowboys have given up a lot of points on defense, that opens up the door for quarterback Dak Prescott.
Yet again, the Cowboys found themselves down by 27 points late in the third quarter. Prescott led his team down the field each and every drive, eventually cutting the lead to three points with just four minutes remaining in the game.
Prescott would finish the game completing 41/58 passes for 502 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Even though he has had trouble holding onto the fumble, another loss fumble for Prescott against Cleveland, his offensive line is not at full strength.
Prescott has had three consecutive games with a fumble lost.
However, his passing has been on par all season long. Through four games, he is averaging 422.5 passing yards including three consecutive 450+ passing yard performances.
He is on pace to shatter the passing yards record in a season previously held by Peyton Manning (5,477). Prescott is on pace to finish the season with 6,760 passing yards. He is also on pace to finish with career highs in both passing touchdowns (36) and rushing touchdowns (12).
Since his rookie season in 2016, Prescott has seven games with 400+ passing yards, which is the most in the NFL during that span. Prescott also passed Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner for most pass yards in the first four games of a season (1,690).
Although it is unlikely that Prescott keeps up this ridiculous pace, he has proved this season that when the ball is in his hands, anything is possible.
Through the first four games of the season, the Cowboys turnover ratio is -7 which is worst in the NFL.
“That isn’t a winning formula,” said McCarthy. “I don’t care how we’re playing on defense or special teams, we’re minus seven for the year. That’s unacceptable. It will not be the identity of this football team. It can’t be.”
Although Prescott has contributed to that with three interceptions and three fumbles himself, the defense on the other hand is not forcing any turnovers.
Also, Ezekiel Elliott who is always secure with the football has lost two fumbles this year.
The Cowboys defense only has one interception on the year and has struggled to pressure quarterbacks as well. They only average two sacks a game which is not what Dallas was expecting in 2020.
With a very talented defensive line, they expected to be in the top half of the league in sacks per game. However, thus far, they rank in the bottom half.
The Cowboys star offensive players have to hold onto the ball better while the defense has to force more turnovers to compliment their offense.
Featured Image Courtesy of ClutchPoints