LOS ANGELES – At one point you found yourself buckling your seatbelt holding on for dear life during this rollercoaster of a thing we call the NFL. The thrilling anticipation of dropping over 100 feet at 80 miles per hour. The adrenaline rush leaves you speechless until the ride comes to an end and your back at the same place you started in the blink of an eye.
For Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys, their ride has come to an end as they lose 30-22 to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC divisional round.
The score details how the Cowboys were a possession away from a trip to their first conference champion in over 20 years. However, the Rams 273 yards rushing compared to the Cowboys 50 is a better indicator of how to scale this game. They were outplayed on both sides of the ball. Surrounded by an abnormal number of fans for a road playoff game, the defense allowed the Rams to score points on all but one of their drives.
Prescott’s stat line looks decent to the naked eye, but it doesn’t show the near costly pick-six that could’ve buried this team early in the game. Whose to blame? The team. Here are three takeaways from the Cowboys final game of the 2018-19 season.
Defensive Tackle surfaces as an immediate need
Throughout defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s tenure here there have been statements made on how he doesn’t place a high value on the 1-technique in this defensive scheme. A position that is made to chew up blocks and prevent offensive linemen from getting to the second level has been a guy Marinelli has found in the back half of the draft or off the street. Equipped with Maliek Collins, Antwan Woods and Caraun Reid, Dallas’ interior was consistently gashed the entire night. It was apparent these guys could not hold their own at the point-of-attack. It created issues as the linebackers were unable to flow to the ball, which forced the safeties to play the run more aggressively. It eventually led to their demise as LA punished Dallas with the play-action game. Dominate defensive tackles make life easier for all members of the defense. Aaron Donald can tell you a little about that himself.
It’s not you, It’s Me
Whether you favor, Dak Prescott, Garrett or Scott Linehan it is clear none of these parts can work simultaneously. Can you win with Prescott? Sure. Can you win with this scheme? Yep. You cannot win with Prescott running this scheme. This offense was tailor-made for a quarterback who can take advantage of the passing lanes the rushing attack can give you. This wasn’t Rams versus Chiefs Jared Goff this was “be a compliment to our running game” Jared Goff. It’s something Prescott has yet to truly grasp. He can’t consistently sit in the pocket and analyze a defense. It’s not what he’s best at, but it’s what this scheme requires. So a mutual breakup should be ordered here.
Elliot is the best back in the league
How do 22 attempts for 47 yards solidify your status as best in the game? It’s because the Rams showed you just because you have elite players doesn’t mean you can’t still scheme theme to success. This “my guys are better than yours” mindset is good when you’re facing the Arizona Cardinals. What happens when you face a defensive line that has two perennial Pro Bowlers and four total first round picks? What do you do when you can’t just hand it straight up the gut for five yards? Oh right, you adjust. Just as the Cowboys were able to find creative ways to convert on fourth down, those plays do not have to be reserved for critical moments.
It’s been a hell of a ride this season. Your stomach turned on the way down and when you made your way back out you figured out you kind of enjoy this. Unfortunately, we had to make an early exit off the ride. Don’t worry this ride is sure to come back around. Hopefully next time the ride can last a little bit longer.
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