Cowboys Set a Low Mark in Rushing Attempts

Many teams like to run the ball. The Cowboys, in fact, used to like to run the ball. They didn't on Sunday.

Many teams like to run the ball. The Cowboys, in fact, used to like to run the ball. They didn’t on Sunday.

The Dallas Cowboys abandoned the run on Sunday like they never have before.

During the time that Tom Landry coached the Cowboys, the team never had fewer than 16 rushing attempts in a single game. Between 1960 and 1988, the Cowboys played 64 games in which they ran the ball 25 or fewer times. The team’s record in those games was 11-53.

Since 1989, the Cowboys have played 24 games in which they rushed 15 or fewer times in a game. Until Sunday, the team had a combined record of 0-23 in those games. Thanks to Sunday’s game, the team’s record in those games is 1-23.

The team’s previous low in rushing attempts was 10, set in 1989 in a 28-0 loss to New Orleans and again in 2011 in a 34-7 loss to Philadelphia.

Dallas became the second team in 2013 to have only 9 rushing attempts. The other team was Baltimore, which ran the ball 9 times for 24 yards in a 23-20 loss at Buffalo. Teams that have ran the ball 15 or fewer times have a combined record of 4-16. The Cowboys’ previous low this year was 14 attempt in the 51-48 loss to Denver.

Here is a chart showing games in which Dallas has ran the ball 15 or fewer times:

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The Cowboys had only 36 rushing yards on Sunday. That number did not set a franchise low, however.

Dallas has rushed for 36 or fewer yards in 15 games. The team’s combined record in those games is 2-13.

The previous win game in 1987, when Dallas ran the ball 24 times for 26 yards in a 33-24 win over the New York Giants. Tony Dorsett had one of the worst games of his career, gaining just 3 yards on 14 carries. He lost his starting job two weeks later.

 

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If Jerry was going for the creepy-old-man look, he nailed it next to Selena Gomez, who will perform at halftime on Thanksgiving.

jerry

A trivia question I could not answer: name one song that Selena Gomez sings.

Of course, my daughter might watch football on Thanksgiving this year. Thanks, Jerry!

 

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Dallas 27, Minnesota 23: Scoffing at Win-Probability Analysis

The Dallas Cowboys appeared to do everything they needed to do on Sunday to lose a game to the 1-6 Minnesota Vikings. A loss would have been very difficult for the team to overcome, both in the standings and in terms of rebounding emotionally.

harris

Dwayne Harris dove into the end zone with less than a minute remaining to give the Cowboys a 27-23 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

The Vikings had an 89% chance of winning the game with 4:21 remaining. Minnesota led 23-20 and had just picked off Tony Romo in Dallas territory. Minnesota needed less than 10 yards to get into field-goal range.

The Dallas defense that could not stop Adrian Peterson on Minnesota’s previous drive, which resulted in the go-ahead touchdown, held tight. The Vikings punted the ball to Dallas with 2:44 remaining and pinned the Cowboys at their own 10.

The Cowboys needed Romo to play the role of hero, driving the team 90 yards for the game-winning score. He did just that.

Dallas receivers had problems with drops all game  but did not during this drive. He threw passes to Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, and Dwayne Harris. With 1:30 remaining and the Cowboys holding the ball at their own 45, Romo hit Dez Bryant across the middle, and Bryant was able to weave his way through the Viking secondary for a 34-yard gain.

Romo completed two more passes to get the ball down to the Minnesota 7. With 42 seconds left, Romo threw the ball underneath to Harris, who dove into the end zone to give Dallas the lead. The Vikings’ last ditch effort to come back failed, giving Dallas the 27-23 win.

Bryant put the Cowboys in position to win the game, but this will not be a game for him to remember fondly. He dropped a couple of passes that would have put the Cowboys in position to score touchdowns.

Bryant later lost his cool, possibly costing the Cowboys a chance at a field goal late in the third quarter. With Dallas leading 20-17, the Cowboys moved the ball to the Minnesota 29. However, Lance Dunbar lost five yards on a run, setting up a 3rd-and-15 play. Romo tried to get the ball to Bryant, who was called for offensive pass interference. He argued with the referees and removed his helmet in the process, drawing a 15-yard penalty. It forced the Cowboys to punt.

Jason Witten had his best game of the season, catching 8 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. His score came early in the third quarter and gave Dallas a 13-10 lead.

Seconds later, George Selvie stripped the ball from Christian Ponder in the end zone, and Nike Hayden recovered in the end zone to increase the Dallas lead to 20-10.

However, just when it appeared that the Cowboys would run away with the game, the Minnesota offense rebounded, marching 77 yards in just over 3 minutes to cut the Dallas lead to 20-17.

The first half is hardly worth mentioning. The Cowboys played as if they were hung over from last week’s loss to Detroit. A touchdown run by Ponder gave the Vikings a 10-6 halftime lead.

The win allowed Dallas to remain in first place in the NFC East. The Eagles improved to 4-5 with a 49-20 win over Oakland, while the Redskins (now 3-5) beat the Chargers in overtime, 30-24.

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