Many Things Can Be Said about The First Game Of The Season. There are positives and negatives for every game.
Here are my five takeaways from the season opener. Let’s get started.
1: Dak Prescott
In the preseason Prescott was what many fans described as “sensational”, and was deemed as the Cowboys future. I am not sold on Dak yet: let’s face it, the preseason is the preseason and he was not facing many starters.
The 2016 season finally kicked off and I have to say he impressed me to some degree. Dak’s stats were 25/45, 227 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and no fumbles. If you look at the numbers they’re pretty mediocre, but not bad for his NFL debut. If Dak can continue to improve and replicate some of what we saw in the preseason, he can win some games.
2. Ezekiel Elliott
Cowboys fans around the world (including myself) were anxious to see the debut of number 4 overall draft pick, RB Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday. He was poised to be the best rusher on the field with high expectations all around, but what did we see? Another high pick with a huge weight on his shoulders. The former Ohio State Buckeye had 20 carries for 51 yards, and an 8 yard touchdown run.
It was a very disappointing debut for the lead rusher in Dallas, but on the other hand, the Giants have been revamping their defense. It is only the first game, but one thing to think about is: Alfred Morris completely overshadowed Elliott with his his performance of 7 carries for 35 yards (5.0 YPC). As compared to 2.6 YPC by the rookie.
3. Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant is a top receiver in the NFL. Lets not let our minds be influenced by what anyone says. What we saw in the season opener was that Dez was pretty much a non factor. It’s not for a lack of trying. There was some man coverage as well as some double teams and/or a safety over the top.
I can’t necessarily single out Dez for some dropped balls, Cole Beasley surprisingly had some as well. I’m not sure if the blame goes to play calling or quarterback to receiver chemistry. What we know for sure, is when Tony Romo is playing, Bryant is one of his top weapons and he’s able to get the ball to him most of the time with ease. Since it was only game one we can expect more targets in the future, and hopefully more catches.
4. The Defense
The Cowboys entered this season without some starters on defense (due to suspensions) and it’s hard to say if the result would have been any different. The Cowboys defense allowed 4.7 rushing yards per carry for a total of 113 yards. However, they only allowed 203 passing yards and 20 total points.
It’s not horrible, but a lot of improvement is needed because the Cowboys front 7 didn’t stop the run as much as they wanted to. On a positive note, Brandon Carr had his first interception in two years. Is this his break out year?
Terrance Williams’ last play of the game was the most talked about topic this week. Williams was Dak Prescott’s target on 3rd and 10 with 12 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. Dan Bailey was once again getting primed on the side line to be the hero with a game winning field goal. As we all know, he is no stranger to those situations.
Williams caught the ball at the 48 yard line securing the first down, but was supposed to go out of bounds to stop the clock. The opportunity to win the game was riding on this play. What did Williams do? T-Will decided to run inside despite knowing what he was “supposed” to do, and was tackled in bounds.
As a result, the Cowboys failed to get in formation in time to spike the ball. I believe Williams did this because he wanted to be the hero of the game. He probably thought he could run it in for a TD. Oh well; it was week 1 and you can’t stay mad at the guy forever. I’m pretty sure he avoided social media this week.
There’s more to take away from this game, but these are the things that stood out to me. All of the Ezekiel Elliot fantasy owners out there (including myself) shouldn’t be worried. I believe he’ll get better moving forward…. At least I hope he does!