If you had an appointment, or a class, or mowed the yard, or did something that took your attention away from the Cowboy victory from exactly the 11:30 minute mark of the 2nd quarter through the 4:00 mark of the 3rd quarter then you saw an almost flawless game. The great Cowboys controlled tempo, played with balance, applied pressure, had the Wildcats on their heels, and dominated the matchup on their way to a 37-7 victory for the 37:30 minutes they were on the field. Unfortunately, the great Cowboys tagged out for a while and their tag-team-partner, the average-to-bad Cowboys, managed a 0-7 loss for the 22:30 minutes of time they took a metaphorical dump on Lewis Field.
Here is the breakdown of the 3 different games that took place last night.
|Yards per play||2.0||7.7|
|Yards per play||6.3||3.9|
|Yards per play||7.5||7.6|
The Cowboys under Gundy are notorious for taking their foot off the accelerator, sometimes to a fault, and for now I think we can chalk the middle 22:30 of the game up to that... I keep telling myself.
Jump for some positives
Overall though, there really isn't a whole lot to be disappointed in. I know that we are tortured Cowboy fans and we focus on indicators that this will all come crumbling down, but Arizona is a solid, competitive team and for most of this matchup they looked completely overwhelmed and out of their league. In an effort to stick to this message (for now) how about some positives? The list of positives to take out of this one is almost overwhelming, but here is a sample of a few that stood out (and aren't quite as obvious as "Randle had a good game"):
- Kick Return Coverage - Arizona's longest return on 3 attempts was 22 yards. I honestly don't think we have held a team to that in 2 years.
- Defense in Pressure Situations - Sure, Arizona was 8-16 on third down conversions, but when the Cowboys D was really up against the wall they continued to step up. 1-3 on 4th downs and the huge stop on 4th down from the Cowboy 5 where Daytawion Lowe came up big on the pass deflection to momentarily preserve the shutout.
- Ball Control - Especially by the 4th quarter, the Cowboy line and the bruising running styles of Jeremy Smith and Joseph Randle took its toll on the Wildcats defense. This physical control, time control, and intimidation were what we were hoping Todd Monken could bring to the table, and it seems he has.
- Spread - 11 different receivers had catches. This is what will make all the preseason predictions of "Justin Blackmon taking a step back from last season because defenses will now key on him" look ridiculous. When there are that many threats on the field, you can't cheat to one side. The effect of this spread was most obvious on Blackmon's 2 TD catches on fade routes where Arizona was forced to leave an obviously overmatched DB in single coverage because there was too much else to worry about.
How about that for some "unique" positives? Also, I think Randle had a decent game, and Weeden broke some records.... oh and how about those uniforms?