What We Saw: Week 13

The What We Saw team recaps every game from Week 13

Colts @ Cowboys

Final Score: Dallas 54, Colts 19

Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)


It’s the Speed Blue versus the Royal Blue as we have the Indianapolis Colts visiting the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium down in Arlington TX.  The Colts are looking to turn the season around with the mid-season coaching change to fight off the Jaguars and try to catch the Titans in the division.  The Cowboys look to maintain their lead over the Giants and Commanders while trying to keep up with the Eagles in the division.  The Cowboys took the opening kick-off 3 and out and punt it over to the Colts who also go 3 and out, but Indianapolis had a fantastic starting position thanks to a fair-catch interference penalty, they were able to put up 3 points on the board from a Chase McLaughlin field goal.

Dallas takes their next drive 73 yards on the back of Ezekiel Elliott‘s chunk yards, handing it off to him 5 times in a row before hitting CeeDee Lamb for a short crossing route that he would run all the way down into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown catch to put the Cowboys up by 4.  The Colts thought Lamb was down but he actually rolled over the tackler never touching the ground, allowing for the heads-up play to run past the standing defenders in for the touchdown.  The Colts take the ensuing kickoff 79 yards highlighted by a 45-yard bomb by Matt Ryan down the right sideline to Alec Pierce setting them into the red zone where Trevon Diggs would bite hard on a Ryan pump-fake, setting up Ashton Dulin wide-open in the back corner of the end zone for the easy touchdown for Indianapolis to retake the lead by 3.



Dallas would answer back and regain the lead with a 3-minute drive in 6 plays highlighted by another short pass to Lamb who would run it for 22 yards.  This set up a 2-yard touchdown run for Tony Pollard, who also had 3 straight rushes to start the drive, for 25 additional yards.  The defenses would take over the show as the Colts have had their last two drives shut down by drive-killing sacks on third down.  Stephon Gilmore, who has already had a near-interception, hauls one in to get the turnover for the Colts to take over in the Dallas red zone.  Dallas would hold for the three and out resulting in another kick from McLaughlin through the uprights to bring the Colts to within a point.  The Colts would try a 2-minute drill to get some more points before half time but a tipped ball would result in a Malik Hooker interception for Dallas.  Hooker would take the ball to the 26-yard line to set up the Cowboys for Dak Prescott to scramble out of the pocket and hit Michael Gallup crossing over and diving in for the 13-yard touchdown pass to put Dallas up 21-13 to take us to half time.



After trading punts, the Colts would take their second possession of the second half 90 yards on the back of Jonathan Taylor‘s 8 touches on the drive for 42 yards, setting up a 15-yard pass to Pierce.  The subsequent 2-point conversion would fail and the Colts would only be down by 2.  With another 22-yard sideline run by Pollard, the Cowboys march into the red zone and Prescott hits Gallup for his second touchdown of the game to put the Cowboys up by 9.  The game starts to slip away from Indianapolis as Mo Allie-Cox takes a short pass and fumbles it fighting for extra yards.  Hooker picks up the fumble for a scoop and scores to put Dallas up by another 6 points after Lamb “threw” the ball for an incomplete on the 2-point conversion attempt.



The wheels are now coming off as Ryan almost throws a pick, follows it up by almost throwing another pick, and finally completes the trifecta by throwing an actual interception to DaRond Bland.  Dallas would only need 3 plays to get the ball to Pollard for a 30-yard touchdown run, his second of the game.  Dallas is up another 6 points as the extra point is blocked.  Their next drive resulted in a pass to Dulin being wrestled away by Bland for Ryan’s third interception of the game.  The entire stadium is drowning out all noise in “Zeeeeeke” chants.  You give the people what they want, 5 straight rushes to Elliot in a row, and the Cowboys are up by 28 points as Zeke hops into the kettle for his touchdown celebration and upcoming fine from the NFL, as is tradition.



The final wheel comes off as Ryan is sack-stripped by Osa Odighizuwa and the Cowboys take over.  Out of the smoke clearing, comes the man, the myth, and the legend- Cooper Rush.  Rush proceeds to hand the ball off to the Cowboys rookie Malik Davis, who breaks through the line and sprints into the end zone.  I have run out of fingers and toes and cannot count this high.  You’ve seen the Victory Formation, but have you ever seen a Defeat Formation?   Either way, Ryan takes a knee and the clock runs out, Cowboys win 54-19.  Now I understand better the phrase “It was close until it wasn’t” just a little more.



Next up the Colts are on their bye, and the Cowboys will host Odell Beckham Jr the Texans.


Indianapolis Colts




Matt Ryan: 21/37, 233 Yards, 2 TD, 3 INT | 3 Carries, -2 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)


What if I told you there were two different points in this game where the Colts were in the lead?  You’re right, one was the opening drive and the other ended at the top of the second quarter.  But, for three quarters, the Colts played decent ball.  Unfortunately for Indianapolis, you must play four quarters of football.  We went into the 4th quarter with the Colts only down by two.  I hope you didn’t have to play Matt Ryan tonight, none of his stat line should come as a surprise given what was written about their pass blocking and the defense they were playing against coming into tonight.  The Colts had two drives end in sacks on third down.  After scoring their final touchdown, their next four possessions ended in turnovers.  Ryan was almost picked off three times tonight, in addition to actually getting picked off three times tonight.  The second of those four turnover-ending drives saw Ryan almost throw one interception, then almost throw another interception on the next play, and then throw an actual interception on the third play on these three plays in a row.  One of his interceptions was a bad throw, a second was a ball that became a tip drill from his receivers having the ball ricochet off his hands, and the third he was giving his receiver an earful so I’m assuming there was a miscommunication there.  It was something that happened with multiple receivers tonight.   Rough.



Running Back


Jonathan Taylor: 21 Carries, 82 Yards | 4 Targets, 3 Receptions, 21 Yards

Deon Jackson: 2 Carries, 6 Yards

Zack Moss: 3 Carries, 18 Yards


Well, this is encouraging.  Jonathan Taylor went for over 100 total yards tonight and was committed to racking up 25 touches for this game.  There were not many bright spots in the game tonight, but he was one of the few.  7 of the first 10 plays for the Colts involved Taylor.  Three of his four targets came in the second half of the game (the first was in the 2-minute drill of the first half).  It was highlighted by the broadcast how strong the Colts’ run blocking is, so hopeful news for Taylor owners for the remainder of the season.  All of Zack Moss‘s carries came when the starters exited the game for both teams.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Michael Pittman Jr.: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 16 Yards

Alec Pierce: 8 Targets, 4 Receptions, 86 Yards, TD

Parris Campbell: 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 43 Yards | 1 Carry, 2 Yards

Ashton Dulin: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 14 Yards, TD

Jelani Woods: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 28 Yards

Kylen Granson: 6 Targets, 4 Receptions, 19 Yards

Mo Alie-Cox: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 6 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)


I warned during the week that Michael Pittman was going to be well below his normal expectations.  But sometimes, you just don’t have the depth regardless.  He was covered well and the times when Ryan had any time for the play to develop were few and far between.  Ultimately, a team that gets itself into 13 third-down situations and was only able to convert 4 of them in addition to 5 (!) turnovers on the offense gets a lot of limitations on opportunities to push the ball out to your stars.  Parris Campbell only had 5 targets and was not the one that benefited the most from how the Cowboys’ secondary operated as I originally predicted, but it was Alec Pierce who did.  Though Campbell was targeted on the failed two-point conversion, it was Pierce who stretched the field for the Colts seeing 8 targets tonight, bringing in one of them for the touchdown.  Jelani Woods and Kylen Granson combined for 10 targets, but it was clear Woods is the more talented pass catcher of this group and the broadcast agreed he needs to get more snaps going forward.  Hopefully, the team sees this as well in the future.



Dallas Cowboys




Dak Prescott: 20/30, 170 Yards, 3 TD, INT


The Cowboys came into this game with the second-best red zone offense in the league on the season, and the final score can attest to that.  33 fourth-quarter points are the second highest in an NFL game, ever.  Dak Prescott did not put up the yards, but he also did not play the entire game either.  It just wasn’t needed.  The running game was established and working well, and they were not behind playing catch-up.  Prescott did come away with three passing touchdowns, but he also had one interception on the night and I counted three more that were almost picked off as well.  Stephon Gilmore was on point tonight jumping a route and almost catching it.  Then a few plays later, he essentially boxed out Gallup and intercepted the pass.  I am not certain who is ‘at fault’ for that one, or if Gilmore’s maneuver was 100% legal. The broadcast was not sure either.



Running Back


Tony Pollard: 12 Carries, 91 Yards, 2 TD | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards

Ezekiel Elliott: 17 Carries, 77 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 14 Yards

Malik Davis: 3 Carries, 29 Yards, TD


The starting running back for the Cowboys tonight was Tony Pollard.  And they essentially split carries evenly until you got the feeling that Pollard had “gotten his” and so Ezekiel Elliott was focused on more until he got into the end zone as well.   Even with Pollard getting the start, Elliott had 5 rushes in a row on the second drive, sandwiched in between two Pollard rushes.  The second-to-last scoring drive for the Cowboys had started and ended with Elliott, rushing it 5 times in a row, the final one resulting in the touchdown. Combining for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns, this team continues to support two starting fantasy running backs.  With Tyron Smith coming back to practice this week for the first time this season, the run blocking should only get stronger.  Malik Davis came in with the second team on the final drive of the game and the rookie got the first touchdown of his NFL career.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


CeeDee Lamb: 7 Targets, 5 Receptions, 71 Yards, TD | 2 Carries, 23 Yards

Michael Gallup: 7 Targets, 4 Receptions, 23 Yards, 2 TD

Dalton Schultz: 6 Targets, 2 Receptions, 33 Yards

Noah Brown: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards

Jake Ferguson: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, -1 Yard


It’s a good thing CeeDee Lamb has an amazing career as a wide receiver to fall back on because that pass he threw on the Cowboys’ 2-point attempt was more of a fastball into the dirt than a football pass.  Other than that, you could tell he was feeling it tonight.  Fun fact: all of his yards came from being in motion.  It was the most he’s ever shifted on the line in his career, and if this is the result look for this trend to continue.  The Colts could not keep up with him.  His two rushes came on back-to-back sweeping handoffs.  Congratulations if you put the Michael Gallup lottery ticket into your starting lineup this week!  He went off for 18 points tonight with his two touchdowns.  Dalton Schultz was not a winning tight-end start, but not for a lack of trying.  They went to him four times in the first quarter alone.  One of his incompletes later in the game was a touchdown catch that the defender knocked out of his hands as he was coming down.  Noah Brown was the target for the failed two-point conversion and had a 44-yard pass interference flag that brought the Cowboys into the red zone.



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