What We Saw: Week 15

Vikings and Raiders and Jaguars - oh my!

Cowboys @ Jaguars

Final Score: Jaguars 40, Cowboys 34

Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)


The Dallas Cowboys traveled to TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville FL to play the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Dallas was looking to keep up with the Eagles in the NFC East and could have locked up a wildcard spot with a win, while Jacksonville was holding on to second place in the AFC South and still had an outside shot at a wildcard spot if they can win out with some luck.  Dallas received the kickoff but stalled out after eight plays at midfield punting it over to Jacksonville.  However, seven plays later Travis Etienne coughed up the ball from running into his lineman, turning it over.  Three handoffs to Tony Pollard got Dallas into the red zone which set up Ezekiel Elliott to punch it in for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Cowboys up seven.  On the next drive, CeeDee Lamb accounted for 32 yards on the next play if you include the pass interference (15 yards excluding) putting Dallas in position for a Dak Prescott 20-yard dime to Peyton Hendershot in the end zone to add seven more points to Dallas’ lead.

The Jaguars came alive on the next drive going 75 yards on five rushes and four passes setting up Trevor Lawrence to find Zay Jones over the middle for a 5-yard touchdown to get Jacksonville on the board with seven points.  Prescott would answer taking Dallas 66 yards, including a 12-yard rush by the quarterback down to the one-yard line, before finding Noah Brown right over the middle for the 1-yard touchdown pass to put the Cowboys back up by 14.  Dallas got the ball back with less than two minutes to go but Foyesade Oluokun came up with a massive run stuff on third down to get the Jaguars the ball back with 40 seconds to go.  Jacksonville wasn’t able to connect on enough plays down the field in time though, so we went to halftime Dallas 21 Jacksonville 7.



The broadcast spent about 10 minutes on Lawrence’s hair and if I’m being honest I still don’t think that was enough time spent.  They did not do it justice and would probably need a segment on Trevor’s Tips for hair care.  Jacksonville got the ball to start the second half and got it down the field on the back of a Christian Kirk 30-yard bomb on the sideline to get them into the red zone.  It doesn’t matter how open your receivers are if your quarterback can’t see because of all the pressure in his face and the Jaguars were forced to bring out Riley Patterson to kick the field goal to add three points for Jacksonville.  Dallas strikes back with back-to-back passes to CeeDee Lamb for 61 yards to get them into the red zone.  The Jaguars held strong, however, and the Cowboys got a Brett Maher kick to add three points for Dallas.



On the next drive, Lawrence was intercepted by DaRon Bland setting up Dallas inside Jacksonville territory.  The Jaguar defense held, and Maher connected for a 53-yard field goal to extend their lead by another three points.  Lawrence struck back rolling out on a play-action bootleg and dropping a bomb to Jones who ran it the rest of the way into the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown to get Jacksonville back into the game, now down only 10 points with four minutes left in the third quarter.   The turn tables as Prescott, coming off a sack on the previous play, was once again running for his life and overthrew his tight end, and the ball went right to Rayshawn Jenkins for the interception.  Jamal Agnew ran the ball on the following play 30 yards down the sideline to put Jacksonville first-and-goal.  Lawrence found Marvin Jones for the 10-yard touchdown catch to bring Jacksonville to within three.



Now with all the momentum behind them, Jacksonville dialed up the pressure and forces a three-and-out.  Lawrence found Kirk down the sideline for a 27-yard bomb to put them into Dallas territory.   Once in the red zone, Lawrence found Jones for the hat trick with a 3-yard touchdown pass over the middle taking advantage of a defensive miscommunication.  Jacksonville scored 21 straight to take the lead by four with 10 minutes left in the game.  On the next drive, Dallas chewed up seven minutes grinding the ball out converting three third downs before getting the go-ahead touchdown on yet another third down play for this drive on a 13-yard pass to Brown, his second on the day.  The Cowboys took the lead by three with three minutes left in the game.



Lawrence drove up to midfield and on first-and-10 on the 50, avoided the sack by a few Cowboy defenders, and rushed up the field to get the first down.  However, instead of sliding after picking it up, he cut back for additional yards taking a hit from Jayron Kearse popping the football out for Micah Parsons to dive onto, and getting the ball back to Dallas with 1:28 to go.  Jacksonville’s defense held them to a three-and-out to get the ball back with a minute to go down three.  Facing their own 3rd-and-10, Lawrence got the ball to Kirk for the first down at midfield.  After taking 10 real-time minutes to play out 40 seconds of the game time, Lawrence threaded the tiniest of needles to get the ball to Jones who goes down in field goal range for a chance to kick the field goal to tie the game with 5 seconds left in the game.  Patterson completes the game-tying kick and we were going to overtime.

The Jaguars got the ball to start overtime but miscommunication and a false start led to a three-and-out giving Dallas their chance.  After a couple of runs, Prescott threw on third down, Brown had the ball bounce off his hands and into Jenkins’ hands for his second interception in the game.  He took this one to the house for the walk-off interception, keeping the Jaguar’s playoff hopes alive with the win 40-34.


Dallas Cowboys




Dak Prescott: 23/30, 256 Yards, 3 TD, 2 INT | 5 Carries, 20 Yards


Over the last two games now, the Dallas defense has been porous and it’s putting pressure on the offense to achieve and maintain leads.  Dak Prescott opted to go for the first down on the final 3rd-and-10 in regulation instead of checking into a run to force the Jaguars to use their final time out (the one they would end up needing just to get to OT with on the subsequent drive).  Also, this is now the fourth game in a row Prescott has thrown an interception, he’s thrown at least one in six of his last seven games.  He has 11 over that seven-game stretch.  Prescott had a stellar first half going 15 of 16 and almost 140 passing yards with two touchdowns.  His first incomplete pass came on the first drive and then he didn’t miss another until five minutes into the third quarter.  But then the Jaguars adjusted at halftime and dialed up the blitz to put Prescott on the move and his accuracy suffered as consequence.  There was one play he 100% should have been sacked but the blitzing player feared a roughing the passer penalty so much that he let him go and Prescott was able to scramble to save the down.



Running Back


Tony Pollard: 19 Carries, 75 Yards | 5 Targets, 4 Receptions, 31 Yards

Ezekiel Elliott: 16 Carries, 58 Yards, TD | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 13 Yards


Tony Pollard was the leading rusher and pass catcher out of the backfield today, but it was Ezekiel Elliott who got the touchdown on the first scoring drive of the game for the Cowboys.  Their work was split evenly between the halves with no back gaining additional usage over the other throughout the game.  Pollard went three carries above Elliott in overtime where he rushed three times for 27 yards before the fatal interception.  One thing of note was as much as Pollard is known for his speed as the ‘lightning’ half of the duo, his yards after contact were outstanding today.  I cannot find an official stat on this so quickly after the game ended, but I will try to look it up when this article gets published tomorrow.  In addition to his touchdown, Elliott also goes an additional attempt inside the five but was tackled at the line.  Pollard also had a goal to go run at the 1-yard line that was stuffed.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


CeeDee Lamb: 7 Targets, 7 Receptions, 126 Yards | 1 Carry, 1 Yard

Noah Brown: 9 Targets, 6 Receptions, 49 Yards, 2 TD

Peyton Hendershot: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 20 Yards, TD

Dalton Schultz: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards

Michael Gallup: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 2 Yards


For the first half and the first part of the third quarter, the Jaguars were questionably content to rely on man coverage and unable to make Prescott feel the heat.  This was a perfect recipe for CeeDee Lamb who caught every pass thrown his way today.  He averaged 18 yards per catch and went over the century mark for reception yards shortly into the third quarter.  That all changed when the fire nation attacked the Jaguars opted to permanently attach a safety to him over the top in addition to blitzing Prescott into frustration.  He would add one more catch that got Dallas to midfield on their time-chewing drive in the fourth quarter, but that was the only time he was seen after his back-to-back super catches at the start of the third quarter.

The roulette wheel of which Cowboy receiver not named Lamb will go off this week landed on Noah Brown!  Congrats to all who started him in their lineups.  Brown went off today for two touchdowns, one in each half.  He didn’t go long for much, but interestingly five of his nine targets came on third down including one of his touchdowns and the ill-fated throw that was picked off for a touchdown to end the game.  Trust in there to move the chains.  Also catching a touchdown in the corner of the end zone was Peyton Hendershot.  His only target of the game, that’s 100% efficiency right there.  Michael Gallup came away with an end-zone target but wasn’t able to bring it in.



Jacksonville Jaguars




Trevor Lawrence: 27/42, 318 Yards, 4 TD, INT | 3 Carries, 21 Yards, 1 Fumble (Lost)


I don’t know if I’d call it a tale of two halves as his first half wasn’t bad by any means, but Trevor Lawrence turned it on in the second half.  The Jaguars had just over 11 minutes of possession in the first half but had the majority in the second half.  In the second half alone, Lawrence went 18 of 27 for 234 yards and three touchdowns.  That said, he’s been here before as this is the sixth game in a row Jacksonville has fallen behind early.  Also not helping matters is the Jaguar receivers have the most drops of any team in the league this season.  The Cowboys brought the pressure but Lawrence was able to escape numerous times.  One of those times ended up being costly, instead of sliding after the first down he cut back and ended up losing the football and turning it over.  As a side note, I have to say I was impressed with how accurate he was while on the move (at least in this game) and will be looking to see if they can add some help in the trenches for him up front.  If so, look out for the Jaguars in the future.



Running Back


Travis Etienne Jr.: 19 Carries, 103 Yards | 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 24 Yards | 1 Fumble (Lost)

JaMycal Hasty: 1 Carry, 13 Yards | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 2 Yards


I heard three different pronunciations of Travis Etienne today.  Guys, it’s pronounced Etienne, not Etienne.  Anyway, Dallas suffers against the run game and Etienne took full advantage going for over 5 yards per carry en route to the century mark for rushing today.  He didn’t do much in the passing game which is a shame because he was able to take both passes he caught for double-digit yards.  He was also the unfortunate victim of a butt fumble running into his own lineman and losing the football to Dallas.  The broadcast showed the replay that the handoff was a little shaky and so I suppose it wasn’t a full butt fumble, but a partial butt fumble.  And now my auto-predict has ‘butt fumble’ in its vocabulary, excellent.  Etienne hurt his ankle and left the game briefly, but was able to come back in and finish the game.  It will be worth monitoring the injury report this week.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Zay Jones: 8 Targets, 6 Receptions, 109 Yards, 3 TD

Christian Kirk: 10 Targets, 6 Receptions, 92 Yards

Evan Engram: 10 Targets, 8 Receptions, 62 Yards

Jamal Agnew: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 12 Yards | 3 Carries, 52 Yards

Marvin Jones Jr.: 6 Targets, 2 Receptions, 17 Yards, TD


You don’t often get to see a hat trick in football, but Zay Jones put on a clinic today in the lessons of how to get open for the touchdown.  Dallas has been decimated in secondary depth and the Jaguar receivers were all too happy to exploit that weakness in the second half today.  Jones got his first touchdown in the first half of the game and then added two more in the second half.  He’s averaging just over 10 targets per game in his last five games and is definitely feeling it in connection with Lawrence.  Slot receivers continue to be a definite go-to as Christian Kirk almost hit the century mark as well in reception yards.  If you can believe it, he had zero catches at halftime.  All it took was seven more targets in the second half of the game for all 92 yards on the day.  I’m sure fantasy owners were never sweating.  It is worth noting that Kirk had a deep ball over the middle that hit his hands in stride and he proceeded to drop it.  There was no one behind him, it would have run for another 30+ yards to the end zone if he was able to bring it in.

Evan Engram followed up his utter dismantling of the Titans with another double-digit target game, bringing in eight of them for over 60 yards today powering PPR owners into and now through the playoffs.  He led the team in targets at the half.  He hurt his wrist pretty badly at the start of the game but was able to overcome it.  He also had an end-zone target but failed to bring it in.  Jamal Agnew could have a future as a running back if he doesn’t quite make it as a receiver.  Two of his three rushes today went for 18 and 30 yards respectively.  His first rush was just a ‘measly’ four yards in comparison.  Agnew also had a target in the end zone today.  Here’s a fun fact for Jags fans-  after Marvin Jones beat the Cowboys cornerback for a touchdown, he was pulled from the game and benched.  (It was the second time in the game he was beaten for a touchdown)


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