ReFo: Cowboys @ Titans, Week 2

The Week 2 matchup ended with both the Cowboys and Titans going away with 1-1 records. Michael Mountford looks at the performances that stood out

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Cowboys @ Titans, Week 2

2014-REFO-WK02-DAL@TENBoth the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys and managed to play the complete opposite from their respective Week 1 games. The Titans looked out of their depth on the offensive side of the ball, while the Cowboys went back to running behind their heavily invested offensive line and fed the ball to DeMarco Murray — and he did not disappoint.

In a dominant display the Cowboys gained 220 yards on 43 attempts and never looked in any danger of being stopped by the Titans.


Dallas Cowboys – Performances of Note

DeMarco Murray, RB: +3.6

Breakdown: Murray has always had the ability to perform at a high level, the only question has been his health concerns. Murray forced eight missed tackles and ended the game against the Titans with an 80.9 Elusive Rating. For a running back to finish with a +3.6 despite a fumble and a dropped pass is rare.

Signature Stat: Murray finished with 88 yards after contact and averaged 3.03 yards after contact per attempt.

Tyronne Crawford: +4.7

Breakdown: The often-maligned Cowboys defense performed at a good level vs. the Titans. Crawford provided the Cowboys with a pass rush they missed all of last year. With five pressures on 22 pass rushing snaps he was more than the Titans offensive line could cope with.

Signature Play: 3Q 13:24 – Crawford was able to get into Michael Oher’s body and push him back creating enough space inside to get through and make a hit on Locker as he threw the ball.

Henry Melton, DE: +2.8

Breakdown: In Week 1 Melton seemed to still be rounding into his old – penetrating 4-3 defensive tackle – self. In Week 2 this was all evident. Melton even managed to record a battered pass, which led to the interception by Rolando McClain. Melton may not be ready to take on the full work load in the early part of the season, but with performances like this, he will be there sooner rather than later.

Signature Stat: Melton had four pressures on 23 pass-rushing snaps, giving him a 14.1 Pass Rushing Productivity mark for the day.

Tennessee Titans – Performances of Note

Jake Locker, QB: -4.2

Breakdown: After a solid first game, Jake Locker’s second game of 2014 couldn’t get much worse. He threw multiple ill-advised passes against a Cowboys defense who where happy to sit back and frustrate Locker into making errant passes. Outside of the 61-yard touchdown pass to Delaine Walker, Locker only had 76 yards on passes over 10 yards in the air.

Signature Play: 2Q 15:00 – Locker’s day is summed up in this play. Locker had an open man in the flat of a short gain, but was eager to make something happen. Locker unwisely forced the ball to Justin Hunter. Thankfully for the Tennessee QB, Hunter was able to turn defensive back and swat the ball out of Morris Calibourne’s grasp for an incompletion.

Ropati Pitoitua, DE: +4.0

Breakdown: Against the Chiefs, Pitoitua played on just 26 snaps, however in Week 2, Ray Horton found a bigger role for him. With the Cowboys gashing the Titans’ run defense, Pitoitua was the one player who consistently gave the Dallas O-line problems. Though Pitoitua only came away with two tackles he was able to effect the point of attack on multiple occasions.

Signature Stat: Pitoitua had a Run Stop Percentage of 7.7% thanks to two stops on 26 run snaps.

Nate Washington, WR: -2.3

Breakdown: The normally dependable Nate Washington was targeted six times but ended up with only one catch for a single yard and a drop. While the passing game as a whole struggled, Washington had problems in separating from Brandon Carr for most of the game, apart from the drop, Washington also had the ball knocked loose in the end zone with just over six minutes left when the Titans were trying desperately to comeback.

Signature Stat: Since 2009 Washington has only had two games with less than 1 yard receiving.

PFF Game Ball

With half of his yards coming after contact and a +4.5 rushing grade the PFF Game Ball goes to DeMarco Murray.


  • I Hate the National Media

    So much for people calling this the worst defense in the NFL. They’ve allowed just 10 points in the last 6 quarters.

    • Bryan Gogg

      And if you take away the 14 points basically given up by the offense, they rank 3rd in points allowed, even with those 14 points they rank 11th.

    • DallasDan

      Then again – the packer’s 3rd string defense shut down Kaepernick in the playoffs.

      Locker is awful…

      • Josh Knepshield

        Shut him down? What? I’m sure the negative 10 wind chill had nothing to do with that…

  • Boyfromoz

    I don’t understand how the O-Line gets a -5.5 for a game in which the team rushed for 220 yards at over 5 yards a carry. Must have all been Murray….

  • Richard

    People haven’t watched that much quarterbacking if they think Locker’s day was horrible. The problem wasn’t so much about Locker’s ability to be a good quarterback. All QB’s miss throws at times throughout the game. The problem for Locker is that all of his bad plays came on 3rd down, which consistently made the Titans go 3 and out and limited his opportunities, especially with the way the Titans defense struggled against the run. If Locker continues game after game struggling on 3rd down, then it is a problem but it isn’t necessarily a trend. Some of it was the Cowboys defense was playing aggressively, the article said the Cowboys were sitting back waiting for Locker to make mistakes but what I saw early on was a defense that was playing tight coverage on the receivers and forcing Locker to throw into tight spots. There were a couple of those tight throws where Locker had running backs open to get the ball to. It is questionable though if those RB’s would have gotten a first down. Locker could have completed those passes and still got the same end result which would have been a punt. There were also a few of those tight passes that were dropped. Locker looked like he was going to bring the Titans back and I thought he made some really good throws in the second half. The problem was the Titans defense couldn’t get off the field after Locker got the game to 16-10. Since the Titans defense let the Cowboys run up the clock and get more points it forced the offense to have to go for touchdowns rather than settle for field goals. I’m not saying Locker played great or anything but I have seen great QB’s play much worse and I have seen QB’s play worse and still win or do much less and still win. Locker isn’t as bad as people make him out to be. He mostly limits dreadful mistakes. Neither interception in this game was because of a bad decision, the first one was a pass that got away from him and the second one was batted at the line of scrimmage and the LB made a great play on it. When given the opportunity he makes plenty of good plays, getting away from the rush or making throws under pressure. He made a few good throws while getting hit in this game. Once and awhile he makes some really bad throws. Most QB’s do, even ones that have won Super Bowls. I say let the season play out and see what he does. Watch John Elway play, he wasn’t the most accurate passer ever but people still thought he was great. In this game Lockers accuracy hurt them because the poor throws came on important downs, but that isn’t always going to be the case.

    • Derrick

      That might be the world’s longest paragraph.

      No matter how you slice it, Locker was awful.