Last Sunday, the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys proved they could win despite a lackluster passing attack because of their stellar defensive play and ability to effectively run the football against the Los Angeles Rams in the 22-10 upset victory. But the Cowboys had to overcome some major miscues by their special teams unit as well.
Against the Rams, the Cowboys struggled in several aspects of their special teams play. Although, the team benefited greatly from an early punt blocked by defensive end Dorance Armstrong. That was seemingly the lone highlight from this unit that struggled out of the gate in Los Angeles.
The Cowboys’ recently lost long snapper Jake McQuaide to a season-ending triceps injury. Against the Rams, McQuaide’s replacement, 37-year old veteran Matt Overton who was a Pro Bowl snapper in 2013, snapped an extra point too early following the team’s defensive touchdown off the Rams’ first offensive series two minutes into the game. The miscue, which special teams coach John Fassel called an “anticipation and timing issue” cost the Cowboys’ a point although Overton played well afterward.
Just before halftime, Dallas’s special teams unit was caught off-guard when the Rams’ faked a punt on fourth down to extend a drive. Luckily, it didn’t result in points or this miscue would have been much more impactful.
For the second straight week, Cowboys’ punter Bryan Anger muffed a punt late in the third quarter that went for just 35 yards. It was so short, in fact, that special teams ace C.J. Goodwin ran right past the punt returner instead of tackling him, resulting in the Rams getting the ball on their own 29-yard line. Again, this unit would be bailed out by the Dallas defense who forced Los Angeles to attempt to 51-yard field goal on the resulting drive, which the Rams missed.
It wasn’t a good overall performance by the Dallas Cowboys’ special teams unit on Sunday, yet the team found a way to overcome their miscues to win. So, should fans be concerned about this unit moving forward? It’s certainly something to monitor as the Cowboys prepare to face its stiffest challenge yet in the undefeated 5-0 Philadelphia Eagles on the road this Sunday night.