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Chiefs vs. Cowboys: 10 Observations

Posted Nov 5, 2017

Here are some things that stood out Sunday afternoon

The Kansas City Chiefs (6-3) fell to the Dallas Cowboys (5-3) by a score of 28-17 Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Texas.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

1. Dak Prescott and Terrance Williams made plays

With so much talk about the Chiefs’ rush defense going up against the Cowboys’ running game with Ezekiel Elliott and one of the best offensive lines in football, the results weren’t actually what many had imagined.

The Chiefs did an adequate job against Elliott—holding him to an average of just 3.4 yards-per-carry. He finished with 27 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown.

But it was Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Terrance Williams who were the difference Sunday afternoon.

Prescott finished 21 of 33 for 249 yards and two touchdowns, while Williams was the beneficiary of many of those passes—hauling in nine receptions for 141 yards. He caught every pass thrown his direction.

On each of the Cowboys key touchdown drives, Williams was the one who found himself open for a chunk play.

2. Core stats unsurprisingly lean towards the Cowboys

Most games can be broken down to a few key stats—turnovers, third downs and red zone efficiency.

On Sunday, the Cowboys were better in each of those areas.

The Chiefs turned it over once with Alex Smith’s first interception of the season—a fourth-down pass in the fourth quarter that was thrown across the middle and picked off by safety Jeff Heath. It was the first interception of Heath’s career.

And the Cowboys didn’t turn it over at all. They move to 4-0 on the season when they don’t turn it over.

As far as third downs, the Chiefs converted 4 of 11 (36 percent), while the Cowboys converted 7 of 12 (58 percent).

In the red zone, the Chiefs scored touchdowns on one of their two trips (50 percent), while the Cowboys found the end zone on all four of their trips inside the red zone (100 percent).

There were a lot of individual plays that could have swung this game in a number of directions, but these core stats usually tell the story, and they did Sunday.

3. Tamba Hali and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif made their return to the field

Hali, who had been on the PUP list all year, was activated to the 53-man roster Saturday afternoon, and he made an impact early in the game.

Hali made a play in run support as soon as he came on the field, and it didn’t take long before he made an impact in the pass rush department either.

Going up against the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith, who is one of the best left tackles in all of football, Hali forced a holding call on him as he nearly got to Prescott on a first-and-10 play in the first quarter.

Hali finished the game with one tackle.

Duvernay-Tardif returned after missing the past four games with a knee injury.

4. Cowboys got on the board first

After a couple of early offensive drives from each team that didn’t go anywhere, the Cowboys struck first on a six-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Cole Beasley.

The touchdown capped off a seven-play, 61-yard drive that took just under four minutes at the end of the first quarter.

The big play on the drive was a 27-yard hookup on second-and-15 between Prescott and receiver Terrance Williams, who caught the short pass out to the left and made a move back to the inside as cornerback Kenneth Acker lost his footing. Most of the yards on the play came after the catch.

Prescott hit Beasley on the slant for the touchdown on the very next play.

5. Chiefs get an early field goal

Midway through the second quarter and on the Chiefs’ fourth offensive drive, they went 44 yards on 10 plays and capped it off with a 38-yard field goal from Harrison Butker.

It was Butker’s 19th-consecutive made field goal, which leaves him just three shy of the franchise record.

On the drive, Kareem Hunt had a big 11-yard reception, but the biggest play of the drive may have come from second-year receiver Demarcus Robinson, who make a fantastic catch on a 10-yard play along the Chiefs’ sideline.  

Robinson completely stretched out for the catch and it put the Chiefs within field goal range.

6. Chunk plays lead to late first-half touchdown for Cowboys

The Cowboys were able to extend their lead late in the first half on a seven-play, 82-yard drive that took only 1:31 off the clock. The drive culminated with a 10-yard touchdown run on a Prescott scramble off the right side.

At one point on the drive, the Chiefs had forced the Cowboys into a third-and-15 from their own 13-yard line, but Prescott hit receiver Dez Bryant across the middle for a gain of 21 yards.

On the next play, Prescott found Williams open deep down the right sideline for a gain of 56 yards.

Two plays later on third-and-goal, Prescott barely got away from defensive lineman Allen Bailey and raced 10 yards to the end zone.

7. Tyreek Hill scores on a play you don’t see very often

Trailing 14-3 late in the first half following the Prescott touchdown run, the Chiefs got the ball back with just 13 seconds left in the first half.

On the first play, Smith hit running back Charcandrick West for a gain of 11 yards—setting up a final play with just two seconds remaining and 57 yards left to the end zone. West actually did a pretty smart thing by getting out of bounds with time left on the clock, even though he may have been able to pick up a few more yards by cutting back to the inside.

With just three defensive linemen rushing the passer and most of the Cowboys defenders standing 40 yards down the field to protect the goal line, Smith hit Tyreek Hill on a pass across the middle and he had a couple of blockers in front of him.

It was obviously a designed play to give Hill the ball in space with some help, and after a couple of nice moves and a burst of quickness unmatched in the NFL, Hill found a crease into the end zone for the 57-yard score. It was exactly the kind of play the Chiefs needed to get back into the game.

It’s also the seventh game this season in which the Chiefs have had a touchdown of 50-plus yards.

8. Chiefs open up second half with nice touchdown drive, but a better celebration

The Chiefs went 62 yards on nine plays in just under six minutes to grab the lead early in the second half. To cap the drive, Smith hit Kelce for a two-yard score on third-and-goal, which gave the Chiefs a 17-14 lead.

Kelce had created a little separation in the front corner of the end zone and Smith got it to him on time, but it’s what transpired after the play—even as important as the play was in the game—is what will be remembered.

The touchdown celebration consisted of Kelce, Hill and Robinson pretending to do a potato sack race.

It was as glorious as it sounds.

9. Cowboys’ fourth-quarter drive gives them two-possession lead

The Cowboys responded to the Chiefs grabbing a second-half lead with a couple of long touchdown drives, including a 13-play, 87-yard drive that culminated with a seven-yard pass from Prescott to Cole Beasley, who took it in the flat and raced to the front pylon for the touchdown.

The score gave the Cowboys a two-possession lead with less than nine minutes remaining in the game. It was the drive that followed up a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a two-yard Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run.

On the drive, it was Cowboys Williams who made a couple of big catches, grabbing gains of 10 and 11 yards, respectively.

10. Allen Bailey left early with an injury

Late in the third quarter, the Chiefs lost defensive lineman Allen Bailey to a knee injury.

Bailey had one tackle in the game, but was a part of the group that had held Cowboys’ All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott to less than four yards-per-carry before he left the game.

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