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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Beat Writers Recap: Cowboys-Vikings

By Calvin Watkins

The Cowboys are coming off a 24-21 loss to the Vikings on Sunday and there were several key mistakes in this game that cost the visitors a victory.

We look at some of the issues from it in our weekly Beat Writers Recap.

*Keith Brooking was credited with zero tackles in the loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, but he picked up three solo tackles from the press box stat keepers vs. the Vikings. Brooking had one quarterback hurry but he doesn't look as fresh as he did earlier in the season. He's blitzing but not getting to the quarterback like he did in Weeks 1 and 2. The Cowboys need to get Sean Lee on the field more, especially in the base package to give Brooking a break early in the game.

*The Percy Harvin 95-yard kickoff return that tied the game at 14-14 to start the second half had two players, Barry Church and Gerald Sensabaugh, fail to make the tackle. Sensabaugh took the blame for the miss tackle and it seemed as if he was blocked out of position as Harvin hit the first of two holes. The second hole became available when Church also took a bad angle on the play. After Harvin surpassed Church it was off to the races.

*Sensabaugh had a busy day. He finished with seven solo tackles (one in the fourth quarter) and you could say this was his best game of the year. Sensabaugh recorded a sack on a third and five as the Cowboys sent eight after Brett Favre. It should be noted that Sensabaugh as the strong safety didn't make a open field tackle on a third-and-four late in the third quarter. Faced one-on-on vs. tight end Jimmy Kleinsasser, Sesnabaugh whiffed on the play. He's got to make that tackle.

*Everyone would love for Felix Jones to become the full-time starter. But after watching Sunday's game vs. Minnesota, we see why the Cowboys want Marion Barber to remain No. 1 on the depth chart. Barber converted all five of his third-and-fourth and one plays. On the day, Barber gained five first down runs, though they were all short. Jones' longest runs were two six yarders. He also became a force in the short passing game. In the loss, Jones needed a IV and was puking at halftime. Jones wasn't sick, but was being used so much he was wearing down some. That has to be a concern for the Cowboys. A major concern if they expect him to get more carries. We wonder if he will get 20 plus touches on Monday night vs. the Giants.

*Notes: The Cowboys had four fourth quarter possessions and this is how they ended: Touchdown, interception, punt and end of game. ... Dez Bryant said he was told to field a punt inside the 5 late in the game because the coaches wanted him to make a play. Normally Bryant would not field a punt like this. ... Why didn't the Cowboys take more shots down the field with Miles Austin and Roy E. Williams? The Vikings employed a Cover 2 on Austin, but it seemed as if the Cowboys should have put Austin in motion more often to give him a chance to make plays. ... The Cowboys don't miss Deon Anderson on offense. They miss him on special teams. ... Wade Phillips praised Jesse Holley's efforts in his first NFL game. Holley didn't get any reps on offense, but on special teams picked up two tackles. ... Here's one stat from the game that caused us pause: Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer with zero quarterback hurries.