Midseason Stats That Matter: Dallas Cowboys

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 5, 2013

Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) celebrates after the game winning touchdown with head coach Jason Garrett against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As we jump into the second half of the 2013 NFL regular season, let's take a fresh look at stats that matter regarding the 5-4 Dallas Cowboys, who lead the NFC East by one game with seven to play.

20-to-6: That's Tony Romo's touchdown and interception numbers, which rank fifth among current starting quarterbacks. Romo's passer rating has sunk. Five weeks into the season, he was the league's second-highest-rated passer at 114.3, and that has since dropped to 100.0. Injuries to Brian Waters, Miles Austin and DeMarco Murray have certainly factored in. Yet he's still thrown twice as many touchdowns (6) as interceptions (3) his last three games. 

Top touchdown-to-interceptions marks, 2013
1. Nick FolesEagles13-to-0
2. Peyton ManningBroncos29-to-6
3. Andrew LuckColts13-to-3
4. Aaron RodgersPackers15-to-4
5. Sam BradfordRams14-to-4
6. Tony RomoCowboys20-to-6
7. Drew BreesSaints21-to-7
Pro Football Reference

9.5: That's the percentage of passes on which Romo has thrown the ball 20 yards or more, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which is the second-lowest rate in the league among quarterbacks who have taken at least 50 percent of their teams' snaps. He's got six touchdowns, a single pick and the league's sixth-highest accuracy percentage on those throws, but he's not getting enough chances to go deep. 

80.6: That's the percentage of catches Cole Beasley has made on the 31 throws Romo has targeted him on this season, according to PFF. That's the highest rate in the league among receivers who have been targeted at least 25 times. Who needs Miles Austin, right?

66.1: That's the percentage of passing plays the Cowboys have run this season, according to TeamRankings.com, which is the fourth-highest rate in the NFL. Of the top six teams in that category, only Dallas has a winning record. The combined record of the other five teams in that group is 10-31 (.244). You can't be that unbalanced. You just can't. 

Highest passing play percentages, 2013
Pass play %Record
1. Atlanta Falcons70.02-6
2. Pittsburgh Steelers67.12-6
3. Cleveland Browns66.84-5
4. Dallas Cowboys66.65-4
5. New York Giants65.22-6
6. Jacksonville Jaguars65.20-8

2.9: That's how many yards per carry the Cowboys have posted the last five weeks, which ranks second to last in the NFL during that span. The 232 rushing yards they've accumulated during that period also ranks 31st in the league.

Through Week 4, Murray ranked third in the NFL with 356 yards, but then he struggled in Week 5 and got hurt in Week 6. Rookie Joseph Randle could muster only 2.5 yards per carry in relief, and Murray was a non-factor in his return to the lineup this past Sunday.

7.0: That's the number of penalties the Cowboys have been hit with on a per-game basis the last five weeks. During the first four weeks, that number was only 5.3. They averaged 7.3 flags per game last season, which was the third-highest total in pro football. It's possible all of those injuries have caused them to fall back into bad habits from 2012.

3,773: That's the total number of yards the Cowboys have allowed this season on defense, a number which ranks second to last in football, one yard below the Eagles' total. They're on pace to give up 6,707 yards this season, which would be the third-highest total in NFL history. But they've given up only 23.3 points per game, which ranks 15th in the NFL. Bending, but not breaking too much.

Most yards allowed, NFL history
TeamYearYards allowedRecord
1. New Orleans Saints201370427-9
2. Baltimore Ravens198167932-14
3. Philadelphia EaglesCurrent pace67094-5
4. Dallas CowboysCurrent pace67075-4
5. Green Bay Packers2011658515-1
Pro Football Reference

1.7: That's the number of sacks the Cowboys have averaged on a per-game basis since Week 5. They had 13 sacks in the first three weeks but have only 10 in the six games since. That makeshift defensive line has done a half-decent job, given that DeMarcus Ware is out, Jay Ratliff gone and Anthony Spencer is on injured reserve, but a lack of pressure on opposing quarterbacks is hurting the defense.

Only four NFL teams are averaging fewer than 1.7 sacks per game this season.

15.1 and 34.9: That's how many yards Dwayne Harris is averaging on punt and kick returns, ranking him fourth and second, respectively. He's made life a lot easier on Dallas' offense. Its average starting field position is its own 31-yard line, which ranks fifth in the NFL.

21.8: That's Jason Hatcher's grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranks second among defensive tackles who have played at least 25 percent of their teams' snaps. Hatcher ranks ninth in the NFL with seven sacks. His previous career high was only 4.5. He and Sean Lee have been the MVPs on defense.

17.8: That's Lee's run stop percentage, per PFF. Only Houston's Brian Cushing (who is on injured reserve) has a higher run stop rate. 

1: That's the number of sacks left tackle Tyron Smith has surrendered on 585 snaps, according to PFF. He's one of only eight tackles in the NFL who have given up fewer than two sacks in eight or more games this season.