Dallas Cowboys Stats That Matter Entering the Final Month of the NFL Season

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 4, 2013

Orlando Scandrick has been a pleasant surprise in Dallas.
Orlando Scandrick has been a pleasant surprise in Dallas.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As we enter the final month of the 2013 NFL regular season, here are some key stats that help explain why the Dallas Cowboys are 7-5 through 13 weeks. 

27.4: That's how many points the Cowboys are averaging per game, which ranks third in the NFL. I would not have guessed that Dallas would have more points scored than the Patriots, the Saints and the Eagles, but it's true. 

6: It helps that this is the total number of touchdowns the Cowboys have scored on defense and special teams, which is tied with Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis for the league lead.  

+12: That's the Cowboys' turnover differential, which ranks second to only the Kansas City Chiefs (plus-14). Dallas hasn't finished a season with a turnover differential that positive since 1981.

Best point differential totals in Cowboys history
1981+1812-4Lost NFC championship
1971+1611-3Won Super Bowl
1973+1310-4Lost NFC championship
1970+1110-4Lost Super Bowl
Pro Football Reference

1.6: That's Tony Romo's interception percentage. He and Alex Smith (1.4) are the league's only quarterbacks who have started more than seven games and are below the 1.7 mark. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning are between 1.7 and 1.9. 

9.8: 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. It's probably not a coincidence that Smith is the only guy with a lower rate here. Romo's got seven touchdowns, a single pick and the league's 11th-highest accuracy percentage on those throws, but he's not getting enough chances to go deep. 

20.8: That's the average number of times the Cowboys have run the ball per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL. They're averaging 4.1 yards per carry, which is also the league average, but they've ditched the run far too often. In fact, according to TeamRankings.com, Dallas, Atlanta, Cleveland and Miami are the only teams in football that have thrown the ball more than 65 percent of the time this season. Excluding the 'Boys, those teams are 13-23. 

Cowboys on the ground, 2013
Attempts per game (rank)Yards per attempt (rank)Run play % (rank)
201320.8 (31st)4.1 (16th)34.7 (30th)
Pro Football Reference

4.9: That's the average number of yards per carry DeMarco Murray has picked up this season, which leads all qualifying running backs. Unfortunately, due to injuries (he's missed two games and most of a third) and a lack of involvement, 21 backs have carried the ball more than Murray in 2013.

75.6: That's the percentage of catches Cole Beasley has made on the 41 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 40 times. 

5,059: This is the total number of yards the Cowboys have surrendered on defense this season, which is the highest in the NFL. They're on pace to give up 6,745 yards, which would be the third-highest total in NFL history. But Dallas has 25 takeaways on D, which explains why the 303 points they've given up ranks 22nd. Only the Seahawks, the Panthers and the Chiefs have forced more turnovers.

Most yards allowed, NFL history
YearTeamYards allowedRecordTakeaways
* Current pace (Pro Football Reference)

13: That's the total number of sacks the Cowboys have recorded in the last nine weeks, which ranks ahead of only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12). No wonder they've given up so many yards. Injuries to DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer have really hurt.  

9: That's Jason Hatcher's sack total, making him one of only two defensive tackles with nine or more sacks. He's already hit a career high there and is ranked by PFF as the fifth-best player in the league at his position. 

1.47: This is the number of yards opposing backs are averaging against the Cowboys between five and 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which according to Football Outsiders is the second-highest mark in the NFL. It goes to show how much they've missed Sean Lee as well as how much Bruce Carter has struggled. Carter has the third-worst PFF run defense grade among 4-3 outside linebackers. 

73.8: That's the average passer rating opposing quarterbacks have posted when throwing Orlando Scandrick's way this season. Overall, Scandrick has been graded by PFF as the 10th-best corner in terms of coverage and has emerged as the most reliable cover man on the Cowboys roster. He and Darrelle Revis are the only corners in football who have given up fewer than 0.85 yards per cover snap on a minimum of 400 snaps. Considering that Morris Claiborne has been a bust, that has saved this defense.

Fewest yards allowed per cover snap, 2013
Darrelle RevisBucs0.55
Orlando ScandrickCowboys0.81
Chris OwensBrowns0.84
Carlos Rogers49ers0.85
Joe HadenBrowns0.87
Min. 300 snaps (Pro Football Focus)

1: That's the number of sacks left tackle Tyron Smith has surrendered on 770 snaps, according to PFF. He's one of only seven tackles in the NFL who have given up fewer than two sacks in 10 or more games this season. 

7.4: This is Travis Frederick's run-blocking grade from PFF, which is the fourth-highest mark among qualifying centers. Not bad for a rookie who was considered to be a major reach at the bottom of the first round. 

79.5: That's the offensive line's overall pass-blocking efficiency rating, per PFF, which ranks sixth in the league. A breakout year from Smith, the emergence of Frederick and a bounce-back year from Doug Free have all contributed. Since PFF started with that metric in 2008, Dallas has never finished that high. 


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