Dallas Cowboys Second-Half Struggles

Dallas Cowboys Second-Half Woes
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Looking back, the Dallas Cowboys second-half woes have been highlighted by injuries and COVID-19 protocols. The Cowboys started the season 6-1 with their loan loss on opening night to Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since starting 6-1 Dallas has lost three out of the last four to the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Las Vegas Raiders.

Dallas Cowboys Second-Half Struggles

Cowboys Injuries

Injuries hit Dallas hard in recent weeks. Amari Cooper has been nicked up the last month before landing on the COVID-19 reserve list with a positive test. Since Cooper was unvaccinated, he automatically misses 10 days. Cooper tested positive just before the Chiefs game leaving the star wide receiver sidelined against Kansas City and on Thanksgiving against Las Vegas.

Tyron Smith was injured and missed the matchup against Denver. The phenom left tackle missed the next two games against the Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith was able to return against the Raiders on Thursday, helping to protect Dak Prescott. Prescott benefitted from the extra protection getting back on track with 375 passing yards and two touchdowns. These performances by Smith and Prescott would be in vain as the Cowboys dropped another game to an AFC West opponent.

CeeDee Lamb was injured against Kansas City and missed the entire second half with a concussion. Prescott struggled mightily against the Chiefs, obviously missing Cooper and Smith. Losing Lamb mid-game was a huge blow as the Cowboys previously high-octane offense would have to lean on the likes of Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown at the wide receiver position. Adding insult to injury, Lamb joined Cooper on the sideline as he did not clear the concussion protocol by game time on Thanksgiving.

Ezekiel Elliott is the most recent Cowboys player injured. The former Ohio State Buckeye suffered a knee injury against the Chiefs. He was able to return to the game but was inefficient all game. Elliott has struggled in each game since his injury. After the loss to Las Vegas Mike McCarthy reports Elliott could miss some time with his lingering knee injury.

Offensive Struggles

The Dallas offense was one of the best units in football leading up to the Denver game. Since that point, Dallas has struggled to find the endzone consistently. The Broncos held Dallas scoreless until late in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs kept them out of the endzone altogether. If the Cowboys are to return to form, they will have to improve offensively.

In each of these losses, the run game has struggled mightily. Dallas managed only 78 rush yards against the Broncos, 82 rush yards against the Chiefs, and 64 rushing yards against the Raiders. The Cowboys offense traditionally goes as the rushing game goes. If the Cowboys want to get back on track in the second half of the season, Dallas will have to get the run game going. With Elliott on the mend, Tony Pollard will have to play next-man-up to get the run game back on track.

COVID-19

Cooper has been on the COVID-19 reserve list since before the Chiefs game but should be cleared to return against the New Orleans Saints. More tests are coming back positive in what looks like an isolated outbreak for the Cowboys. Over the weekend, Cowboys fans learned head coach Mike McCarthy has tested positive. There are positive cases rumored in the Dallas organization. This will be difficult for Dallas against a tough New Orleans defense as the offense is already reeling in recent weeks.

How Dallas Rights the Ship

The Dallas Cowboys second-half woes are concerning. However, Dallas is getting much healthier with each week and is looking forward to returning to full strength. The Cowboys have a very tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints next week. New Orleans has one of the top-run defenses in the NFL and Marshawn Lattimore is sure to blanket Cooper. Dallas is sure to struggle against New Orleans. If the Cowboys can find a way to get the offense back on track, they can gather momentum leading up to one of the easiest portions of their schedule. Dallas plays the Washington Football Team twice, the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and has what could be the game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cowboys will need to be firing on all cylinders.

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