The Dallas Cowboys suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday, and with it came a whole heap of new questions. That much was inevitable. The longer the game went on you could sense the media scribes, and television pundits sharpening the knives that had been put safely in the drawer.
Cowboys Exposed By Arizona
The first two weeks had been the calm before the storm. There will be those that will suggest that the wins over both New York teams papered over the cracks that Arizona exposed so effectively in the 28-16 loss. Now, this of course could be true. But then again you can look to any team and see a small chink in the armor. This is the Dallas Cowboys though, and the intense scrutiny is part of the job description – or at least it should be in there somewhere.
There were many reasons why the Cowboys dropped their first game and opened themselves up to a few days of difficult questions. One person in particular will always get the most heat. The quarterback. Dak Prescott has always faced a tough time when things go wrong, again that’s part of any quarterback job. Facing up to the adversity. The Cowboys under his leadership have had more good times than bad, and no doubt the team does perform better with him calling the plays. Of course, the doubters will always call out the lack of success in playoffs, but with each new season, a clean page is turned.
Cowboys Red Zone Issues
The Cowboys did have their opportunities on Sunday, and they were able to move the ball quite well. Tony Pollard ran for 122 yards in what was a fairly balanced attack, with Prescott himself throwing for 249 off of 40 attempts with 25 completions. It was the lack of a final punch that led to ultimate failures. The Cowboys Red Zone issues were something Prescott could not navigate efficiently and now the team stands at just a 40% touchdown rate with trips inside the 20. Simply not good enough for a team with huge aspirations.
“When you look at this loss, we moved the ball up and down the field and just couldn’t score,” A dejected Prescott said postgame “We’ve gotta get back to the drawing board, and that starts with me making some throws, and making some plays with my feet to try and get it done. We didn’t convert in the red zone. That’s the story of this game, period.” The lack of punch led to just 10 points being scored from five drives into the red zone.
Prescott Takes the Heat
Another factor on Sunday for a stalling offense was the number of penalties that the offense had. 13 for 107 yards. That just is a lack of discipline and cohesion. Yes. There were three linemen out injured, but the Cowboys know they can’t use that as an excuse. “It was tough,” Dak continued when asked about the issue. “Having penalties on the road is never easy. We were able to overcome some of them, but even when you have to overcome them, you’re making it harder on yourself.”
There were miscues and poor execution, and Prescott knows he will have to raise his game again. With a tough New England team coming into Texas next week. Followed by a San Francisco team that always brings their A-game when playing Dallas, things could get tricky. “We just didn’t get it done. It goes back to the offense, myself, and if we score in the red zone, we win this game.”
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Main Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports