As low as folks felt after the Broncos game, this feeling could be lower. The Cowboys were dominating the Rams but somehow ended up with a five-point loss at home. At 2-2, most folks aren’t happy to say the very least. This game was the epitome of that old “tale of two halves” cliche.
After starting out so quick going up 24-13, the Cowboys allowed 19 unanswered points. Sure, the were missing Sean Lee among others but this was a crushing blow. So, what are the Dallas Cowboys? Right now, all we can say is they are average.
Without General Lee, the Cowboys were stuck with Jaylon Smith, Justin Durant, and Damien Wilson. To the credit of the Rams, they eventually tired this defense and that’s when tackling got bad.
Todd Gurley told Michael Irvin that he would “whoop on them boys”. Man, was he ever right? The middle of the defense was the weakest and gave way first:
This isn’t to say that we don’t love ourselves some Jaylon Smith but this team is looking forward to the return of Anthony Hitchens. Whether or not Hitchens starts at middle linebacker, he certainly is more fluid in his change of direction than the still recovering Smith. Even with Sean Lee, we can’t be sure that the Rams don’t single out Smith.
I just don't what you do with Jaylon Smith at this point. pic.twitter.com/Nk16KmcATg— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
They sought out Jaylon Smith in coverage and they made the Cowboys’ defense pay heavily.
I can promise you that Aaron Rodgers will look for Jaylon Smith over and over again on Sunday. Teams have completed 13 of 15 passes vs him.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
Defensively speaking, we can’t put everything on them as they got some critical stops in this game when it was desperately needed to give Dallas a chance. What was obvious is that the Jeff Heath experiment needs to end. Xavier Woods is a more instinctive player and Heath is a role player.
Xavier Woods when he's on the field is the best safety on the Cowboys roster.— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) October 2, 2017
Xavier Woods needs to be a starter. pic.twitter.com/WWYeFBlxNN— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
For the most part of a quarter of this season, the rookie guys like Woods or Jourdan Lewis have played admirably while your veterans have let you down. They’re obviously going with a youth movement for better or worse. Not sure about the audience but I’d rather live with plays on the ball and death by inexperience. We’ve seen quite enough to know where the future is.
Anthony Brown is 3rd in yards allowed per coverage snap among slot CBs. Xavier Woods 13th, per PFF. #Cowboys— John Owning (@JohnOwning) October 2, 2017
Though they played their role, the defense wasn’t the stake in the heart, it was the inconsistencies on offense that cooked them. In the entire second half, the Cowboys produced six points. Overall, they gave up two offensive touchdowns, without a muffed punt by Ryan Switzer, they likely find a way in this game. There’s the rub, it was mistake after mistake in a game they had no business losing.
Most folks will say you can’t win kicking three each time but ask Greg Zuerlein who kicked seven field goals in this game. The defense was good enough to keep them from getting easy touchdowns but still let them come away with points each time. The Rams defense held the Cowboys scoreless in the third quarter.
19 unanswered points, four field goals, and that Gurley touchdown before Dak Prescott could finally get six back. Trying for two points, three straight times due to penalty, the Cowboys came up with nothing. Zuerlein would add his seventh and deciding field goal:
With one final chance, less than two minutes on the clock, and no timeouts, the Cowboys still had a shot. Here’s what unfolded:
Final drive of the game. Terrance Williams drop on 2nd down. Sigh. pic.twitter.com/SNu22n9gEO— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
Final drive of the game. Prescott misses Bryant high once again. pic.twitter.com/22U3cerwKT— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
There was a small glimmer of hope...
This is what you wanna see from Prescott. Use your legs to make plays. pic.twitter.com/JPQelpwLwt— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
But this offense was just off the mark...
Another one where Prescott doesn't give Dez a chance to make a play. pic.twitter.com/ts4NqAkHHC— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 2, 2017
The end to this game was as anticlimactic as it could be. On fourth and 10, Dak Prescott and the offense play it way too safe:
I understand he was pressured and I respect his football IQ, but Dak just can’t throw a 4-yard pass on 4th-and-10. #Cowboys— Richie Whitt (@richiewhitt) October 1, 2017
When it was all on the line, this team called a three-yard pass and asked Ezekiel Elliott to get seven? That may have worked had they been up against their own defense but not the Rams, who were ready and made the tackle well-short. Cowboys lose 35-30 in a game that raises a ton of questions...
That last Cowboys play was by design. A 4th and 10 check down by design. Brutal.— Parlay Kid (@thechalktalker) October 1, 2017
Are we supposed to accept that this Cowboys team is just average?
This a great thing to remember, nobody cares abt 13-3 in '16. You start all over & Cowboys are an average team right now. https://t.co/4xdvNUohHc— ✭Michael Sisemore✭ (@MrSisemore) October 2, 2017
At 2-2, with a long season ahead, it’s far from over but the inconsistencies that we’ve seen thus far tell you the Cowboys are a middling team. There are no “Well, New England is 2-2...” excuses, they got the skins on the wall to prove they deserve the benefit of the doubt. The Cowboys get to take on the Packers this week with Sean Lee, David Irving, Chidobe Awuzie, and most likely Anthony Hitchens returning to the lineup. That’s great news for the defense but what about this offense?
So Defense gets 59 and 95 back but at what level? 50's return is big. 25 needs to start over 38. What's O's excuse for lack of execution?— ✭Michael Sisemore✭ (@MrSisemore) October 2, 2017
IDC who's coming back on defense right now, who is going to make the offense click for 4QTRs of football?!!!— ✭Michael Sisemore✭ (@MrSisemore) October 2, 2017
This team has the talent to turn it around with all their All-Pros and Pro Bowlers. Unfortunately for them, Ezekiel Elliott with 85 rushing yards, 54 receiving yards, and two scores wasn’t enough. Dez Bryant, two-yards short of his first 100-yard receiving performance on 2017 wasn’t enough. Three different receivers getting in the end zone wasn’t enough. When it mattered, the Cowboys offense folded and that can’t happen for a team that must rely on the offense to take them where they want to go. Inaccurate passing, poor execution, bad routes, questionable play-calling made this all possible. Which begs the question, how does this make sense?
Cowboys rank 10th in total offense and 10th in total defense, but it sure doesn't seem like it. https://t.co/8zJZmNVfo6— Charean Williams (@NFLCharean) October 2, 2017
Until the Dallas Cowboys prove otherwise, this is a .500 football team and it’s more than okay to be aggravated by that. A quarter of the season has passed, the Cowboys are treading water with the Packers, Falcons, Raiders, Redskins (twice) and Eagles (twice) making up seven of their remaining twelve games. Hopefully, the optimists like Derek Eagleton are correct but something has to happen soon: