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Cowboys News: Missed opportunities haunt Cowboys

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Scout’s Notebook: Taking A Closer Look At Dak, Missed Opportunities; More From Week 4 - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus gives his take on what happened Sunday. An excerpt:

It would have been really interesting on that final, fourth down play for the offense, if Dak Prescott would have been able to get the ball in Ezekiel Elliott’s hands without him having to jump for it. When he caught the ball, Elliott came to almost a complete stop before he regained his balance and started up the field. Once he made Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree miss, he was able to get some of his momentum back -- but it wasn’t enough to get past John Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman, who kept him short of the sticks.

CSI Cowboys: Postmortem of 35-30 Loss to Rams - Kristi Scales, 5 Points Blue
Scales also weighs in at the mothership with five observations:

The Cowboys were excellent at converting 3rd downs in the first half (5-of-7). That’s why Dallas maintained possession of the ball, scored on every drive, and enjoyed a big edge in time of possession (18:00 for Cowboys, 12:00 for Rams) through the first two quarters. The Cowboys never had to punt in the first half. They were executing their offense, Zeke had more running room, and backup RB Alfred Morris made a big play with a 70-yard scamper.

The second half was a completely different story. The offense couldn’t convert 3rd downs (only 2-of-7). The Rams defense, which was a sieve in the first half, tightened up. The Rams pressured Prescott and clogged running lanes. The Cowboys punted after all three possessions in the 3rd quarter. Their fourth possession ended with an interception by Rams linebacker Mark Barron. The play occurred because Dak Prescott was hit as he was trying to throw the ball. The turnover gave the Rams great field possession which they turned into 3 points with a field goal.

Where things went wrong for Cowboys vs. Rams; what needs to change for this season to have a chance - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Sturm is always a must-read and provides a big-picture view.

For now, the Cowboys are being defended differently. And with each week of success that opposing defenses have against Dallas, the book on how to do it gets a little bigger. If the Giants were the only defense to have ideas, it would be one thing. But the Vikings had the personnel to do it. The Broncos had the personnel to do it. The Cardinals and Rams both stymied the offense for large portions of their games. That doesn't mean the Cowboys are completely shut down. Not at all. But what it means is that the Cowboys are not able to hide their defense because they control the clock and game primarily from their offensive ground-and-pound strategy that, at times, seemed so foolproof last season.

Now, teams are forcing the Cowboys to win with their second- or third-best option. Last year, the Cowboys ran on first down more than anyone. They ran in the second half more than anyone. They ran overall more than anyone. This year, they rank 14th, 21st and 21st in those three categories, respectively.

They ranked near the top of the 10-play drive rankings. Now they are 21st. They ran the clock out. They were second in time of possession. Through four games, they are 28th.

Winners and Losers of Dallas Cowboys' Week 4 Performance - Marcus Mosher, Bleacher Report
Mosher gives his insight on the winners and losers from Sunday’s contest.

DeMarcus Lawrence didn't dominate in the same way he did against the Cardinals, but he was still the team's best defender on Sunday. Lawrence added to his sack total as he had a strip-sack of Jared Goff and now has a total of 7.5 sacks on the season.

However, he wasn't perfect in this game. While he totaled four pressures on 28 pass rushing snaps, he was a liability in the run game. He finished the contest with a 44.3 run grade, according to Pro Football Focus. He's clearly their best pass rusher, but he needs to improve in the run game if he wants to truly be an elite defensive end.

What we learned about the Cowboys: Inconsistency continues to drag them down - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Our own Tom Ryle notes consistency has been the missing ingredient in this year’s Cowboys’ performance.

All of these problems go back to that lack of consistency. There are individual plays and long stretches where the Cowboys can handle these challenges, but they are having a great deal of trouble doing it for four quarters. Until this team can find a way to put together a full game’s effort, no matter who is healthy, it will have problems winning.

This Was Absolutely No Time To Lend The Rams A Helping Hand - Mickey Spagnola, Dallas Cowboys
Spagnola outlines the mistakes that cost the Cowboys dearly.

First gift: After taking a 10-3 lead, the Cowboys allowed Pharoh Cooper to return the ensuing kickoff 66 yards to the Cowboys 35, a touchdown saved by kicker Dan Bailey making the first hit, allowing Damien Wilson to wrestle him to the ground. The Rams only needed to gain 9 yards to set up Greg Zuerlein’s second of seven field goals. There’s three points.

Second gift: Rookie mistake, Ryan Switzer, with the Cowboys leading 17-6 after scoring on their opening three possessions and having forced Denver to punt. He ill advisedly tried fielding a punt around his own 20-yard line in bumper-to-bumper traffic. His fumble, recovered by the Rams at the Cowboys 18 turned into a touchdown five plays later, just one of two they scored in the entire game. That’s right, the Rams scored 35 points with the benefit of only two touchdowns. There’s now 10 points on a total of 27 total yards.

Third gift: Then … then … after the Cowboys turned a 24-13 lead into a 29-24 deficit early in the fourth quarter, allowing the Rams to score 16 straight points, Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers hit Prescott from behind as he was throwing on a third-and-8 from his own 23, causing the ball to flutter lifelessly high into the air and allowing linebacker Mark Barron to corral the pick at the Cowboys 29. Four yards over three plays later, Zuerlein strikes again from just 43 yards out, 32-24 Rams. There’s three more points.

No decision Monday in Elliott suspension case - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer updates us on the latest events in Ezekiel Elliott’s legal journey.

At issue is the lawsuit that the NFLPA filed which overturned Elliott's suspension. The union argues the lawsuit was correctly pursued because the arbitration proceedings were complete, except for the final ruling, which went against Elliott.

NFL attorney Pratik Shah said the arbitration proceedings, called for in the league's collective bargaining agreement, had not been exhausted, so U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant lacked jurisdiction when he blocked the suspension.

Questioned closely by the appeals panel, players' association attorney Jeffrey Kessler insisted that the suit was properly before Mazzant, with all but the ruling pending.

"You don't have to wait to be run over," he told the judges.

Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens injury updates - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Davison provides injury updates on Cowboys personnel.

Dallas Cowboys LBs Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens could be ready to play vs. the Green Bay Packers. Nolan Carroll remains in concussion protocol.

Jerry's World is Still State of the Art - Daniel Greco,
Greco says Jerry World is still the state of stadium building art 8 years after opening:

When the Cowboys AT&T Stadium was built in 2009, it became a highlight of Jerry Jones' Hall of Fame career. Nicknamed Jerry's World, AT&T Stadium has already held events like: Super Bowl XLV, the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, and the 2014 NCAA Men's Final Four.

In the short time of existence, this stadium has become the mecca of sports and entertainment in Texas. From the massive video screen to the Miller Lite Club, let's take a quick tour of AT&T Stadium.

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