The Dallas Cowboys dropped another game and basically crushed their dreams of making the playoffs. Let’s see who were the winners and the losers.
Ezekiel Elliott as MVP of the team - As my friend Michael Sisemore said to me, “This offense doesn’t exist without #21.” That’s about as true a statement as any made this season. We thought it might be Tyron Smith as the MVP, but we found out it’s Zeke.
Ryan Switzer - He had a couple of decent kickoff returns, providing a little hope with field position. It didn’t matter.
The rest of the NFC wildcard hunters - They don’t really have to worry about Dallas anymore, they can celebrate.
Rod Smith - He scored a TD for Dallas, something that it took 10 quarters to do after the team scored one on the Falcons. He also looks like a patient and powerful runner who can catch out of the backfield. He’s upped his stock.
Dak Prescott - It’s not all Prescott’s fault, but he still has some weapons to work with, and he just can’t make it happen. He’s making bad reads, he’s reluctant to take off and run when the offense is clearly faltering, and he continues to misfire at important times (the two-point try to an open receiver). Then, he threw the pick-six. Sometimes a QB just has to put a team on his back and carry them to a win. That’s what Dallas needed, and Prescott couldn’t deliver.
Justin Durant in coverage - One of the drawbacks of having Sean Lee out is that Justin Durant is forced into pass coverage. When that happens, it’s usually bad news for Dallas. Tight end Hunter Henry abused Durant multiple times for big gains. A running back scorched him for big yards. He can no longer cover.
Second-half defense - Yes, it happened again. The Cowboys defense somehow manages to keep a totally inept Cowboys offense in the game through halftime, only to get crushed in the second half. They deserve better.
The Cowboys pass rush - Remember when they were feared? Not so much lately. They didn’t get a sack this week, and over the last three games they have just one sack as a team.
Zack Martin - First Joey Bosa beat him to force Dak Prescott to move up and into a sack. Then he left the game with a concussion.
Anthony Brown - His quick decline from sixth-round gem to total liability is stunning. He gave up another TD, he committed pass interference on a crucial third down play, and his tackling was suspect towards the end. He might not make it as a starting corner.
The reputation of the Cowboys coaches - I’ve seen plenty of coaches do so much more with much less talent. Yes, the Cowboys have been missing some pieces and Sean Lee is still out. But come on, seven points, nine points and six points over the last three games. That is inexcusable. The Cowboys coaches need to really look at themselves and re-examine everything. They need to coach like their jobs are on the line.
The 2017 season - Mathematically eliminated? No. All reason and logic eliminated? You bet.